Hi, Tell us your name, what you do, and about your business.
Hello, my name is Jessica, and I empower Texans with a 9-5 to live a travel lifestyle. I do this primarily through my blog and social media where I share travel destinations for Texans.
A lot of people think that you have to quit your 9-5 to travel, but Texas has filled with incredible destinations just a drive away and because of how big Texas is, there are a lot of international influences.
Many people don’t know that you can ride a gondola down a canal-like Italy, go sand surfing, visit the wine country, and more all in Texas. By sharing these with Texans I’ve been able to create a business out of my blog.
What’s your own background. Were you always proficient in this business, or did it just strike your mind one fine day?
I had absolutely no background which is what I love about blogging. The startup costs are low and while there is a lot to learn (SEO, marketing, analytics, keyword search, etc), it’s something you learn over time.
I had always read people’s blogs so I knew what they were, but I never thought about how I could have one. I will that I studied photography on the side throughout high school and college and that was a huge advantage to building up on social media and a blog.
What went into designing the initial product? Can you take us through the actual process?
Like I said a blog was never something I really thought about. I had about three posts on a wordpress.com site when I studied abroad in college, but apart from that, I didn’t focus on much. However, I had a 9-5 that I enjoyed working at and a desire to travel.
One day I read an article something along the lines of x places to visit on a tank of gas. It would only list one thing to do in the best cities in texas though. For instance, they mentioned going to a town called Weatherford for these gardens. However, I wasn’t about to drive 4 hours just to visit a garden, so I put together a whole itinerary on this town for my boyfriend and myself.
While there I took pictures for my own personal use and shared on my social media like most people. During this time we visited many places and people started to ask where we were going.
One day a brand reached out to me and asked if they could pay me to promote their travel-related product. That’s when the lightbulb went off. I could do what I was already doing and enjoying and potentially make an income from it.
Talk us through the process of the launch of your business
After this moment I started connecting with other bloggers to learn from them. I took that wordpress.com site and created an official blog. I chose a name, My Curly Adventures, as I thought it defined my brand well.
The first steps for me were creating a blog with a good layout and creating a blog and social media content. I went back to a lot of the places I had previously gone for fun, but now to write about them with a full itinerary.
How is your repeat customer rate like? Can you take us through how you attract and retain customers?
My target audience is Texans, but they’re not my customer so it’s a little different. Essentially, I work with brands who want their product featured along with my brand. I would say the closest comparison would be like a magazine.
By having a following and attracting people to my website, brands are interested in my numbers to work with me. Just like the more readers you have in a magazine, the more you can charge for a placement, the more followers/subscribers I have, the more I can charge for an add.
For me, the biggest thing about attracting an audience is by developing an audience. There are plenty of resources on visiting Paris, Bali, etc., but there are very few resources on traveling in Texas. On top of that, I have been able to build up trust in my brand by remaining so niche.
People know they can come to me if they’re looking for a quick weekend getaway or if they’re traveling to the best cities in texas they will often go to my site to see if I have been there. By becoming a resource people not only keep on coming back but referring me to others.
What is the current situation? How do you see yourself in the next 12 months?
There are over 100 cities worth visiting for a weekend in Texas. On top of that, there are some great destinations that are just a quick flight away that can be visited in a weekend. Right now I’m working through that list of 100 best cities in texas as well doing a couple of short trips out of Texas every once in a while.
I’m also working on some courses and speaking engagements. It can be difficult to grow on social media these days, but it’s mostly because people want to be everything to everyone. I’ve been able to develop some strategies to build a brand and so I’m starting to share those at conferences and events.
As a woman founder, do you see this as only financially uplifting? Or otherwise too? If yes, then how?
I absolutely find this uplifting. Being able to be my own business owner is great. I feel empowered that I have had to develop skills that I knew nothing about before and complex things. I think the hardest part about my last job was that working harder or smarter did not necessarily lead to an increase in income.
Now working for myself I know the more I work, the more it pays off. I also have methods in place for passive income so that maybe one day I could not work for a month and still see money coming in!
What tools or services did you use?
What are your key challenges today? How are you planning to tackle those?
There’s never enough time! I haven’t gotten to the point where I can bring on another team member quite yet although I would love to. I’m still bootstrapping, but as I can continue to grow I can start outsourcing more.
Which are some resources, books, articles or podcasts that have been useful to you, and would share with your readers
I can’t say there’s one source that has been overall helpful. A gather little bits and pieces from everything. I think Pat Flynn’s podcast was really helpful for building a passive income mindset. Facebook groups are great but you have to be careful because a lot of people share false information.
Many a times, women feel that businesses are for only for men. What’s your take?
I think there are more women in the blogging space. Which honestly makes sense especially in my industry. Women are often the ones who plan vacations so it makes sense for a woman to be the one sharing the resources.
Looking to kick start your own venture?
Hi ! This is Misha.
I interview women founders in building profitable businesses??
My idea is for other women to get inspired by these actionable tell all stories and start their own profitable enterprises.
I am hugely inspired by inspirational interview series starters like IndieHackers, StarterStory by Pat Walls, Failory, SpaceBandits and have put significant efforts in reaching out to women founders in order to get started.