Ever wanted to walk part of or complete a world class long-distance trail?
Didier Walks offers real guided hiking, consulting and mentoring experiences on the Bibbulmun Track. Western Australia’s 1000km trail between Kalamunda and Albany.
Didier Walks is a genuine backpacking experience, your life in your back. Providing the opportunity to breath in the fresh air, admire the scenery and experience an intense feeling of achievement whilst walking towards your perfect self.
What year did you or will you complete NEIS?
In 2018. Thanks, Carmelina for convincing me my idea was great, Di for making theory fun and understandable and Brian for sharing your experience, energy and passion with me for 12 months.
UPDATE: Now August 2020 I find myself beginning NEIS once again after been contacted by Di from Business Foundations informing me that I could participate a second time. I’ve taken this opportunity to establish a long-time goal of a Not-for-profit arm of Didier Walks which will assist me to service more people. Hikefulness Australia will be focused a hiking community organisation that focuses on mental health, disabilities, families and youth at risk.
What motivated you to start your own business?
I was two thirds of my way through hiking the Bibbulmun Track in 2016 when I noticed the incredible physical and mental life transformation that was happening to me and others. At the age of 48, I was feeling stronger physically and mentally than at any other time in my whole life. My dream was to bring 15 years of mentoring / mental health and 1500km of hiking experience together.
How did you find out about the NEIS program?
I was aware of it for years, as I used to work as a Mentor for unemployed and people with disabilities. I had assisted many others to do it in the past. The most hilarious thing about it was I honestly believed my own idea wasn’t worthy, I wasn’t good enough until I had a chat with Carmelina. I will never forget that day!
What was the most valuable information you learned in the NEIS training?
Too hard to mention just one. I learnt that I really did have a great idea. Research. Ask for help. It’s ok to make mistakes. If you want it, don’t give up. Take responsibility. I knew most of these but lacked the self-belief to always follow through.
After speaking to many new small business owners, the biggest thing we lack is confidence. Confidence in yourself and your product or service. So, the constant reassurance from everyone at Business Foundations that I was on the right track, so to speak was huge.
What services and/or products do you provide?
A Journey To Your Perfect Self. Specialist Services:
Guided Hiking – individual or group, day or multi-day, any age
Consulting – On all things hiking. Prep to complete an end-to-end of the Bibbulmun Track and during their hike which takes approx. two months.
Mentoring – Guiding or consulting people on or off the trail who have a mental illness, anxiety. It works in consultation and alongside personal and health professional support networks.
Youth Hikes – (Duke Of Edinburgh International Award) 13 to 18yrs and 19 to 24yrs.
Kids Hikes – (Ignite Award) 9 to 13yrs
Bibbulmun Track – Promoting track around the world through social media and through my other services as one of the world’s great long distance hiking trails
What challenges have you had to face since starting your business? How have you overcome these challenges?
Finances was the big one, cash flow, even though I also had a part-time job as well. I ended up borrowing amounts of money from family and friends who believed in me that I know I could repay. Didier Walks was already making a profit early on but just not enough to live off. The biggest thing I learnt was to leave the narrow blinkers behind and if there is another new way to get cash flow which is still fits in your business, try it.
Mine was move away from tourism and just mental health (NDIS) to youth hiking with the Duke Of Ed. One youth hike with 7 participants is enough to pay all my annual costs in one hit.
What have been some of the highlights of operating your own business?
The day I made the decision to do it
The day I realised I was making a profit
The times you realise that you are good at what you do and you are where you are meant to be.
Receiving emails and huge thank yous from parents whose kids’ lives you’ve changed.
Being your own boss
Involving my teenage daughter Kaitlyn in the business utilising her passion, she designed my logo and created my first promo video when she was only 13 years old.
What is the one piece of advice you can give to others thinking about starting their own business?
In the long-distance hiking community, we have a saying “Hike Your Own Hike”. Starting a business is like a long-distance hike which you must do your way, nobody else’s. Be open to walk alone for long periods of time, step forward leave others behind even though it can be upsetting or slow down when you need to, rest.
“Starting a business is like a long-distance hike which you must do your way, nobody else’s. Be open to walk alone for long periods of time”
Didier shares motivational and inspiring stories during his hikes. Focusing on how passion alone will not get them closer to their destination and how confidence is a necessity.
“We must not feel confident but rather be confident. Feeling confident feels nice, to be confident means being prepared, take on challenge’s and disappointments and beat them. We want to be successful not just feel it. I see this is pretty much like a business.”
Find out if you may be eligible to apply for New Business Assistance with NEIS.
2 Cantonment Street,
Fremantle WA 6160
(Level 1, Behind The Church)
PO Box 1616, Fremantle WA 6959