Women Making Meaning (And Money) Out of Their Passion for Travel


As I have moved further along in my entrepreneurial journey, I have become acutely aware of all the ways solo travel has led me to solopreneurship.

Travel is my biggest passion. And while it’s the very reason why I started a business that is related to travel, solo travel is what made me realize how much freedom means to me.

My first solo trip allowed me to experience freedom to its full extent, and I eventually realized after that trip that I could not go back to a life where I was working for someone else’s idea and on someone else’s schedule.

So I started my own travel business. 

I am certainly not the only one who has experienced this. There are thousands of passionate female travelers making names for themselves with their travel businesses.

Over the past year, I have met many of these entrepreneurial women. And I started wondering: how exactly did other women entrepreneurs decide to start their travel business? Are their stories much like mine? How are they different?

I reached out to five incredible women who have turned their passion for travel into their own businesses. Read about them below and be sure to follow and support their incredible ventures!

Callie
Founder, The Lone Travel Girl
 

AMI

Ami is the founder of Travelista Tribe. She helps women travel without breaking the bank and shows them how to elevate their brand or business.

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What motivated you to take your entrepreneurial path? How much of a role does travel play in that? 

By day I am a health policy analyst, so my 9-5 was definitely a motivational factor in my entrepreneurial journey. I struggled with burnout at work and student loan debt, and travel became my outlet. I took my first international trip to Italy in 2016 and from there this has evolved and manifested into my wildest dreams.

Tell us about Travelista Tribe and how you are helping travelers book trips and helping travel entrepreneurs improve their businesses. What inspired you to start your business? 

My company Travelista Tribe is a full-service travel concierge that links, provides experiences, and trip planning services to women. I also help travel entrepreneurs improve their businesses by providing branding and social media services such as audits, consulting, and done for you captions and hashtags.

I was inspired to start my businesses because many women would confide in me for help with starting their brands and also because many wanted to travel but didn't have a group of friends to travel with.

What is one of the biggest learning lessons you have had while on your entrepreneurial journey?

The biggest learning lesson I had while on my entrepreneurial journey is that Rome was not built in a day. It’s a marathon, not a race. Growing a brand/business was frustrating especially in the beginning when I didn’t see overnight results or sales. Sometimes I’ve been tempted to give up but I didn’t see results until I consistently put in the time and effort. I have also learned to not compare my journey to anybody else’s. All I can do is stay in my lane and be authentically me.

The biggest piece of advice that you would give to another traveler who is thinking of starting her own business?

The biggest piece of advice that I would give to another traveler who is thinking of starting her own business is to take a risk and invest in yourself. You can do a lot on your own at first but it’s okay to eventually outsource. Don’t be afraid of getting extra help, taking courses/masterminds, or hiring a coach that will hold you accountable and ensure that progress is being made towards your business or brand goals.

To get connected with Ami, check out her Instagram or website

CJ

Cj is the founder of Go Travel and Talk, a travel network connecting people, places, and organisations, empowering each other to explore, share, and impact.
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What motivated you to take your entrepreneurial path? How much of a role does travel play in that?

Before my entrepreneurial journey, I spent eight years living and working in London. First as a specialist Recruiter and then as a Business Psychologist. Being a Business Psychologist is where I, or rather, where other people saw my life path leading. I did what I thought was the right thing to do by conventional society, but I always held this fire within me to travel. I had travelled a lot growing up and after my first solo trip in 2014, I was hooked. After achieving my ‘dream job’ as a Business Psychologist, I realised I wasn’t being true to who I was. So I took a 6 month sabbatical to South America in 2018 to figure out what would make me happy and since then, everything has changed. Travel has played a critical part in my entrepreneurial journey - it is not only my passion but it is now my business.

Tell us about your travel community and business Go Travel and Talk. What inspired you to create it?

Solo travel has shaped who I am today. One of the main reasons I created Go Travel and Talk was to inspire people to get out there and explore, but to do it with the support of an online community. But while I want the platform to be a source of inspiration, I have experienced first hand the negative impacts of the travel industry. Which is why my mission is to not only inspire people to travel, but to travel differently. We do this by sharing our knowledge and support of incredible local businesses and unique experiences, as well as partnering with NGOs and grassroot organisations, connecting travellers with opportunities to make a positive impact through their travels.

 

Tell us a bit about your tours, how you partner with tour companies, and what makes them unique. 

Through my relationships that I have built over the years and the tours I have personally enjoyed, I have recently introduced a ‘book a tour’ page on Go Travel and Talk. Here, our readers can book a tour through us, paying a small deposit, with the rest of the cost going directly to the guide.

These tours are completely unique. They are small businesses or start ups without a digital strategy or presence. These are individuals who I have met on my travels and who enjoy sharing their homes.

In Bali for example, the main hike out of Ubud is Mt Batur, with thousands of tourists visiting every year. But my friend Hendryx takes people to lesser known mountains and waterfalls, teaching them about the history, culture and traditions of Bali, giving an authentic and raw insight. I did a tour with Hendryx last year, and we camped on top of this incredible mountain hidden in the clouds - it completely blew me away. I want other people to experience that feeling and have that insight, so that they too can pass it on.

Advice you would give to another solo traveler who is thinking of starting her own business?

Know your WHY. Why do you want to set up your own business? Why is it important to you? That ‘why’ needs to be deeper than making money because in the days you are not making money, you will lose your motivation for it. Your why needs to be connected to your core, it needs to be a passion drenched, you can’t think of anything else kind of why.

Entrepreneurship is hard. There are days when I am frustrated, sad, lonely and terrified, but there are also days when I feel like I am making the world a better place, and there is no feeling more fulfilling than that. If this is the journey for you, surround yourself with people who will support you, because the road isn’t easy, but is it worth it? Absolutely yes.

To get connected with Cj, check out her Instagram or website

COLE

Cole is the founder of Urbane Luggage, a company that creates durable and eco-friendly hemp travel bags and accessories for urbane travelers. 

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What motivated you to take your entrepreneurial path? How much of a role does travel play in that?

Since I was a child, becoming an entrepreneur has always been in my spirit, but after I studied abroad in Lyon, France, I had the chance to travel to multiple countries solo and in groups of women. During that time, I knew I wanted to start a new business around traveling light and sustainable; I just had to figure out what made sense for my passion and skills.

Tell us a little about Urbane Luggage. What inspired you to start your business and what makes the luggage unique?

Urbane Luggage was inspired by my first solo trip to Amsterdam when I went to visit the Hemp and Marijuana museum (only 2 in the world at the time). I was shocked about all the ecological and industrial benefits the hemp plant can provide. I combined my new passion for hemp and traveling light and created Urbane Luggage's first product, The Timeless Weekender. This carry-on was unique because it was the first black-woman-owned hemp duffel bag handcrafted in New York with premium vegan leather and Tencel lining, including and a hidden shoe compartment and magnetic snap front pocket. 

What is your process for deciding on and developing a new product? 

When it's time to develop new items, I think about the primary function of the product and how it can help make all travelers' life easier anywhere in the world. I test out all my prototypes when I travel for durability, comfort, and style. Once I have fine-tuned the details, I source the best eco-fabrics and hardware to complement my custom dyed hemp fabric. 

What is the biggest piece of advice that you would give to another traveler who is thinking of starting her own business?

Only start a business that you are genuinely passionate about and can work 7-days a week without a smile on your face. Find networking events, trade shows, and seminars in your niche industries to meet other women and groups of people who you can bond with or help grow your business to the next level. Be consistent and never let a brick wall stop you from moving forward; just build a door through it and keep going!

To get connected with Cole, check out her Instagram or website

COURTNEY

Courtney is a social media manager, blogger, teacher abroad, and works with brands on social media. 

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What motivated you to take your entrepreneurial path? How much of a role does travel play in that?

My big life change happened when I chose to move to China to teach English almost five years ago. I started joining female travel groups and meeting people while living abroad and traveling, and was really inspired by the people who worked from their laptops and had the freedom to travel at any time. Travel is my biggest inspiration for wanting an entrepreneurial life. It's exciting to think that if/when I choose to have a family, I can also have the freedom to work from home. The flexibility and freedom it comes with is everything.

What is your advice for people who are looking to increase their Instagram following to start making money from brand deals?

My advice is to focus on creating your niche, being authentic and joining support groups. Brands now see the advantage of working with micro-influencers, so you don't have to have a big following for collaborations. The more followers you have the more you can get paid, but it is really tough to grow your Instagram quickly these days if you want to do it organically. 

Being active with posts and stories in your niche, engaging with your audience and potential audience, having a hashtag strategy, and being authentic can help you grow. If you want more tips about growing your account, check out my article “Top Tips for Increasing Your Instagram Following & Engagement From a Social Media Manager.” 

And for more on how to work with brands, check out my article on “6 Ways to Find Brands to Collaborate With.”

What is your biggest piece of advice that you would give to another traveler who is thinking of starting her own business?

You can do it just like the others you meet and envy on social media! It’s not all glamorous like you may see online and it doesn’t happen overnight. Start researching, learning from others and what they do. Watch Youtube videos, join Facebook groups and reach out to digital nomads to ask them what they are doing. 

My income does not come from just one income stream. I do social media management, brand collaborations, have an online course, and have also taught online. It’s actually great to have multiple income sources even if some are small. Try something out and if that's not the right fit, something else will come along. The different types of work that I have tried lead me to where I am today. 

To get connected with Courtney, check out her Instagram or website

JULIE

Julie is the founder of The Adventuress Soap Co, a business that creates travel-inspired soaps and fragrances.  

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What motivated you to take your entrepreneurial path? How much of a role does travel play in that?

My entrepreneurial journey began in 2016 when I was an English teacher living in Shanghai, China. I took a soap-making class and ended up falling in love with it! I enjoyed making soap so much I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to sell it?

One day when I was walking around Shanghai, the scent of incense from a nearby temple mixed with the rain and suddenly I had an idea - what if I made a soap line inspired by places I’ve visited throughout my travels? Places like Hong Kong with its lush greenery or Rome with its orange groves and sunbaked beauty. The Adventuress Soap Co was born. I started my Etsy store in August 2018 and have been growing it ever since. So not only is my business inspired by travel, but I also use any profits I make to save for future travel. 

Tell us about The Adventuress Soap Co. What inspired you to create it?

Travel is in my DNA. I have always had a passion for travel. In high school, I traveled abroad to Japan and China. After college, I did a summer internship in Belgium with the State Department and traveled throughout Europe. I followed that with a stint teaching English in Taiwan and China.

Aside from travel, I have also always had a passion for fragrance since it can instantly transport you back to a memory, place, or person. I wanted to create a line of soaps and fragrances that could transport you to far off places. I also loved the name Adventuress since it represented the spirit I wanted to capture as a woman who enjoys or seeks adventure in her everyday life. My goal is to inspire women to travel more and to be an “adventuress.”

What is your process for deciding on a new product and developing it?

I get inspired by everything from books, movies, my travels, and even other people’s travels! I’m also a logophile (I love beautiful words) so I also love making conceptual perfumes inspired by beautiful words from all languages. Seasonally, I love to come up with new products inspired by different cities from around the world. I make everything (soaps, wax melts, and perfumes) in small batches and I design all the labels myself. I source all of my base materials (soap base, perfumers base, phthalate-free fragrance oils, soy wax) from other small businesses.

One of my favorite parts of being an Etsy seller is seeing what products become a hit. Our Wanderlust Perfume Oil has become one of our biggest sellers! As part of my process, I discontinue products that aren't a hit and make more of what my customers love.

What is your biggest piece of advice that you would give to another traveler who is thinking of starting her own business?

Just do it! There are books, podcasts, courses, and coaches out there who can help you and teach you. I’ve used resources (both paid and free) to help me with figuring out social media, branding, and how to build an audience. I have also invested in professional photographers who are way better than I am at creating product photos.

I also think it’s important to be resilient. Building a business often feels like an uphill battle and it’s rare to be an overnight success. Keep going, keep educating yourself, and keep improving. Times are very uncertain right now, but there is also so much opportunity out there. I've actually had an increase in sales this year despite all the challenges of 2020. The most important thing is to make the first move and just start!

To get connected with Julie, check out her Instagram or shop on Etsy

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Are you a solo female traveler solopreneur? Share your business with us in a comment below so we can all get connected. 

And be sure to check out all of these inspiring women on social media and support them!

Ami: @travelistaami

Cj: @gotravelandtalk

Cole: @theurbanetraveler

Courtney: @journeywith.court

Julie: @theadventuresssoapco


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