I’M certain that you’ve heard this tagline somewhere around St. Lucia before. But the million-dollar question is: “Who is Joe and what does he know?”
Joe Knows Tours is a touring company servicing Sandals and other leading tour operators. It was founded in 2006 by the witty Josiah “Joe” Castang of Bagatelle, Castries. Joe, as he prefers to be called, graduated from Leon Hess Secondary School and continued his studies in Business Management. He then started work in the hotel industry. For many years, Joe worked as a tour guide all around St. Lucia. He was the winner of two awards for Tour Guide of the Season in St. Lucia in 2005 and 2006.
Being the strong-minded, approachable and knowledgeable individual he is, Joe decided that it was time to take new steps into bettering his future. That led to the birth of Joe Knows Tours. Joe said that the support of his family and his staff has been tremendous throughout his journey and for that he is very thankful.
We had a chat with Joe to find out what makes Joe the know-it-all that he is.
RRD: What ignited the spark in you to start a new business and how did the idea for your business come about?
Castang: When you are a leader, you don’t follow — you lead. For years I was following until I realised that I possess the qualities of a good leader. Soon after my last employer decided to cut our pay in half, so I told myself that I would not work for anyone else again, that I would work for myself. So said, so done. I took off my lifejacket and jumped into the deep waters of entrepreneurship.
The idea for Joe Knows Tours came about when I left my job as a tour guide. My clients would always say “Joe knows” because I was very knowledgeable about our island’s history. I always advise others in this business to study our past history, it’s the gateway to your success. Because of the experience people had with me, the phrase “Who knows? Joe knows” came about and I started a touring company called Joe Knows Tours. Today, it’s the number one selling tour for Sandals Resorts.
RRD: How do you find people to bring into your organization who truly care about the organization the way you do?
Castang: Because of my experience in the tour guiding business, I was familiar with some of the best people in that field, so all I had to do was offer them an opportunity. I tell them every day that when you do what you love, it’s no longer a job.
RRD: How important has having good employees been to your success?
Castang: Extremely important. My staff has been the cause of my continued success because they love what they do. Our motto is to go out there every day and give your absolute best.
RRD: What three pieces of advice would you give to someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
Castang: Three pieces of advice I’d give are: know exactly what you want, go after what you want, and become what you want because it is in your power.
RRD: What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Castang: One of my biggest failures is trying to help people who do not want to be helped or to help themselves. They bring you down because all your effort towards their success is wasted. Such people will drain your energy.
RRD: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Castang: I have no fear because when you understand the meaning of a word it makes you wiser and my meaning of fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. So with that overstanding, I have no fear — it’s an illusion. Success is within you and all you must do is plant a seed and God will give you a harvest.
RRD: Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Castang: The Creator of heaven and earth has been my greatest inspiration because He has given us the power to recreate and to be what we are destined to be.
RRD: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Castang: The most satisfying moment in my business is when I became the number one selling tour for Sandals and at a conference the CEO of Sandals told the other tour operators — one of whom was my ex-boss — that they needed to take a page from Joe Knows’ book. That gave me so much joy.
RRD: In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Castang: DETERMINED! That’s what I am.
RRD: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Castang: My hobbies are dancing, riding motorcycles, giving motivational speeches and playing music. One thing about Joe Knows is that I work hard and I play hard — that’s my life.
There you have it — a hardworking guy who also loves to have a good time. Talk about getting the best of both worlds. I think some of us could definitely take a page or two from his book. All the best to Josiah and his team in 2018.