Melanie Kellogg is cheerful and energetic, and has always been a people person. Using this ability to connect and relate to people, she sold advertising, but when it was time to make a shift, she knew she wanted to work for herself. While taking some time off to reflect, she was chatting with a friend and learned about WorkBC Centres and the services available to help her launch a new career. Intrigued, Melanie decided to check out the local centre. She took some workshops and accessed free counselling sessions. Melanie also took a specialized assessment, which she describes, "was amazing; it increased my understanding of myself. It's changed my work in incredible ways. I now have more tools to focus and create calm for myself and others." This process clarified her goal of self-employment and she became determined to open her own business as a tour guide. "I wanted to provide a more customized experience for people." With the help of her Employment Advisor, Melanie applied for the WorkBC Self Employment program. Once in, the program guided her through market research and business plan development. "The self-employment program was challenging, but good," she remembers. "They take you through starting a business plan from scratch; it wasn't easy! It forces you to network within your chosen industry. I had to do all the research needed to determine which niche I'd fill to differential myself from my competitors." Melanie recalls, "The biggest challenge I had as an entrepreneur was with time management; this program taught me discipline I can apply to my business." This past year, Melanie launched Galavant Private Sightseeing Tours, specializing in personalized tours of beautiful Greater Victoria. She endeavors to help people feel good and have fun in the capital city. In just a year, her business has grown to the point that she is now passing clients on to her competitors. "I'm grateful that tour guides on Vancouver Island are all very collaborative." Melanie now gets to do what she was always meant to: connect with others, help them see new sights, and serve them in a tailored way. "Many people remark that my tours feel like a day out with a dear friend." Indeed, she tries to ensure each person has the most fun possible. In the future, Melanie will grow her business, including additional tour activities and locations. After an incredibly successful busy season, she now has time to plan for services directed at locals. "It's become evident that there are a lot of people that live alone, maybe don't drive, who are new to the city and want to get out meet new people," Melanie explained, "planning pre-organized day trips and events, helping people get out in nature and see Victoria, Vancouver island, Salt Spring Island , Vancouver and more." Melanie will take care of the planning while her guests enjoy connecting with new friends and taking in new or favourite sites. Regardless of which service she provides, Melanie is thrilled to offer her tours. "I get to do what I love; I work in the best city with the best clients and colleagues, and have fun while doing it," she says, "I'll never go back." We wish Melanie every success in the future as she provides visitors and newcomers to Victoria with her unique take on guided tour experiences.
"I started out as a dishwasher, and now I'm the kitchen manger. I take care of HR issues, ordering, costing and production. I'm so happy because now I feel needed, wanted and appreciated for my skills. It's re-awoken a passion and drive I'd forgotten I had."
"I would highly recommend WorkBC to anyone looking for a new job or wanting to restart their career. The Workshops give you infinite knowledge and the instructors and the Employment Advisors do a phenomenal job. They are your own cheering squad."