5 mins with…Paul Joseph, co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel

We chat to Paul Joseph co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel about the growing industry of healthy holidays and how hearing positive feedback is the best part of his job!

Wellness travel specialist and entrepreneur, Paul Joseph, is the co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, a global leader in wellness holidays worldwide. Always ahead of the curve in pioneering new health programmes that revive the soul, boost fitness or address serious health issues, the worldwide wellness tourism industry has now become a multi-billion sector, growing faster than travel in general.

Please explain who you are, what your business is, and what it does/aims to achieve?

I’m the co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, a luxury wellness travel company specialising in creating exceptional healthy holidays around the world that enhance and change lives. We serve our customer exceptionally well, providing a very personalised service. We take on the challenge of our customer’s journey, making sure they have a life-enhancing healthy holiday experience.

What time does your day usually start and end?

My average day runs from 8am to 8pm but I always work with gaps when I’m on the go and sometimes after dinner in the evenings if needed. A work life balance is important to me and exercise, yoga or meditation will always be fitted in during my day. I do most of my emails in the morning, during periods of travelling and end of day.

What is your favourite part of your job and what is your least favourite part?

Visiting the wellness resorts and meeting the people who work there is a highlight and I love influencing about new wellness programmes we create with them that are successful! Trying out treatments and activities is wonderful too, but it’s not my favourite part. The best part of my job is hearing and reading all the positive feedback we receive from our clients each week, it’s so satisfying to have them call and email us to tell us what a fantastic healthy holiday experience they had. I also love the flexibility and control I have in bringing my ideas to life.

My least favourite part is inefficiency and my time is valuable, I want to work smart and not have my time wasted by incompetence. Externally there are some people in our industry who cause us to expand extra effort and energy to overcome problems they have created due to poor communication and attention to detail, with a blame culture to avoid responsibility.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

Travel and wellness has always had a big influence on my life which started with my mother taking me on spa & wellness trips and experiencing travel at a young age, thanks to her job at the time. Following a car accident at aged 20 which left me with multiple injuries, I took to alternative methods to heal my body where my love of yoga started.

I grew up a dreamer and the dream of creating a wellness hub providing a personalised service that recognised what the true meaning of a wellness holiday is became my motivation and a reality. I had a nagging feeling for years of being in a career that neither inspired nor rewarded me sufficiently. One evening I opened my computer and began to write a plan for the travel company I had dreamt of creating for years; enabling me to realise two of my most important dreams: to work for myself and to enjoy my passion: travel and wellness.

At the time it was easy to book a spa holiday, but not a wellness holiday. There was not a travel company which created bespoke wellness holidays for both men and women, it was important I created something which I knew would grow as more people continue to live a healthy lifestyle. My business partner and I worked obsessively for years, six years on we have an international business sending thousands of clients away each year to focus on their health and fitness around the world.

How did you fund your business?

With £20,000 in savings and a strategic plan, my business partner and I set the company up from our homes. Neither of us had family responsibilities and were both at the age where we could take a gamble. We made important decisions on how much of our profit we wanted to reinvest, managing our cashflow carefully and investing smaller amounts in things which generated a return for our business.

What do you feel are the biggest obstacles to growth for SMEs in the UK?

Cashflow is an issue, not having enough skilled staff and systems available to help effectively manage core areas of any business. Business with weak brands will struggle if they don’t have a strategic PR and marketing plan. Stress is also a concern which has a negative impact on our health which in turn hinders business success.

Have you made any mistakes along the way and how did you overcome them/learn from them?

I’ve made mistakes whilst running my own business but these have also been valuable as I would not have been able to grow and develop my skills as a business owner. Working for yourself can be challenging at times, especially when I do so many different roles within the business but my passion makes it all worthwhile. Every mistake I have made on my journey to success has been part of my teaching strategy.

What previous experiences have helped you in starting your business?

I had experience in the health and wellness industry working across PR, marketing and sales; these skills helped me to identify customers, marketing strategies and opportunities. I’m a creative self-starter and have successfully managed projects from start to finish, with natural leadership skills.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to anyone looking to start their own business?

Always work in an industry you’re passionate about. Build a great team, believe in your ability and inspire others to follow you. Listen to people around you and make notes, it’s amazing what you can learn from others. Life’s a journey, be prepared to make mistakes but learn from them. It can be difficult to know where to invest your money when you are starting a business, so focus on what will give you the best return on your investment. Being successful doesn’t happen straight away so be mindful of this and expect you will have bad days. Always keep your passion for what you do and believe in your ideas, as this will keep you focused to work relentlessly.

What do you do to relax away from the hustle and bustle of work?

Yoga helps me tune out and I’ve been practising now since 2002. I do high intensity workouts such as boxing which helps me pound out that stressful energy and directing my mental focus away from work. I also take regular wellness breaks to unplug and make sure Sundays are regular technology free days.

For advice & guidance on booking your healthy holiday, visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com or call 0203 397 8891

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