Friday, October 18, 2013

How do you make a living in a small community? Diversify!

Javi & Marla 
Earning a living in a small community can be daunting, but for energetic and resourceful people it can be a very interesting adventure.  When Javier Martinez Cen and Marla J. Bainbridge teamed up romantically and professionally their world got a lot more interesting.

Javi’s family, Martinez, is one of the oldest families on Isla Mujeres.  He has spent his entire life on the island, with the exception of a few vacations to Canada, Germany and the USA.  Grinning Javi added he was actually born in Mérida.  He is not sure if his mother planned to have him in Mérida, or she just happened to be visiting family when Javi made his debut. 

Not long after they joined forces, Marla created a spreadsheet for Javi, with the week blocked out in one hour segments, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  It was a simple demonstration that they would have plan where and when they worked as sleep was a non-negotiable line item on the spreadsheet. 

Toso, Julio, and Javi part of Banda Sin Nombre
In previous years Javi had tried a variety of jobs.  He worked on the reception desk at the Cristal Mar Hotel and as a guide at the turtle farm.  He also tried his hand at lobster fishing and cleaning boats but music was always the main motivation in his life. 

Taught at an early age by his dad, Toso, Javi later expanded his music education in Mérida.  His grandfather and uncle were also musicians, and his dad stills plays a mean bass guitar in the La Banda Sin Nombre.  However, for Javi, playing a late night gig at Fayne’s and then reporting to work at the middle school at 6:45 in the morning was not going be successful in the long term.  It doesn’t matter how young you are, eventually the body says: stop!

Javi and his bud.  
On the other hand, Marla who was originally an Alabama girl first moved to Isla Mujeres about three and a half years ago.  She has lived in a number of American cities, and states, and enjoys the challenge of re-inventing herself when presented with new opportunities.  Marla readily admits when she was in high school she was an awful student, she had absolutely no interest.  Several years later she decided she was bored and needed a new challenge.  She enrolled in Pepperdine University in California, and breezed through her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.

Moving to Isla she realized she had to cast a large net over the island to find job opportunities, and business ideas.  Creating websites and promotional ideas for various island businesses, plus property management for seven or eight homes got her started.  The property management led to purchasing the web-based business Isla Mujeres Budget Rentals, offering booking services between a number of lower priced properties and tourists. This has expanded to include Isla Mujeres Vacation Rentals for mid-priced properties and Isla Mujeres Luxury Rentals for the higher-end properties.  

Another one of their business ventures
Creative and restive her mind is never still, so Marla came up with two more inventive ideas. Dinnertainment: private dinner parties hosted in your home, condo, or apartment complete with music.  And Transportainment: Javi tours clients to the off-the-beaten path locations of Isla Mujeres complete with a local history lesson.

Just when I thought they had revealed all of their business secrets, an early morning email informed me of their newest venture Isla Iguana Tag, to be launched in November.  According to Marla, “it’s an updated version of a scavenger hunt where teams use their smart phones to join in the fun, and are given a list of challenges to compete for points.  It’s a great way to see the island, and to visit local attractions or businesses.” 
 
Singing "Sweet Home Alabama!"
With all of these enterprises rolling along, Marla reflected that she has realized a very important fact about herself.  She enjoys the development of new business ideas.  

Her criteria for a great business venture are simple: the joy derived must be greater than the time spent, and money earned.  

For Javi he wants to be a good husband, and a good dad to his thirteen year-old daughter Ambar, and to lead a balanced and happy life. 

Check out their website:

http://www.islamujeresvacationrentals.com



Hasta Luego 
Lynda and Lawrie



5 comments:

Marla Bainbridge said...

Thanks, Lynda!

Lynda & Lawrie said...

Thank you Marla & Javi for letting me write about your adventures! Cheers L

Mom said...

A wonderful article. Makes a mom very proud

Lynda & Lawrie said...

Dear Mom: You should be proud. Very proud. Cheers Lynda

madeleine lilley said...

you guys rock!