Richard Nahem explains how he packed his bags, left his New York career behind and became Parisian entrepreneur running an insider guide and a walking tour company in the city of lights.
Fulfilling a lifelong dream, I moved to Paris in August of 2005 after living in New York for most of my life. Not only did I start a new life in Paris, but I also made the brave but possibly foolish choice of ending a successful career as a caterer and event planner for over 20 years.
I had made enough money from the sale of my co-op to live for a year without working, so I had some time to luxuriate in what I was going to do next.
While living in New York, friends and acquaintances would often call me to ask what the latest and greatest theater, movies, restaurants, shopping spots were. They were always pleased with my recommendations and I would receive much praise and thanks. With this talent, I started to inquire as to what the latest and greatest was in Paris. I combed the city streets heightening all my senses to take in everything new, old, hidden, quirky, fun, and fascinating.
Writing a blog
I wanted to share this information with a broader audience and thought a blog would be a great way to do this. I christened www.eyepreferparis.com in 2006 and made it the insiders guide to Paris written by a savvy, in the know ex-New Yorker. I wrote about everything from the World Cup to my chic dentiste. I was an editor of my own online magazine always looking for the next story and Paris was my beat. Within a few months I had hundreds of readers and loyal subscribers. I also learned how I could make money from a blog by having Google ads, affiliate advertising, and Amazon products that related to Paris.
Everyone wants to visit
When one moves to Paris, everyone wants to visit you. During my first year here, I had a slew of friends, acquaintances, and friends of friends visit. I delighted in taking them to out of the way places they would probably never find on their own and they loved what I showed them. Wearing my entrepreneur’s thinking cap all the time, I thought why not take other people around like I did my friends, doing small intimate tours as a business. I also realized that I could base the tours on the places I had written about on the blog and that my readers could be potential clients.
A friend of mine, who I took on a tour, gave me a great quote for my site: I was the best friend you always wished you had to show you around Paris. I used this a marketing tool, making the tours much more personal than some stiff tour guide just spouting information. I did tons of research online about tours and off line tested them out on willing friends and acquaintances. I went around to many of the shops, galleries, cafes, small museums, etc. that I selected for the tours and introduced myself to the owners or managers to establish a relationship with them and to let them know that their establishments were going to be on my tours.
I launched the site in 2007, almost 7 months to the day of my blog. I received bookings for the tours quickly and started the first ones a few weeks later. The tours are customized and I give clients a few categories to choose from about what they are interested in and also have a special request box on the website.
Expanding your knowledge
I started to get some very specific requests and one of the challenging but fun parts of my job was doing research on them and finding new places I had never heard of or been to. It was also an opportunity for me to ongoingly broaden and expand my knowledge of Paris and have a larger repertoire of places to show my clients. Many of the new places I discovered for my clients were just as thrilling for me as for them.
My clients have come from Australia to Canada, and have been so friendly, easygoing and kind that it really is just like showing my friends around Paris. Eye Prefer Paris Tours is not a job- it’s an adventure.
Richard Nahem / Expatica