BLACK SWAN GONDOLA, LLC: An Interview with Drew Sainte Marie

by | Nov 24, 2020 | Travel

  • Please give us a brief description about yourself.

-Driven, ambitious, energetic lover of life. I love people and I made sure to start a business where I can be surrounded by all walks of life of them. I love what I do, and everytime I hop on on the back of one of the Gondolas I’m reminded why I love this job so much.

  • How did you initially become involved in your industry?

I fell into this wonderful job when I was only 15 years old. Where I grew up, the Gondola business would recruit beach lifeguards to come row for them during the Holidays which were the busy season. Who better to be in charge of passengers in a boat above the water, than lifeguards who are athletic and also trained to save lives incase anything were to ever happen. So in the summer we’d lifeguard and in the winter we’d row. Perfect pairing. It was also a very convenient job during High School and College with the flexible schedule. Because of the flexibility, throughout the years I’d take breaks and come back to row every so often. It’s a unique position because it’s actually easier to bring former employees back than train new ones, so it was always guaranteed work when I came back into town. Then one day after 12 years under my belt I had the genius, or some may say crazy thought to break off and start my own Gondola business- and that’s how Black Swan Gondola was born!

  • What three pieces of advice would you give to young business owners?

-Be prepared to wear MANY hats. Coincidently I for one wear an awesome hat while doing what is advertised to the customers. But what the customers don’t see are all the other hats I have to wear. I am the marketer, accountant, greeter, receptionist, HR department, booking agent, face of the business and much much more. Just be prepared to realize unlike being an employee, if you don’t do something theres no one else to pick up the slack, it won’t get done. You’ll be wearing ALL the hats for awhile so learn to love it!

-In fitness they say one bad meal won’t make you fat just like one good meal won’t make you fit. Same concept. One bad review won’t ruin your whole business so learn to read negativity as constructive criticism. If it’s plausible to fix the situation then do it. If it’s out of reach so be it, and work on improving something else that can be enhanced.

-Things will get stressful. Stay grounded and find ways to remind yourself why you made the decision to start your own business in the first place. It will keep you motivated and get though the bad times.

  • What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful at your position?

You need to accept the fact you’ll be wearing MANY hats. If I had to name the top three I’d say find the perfect blend of being a strict, organized, manager, with a strong form of empathy to be able to listen to what your customers really need, and last but not least don’t lose site of the “fun” of it all, the reason you even decided to take the leap into starting your own business.
Organized, Empathetic, Fun!

  • How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

Today’s world gives us plenty of resources to get the word out about my business- Instagram for pictures, Facebook for literature, and review sites for proof. But you know what really seems to work? Word of mouth. Take a few extra seconds with your customers at the end to leave a lasting impression. They’ll talk about it and more customers will trickle in because of it.

  • From your experience thus far, what is the best way to achieve long-term success in your industry?

What I found works for me, is write out the grand master plan. Write down from where to you need to start and how you’d like it to finish. Then chop down your one big goal into mini achievable parts. You know the end of the story but now you need to write the chapters to get there. Each chapter will be a task or a level you need to accomplish before you can safely take off on the next. It doesn’t mean you can’t start the next chapter early., but you need to complete chapter one to safely glide to the end of chapter 2, and so on. It makes your dream obtainable.

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