Capt. Nitzan Levy talks to Lioness about her business, Sailors NYC.
NEW YORK — Captian Nitzan Levy is the founder and CEO of Sailors NYC. For the last five years, she has been running the only club in the area that runs its program on cruising boats (mid-sized boats. All vessels have galleys, bathrooms and coolers so members can host guests and take trips in comfort). Levy describes the club as a warm and welcoming community for sailors at all levels to improve their skills and enjoy the camaraderie and companionship of other members.
In addition, they also offer year-round activities including sailing vacations (aka: flotillas) in destinations throughout the world, classes (both on-water and classroom-based), a sailing camp, a Meetup group and other social events are held for members and their guests.
Lioness asked Levy some of our favorite questions in January to learn more about the captain and her company situated in an industry dominated by men.
Lioness: Why have you chosen to dedicate yourself to this particular industry?
Levy: The business started out of my own desire to sail recreationally, and in an affordable way, in New York Harbor. When I first arrived in New York City in 2009, I was already a certified skipper (I was certified in Israel) and I was looking for a sailing club in the area to join. The only options were clubs for racing on smaller boats, which was very different than what I was looking for. After getting laid off from my job as a marketing director in 2011, I decided to dedicate myself to find a solution to my own need – which ended up in the inception of Sailors NYC.
Lioness: You could have worked for anyone and would have been successful, why become an entrepreneur?
Levy: I have been an entrepreneur most of my adult life. I like being in charge, to make the calls and steer the business in the direction I believe is right. I am a passionate individual and find it the best way to express that. In my experience working for others — I was bringing my passion with me to my job and usually excelled in my performance but this was not always encouraged and appreciated. In addition, being employed by someone else means that at any given moment you can lose your job — not necessarily because of your own performance — rather than other business reasons and considerations, which can be quite disappointing.
Lioness: What was your last, “why did I go into business for myself” moment?
Levy: HA HA! Every rent payment due date.
Lioness: Every female professional should have …
Levy: Courage, persistence and, of course, passionate charisma. A woman’s charisma shines brighter when she has her own genuine passion. This is a very attractive energy that is perceived very well by both men and women alike.
Lioness: If you could steal some business mojo from another mogul, who would it be and why?
Levy: I think that stealing is only necessary when you have nothing of your own to offer. I don’t think I would like to steal anybody’s mojo. Of course, I adore and admire other entrepreneurs and business people, but I feel inspired by them and not jealous of them.
Lioness: What is your business motto?
Levy: Sailing with good company. It’s our slogan, which I strongly believe in and try to implement into everything we do: have good business values, have respect and appreciation to our community of sailors, do good and give back to the community at large (the community we live in) and bring together good people who would simply enjoy engaging with like-minded people.
Lioness: If you could give other entrepreneurs three tips, what would they be?
Levy: 1. Be focused. It sounds simple but it’s very hard when you need to juggle so many tasks at once. 2. Be generous. Don’t be petty and see the future impact of your present actions. 3. Don’t hesitate to ask for help — from your friends, your family, your clients, your business partners. Most people don’t see that as a weakness rather than feel good to help an entrepreneur who is fighting to achieve something bigger and better than themselves.
Lioness: Has there been a piece of technology or software that has been a lifesaver for you?
Levy: I’m a very tech-savvy person and I have many software apps to run my business (a lot of them I hardly ever use), but, at the moment, I can’t think of something for myself. I would love to have an app for our club members where they can sign up for sails easily, communicate with each other and get push notifications and reminders.
Lioness: What is your goal for the next year?
Levy: To make money. I know this sounds like something every entrepreneur wants to do, but in my case – I feel I was too busy trying to create a structure which cost me a lot (financially, mentally and physically). 2018 is the year to make money off this structure.
Lioness: When someone is telling their friend about your business, what do you hope they say?
Levy: I hope they share the great experience they had sailing with us, about our community of interesting people, about how they feel like they are accomplishing their goal of learning how to sail and, of course, how much fun it is to be a Sailors NYC member.
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