This is a follow up story for My Curly Adventures. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hello! My name is Jessica and I am the Content Creator of MyCurlyAdventures, a travel brand that mostly focuses on weekend getaways for the Texan. Some people say bloggers and some people say influencers. However, my role has expanded to mean so much more. My main job includes sharing destinations and products on social media and my blog. However, I also write for magazines and publications, provide social media consultations for brands, take brand photos for website and print use, and even speak on TV about local destinations.
Most of my job involves traveling around Texas and sharing fun destinations with my community. However, as part of my role in social media, I also get to do other exciting things including sharing lifestyle products and services as well as how I manage my curly hair.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Things have been going great! I’ve spent the last year traveling more and creating as much content as possible. Many people think there is a secret to growing, but for me, it’s all been about creating fresh & unique content and creating as much as possible. By traveling to the lesser-known cities I’ve been able to create content around areas people haven’t known as much about as well as establish myself as an expert.
As time has passed and I’ve created more content, more people have referred me to friends looking for Texas getaways, couples trips, and other information. By really digging into my niche I’ve received so much growth as well as media coverage. This all came because of searching for a unique niche, making sure to be as detailed as possible in my writing, working to develop my skills as a photographer, and being on as many platforms as possible.
Being a travel blogger unable to travel due to COVID was tough at first. However, it gave me the chance to slow down and see where I could provide more value. Many people who were traveling abroad previously were starting to look into local getaways and day trips. With the financial impact that has come from the pandemic, I saw that people were also looking for affordable getaways. I spent a lot of my time working on creating a publication, 50 Texas Trips Under $50, time that I would have been traveling. I released a free version last month and have seen a large response from my community who were excited to have a resource like this.
Since we’ve talked I’ve also discovered TikTok. At first, I thought it was only for dancing videos. However, I was able to come in as the Texas expert and grow a following of over 100K in just a few months. This has increased other social media followings, Youtube views, website traffic, email signups, and affiliate opportunities. While I haven’t really gotten sponsored content through TikTok I’ve seen other benefits and imagine that as time progresses I will be able to monetize it. For now, I’m mostly focusing on connecting with a new community!
Things have progressed in a way that I’ve never expected.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
As a travel blogger that hasn’t been able to travel for 2020, I’ve learned a lot about the ability to pivot! The first few weeks sent me into a panic that I had to find a new niche or even go as far as to look into a new career! While each week has brought new challenges, I’ve learned to get creative. In the first few months of lockdown, I shared how to “travel” from home. I’ve focused on content for my website that will rank high on Google and will be relevant for post-COVID travel. Additionally, I’ve spent effort into developing TikTok content and cultivating a new community and repurposing old content. While COVID has not been ideal, without it I would have never launched my new magazine and gained attention for that!
A mentor once told me that life is 20% effort and 80% luck, but the more often you open yourself up to opportunities and work hard, the more often you have the chance to get lucky! I’ve been using this wisdom and have used every free moment to pursue calls where I didn’t know where it would lead to, speak at events where I didn’t know the benefit, and meet with people with no expectations. I’ve been so shocked at the relationships and the opportunities that have come from some of these. As a new business owner, I always say that it’s best to say yes to everything because you never know what might come from that.
Another thing I’ve learned, and am working on, is truly building a relationship with my community. Everything I do would not be possible without them. I want to appreciate every message and find more opportunities to connect with them to know they are valued, not as a customer, but as an individual with their own unique perspective, interests, and personality. I value every person that has hit the follow button, but am looking forward to discovering more meaningful ways to connect (despite my shy and introverted demeanor).
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
I currently have a two-year plan that involves visiting 100 cities in Texas. I’m at about 50 right now and hopefully, by the end of 2022, I will have visited over 100. From this, I will be able to create unlimited Texas content that includes roundups and a large amount of information. From this, I also plan on writing a book.
Keep pouring into your business and one day it will take off!
While five years is hard to look at (my last 5-year goal included moving abroad and here I am loving Texas!), I do hope to have a travel show with my husband! I’ve been working on developing my skills with our Youtube series as well as speaking on different news stations. While we have some exciting plans for the future, it’s something we’re keeping under wraps as a pretty big surprise.
Until then I’m working on growing my community. I’m focusing on cultivating relationships that are more than just one of the posts and finding ways to provide mutual benefit so that I can reach more people.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
While I haven’t read them yet, I have several sales books in my queue to learn more about sharing the value I’m able to provide with potential clients. I’ve also found Boundaries by John Townsend helpful to me in learning to know when to say yes and when to say no to protect my mental health as an entrepreneur.
Think and Grow Rich is another book that I’ve been reading through slowly and incorporating the steps as I move along. I’ve been working through it slower than most books, but it gives me time to develop the skills that are discussed.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
I feel as if entrepreneurship is like a snowball rolling down a hill. At first, you keep building and building, and yet it barely moves, and then suddenly it catches traction and effortlessly down that hill. Keep pouring into your business and one day it will take off! However, all of this also comes with consistency and quality.
It’s important to constantly evaluate if you’re serving a need that no one else is and if you’re providing it in a form that is relevant to others. The detailed information I provide in my blog and the quality of my photos have played a role in that success.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I am starting to look for an assistant. As an entrepreneur, you are a little bit of everything and it’s hard to be able to focus on the tasks that you are most skilled at. I’m working on distinguishing between the noise and what will move my business forward. I want to do everything, but I realize I only have so much time in my day!
My biggest focus has been providing value to my audience and keeping things as affordable as possible and that means that often it has been at the cost of my own personal finances and I am working on finding a way to provide that exact same value while supporting the growth of the business.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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