Meredith Hill has an incredible story of starting from a successful career on Wall Street. She found herself as an analyst on Wall Street making really good money. When a baby came in Meredith's life, she thought a lot about what she wanted while she was on maternity leave. What she realized was that she loved working, but she just didn't love what she was doing.
A year after that leave Meredith made the decision that she was going to follow her passion. A year later, she decided she was going start her own travel business, and specifically travel to Africa.
She started by working at a travel agency basically, just to learn and watch how the experts were doing it. It did take a while to find success. She made some mistakes and took about five to six years of not making any money.
Meredith gave some great tips on how to avoid the mistakes she made and helped turn her business around:
1. Get really clear on your numbers. You won't always know how much it's going to cost within the first year. However, be as realistic as best you can and start with your expenses. Establish your goal and then track it. Don't be afraid to look at your numbers!
2. Establish yourself as an expert on something. When you establish yourself as an expert you become more magnetic.
[ctt tweet="When you establish yourself as an expert, you become more magnetic. #podcast http://ctt.ec/G8TN8+" coverup="G8TN8"]
You're not trying to chase down people, it's more like 'this is who I help, do you know anybody who needs that help?'
3. Establish a marketing foundation that reflects that expertise. Too many people jump to the fun things like websites and business cards without getting clear on their expertise or message. The message is how you articulate your expertise from a marketing perspective.
4. Get really clear on your marketing systems. There are only three ways to grow a business. First, increase your number of clients. Second, increase the frequency of purchases from your existing clients. Third, increase the transaction price of your existing clients.
Most businesses will only focus on one of those. The key is not to focus on only one of those. If you can focus on combining one of those, your business will grow exponentially.
How did you build your business while being a mother to two little ones? Boundaries, and giving herself permission to be a working mom. Meredith decided to find a decent daycare at first. She just sent them to preschool, and afternoon daycare, and had a very clear working day, and a very clear mom day.
Some people tend to think if they have a stay at home business, they have to fit the time into being a parent. However, that just doesn't happen.
Tell us about the other businesses that you created based on needs that you saw? Nine years after starting her first business, Meredith's business was thriving. She had taken on a business partner, and she was starting to feel like she wasn't sure she was doing what she was supposed to be doing.
After going to travel industry events, and getting asked by other travel agents on how she built her business, she saw a huge opportunity for her next business. Times had changed in the travel industry, and the business model was different. There was still a need for 'travel experts' but not for 'travel agents.' No one was adjusting their marketing to that change, though.
She then started the GIFTE business to help people build a business around their passion for travel.
She then saw the opportunity for a host agency that offered the environment that a travel expert would want. When she kept getting asked about who she used for her host agency, and wasn't comfortable really recommending anyone, she decided to start her own.
With the thought of travel agents being a dying profession, does marketing become a bit more difficult? Yes, marketing first is really about educating and letting people know about the opportunity. There are so many ways to create a business around a passion for travel and selling travel. It's not about being a travel agent, but you can be a travel expert or a travel entrepreneur.
What advice do you have for that person wanting to take the leap, but is on the fence? First, believe in your dream. You couldn't have that dream if the path to make it happen, didn't exist.
[ctt tweet="Believe in your dream. You couldn't have that dream if the path to make it happen, didn't exist. #podcast http://ctt.ec/dhBTs+" coverup="dhBTs"]
Second, there is no peanut gallery judging you. The only reason why you don't have something that you want is because you've put way too much focus on not having it versus where you're going. Third, find support. You can't do it alone, and you're not supposed to do it alone.
To learn more about Meredith:
To learn more about the Travel MBA Program. www.getyourtravelmba.com
To learn more about the Gifted Travel Network it's over at: www.giftedtravelnetwork.com
Meredith Hill has an authentic passion for helping entrepreneurs in the travel industry create the businesses and lives of their dreams; she's made a significant impact on hundreds of entrepreneurs all over the U.S., Canada, and the world.
Her story is similar to many entrepreneurs who struggle in today's economy. In 2007, Meredith's travel business was on the verge of closing. She thought about giving up - but didn't, because she wanted to set a positive example for her family and her community that small business ownership is the backbone of the economy, and that it is possible to have success.
On her entrepreneurial journey, Meredith discovered that there was a major blind spot among travel professionals – travel professionals knew how to sell travel, but no one was showing them how to run their businesses. After she turned her own travel business around, a business that was very near and dear to her heart, Meredith took another big leap of faith. She channeled her deep-seated passion for revolutionizing the travel industry into founding the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE) in 2011, a community where travel professionals can learn how to build successful travel businesses that change people's lives. Since then, Meredith has become a thought leader in the travel industry, traveling across the nation - and globe - speaking to audiences about the importance of adopting an entrepreneurial mindset when selling travel.
In 2014, she published her first book, "How to Monetize Your Passion for Travel: The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Travel Entrepreneurs," which soon became a bestseller in several categories on Amazon. Meredith continues to use her gift to guide her clients to paths of success; GIFTE today serves 400+ members through travel business courses and coaching programs. In 2013, Meredith founded Gifted Travel Network (GTN), a new breed of host agency. Building off of GIFTE's principles, GTN supports its travel professionals by helping them build their own brands and by providing ongoing entrepreneurial education - or, as Meredith says, "entrepreneurial nutrition."
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