Interview with Laura McMahon

 

I sat down with Laura to learn about her inspiring path to success with My Travel Tribe.


TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
My Travel Tribe is a startup that runs coworking retreats for women in beautiful locations around the globe. These retreats are for any women who would like to become location independent, start their own business, become a freelancer or just want the freedom to travel the world while working remotely. We sort out everything to make it as easy as possible to start your “digital nomad” journey. We pick you up from the airport, sort out a sim-card, provide you with your own private room in co-living accommodation, grant you full access to a co-working space and run skill shares, workshops and masterminds as well as fun activities such as yoga, meditation, community dinners, cultural events and weekend trips. All you need to bring is a job or an idea and we’ll do the rest! Our first retreats are in Javea, Spain this November and then we’re heading to Asia early next year.

 

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
I have always loved travelling. During University I did a study abroad year and I ended up living with the best group of people, who were like a family. This is when I realised how important it is to have a community of like-minded people with you when travelling. I know travelling isn’t all rosy pink – it can be lonely sometimes. After I finished Uni, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just knew that I didn’t want to work a traditional office job and live the 9-5 life. There wasn’t a lot of support or information available for people who wanted to open their own business or work as a freelancer– most of my friends ended up in corporate jobs but I wonder if travelling, working remotely and doing something you’re passionate about were the norm, if this would still be the case. Plus, only 2.7% of all business owners are women. Too often mentoring and resources in business are lacking for the fairer sex, so we wanted to change this with our working retreats. I attended a startup weekend last June in Bali with my business partner and best friend, Roz, and this is when we started making our idea a reality.

 

WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
I studied Business and German at University and I graduated in 2016. After I finished I went on a working holiday to the States with 10 of my friends for three months. When September came around it was time to get a “real” job. Roz suggested that we go abroad and teach English and I jumped at the chance. At the time we had another online business called Gift Guide, a drop shipping website, which failed because neither of us was particularly passionate about it. From September to Christmas, I worked on Gift Guide while getting my English teaching qualification (TEFL), meanwhile supporting myself by babysitting. In January we set off for Northern Vietnam. We taught English in a very remote Vietnamese town for five months, saving enough money to travel Asia before coming to live in Bali.

WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Don’t be afraid of failure. It’s a part of success. You’re probably going to have a couple of failed businesses before you make it, but that’s okay. Once the fear of failure is eliminated, life is sweet. Dive in head first and remember “If someone’s not laughing at your dreams, they’re not big enough”.

 

 

MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW I DEALT WITH IT:
My biggest obstacle is my need to seem to others as if everything is always great. People do this all the time on social media, portraying their lives as a fairytale. Sometimes you have a bad day. You lose some clients. You feel insecure. Or you feel terrible for no reason at all. It’s important to embrace the good and the bad and not to feel ashamed when something doesn’t work out, be it personal or professional. I’m still working on this one but being an entrepreneur has definitely helped me to change my mindset!

MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
It may not seem like a big deal but I am proud that I went travelling by myself. Roz has been with me for the majority of my travels but I travelled to Japan and Bali by myself and it was great. Stepping out of your comfort zone every now and again is important. Travelling solo was great and I ended up meeting so many amazing people! It also gives you time to get to know yourself!

 

HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
Being your own boss is a blessing but it can also be dangerous. You get to pick your own hours and work on your own schedule. I love not having to wake up early and just having the freedom to work when I want. But running a startup is time-consuming and sometimes it is hard to switch off. Having emails and social media on your phone means you can constantly be at work. The hours can be very long but I don’t mind as I’m doing what I love. I work hard so that I can follow my passion. I never want to be someone who dreads going into work in the morning or someone who can’t wait for Friday to arrive. I’ve also definitely been bitten by the travel bug and I want to explore new places, experience different cultures and make friends with people, who I would never have met otherwise.

 

 

I AM INSPIRED BY:
I am inspired by all the women who march for equal rights. Women who don’t accept inequality. Women who want to change the way we are treated, for the good of themselves and future generations. Women who see a problem and instead of sitting back and complaining, they get up and do something about it! I hope I am one of these women!

 

WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
I chose to become an entrepreneur because I decided that I wanted to work on my dream and not helping someone else fulfil theirs. That’s what entrepreneurship is for me. I like the diversity that it brings too. I could be blogging, writing a business plan, interviewing girl bosses, shooting and editing videos, sorting out finances, creating Facebook ads or updating the website. Every day is different, and it’s definitely not boring. Oh, and having a remote business means I get to travel. Win-win!

 

HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
Setting goals. Working hard. Connecting with people. I find that you can learn so much from others. That’s why I love coworking spaces, where there are so many talented people from different backgrounds, who are all working towards the same goal.

 

DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN/ WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
We did write one at startup weekend but to be honest we don’t refer to it that often. I think a business plan is only effective when it’s constantly updated. What’s most effective for us is goal-setting, understanding our target audience, and finding the right collaborators.

ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMAN BUSINESS OWNER?
Someone once told me that women have to work twice as hard to be successful in business. Depending on the industry, women can be taken less seriously than men but all the more reason to show them that you mean business. Some people are threatened by an intelligent woman, don’t ask me why. There are also fewer resources and mentoring available to women but this is slowly changing. In fact, today there are some grants and programmes to support female entrepreneurship. Silver lining!

 

MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
Google Analytics for tracking website traffic, leads, conversions and bounce rates. I’m a bit of a nerd sometimes and I could spend ages analysing data.

THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I’VE  EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
Follow your passion. I’m so lucky to have such supportive parents who always encouraged me to do what made me happy.  

 

 

If you’re interested in following your passion and working remotely while travelling you can join one of the women’s working retreats. Check it out on their website. You can also find them on Facebook and Pinterest or you can join their community on Facebook.

 

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