Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello, my name is Sean Petersen and I am the founder of Golf Trip Junkie, a trusted source for delivering memorable customized golf vacations to our valued customers.
I have been fortunate to have planned very successful golf vacations for my customers to many destinations such as, but not limited to, Pinehurst Resort, Kiawah Island Resort, Pebble Beach Resort, Sea Pines Resort, Barefoot Golf Resort, Scotland, Orlando, Scottsdale, Tampa, and Miami. These trips range in numbers from a group of two all the way up to a corporate outing of 48 golfers.
Fully hands-on customer service with obsessive attention to detail from beginning to end is my signature. I am fully transparent, have a good sense of humor, am fun to work with, and most importantly, being a golf enthusiast myself, I know what an awesome golf vacation looks like.
My business is growing more than I ever expected, with average monthly revenue of $165,000.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
My passion for golf is only surpassed by my enthusiasm for traveling so it all started from wanting to figure out a way to make a living while being able to enjoy my two greatest passions.
I’ve had other business ideas, (such as investing in stock markets, for example) in the past but none of them appealed to me as much as starting Golf Trip Junkie. Every business idea I had before just didn’t feel quite right and I didn’t find the motivation to put any of them into practice.
Until the idea of Golf Trip Junkie took life. It was actually during a game of golf that the idea hit me and from the first moment I knew that this is what I truly wanted to do. My motivation was mainly fueled by my love of golf. I wanted to be able to make a business out of my passion.
I felt very motivated and wanted to make it a reality straight away. Because I was an avid golfer myself, I knew what makes a great game of golf so I managed to choose well when it came to venues and other preparations. From the beginning, my clients had very positive feedback and this empowered me even more and gave me a kind of certainty that it was going to work and I will be successful in this endeavor.
Take us through the process of designing your initial service/offering
The whole process starts with getting to know the clients and their needs. Each group is different and each poses a different challenge so I first have to figure out what would suit them best when it comes to a golf vacation.
Choosing the right location is one of the most important aspects. To make sure I’m making the right decision there are several factors that I have to consider such as the players’ level of skill, their patience, their passion for golf, their time availability, environmental factors, etc.
For example, I could bore them with a too easy course if they have better-golfing skills but on the other hand, if they are more inexperienced choosing a harder course might be the perfect recipe for a not-so-pleasant experience. I very much enjoy this process and find it to be somewhat like an art. The art of reading people and figuring out exactly what they would like to experience most and providing them with just the right thing.
The vast majority of my clients are middle-aged men and companies looking for a different kind of fun corporate outing.
My first client was actually a friend of a friend that wanted to go on a golf trip with his buddies and my friend told him about my newly started business. He put the two of us in contact and that was how I got my first client. Today, my business has expanded a lot more and I currently get clients from all over the US and even beyond.
The pandemic has made traveling a lot harder and I felt a great decline in activity during the lockdowns but now everything is getting back to normal and I am busier than ever.
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to make a living out of their passion. If I didn’t love golf so much I don’t think I would’ve been able to do such a great job with my business.
After the first vacation I planned, which turned out to be a success, I realized why I loved doing it so much. I loved helping people put a smile on their faces and just enjoy life. From the first day until today, this is what kept me going and motivated me to get over any hard times. I feel it is important for people to de-stress and get their energy levels up, especially during the stressful, crazy times we’re living in.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Before I made an official launch I had to first make up a list of some of the most popular golf resorts that I wanted to partner up with, reach out to them and sort out the various details of the partnership.
After finishing up with this I had to come up with a list of possible clients and figure out the most fitting target audience. This wasn’t too hard for me as I am a golf enthusiast myself and have a great deal of knowledge in this area. I started by contacting the golf resorts I knew were of the highest quality then, after discussing a partnership with each of them, I started telling every golf enthusiast I knew about my new business in the hopes of attracting my first clients.
Next, I had to make my newly founded business known among other golf enthusiasts and so I did. I first started small, telling people I already knew about it, until I got my website and online presence set up by also creating a Facebook and Instagram account for the business.
After my website went live, I started attracting more clients and getting known as a trusted source for delivering high-quality golf vacations. I luckily had a good friend with web designing knowledge and he helped me with all of the programming sides of the website. Together it took us about a month since we started working on the website until we launched it.
I think that the biggest lesson I’ve learned from the launching process is patience. In the beginning, it wasn’t going all that great until I grew the business and more and more people got to know about it. If I would’ve been a fast quitter I could’ve let myself be discouraged by this but I didn’t, I kept going even if my situation wasn’t ideal and patiently waited for things to get better while I was actively trying to improve my presence. I focused on writing helpful content on my blog to try to attract people to my website and I think that worked very well.
Find what makes you feel good and let that feeling inspire you to live an independent, passionate life working for yourself rather than the big corporations.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
When it comes to attracting customers I think that it was a combination of creating a strong online presence and offering the clients I had a great experience they were eager to share with other people. My website had a huge part in my online presence along with my social media channels. From the beginning, I focused on creating content that would be of help to fellow golfers.
I also learned a bit about SEO to be able to optimize my blog posts for the best results. Keyword use for example is quite important in making the difference between a highly ranked article and one that goes unnoticed.
I familiarized myself with online SEO tools, such as MOZ, SEMrush, etc, where I also found some very informative blog posts that were of great help in better understanding good SEO practices. Another thing that helped me grow my online presence was submitting content to 3rd party websites in the golfing niche.
If I were to say what has worked best for retaining customers I think that providing them with an incredibly fun and stress-free golf vacation did. I have many clients that tried my services once and regularly return afterward. I blame this on my attention to detail while planning the vacation as well as my customer service. I like to get to know the clients before planning their golfing trip and try to put myself in their shoes to get an idea of what they would enjoy most.
I advise everyone to stop second-guessing themselves and have faith in their own abilities and they will see that with the power of intention and hard work everyone can achieve whatever they wish to.
My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to make a living out of their passion. If I didn’t love golf so much I don’t think I would’ve been able to do such a great job with my business. It is important to love what you do and when you love what you do it is also easy and enjoyable to learn new things and grow in that direction.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today I can say that I am quite happy with how things are going, especially taking into consideration the whole pandemic situation. Last year was quite hard for me when traveling was so restricted but I am glad that restrictions have softened and that traveling is slowly getting back to somewhat normal.
In the future I would like to expand my business, even more, maybe make new partnerships, attract even more clients and deliver memorable golf vacations to as many people as possible.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Besides being patient, another important lesson I’ve learned was that you don’t always have control over the situations that affect your business. I’ve learned this, especially during the lockdown which was quite a difficult period. I think it’s important, during hard times, to have faith that everything will work out for the better and not let yourself be discouraged.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
One of my favorite books that have greatly helped me with the whole process of becoming a self-sustained entrepreneur is The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs, written by Kevin Johnson. This book has taught me how to get into the right mindset to be able to achieve my goals and to know how to react in various situations that arose in the process of starting and growing my business.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
As I mentioned above, my biggest advice is to follow your heart. Find what makes you feel good and let that feeling inspire you to live an independent, passionate life working for yourself rather than the big corporations. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing all your hard work pay off in the form of a thriving business.
I feel that most importantly, above all, we have to be satisfied with the direction our lives are heading towards and we should always strive to do better rather than downplaying ourselves and our abilities and never make the leap towards financial independence.
You don’t want to wake up 20 years from now and regret that you didn’t take action to follow your dreams when you had the opportunity. So I advise everyone to stop second-guessing themselves and have faith in their own abilities and they will see that with the power of intention and hard work everyone can achieve whatever they wish to.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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