“Imagine if you could learn from tried-and-true women on how to grow and scale your business. I will periodically invite women entrepreneurs, who have conquered this challenge to share their experiences and stories; from realizing they could make money doing something they love, to building booming businesses that positively change their customers’ lives. Today, I welcome, my friend Taryn.
Taryn, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a wife, mother of two, and a Tennessee native who has lived in the DC area for more than 15 years.
How did you start your travel business and what motivates you to continue today?
I’ve been passionate about traveling since childhood, but it wasn’t until I became pregnant with my second child, that I felt a calling to pursue my travel business. The Trip Wish List is a boutique travel agency and blog that helps American luxury travelers make their dream trips a reality. I love helping people explore the world, whether it’s through advising them on an exciting itinerary or writing an engaging travel article for my website or another travel publication.
What are some of your most memorable experiences/trips and why?
My earliest travel memory was a family road trip from Tennessee to California when I was around six years old. This trip allowed me to see many Southwestern states and laid the foundation for my love of travel. Now, I’ve been taking my own family around the world, including my parents, whom I recently took to Africa for the first time. I love seeing the glimmer in my kids’ eyes when we travel to new places, and few of their favorite places have been Turks and Caicos, Colombia, and Portugal.
At what point did you realize that this was an area in which you could thrive? Walk me through your thoughts and feelings from that point on?
Ironically, it was 2020, when I realized that this was an area in which I could thrive. The pandemic forced me to take a step back and re-evaluate my objectives. In addition to my blog, I committed to writing for travel publications, promoting outdoor travel and nearcations, establishing a greater presence on social media, and connecting with others in the travel industry. It was the year I truly made great strides in my niche and my path.
Who is your target audience and why?
My business is both B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business), so I have two specific target audiences: travel publications and destinations and multicultural moms who value travel and cultural experiences.
I am passionate about multigenerational travel and women’s wellness through travel. I see a strong need for people that look like me to make time for self-care, and I believe that travel is a great way to do it! And I also encourage women to enjoy the many benefits of travel, not only for themselves but for their families as well because trips are an incredible time to bond with family members.
Do you have mentors and if so, why did you choose them?
For several years, I’ve used a business mentor I met through the Small Business Administration’s SCORE Business Mentoring Program, a free coaching program for small businesses. I’ve also taken numerous training courses covering different aspects of running my travel business, providing additional mentors.
Do you have a niche (community)? Do you believe in having a niche and how do you think that can help or hinder you?
I see the value in having a niche because if you try to speak to everyone, you’ll speak to no one because your messaging will be too generic to resonate with any specific group. From the B2B perspective, my niche is luxury travel content for travel publications and destinations. From the B2C perspective, my niche is luxury wellness and cultural travel for multicultural American women.
If you could provide advice to yourself, when you first started- what would you say?
Prioritize these things at the very beginning: find a mentor or a business coach, hire a financial advisor or tax person, and build a mailing list.
Talk to me about your hair journey. What drove you to locs? What has been your greatest challenge and triumph?
When I was younger, my sisters and I would spend what felt like an eternity in the hair salon every other week—seemingly never-ending days of chemical-laden treatments that didn't quite agree with me. So, years later, when I first learned about Sisterlocks™, I thought they were stunning, and I knew I had to try them.
From a business perspective, pls tell us the top three (3) lessons you have learned.
Don’t compare your start to someone else’s middle or end state.
Outsource as many tasks as possible, especially those you don’t like doing.
Listen to what your customers need.
As a black businesswoman, tell me about the opportunities and pitfalls that you have encountered.
So many incredible opportunities for Black entrepreneurs are out there, from Bank of America’s Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship to iFundWomen’s and Fearless Fund’s grant programs. I'm proud to say I've taken part in at least one such program and received much-needed business funding.
Lack of access to capital and affinity bias are systemic issues I’ve witnessed firsthand. Only a tiny percentage of Black female entrepreneurs receive investment funding, and we aren’t always invited or welcomed to sit at the proverbial table by people that don’t look like us.
In addition, we often face the challenge of having many responsibilities within our personal lives which can limit our capacity to run our businesses. This isn’t the case universally, but it was for me.
What would be your advice to someone coming up in your field?
Define your travel niche. If you already have clients, list the clients you’ve served in the past year and identify commonalities between the ones with whom you enjoyed working. Focus on crafting offerings that address the needs of those preferred clients.
Invest in learning from those who have excelled in what you want to do. This could mean reading an expert’s book, taking classes, or finding a business mentor.
Attend travel conferences to network and stay abreast of the trends in the travel industry.
What do you want to leave us with?
Don’t wait for things to be perfect. Just start where you are.
How can we connect with you?
I invite you to sign up for my mailing list at tripwishlist.com and join our Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/thetripwishlist.
Follow my social media accounts for more travel tips and inspiration:
Taryn, thanks so much for this opportunity! I appreciate our friendship and the mentorship you have provide me throughout my entrepreneurial endeavors. I look forward to your next trip! Please sign me up!