What a 2-week family vacation to Europe taught me about entrepreneurship

Before I booked our family trip to Serbia, Switzerland and France for Thanksgiving I worried a bit about how I was going to run my business while away. With the right preparation, I was able to make it work.

My husband, our two toddler boys and myself set out on an adventure from Houston to New York, Belgrade, Geneva, Martigny, and Paris.

After we got back, I realized that that trip taught me so much about myself and my entrepreneurial journey, including the following lessons.

1- You can mix business and pleasure

By keeping the same routine that we have at home, I was able to do some work while the toddlers were napping, whether on the train or in our hotel room. Same thing for your business: it can’t be all about work, work, work. You need to make time for self-care and fun.

One of the greatest joys of this trip was staying with family and friends that I hadn’t seen in years and having the opportunity for them to meet my husband and kids for the first time. With that also came the advantage of having my friend’s 7-year old play with my toddlers while I was working on my laptop.

Reuniting with childhood friends in Paris

2- You should enjoy and indulge in the things that make you happy

I don’t need to tell you how much bread, cheese, deli meats, and wine (and I don’t even drink!) I had during our trip. Life is too short not to do what really makes us happy!

In your business, you have to go full force and enjoy every single bite of the process! Sure there will be challenging times when you will feel like quitting, but you need to stay focused on the purpose of your business an celebrate your wins (big and small) along the way. Just like the French would do, ALWAYS have cheese during your meals! So no matter what, indulge in the good stuff.

Bread and cheese: a daily must-have in France

3- Not everybody will get you, but you have to do it anyways

Explaining to one of my friends that you can use Facebook for business was challenging. She was amazed by the fact that I could help people online. With that said, I chose not to fully explain what I do to some people because I simply knew they wouldn’t get it.

Same thing with your business: focus on a niche and target the people who get you and who you want as part of your tribe. Forget the nay-sayers, eye-rollers, and those who simply don’t get it. Remember, you’re not here to serve everybody.

4- The “laptop lifestyle” is not always glamorous but it’s oh so worth it

I often forget that things are not always as comfortable on the road as they are at home. At times I was exhausted, the kids were getting on my nerves and I just wanted to sleep in my own bed.

In business, things can get uncomfortable: from not hitting your monthly income goal to having your printer suddenly crash. You take a deep breath and make it work. There’s no such thing as perfection and very often, it doesn’t even have to be pretty. It just have to be done. So yes, sometimes the kids don’t cooperate, so you do what you gotta do and get some work done on the train while enjoying the scenery.

Working on my content on the train between Geneva and Paris

5- There’s so much you can learn from others

I have a passion for cross-cultural understanding: I’m a polyglot and I love to learn about different cultures. During our train ride between Zurich and Geneva we were surprised to see a whole train wagon dedicated to families and children. First, there was a ramp to access the train, which was extremely helpful with our double stroller, then the lower level had an open area to “park” all the strollers and suitcases. In the upper level, not only were there seats and tables arranged for the easy family dining but there was a whole play area just for the kiddos! Our little ones had a blast going through the little maze and down the slide.

Now, this really shows how the Swiss value family travel!

In terms of my business, from the very beginning I quickly realized that there was so much I didn’t know about growing a business and that there was a big world out there with opportunities to learn about. Knowing that, it was very important for me to learn from other coaches who were more advanced in their entrepreneurial journey.

Play area on the train in Switzerland

6- Bonus lesson: If not now, then when?

One of the highlights of our vacation was visiting the Château de Versailles. I had visited with my mother and younger brother about 10 years ago and still remembered most of it. But what really made it special was the fact that my husband had visited with his parents when he was about the same age as our oldest son. It’s one of the fondest memories he has of living in France as a child and now he got to take his own boys to have a similar experience. How cool is that?

So in your personal life, just like in your professional life, you must take advantage of the NOW and go take that trip, invest in that coaching program, go visit childhood friends, or go attend that mastermind retreat. And again, you don’t have to make radical changes like sell your belongings and move to the other side of the globe. Instead, don’t wait until you have all the pieces in place to take action. Take it one step at a time and you’ll realize that small changes can be quite impactful.

Visiting the Château de Versailles
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