Experiencing the World Through the Eyes of a Local

Article by:
David Cunningham, EO Sydney
David Cunningham
EO Sydney

David is the CEO (Chief Exploring Officer) of OurExplorer. com, a Web site that helps travelers “explore the world through the eyes of a local.” The site offers users the opportunity to book and then rate local, private tourist guides from all over the planet, touch more local life and experience an unforgettable local adventure. Contact David at davec@ourexplorer.com.

As an entrepreneur, I have experienced my share of success. I sold my first business in 2007, made a lot of money and saw my story published in several books. And yet, even with all of that wealth, I felt empty and trapped in a void. I was fi nancially free, but I had a burning passion to continue self-employment and give back to others. The only question was: How?

After attending the 2007 EO Tokyo University and feeling inspired by the speakers, I took a “mini retirement.” I traveled for four months across

Europe and South America seeking out new ideas and problems that I could solve using my keen business sense. I was on a mission to make a difference in the world, and it made me feel alive. I found my calling while traveling. I had hired private tour guides in Bolivia,

Peru, Cuba and Mexico to show me around. I was amazed at their passion, energy and level of intimate knowledge. I was equally shocked that these highly skilled people often earned less than US$100 per month! I wanted to help and support these guides because I respected them for trying to improve their lives.

I had the option of donating to these communities, but I knew I could do so much more. I resolved to help thousands of private tour guides, especially in underdeveloped countries, earn more money. It was an unyielding promise to help the less fortunate who were already trying to help themselves.

I followed my instincts, and a dream was born.

I quickly put the plan together. I would create a Web site that provides global exposure and user-generated ratings for tour guides around the world. This would lead to more business, which in turn meant more money for those guides struggling to feed their families. Tour guides could get paid directly in cash when they meet with the traveler, which saves them from doling out commission to local travel agents. We called this Web site OurExplorer.com.

Though I had the passion, there were a ton of problems early on. The major hurdle was deciding which location the Web site should be developed and designed from. I had zero experience in Web development and Internet marketing, so everything was new to me. We tried for nine months to develop the site out of China, but it failed. The communication was ineffective and the skills weren’t appropriate. After investing a lot of money into the fi rst site development, we had to throw it out. It was a personal challenge for me to come back from that failure. But, with the support and guidance of my Forum, I stayed focused. The fi nal Web site was officially developed in Sydney, Australia, in half the time and equal cost.

This entrepreneurial journey is different than any I’ve ever faced. A new industry has new challenges and obstacles to overcome. I had a dream to make a difference in people’s lives, but I didn’t have the knowledge to back it up. Luckily, I stuck with it, employed the right people and followed through on my goals. Now, when I want to relax, surf or play golf, I just think of those tour guides struggling to attract enough leads to support their families.

That’s my motivation to stay at the laptop and make my dream a reality. That’s my motivation to remain socially conscious.


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