After going on a group tour alone, I became obsessed with the idea of traveling solo. Four years of excuses (that often arose in the form of worries and cost) later, I finally booked my first real solo trip to Australia.
It was so freeing. I could literally do whatever I wanted every day. Sleep, hike, swim, surf, party. I felt so independent, confident and badass. When I shared my experience and encouraged other girlfriends to go, most girls were like “Uh, no. You’re crazy.” They had all these reasons not to do it. The biggest being fear of loneliness and safety. I was like craaaap, they're missing out on this amazing experience because it's new, scary, and unfamiliar.
That moment this travel coaching idea was born. GirlGoTravel gives girls the guts and confidence to travel solo through 1-on-1 coaching sessions and personalized travel guides (complete with safety and pre-trip tips). I also wrote an ebook that helps girls figure out how budget now, finance the trip and save money during the trip.
Who/What inspires you?
People. I love getting to know people in a real, honest way. I want to know how they grew up, what their beliefs are, what we agree and disagree on. Getting into that deep, vulnerable place with someone revitalizes my soul. I leave the conversation inspired by new perspectives, grateful for the meaningful experience and full of ideas. Hopefully the other person left the conversation with some mind-changing thoughts as well.
Travel tends to amplify this experience, especially if you’re traveling solo. Conversations abroad open your eyes and have the ability to shake your world. This is why I started a coaching business for traveling solo. By doing what makes me feel alive (coaching and traveling), I can inspire and help other girls have their own meaningful experiences.
I don’t leave my house without… turning off all the lights!
People would say that I am… wildly passionate and inspirational
The most important aspect of any business is… knowing your purpose and beliefs (customers will come when you have a firm point of view on something)
My favorite business book of all time is… The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau. It kicked my butt into gear and got me to focus on starting my business
How has being an entrepreneur affected your life? How did it change the way you think about life?
So I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. I was always a thinker. Strategizing and perfecting the ideas and never doing anything with it. With GirlGoTravel, I still dwelled on it, but I finally made a website and showed it to friends and family. Getting feedback was more helpful than I realized. Understanding the power of feedback changed my approach to ideas. I can still think it through but I have to produce something. It’s the only way to feel progress, which motivates you, and to improve the first draft.
Is there one “rookie mistake” that new entrepreneurs keep on making? What is it? Did it happen to you?
We all know we need a community around our business so the first place we go is social media. Social media is free and where people are. However, I think we need to prioritize and think about how much time you invest in social media, especially if you’re a one-band woman like me. After launching I got really into my Instagram page and Facebook page. I got a lot of followers in a short time but it was time consuming. Then I thought, is this really the right way to invest my time and energy? What am I getting out of it? Am I getting clients? The answer was no, not really. I realized my real, potential clients lied in my email subscription list, which I had put in the back burner for two weeks. Social media distracted me from my real fans and potential clients. Although I still have all those pages, I prioritize my time and energy now.
What is failure?
I hate the word failure. Failure is a fear built up by society. It’s a powerful notion used in the wrong way. It reinforces the pressure to be perfect, successful and number 1. People associate failure with themselves being a failure rather than a thing they did failing. Because of how people talk and think about it, it stops them from trying new things and putting themselves out there. Failure should encourage the exact opposite.
I think we need to start talking and thinking about failure differently. There are a couple ways to think it:
Disconnect yourself from failure. Instead of you being a failure, make it about your product or idea. Remove yourself from the issue. It’s about it not you. Doing this makes it easier to get over the hump and find ways to fix it..
Change the idea of failure to failing. Failure feels like it’s the end, but failing doesn’t. Failing is part of the process to greatness. When your product, idea, or attempt fails, it means something was off that you can change. It presents the opportunity to learn something, change your approach and make it better.
The only way to be a failure is to not try. You learn the most when you make a mistake but if you never try then you can’t learn. Give yourself the chance to try, fail and learn.
If you change the way you think about failure, then you open yourself up to so many opportunities. You open yourself up to be kinder to yourself, to doing things you love, to taking chances and seeing where life takes you.
What are some pros and cons of having (OR not having) entrepreneurial parents?
I My Mom is a teacher and my Dad did odd jobs growing up so I wasn’t really exposed to entrepreneurism growing up. Starting this side business came with plenty of growing pains. My Mom fully supports me doing it but she gets nervous about legal and financial things, which is legit. Sometimes it made me nervous too but it the end it made me take steps to protect my business and myself. Having entrepreneurial parents would’ve made this journey a lot less scary and tough, but then again I like that I had to figure it out myself. I’ve learned so much through the process and feel better off for it.
In October of 2014 I created Billz Productions, a production company based in New York City providing services in photography and videography. I specialize in music videos, Instagram promotional videos, along with head shots and event photography. With a large entrepreneur clientele much of the visual content I produce is focused on branding and marketing. I believe my perception of the world beyond the lens is what sets my production company apart from other production companies. My passion simply comes from my ability to provide a service that produces visual content for all walks of life.
What are some ways of motivating yourself in times of doubt? Do you ever feel like giving up? Why do you keep going?
Music is my greatest source of motivation. Each day is different for me as an entrepreneur. There are some days when I feel like I have accomplished so much and there’s other days when I feel like I can be doing more. Music helps me cope with these feelings knowing there are other people who have experienced them as well. The success of the artist I listen to motivates me also. Their ability to achieve their dreams as an artist, reassures me that no matter what, I will conquer another day. There is no time for self doubt only self motivation.
Is it important to set goals or is it better to just “go with the flow”? What is your strategy?
From the beginning of my entrepreneurship journey nothing has been planned. Going with the flow has been my strategy for the most part. My goal has been solely to be successful in completing anything I put my mind to. If I focused on every step I needed to take to get to where I am today I would have put tons of pressure on myself. Life isn’t planned no matter how much you want to plan it, you never know what your next day will be like.
Someone once said that you can’t tell your big dreams to small minded people. Do you believe that it’s a true statement?
What we must understand is that everyone may have a different response to our dreams and goals. A lot of times, in my opinion, people who have a negative reaction in response to your dreams is due to their own fears of failure. Keep faith and perseverance in yourself and that fear they are experiencing may later turn into belief. Who knows, you may just inspire that person to began to believe in themselves.
Is it important to dream big? What is the big dream for your business?
It is absolutely important to dream big! My biggest dream for my business is for it to exceed my life span and to bring wealth to my family and opportunities for my community.
Did you look for funding in the past?
Since I have began my business I have not looked for funding outside of my own resources. It is important to me to know that each of my accomplishments at this point in my career were funded by me. Although, at some point funding will be necessary for bigger projects, self funding has enabled me to learn lessons about money and how it should be distributed among a variety of different productions.
Why do you think that female owned businesses are a VERY small percentage (that has not been growing) of businesses that get funded by venture capital? What can we do to change that?
First off, we must be exposed and knowledgeable about the funding opportunities provided to all small business owners. Once we are aware of these opportunities we can properly assist female business owners seeking finances in the direction of appropriate funding.