“I was never taught entrepreneurship.” — Kimberly Ramsawak
“I wanted to travel more than two weeks out of the year”
After college, Kimberly Ramsawak landed a job as a marketing promotions manager. But she immediately discovered it wasn’t for her.
“After about a month at my cubicle job, I knew it wasn’t the life for me. I wanted to travel more than the two weeks vacation I was given each year. So I applied to an international graduate program where I would spend a year between Italy and Japan. I thought it was my ticket to escaping the 9-5.”
The only problem was that she wasn’t accepted.
“After that, I took things into my own hands. I learned everything I could so I could make a living working and traveling at the same time. I read career development books, took dozens of personality assessment tests and workshops, and researched the travel, tourism, and hospitality industry relentlessly.”
However, none of the advice was specific to what she wanted.
“People rehashed the same tools and tactics over and over again. And nothing was specific to the travel industry.”
After 4 years of trial and error, Kimberly finally got a foot in the door. She went on to work for the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Times Square Alliance in New York City, and eventually Macy’s, where she served as the director of tourism marketing and development.
“I got started in the travel industry without having any experience and built a successful career from there.”
Her career took her to over 80 cities around the world — all paid for by the companies Kimberly worked for.
This eventually led to her first business idea.
“I wanted to bridge the gap”
Kimberly’s success in the travel industry led her to become an adjunct professor on tourism at various universities.
“I always had a side hustle going. I taught tourism as an adjunct professor at St. John’s, Strayer, NYU, and a few others places. After my lectures, students came up to me and asked, ‘How do I get paid to travel?’”
“I wanted to bridge the gap between not knowing and having a great career in the travel and hospitality industry.”
And that’s how the idea for Tourism Exposed was born. Kimberly started to devour any material she could find on entrepreneurship.
“I read books like Rich Dad Poor Dad and The 4-Hour Workweek. I was raised by immigrant parents from the Caribbean. They wanted me to get a job and work at that job until retirement. Entrepreneurship was rarely mentioned. But I wanted to learn more about this new world.”
“I loved having successful people show me the ropes”
After starting Tourism Exposed, Kimberly ran into some struggles.
“When I was first building my business, I got stuck on two things. First, I was alone. I don’t live in a major city, so it’s hard to find people who can understand what you’re going through. I always wonder, ‘Who else can I talk about business and entrepreneurship with?’ Second, I had no mentor. Nobody was there to tell me if I was on the right track.”
“I had one friend who I talk about business and career success with. And he forwarded me one of Ramit’s blog posts. I loved the free material. But I especially loved how he said it was okay to want more. It was okay to break the mold of a traditional 9-to-5 job. That resonated with me.”
Because the free material was so good, and Kim was struggling with her business, it was an easy decision to get Zero to Launch.
“I had been stuck for so long — about 18 months — that I felt everything came at the right moment. So I joined.”
“If I felt alone, depressed, and frustrated, it was great knowing that I could hop on Skype with someone and talk through my struggles. It gave me the community I needed. I also loved having access to people who were already successful that could show me the ropes.”
“I have an email list of 1,200 and launched my first beta product”
Thanks to Zero to Launch, Kimberly is having success with her business.
“With the community alone, you get your money back. But the workbook exercises and videos were amazing as well. Any questions or concerns — whether it was about building an email list or launching — were all addressed in that extra material.”
And this led to a major milestone for Tourism Exposed.
“I had my first launch to a list of 1,200 people and got 15 people to buy. While that might not be much, I successfully went from zero to launch. I want to take a break now and focus on delivering a world-class experience for my customers.”
Going from zero to launch has also made Kimberly optimistic about the future.
“I want to make sure my next version of the course is better than my first. I know if I can get 15 customers, I can get 50, and even 500 or more. It’s exciting to be able to do this.”
We brought Kimberly into the studio to share her story. Watch the full interview where she reveals:
- The single best investment you can make in yourself. Kimberly suffered a setback when she wasn’t accepted into a graduate program. See how she continued to invest in herself and become an entrepreneur (1:10)
- How a side hustle turned into the perfect online business idea. If people ask you the same questions over and over again, it could be a telltale sign that you’ve found your next big idea (2:20)
- Break your biggest barriers to success. Kimberly faced two obstacles that are common to new entrepreneurs — see how she overcame them (4:26)