Question: What is the name of your business?
Your Answer: Interlake China Tours, Inc.
Question: Where is your business located (city & state)? Who are the customers you serve? What products or services does you company provide?
Your Answer: Located in Seattle, Washington We serve the whole world from out web sites. We do custom private tours for groups and individuals to China and Tibet.
Question: When did you start your business? Why did you decide to start your own business?
Your Answer: Started the business in 1992. I visited China in 1989 with a friend and saw the fantastic opportunity for growth of then a 3rd world country and I wanted to be able to watch the changes over time close up. Have visited 50+ times seeing the growth while I have worked with two businesses over the last 26 years.
Question: Did you quit your "day job" to start your business? How did you initially fund your business?
Your Answer: I was retired at age 47 looking for something to do. I started the business with a small investment and it paid for itself allowing me to travel throughout China and Tibet for 26 years. I developed it as a part-time business and it has remained so only because I wanted to be able to do it alone without having to have employees.
Question: What has been the biggest challenge in running your company?
Your Answer: I knew nothing of the travel industry . I used my marketing skills obtained during my work life and tried new things not common to the industry but made me stand out from the competition.
Question: What’s been the biggest opportunity that came from owning your business?
Your Answer: The opportunity to travel, meet new people, and to try new things without having to report to someone else. It has been a fantastic experience.
Question: What has surprised you most about being your own boss?
Your Answer: My time was my own and the ability to do whatever I pleased and when I pleased. I learned to do it all including emptying my own waste basket.
Question: Is there a success tactic you’d like to share that could help other business owners (i.e. implementing new software, tactic to grow sales, etc.)?
Your Answer: Be not afraid to try new things and be able to fail at some and pick yourselves up and go back at it. One of my friends who was a well known master marketer of products once told me "If you are afraid to fail; you will never reach your full potential" " You see my successes; but you don't see my failures and there were many".
Question: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other small business owners?
Your Answer: Don't worry about what others say or do. Do what you think is best and right for you.