Important Lessons I Learned on My First Business Trip

There are more and more people choosing to become marketing experts and work in the advertising industry. I am one of those people. I run a successful digital marketing agency, providing any kind of digital service you could possibly think of. While I would love to brag about how my team and I have done an outstanding job at building the structure of our company from the ground up to now having departments that handle most major industries, I won’t. 

Why? Unfortunately, this company got bought out by one of the big whales that acquired businesses in our field and completely screwed up the way we were running our operation. I said screw the new management and new structure of operation and went out on my own. 

I started my own agency. It was just the logical thing to do and I didn’t even think twice about it. At the end of the day, I helped my former boss build an empire and I had all of the skills it would take to do it again, but for me this time. 

In my previous company, I was the director of marketing operations. My responsibilities were to create successful marketing campaign plans for our team to execute. Also, to learn how my team performed and ensure they operated at their fullest potential. Oftentimes, when we were working on developing a commercial for customers, it required me to step out of the office and be at the scene so I could make sure we got the right footage for the message we were trying to convey through the advertisement. 

Once I started my company, I landed my first big deal that required me to drive about four hours out of my city to film the commercial for the brand. They paid me the money upfront. I was happy, and they’d paid quite a bit, too. Much more than what companies I am used to paying. 

I thought I had everything I needed and that this would be as easy as it could be, but nope – everything got harder and harder. I will share this journey with you. I will tell you about what I did and what lessons I learned, starting out in the field and trying to earn the name for my own marketing company

Always Be Prepared For The Worst

Preparation is not something that comes to people’s minds, especially those who are stuck in the comfort zone. You can bet I was comfortable with the great salary and big chunks of commissions I was getting from my employer, at the time. Having multiple plans didn’t seem like an option but, once you cut loose everything that’s making you comfortable, different things start to happen. You’ll face things that are not familiar and you might not know what to do. 

I was on the road to my desired destination, Miami, where the shoot would take place. It required me to rent a certain type of video camera so we could deliver quality video work, as proposed. 

Once I got to Miami, a local camera store told me that someone else had rented the camera I booked for the day. They somehow let the other guy take it without asking me anything. They told me this over the phone, one hour before I get to the city. 

I quickly started calling other camera places, but they were all booked out for the entire week. My last option was to use my own camera, which was not as good of a quality as I needed. If I didn’t have that camera, the shoot wouldn’t happen and we would be totally screwed. 

If You Don’t Have Connections, You Will Have Hard Time

I didn’t only just have to rent a camera, I also had to rent a Lamborghini as part of the commercial shoot. I asked one of my close friends who was working on this commercial with me to call the luxury car rentals one week beforehand to negotiate prices and ensure that our supercar would be delivered on time to have it ready the next day for the video shoot. 

30 minutes before entering the city, we get a call on the phone saying that the friend who booked the car didn’t have comprehensive insurance coverage. Therefore, we were not able to get the Lamborghini. Keep in mind, these guys are booked out 24/7 and it takes a week to get the car. Now that they had found out we didn’t have what we needed, they could rent the car out to someone else without even having to explain themselves to us. We couldn’t afford for this to happen, so I told him to use my insurance and transfer the rental in my name. 

I wasn’t sure if my insurance had this coverage, so I went online but couldn’t find an answer. I messaged a few unqualified people and they couldn’t answer me either. I was running out of time, so I called in one of the high level insurance officials I knew from one of our marketing meetings and she verified that I had what they needed. 

We quickly had them refile everything in my name and it went through. It took us a few hours, but we were able to get the car we needed for the next day’s shoot. Having connections is very important – if you don’t have them, start developing your network, today. It’s much faster and better than asking unqualified people around you or doing your research online. 

Never Decide Before Analyzing

We all love to make decisions but, sometimes, making the wrong calls can cost you a lot. Before we got to our hotel in Miami, we booked the place online using some online hotel booking system. The hotel we found was a little far away from the video shoot place but it was much cheaper and the photos we saw were beautiful and reviews were great, so we decided to save some money and book it. 

Once we got to the given location from the Google Maps, we discovered that we were in the ghetto part of the town. At first, I wasn’t sure if the maps had even taken me to the right location so, once we got there, I reentered the address. 

It said the same thing. I was convinced that this wasn’t going to be the place we’d decide to stay at, but we decided to proceed anyway. We entered, and it immediately smelled like chlorine. It was not what we saw in the photos at all. There were dead cockroaches, the bed had stains, and I am pretty sure the place smelled like crap. Like, actual real life crap. 

I could not stay there. I decided to do my research, and found that the Google reviews they had were faked, and the photos they took were the demo rooms they set up to attract visitors and lure them in on a no-refund policy. 

We ended up not staying there and moving into a slightly more expensive hotel where we were left in peace and everything was quality. We lost money because we didn’t do our research and deeply investigate the place we were staying at. Before you commit to anything, make sure you research it. After that, you can safely decide if it’s the right decision to make. 

Make Sure You Don’t Go Over Budget

Entering a new city a far way away from home can bring out many different temptations. Especially a city like Miami. It’s like a mini Las Vegas. People party until the sunset, you’ll meet a lot of new friends, get invited to places and, the next thing you know, you are out of money. 

Rule number one is: “Don’t spend money you don’t have”. We had models fly out from different states for this shoot and they all got paid for their jobs. Some of the models were locals. They didn’t have to fly anywhere but, the ones that did fly in, flew right out after the shoot. The locals took whatever money they made from the shoot and went out the same night spending it all. They invited us to go party with them after the successful shoot but we refused and stayed in our hotel. 

I believe you should party with those who you conduct professional business with and, on top of that, it is not necessary to spend more than you need too. At the end of the day, we came here to make more money, not to spend it.

Don’t Stress Yourself When You Are Facing a Challenge

I can not deny the fact that I was stressed. I just went through so many unexpected obstacles, I think I ate all the nails off my fingers. I thought, “If this doesn’t work out or this person screws me over then…” and then just the worst possible outcomes. The overthinking side of your brain starts to kick in and negative energy starts to rush through, creating stresses you don’t need. 

I learned that, at the end of the day, everything that happens to you or for you is a challenge. Looking at tougher situations that sound uncomfortable to you should not stress you out. You should step back and look at your situation with a different perspective. Look at it as a problem and provide a solution to that problem. 

You are the only person who can solve your problem. You have to be aware of yourself and what’s going on around you. Only then will you have the ability to operate as a problem solver. 


If I was not dedicated to being self aware, I wouldn’t be able to write this article to provide you with all of these important lessons. At all costs, be aware of yourself, the way you operate and the things that are happening around you. Analyze every challenge you face. Analiyze all the lessons you learn and apply them to your next journey. 

Always prepare for the worst, too. You don’t have to overthink this too much, but have a plan B or C in case plan A doesn’t go the way you planned it. As part of your journey to success, you will need to build a network of connections – people that can do things for you that you can’t do for yourself. Join local communities and online groups, and go to conferences to build those connections. Only then will you be able to utilize them in your favor, when needed. 

Before you go through with the decision you make, you must analyze and research whatever decision you are about to commit to. Whether it is the money you don’t have or are trying to spend, purchasing something, or any major decision, always stay on budget and don’t get distracted by unrelated things and, remember: no need to stress. Look at every situation as a challenge to overcome. At the end of the day, you are a problem solver. Provide the solutions instead of focusing on problems.

Also Read: 11 Things I Learned From Running My Own Business

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