Entrepreneurial Spirit. A Blessing or Curse?

While your whiling away the hours at your 9-5 job you may be dreaming of the day you could own your own business.  Are you an entrepreneur like me?  Do you constantly think of inventions or business you could run?  If you are then it didn't just start out of the blue, it's likely you were born with this spirit.  If I'm being honest it's a bit of a curse since people like us are never content to just sit back and enjoy life.  We have to be out working non-stop, but not for someone else, nooooo that's to easy!  We have to constanty risk everything in hopes our hair brained ideas will actually pan out. 

It's true what they say; taxes, paperwork, bureaucracy are almost crushing.  When you first start a business you do everything yourself.  If you don't know how to do something, just Google it or YouTube it...making a logo, designing a website, learning accounting software, researching different types of business (partnership vs corporation).   Google and Youtube are pretty good assistants.

Everyone from Kanye to Tony Robbins have already told us entrepreneur wannabes the secret and it is true, you really do have to believe in yourself.  It's not as easy as it sounds since it doesn't actually happen until you roll up your sleaves and do the hard work.  It's doing the actual work that brings the self esteem, it's interconnected.  One doesn't really result from the other, it's belief and work combined.  

As I prepare to grow my company and reflect on the past 3 years, it is clear that the hard work has paid off.  I've built the foundation and as I prepare to build the additions I am reflecting on all the amazing people who have encouraged and supported me through the years.  It's definitely been a blessing XOXO

A visit to the Mayan "Origin of the Sky", Sian Ka'an

Located just over an hour south of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico you will find a biosphere reserve with fresh water canals and over 23 Mayan archaeological sites hidden in the jungle.  Our small group of 7 took off from the hotel in Playa Del Carmen with our guide, Adrien, to explore this ancient Mayan port where over 1000 years ago goods for trade were brought in from the sea through narrow fresh water canals.  Below is a video of our arrival where we boarded a boat and crossed over the bay on our journey to discover canals and a small Mayan port "station".  After a short visit on shore we actually put our life jackets on like diapers (no photos lol) and jumped into the fresh water canal and floated through a peaceful beautiful river through mangroves.  After the refreshing float in the cool water we walked through the wetlands on a dock system to where our boats were waiting to take us back to shore.  At shore we found a picnic table and had a small snack and bottled water and then continued through the jungle to learn about trees, origins of gum, homeopathic remedies and Mayan culture.  

As we continued our tour through the jungle we came upon a tower where we could view the entire biosphere, a few of us decided to climb to the top to get that perfect photo (see video below).  I have seen the ruins at Tulum and I love them, but this tour is much different.  As you can see from my videos, there are smaller groups of people and not the masses of tourists you get at Tulum; probably due to the fact this is a newer tour.  It's nice and shady on the jungle paths, and I loved coming through the woods upon the ruins their natural state, some not even fully exhumed.    

Once we were done with the tour of the jungle our driver was waiting to take us to lunch in Tulum.  This bohemian beach town reminded me of what Cancun may have been 40 years ago -- just a sleepy beach town inhabited by a few tourists staying at small hotels.  We enjoyed a nice sea side lunch and relaxed on the beach before boarding for the trip home.  I really enjoyed this tour for it's slower pace and the emphasis on nature and eco friendly tourism.  Amstar does a great job of providing affordable, comfortable and safe tours.  Thank you Amstar, Adrien and especially the Mayan people who really understood how to live in harmony with nature.

Why I Left Home

For 15 years I operated a virtual company, with project managers that worked from home, it had it's pros but also had it's cons. I felt we needed our own space - a home base where everyone feels welcome to come and go.  A space that reflects our brand, showcases our services and products, but not a space that chains creative, responsible, project managers to a desk. My idea was to create a "touch down space", a place where we can have meetings, a place for mentoring young staff and interns, a place where everyone feels welcome to drop in for a visit.  As Destination Consultants grows, I want to make sure our team has all the tools they need to do their job efficiently and effectively.  Some people work better from home, some work better at an office - why not let them choose?  

As a Destination Management Company, the location couldn't be better for us, right in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids inside the convention center's headquarter hotel, the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton.  Not only is it convenient for event implementation, but we're just upstairs from the motor coach staging area.  Perfect for managing group & VIP arrivals/departures.  Well, that's my story, and I look forward to many new adventures at our new office and of course, feel free to stop in anytime!

What do Auguste Rodin's Eve and Beer have in common?

What do Auguste Rodin's Eve and Beer have in common?

Last week we worked with a group visiting Grand Rapids from Paris, the first time this group has had a board meeting outside of France.  As the local DMC we were hired to help coordinate the VIP airport transfers, around town transportation and shuttles to and from hotels and meetings.  In addition we were asked to put together dinner experiences tailored to this group's interests.  How might a small Midwestern town like Grand Rapids make a personal connection to our well healed group from Paris!? 

Read More

Marriott Targets Generation Z by Harnessing Youtuber's Super Powers

Do you know Grace Helbig, star of the new Marriott Campaign to get consumers to book direct on Marriott.com?  If not ask a teenager.  I asked my 13 year old daughter (who doubles as my social media consultant) and of course she knows and adores Grace Helbig.  Here's a peak at the new campaign, I think it's brilliant use of the power that YouTubers have over Generation Z. Marriott is banking on the newest generation who can't even buy hotel rooms yet - and they know exactly how to speak to this group.  Impressive.  Props to Marriott. 


Are Your Attendees Getting a Bum Deal? The Case for Comfy Buns.

Are Your Attendees Getting a Bum Deal?  The Case for Comfy Buns.

Allow me to go on a bit of a rant.  I'm always baffled when organizations spend thousands of dollars (often over 100k) on general session staging and production only to subject attendees to an entire day(s) relegated to the stacker chair.  Sometimes putting these poor attendees 4 per table so that one person gets the table leg in that awkward spot.  

Read More

"Secret Beach" Marietas Island Discovery Eco Tour

"Secret Beach" Marietas Island Discovery Eco Tour

Last month I implemented an incentive trip for 240 people in Puerto Vallarta.  I was hoping that I could get away from the Hospitality Desk to get to this secret beach!  I did check this off my bucket list...was it worth it?  I think so, but before you head to Mexico to visit this beach you should know a few things.  

Read More

Grand Connection Inc. Update

In 2014, after 15 great years in business, my former business partner and I decided to part ways and agreed to dissolve Grand Connection Incorporated in order to operate our own separate companies.  At a hearing in July of 2014, the Kent County Circuit Court ordered the dissolution, and the final job to be performed by that company is scheduled for completion in 2015.  As part of the dissolution process, the name “Grand Connection” was sold at auction.  That name is now being used by a newly formed company, Grand Connection LLC.  I am not involved in any way with “Grand Connection LLC.” 

I have started a new company called Destination Consultants.  I have teamed up with a few associates who were formerly project managers for Grand Connection, Inc.  Although the name Destination Consultants is new, I am still carrying on the same business of helping my clients arrange highly effective meetings and events designed to reflect their mission and corporate branding, just as I have for the past 25 years.

My new contact email is ayoung@destinationconsultants.com, I look forward to reconnecting!

Best Regards, Amy Young, CMP, CTA