It all started a couple of years ago when I went to the world wide web to figure out where I could go for my Diwali break. I thought it would be relatively simple:
- decide what sort of holiday I wanted (relaxed, adventure, beach, family, etc.) or know the general region
- decide on the hotel
It shouldn't take me more than a couple of hours to discover my ideal holiday and book my hotel, I thought.
Alas, that was not to be. Google God disappointed - I got to some blogs which were nothing to write home about. Trip Advisor was of little help - I spent about 5 hours going through 100s of listings & reviews which only served to confuse me. HoildayIQ sold my lead to about 12 travel agents who called day and night and other sites threw itineraries at me. Rs. 40,000 for x days and y nights.
Couldn't I just choose from a well curated list (created by a person who's actually visited the properties and has discerning taste), then couldn't I see a quick, well shot video of the properties and surrounding activities? And lastly, couldn't I get all the information I need to make my decision all in one place? Surely, someone had created this sort of site? But, I soon learned that I was asking for too much.
So I has a new mission and www.laylaslist.com was born. Sheer blood, sweat and tears.
Imagine calling properties and saying, I'm planning to create a site (yet another travel site) and would they like to be part of it? Imagine trying to get fabulous crews to shoot and write and then imagine having to pay them handsomely with no revenue. Imagine trying to create a website with the very best User Interface and User Experience. Imagine thinking through the features, the Content Management System, the technology required to mass personalize...the list is endless...And then imagine 2 little kids (now 8 and 5) who needed time and attention. And a full time business (employing 30 people) that needed to be run and which paid all the bills for my 'hobby', Layla's List. Imagine the long hours, imagine drawing on the last reserves of energy to spend time and play with the kids and then burning the mid night oil.
But was it worth it? Yes, a hundred times over! Layla's List has put me, as a women entrepreneur, on the map. It's showed me that I can do whatever I set out to do. Obstacles will abound but so will my will to succeed.
The launch of www.laylaslist.com is just the beginning...stay tuned for more.