Laila Abdul Rahman | Ghana | Comfort Zone

https://sabarytours.com

https://www.instagram.com/sabarytours/

My journey has been an intriguing one. Growing up I had always wanted to be a newscaster I never thought I would end up being an entrepreneur. Through my journey I morphed from being a very reserved person to a very sociable person which hasn’t been quite easy for me. It took a lot of courage, determination, perseverance and positive thinking to admit that I needed to be a better version of myself to face my entrepreneurial journey. I’m still a work in progress and I’m proud of the journey so far.

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What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?

How did the idea for your business come about?

My idea came about after I joined the Unlocking Women and Technology programme (UWAT), a programme designed to teach young women coding and business development skills to enable them to become independent. Participants were tasked to come up with business ideas of which I choose to work on a tourism startup called Sabary Tours. Sabary Tours is an online platform that specializes in providing tailor made tours, honeymoons, short breaks with the sole aim of getting Ghanaians to travel locally. I had no prior knowledge in tourism, tourist destinations, and planning trips. However, I pushed myself to research, read widely and learnt about tourism across the globe.This provided me with the tools to come up with creative packages for my cherished client and trust me, it’s working for me!



What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

Firstly, my personality was a huge challenge for me because I had to step out of my comfort zone by speaking more to people I barely knew. These were people I literally hadn't met before, I just had to be a bubbly person overnight. That wasn't easy but I'm here today as a bubbly person. Awesome if I can do it. You can do it too.



Secondly, funding is a major challenge for most startups and trust me it wasn’t any different with mine. Most often, very few people will take the risk of investing in a young entrepreneur with little or no prior experience , especially with Tourism...absolutely no one, not even my mum but I kept pushing .


Lastly, we are in a society where people are not accustomed to young people being entrepreneurs hence most people are not open to supporting young entrepreneurs, people feel working in an office is more secure and much easier for young people hence being an entrepreneur is considered a waste of time and energy.







Most often, it takes a while for startups to start seeing the light of day which causes many entrepreneurs to give up, too early in the journey. I strongly believe that, if we have a lot more people encouraging entrepreneurs rather than discouraging them, it would go a long way in seeing the future filled with a lot more entrepreneurs in Ghana and beyond.



What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read

I'm currently reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. My all time favorite book which I would recommend to every young entrepreneur would have to be” The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries.


Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?

How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

Certainly, I have dealt with a lot of contention from my family and friends but I have come to understand some basic things about life. To begin with, before you are able to win people to your side you need to show them what you can do or offer and that’s how I handled it. Fortunately for me, my mother understands how much I love what I do and she supports me fully now and that’s sufficient for me.


What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

Aside from the Almighty Allah, having mentors around was really helpful and they provided the support I needed in my journey.

It’s really not easy being an entrepreneur. It comes with its ups and downs but I have had the privilege of having people around me who have been in similar situations and have kept encouraging me along the way and that for me has been essential for a smoother entrepreneurial journey.



What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

That entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint at heart. It's tough... really tough. Sometimes I feel like giving up but I keep going back to the reason why I started this amazing journey and I pick myself up after the fall and keep moving.



What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?

Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. We always strive to win but there are times we will lose. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or fall, it’s part of your entrepreneurial journey What really matters is that you learn from every mistake and get better. Don't beat yourself up so much, see it as a learning experience. Its ok if you get it wrong it’s a learning curve.