SupportBiz presents an exclusive chat with Santosh, the founder of Get Off Your Ass, to know more about them and the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur.
How long has Get Off Your Ass been in operation?
We started in the year 2003. So, we have been operating for nine years now.
What were you doing prior to launching Get Off Your Ass?
A long, long time back, I was into solar power and waste management. Then, I took up a course and became certified to become a river rafting guide. I did that for several years before deciding to start Get Off Your Ass.
How did you come up with the idea of starting this venture?
I was always passionate about travel, and I have travelled to a lot of places. As a river rafting guide, I used to lead several rafting tours. In the course of doing that, I realised that I love doing that – and that is how Get Off Your Ass was born. Get Off Your Ass combines business with my passion and skills.
How big is your team at present?
Presently, our team consists of four people.
How is Get Off Your Ass different from other tour organisers?
The tours that we organise are not just ordinary tours; they are ‘experiences’in themselves. We do a lot of research and other groundwork before we organise a trip. We plan everything down to the minutest detail.
We try to provide our customers with experiences that are beyond the realm of run-of-the-mill travelling, and make sure that they remember our trips for a long time to come. That is probably why we get a lot of repeat customers – customers who are extremely satisfied with our services. We offer a plethora of tours to different places in India, and can even customise trips for those who want to.
Of late, we have tied up with several partners (homestays, hotels and other service providers) across the country to provide our customers a wonderful experience.
Moreover, we are very conscious about caring for the environment and the world around us. In each of our trips, we book the best of local homestays and hotels, and make sure that we provide localised experiences to our customers. We ensure that the customers’ money goes into the right hands.
Please share some of your proudest moments as an entrepreneur.
There have been several such moments. Whenever Get Off Your Ass is recognised as a wonderful travel companion, I feel proud as an entrepreneur. I feel proud when I see articles about us in the press, such as in Lonely Planet and The Guardian.
We have been involved in a lot of charity work. For instance, during the cloudburst in Ladakh in 2010, we were working with a charitable institution called LEDEG. We asked people to contribute photographs of Ladakh, and held exhibitions of them across India. The proceeds from the exhibitons were given to LEDEG, which used them to rehabiliate the people who were rendered homeless in Ladakh.
Moments such as these make me the most proud.
Tell us something about the other activities that you organise, apart from tours...
Apart from organising tours and charitable activities, we also organise photography expeditions. Our photo tours are called ‘Photography On The Move’, and they bring together photo enthusiasts from all over India.
We also organise travellers’ meets, which are a platform for travel lovers across the country to get together and share their travel stories.
Recently, we have started organising workshops to educate people about the environment, and to increase awareness about environment protection among them. In these workshops, we make an effort to expose people to different, more conscious ways of living, of changes that they can make in their lifestyle to this end.
Do you do international tours too?
So far, we have largely been into organising national tours. However, lately, we have started branching out into international travel. We are now offering trips to Cambodia and Sri Lanka.
What are the major challenges that you face as a small-scale entrepreneur?
As I said earlier, we plan our trips down to the minutest detail, so that we can give our customers the best experience. So, the cost of our tours are a bit higher than the usual packages that other tour operators provide. The major challenge for us is convincing people that our tours are different, and totally worth the slightly higher cost.
What would be your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
I think we live in a highly creative era now, and there is a scope to do a lot of things in a very different manner than what was done earlier. I would suggest that aspiring entrepreneurs pay attention to this fact. They should do something out of the box, something creative, and something extraordinary that is beyond the realms of the usual.
Corporate Website: http://www.getoffurass.com/