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Make or Break Time: Do These Tours Have Legs?

Boom! A blog post has appeared, full of thoughts from my brain.

So what's new? Well, 2023 has truly got underway, and Falmouth Uncovered has sailed into its third year. I immediately put a lot on this season. ‘This is make-or-break! Is this my future!? Can I really sail Falmouth Uncovered into my unfolding thirties!?’ I declared. The key point was, of course, money. Can I carry on building a life upon this economic foundation? Are there enough people who want to spend money on walking tours to ensure I can get a mortgage? Would I be better off just getting a ‘proper’ job?

I’m not going to try and create any suspense here. Basically, ticket sales so far have been encouraging and it seems clear to me that yes, Falmouth Uncovered is a vessel with which I can carry on sailing… even if I have now left my twenties behind. This is partly because my marketing has become sharper — ineffective methods dropped, effective methods sharpened — and partly because as time passes word-of-mouth works ever more magic. Reputation is an invisible thing, but a good one sells more tickets than any combination of advertising you could concoct.

There’s also a lot to be said for diversification as well. I now run a ghost tour that sells tickets to new people, and projects like the Secrets of Smuggling boat tour with Fal River add another source of income. I suppose that’s generally how businesses find success:

You start

You flail

You survive

You improve

You grow

You try new things

One lovely aspect of my accumulated experience is the presence of that sweet, sweet confidence. I can try new things and take risks because I can trust that I will be equal to the challenge. And then, with this awareness, more risks are taken and more confidence is gained. It’s an upward spiral of good vibes

I think it also helps that I have less focus on the tour now. As discussed in earlier blog posts, when I started this I was essentially lonely and directionless, and I charged at this business with the dedicated desperation of someone who needed it to work out. Like in a romantic relationship, if you need something in that desperate way, unhealthy energy will always be woven into the dynamic. Paradoxically, a level of emotional independence promotes a deeper and more sustainable connection.

The business can now take its place as one part of my life, important but not central. For one thing, I’m now very much in love (in the proper ‘I think you’re my person’ sort of way) with a supremely excellent human, which definitely encourages a good work-life balance! I’m also now training to become a person-centred counsellor, which is a very different thing from tour-guiding, although there are some interesting overlaps: person-centred counselling is all about the connection between counsellor and client, and that’s essentially what my tour-guiding focuses on too. It’s about projecting a solid, positive energy to facilitate the experience of the other, whether that be learning about history or overcoming emotional wounds. Connection is all.

I’ve just read back what I’ve written so far, and it’s all rather buoyant, isn’t it? There are some less pleasant aspects to life at the moment — I’ve had some deeply toxic unpleasantness hurled at me of late, and the still novel experience of living with Type 1 diabetes isn't fun — but ain’t that always the way? Life is often a jumbled mixture of all the things: it was the best of times, it was the blurst of times.

In any case, the Will that is Falmouth Uncovered is in fine fettle. I remain, as ever, supremely grateful for this town and the community within. There’s an expanding cast of good eggs who give me and the tours their support, in both emotional and practical forms. And as I think I’ve probably said in a previous blog post, the experience of doing something meaningful within a community is the most foolproof way of achieving happiness that our species has ever invented.

And so, another sickeningly wholesome blog post draws to a close. Who knows what I’ll have to write about next time? Maybe things will take a swerve and I’ll have some moodily cynical pondering to share. I really hope not.

Farewell, reader. Perhaps I’ll see you on the streets.

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