Overcoming the Naysayers: Georgette Blau

Starting your own business is scary and involves lots and lots of hard work. When you first get started, all you have is your idea and your determination to succeed. You must create everything else along the way.

In order to build self-confidence and strengthen their concept, most people reach out to friends and family to get input and hopefully find some support. However, these requests for support are often met with pessimism and discouraging feedback ranging from legitimate “constructive criticism” to just plain old criticism. While all feedback should be taken into consideration, it’s important to understand that the decisions you make are yours alone, and no one is more qualified to make them than you.

If this concept worries you, I’ve got some good news. You’re in good company. The world is filled with extraordinarily successful entrepreneurs who were told that their ideas wouldn’t succeed or that they didn’t have the time, talent, or resources to be successful.

In order to show you that this isn’t just a theory, we’ve launched a series of interviews with entrepreneurs who have succeeded despite the naysayers. These aren’t the “outliers,” who are so rare that people write books about them. These are just ordinary people who set out to start a business and who have found great success despite the fact that the people around them told them they couldn’t do it and shouldn’t even try.

Introducing Georgette Blau, founder of On Location Tours

(Interviewed here by ChooseWhat writer Annie Hartnett)

Tell me the story of your “Eureka!” moment, when you came up with the idea for On Location Tours. How did that happen?

I was walking up East 86th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and came across the building from The Jeffersons TV show. I loved seeing that location and thought others would probably like to see it, as well. And New York offers thousands upon thousands of other film and TV locations to visit. On Location Tours can take you to visit these places. Our aim is to take people to the place that reality and fiction meet. We allow people to feel like they are entering the world of their favorite TV shows or movies. We give a whole new meaning to the term “site seeing!”

I’ve looked at the various tours you offer, and I have to admit that the Sex and the City Hotspots tour looks tempting. What a great idea for a group of girlfriends visiting New York City!

So, you mentioned that when you shared the idea for your business, your Hungarian mother tried to discourage you. What was her life in communist Hungary like and how did that affect the advice she gave to you?

My mom’s life was very restricted in communist Hungary. She was a child survivor of the Holocaust and a teen survivor of the Hungarian revolution. She was always, therefore, very cautious and liked stability. She felt that working for a company would give me more stability than having my own.

Other people tried to discourage you, too. What were some of the discouraging comments you heard, and which comments were most difficult to hear?

I think people didn’t understand the experience offered by On Locations Tours and just thought that people could look at a map and visit these locations. They would say, “People pay for that?” But not only does it involve a lot of research, it’s also a lot of work walking to all of those locations. Our tours allow people to ride in a comfortable bus with an amazing, experienced tour guide and surrounded by a bunch of other fans of their favorite show.

What was your process for getting past the discouraging comments and moving forward with your idea?

I always felt that I was on my own path and never looked back or side to side.

How do you feel about your decision? What does your mother say now?

I’m so happy that I started my own company, especially for the fact that I’m able to make my own hours. (I say this more now that I have two kids.) My mother has been apologizing to me for years!

What advice do you have for people who want to venture out on their own and follow their dreams but are being discouraged from doing so?

I would say to try to develop your business while having a part-time job. Or develop it on nights and weekends while keeping a full-time job. You’ll be happy if you at least attempt it. And of course, give it your all!

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