An Entrepreneur in Paris

Lindsey from Pictours Paris

I spent a few weeks in Paris last month (I KNOW!!! It was fun!).  Part of my trip was for pleasure and part of my trip was for business.  I have met several Americans via Twitter that live in Paris and have created businesses in the tourism industry.  As a gal who has threatened to run away to Paris on more than one occasion and start my own biz there, it was super cool to meet these entrepreneurs in real life and learn a lesson or two from them.

Linda from Oui Paris Tours

From Wikipedia: “The term entrepreneur is a loanword from the French and was first defined by the Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon as the person who pays a certain price for a product to resell it at an uncertain price, thereby making decisions about obtaining and using the resources while consequently admitting the risk of enterprise.”  If they created the word entrepreneur…why do they make it so hard to be one?

I was one of those people who thought they could escape real life and go to a foreign country, set up shop and make money in the tourist biz.  Ya, that is a fantasy.  I’m not sure how it is in other countries but in France, being an entrepreneur is anything but easy.  The government makes it really hard to start a business especially one where you may want to charge in US dollars vs. euros.  Forget trying to hire an employee.  The government doesn’t like that either.  We think we have it hard here with unemployment tax, workers’ comp insurance, etc.  It is way worse there and highly controlled.  No hiding out or doing it “under the table” .  Working with travelers is another can of worms.  Conversion rates, language barriers and cultural differences are daily barriers.  I think the biggest obstacle is competition.  There are a lot people trying to get the attention of every dollar these tourists are spending.

Daisy from THATLou

I did find that we have many things in common with these Paris-based entrepreneurs.  We both struggle with the “when should I drop my day job and do this full time” syndrome.  We both struggle to find balance in work/family/pleasure.   We both agree that social media has been the BEST way to reach a global customer.  And, most importantly, we all agreed that when you are doing what you are most passionate about, it doesn’t matter what obstacles you have to face, you are willing to go the extra length to be a success.

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