#GOAHEADGIRL: Samantha Murdock, Travel Extraordinaire
We all love traveling, but making all those travel arrangements ourselves? Not so much. Introducing Samantha Murdock, a young creative and driven entrepreneur who decided to merge her wanderlust with others' and lead travelers to journey anywhere and everywhere with their various travel arrangements. By combining her passion for adventure and a kick-ass work ethic, Samantha redefined her dream of becoming her boss.
What made you decide to choose this business/career? I feel like this career chose me. I always loved to travel (a lot) but never thought about starting a travel agency. I ran a women's social group here in NYC and started planning group trips for it a few years ago. I then started getting requests from friends, family members and members of my organization to help them plan their trips. After doing that for a while and loving it, I was like "hmmm maybe I could do this as a full-time career." I secured my license and opened my travel agency.
As demand increased, I recruited employees. For someone to work with me, I must see some of my qualities in them. They must love working with and for people, have patience and be self-starters.
Other successful women inspire me in my field. When I see another agency owners doing well and who are successful, it motivates me and inspires me to work harder. Moreover, to anyone looking for encouragement in starting their business, I say:
- Tip 1: Add people to your team that is smarter than you. The best way to build companies successfully is to hire wisely.
- Tip 2: Have enough capital. Many times people jump head first into their business by quitting their jobs. This move is not ideal if you do not have enough capital or cash flow. Keep your full-time job (or your part-time one) until you start seeing enough income from your new business.
- Tip 3: Always ask for customers' feedback. You may be thinking that you are doing a good job when you actually may not be. The best way to know is to ask your customers about their experience, how your service was and if there is anything that you need to change or improve.
The one mistake that I made during my start-up was taking on too much at one time. In the travel business, it is always best to establish your niche. I was trying to do everything at once (group travel, weddings, senior tours, cruises and more,) by myself. It became so stressful and overwhelming. I had to sit down and think about what I loved doing and decided to stick with only that.
Keeping the Faith
A moment that I thought my vision might not come through was when I started to add more tours to my roster. Initially, all trips I posted, sold out and I decided to add more. I suddenly quadrupled the number of tours I was offering per year. Unsure if anyone would go on those, I started doubting myself. After talking with my boyfriend (who also happens to be my business advisor), he assured me that I needed to start thinking big and so I was able to shake that doubt off. He said, "you will never know if you can sell out 20 trips until you offer 20 journeys." I immediately realized he was right; I would never know unless I tried. I think having someone you can talk to and who supports you is essential, especially when you are running your own company.
Tech Savvy - Must have Apps
The number one website that I use when booking a hotel for my clients or looking for one to use on one my trips is Tripadvisor.com. I never recommend a hotel without reading the reviews here first. I then check hotel reviews on Hotel.com and even Yelp.
To any future BossChic: I say a career that you love and that you are passionate about and everything else will fall into place. To be successful, you have to work long hours. While it can be hard, if you love what you are doing, you will not mind putting in the work.
What do you have to say to those aka (men) who say we are too sensitive, emotional, or sarcastic? lol
I would say "if I were a male, would you call me that? Probably not!"
100 pairs of shoes and only 2 feet! What was the last thing you bought for yourself?
The last thing I bought myself was a vintage Chanel bag.
If your cable package supplied only one channel, which would it be and what would you watch?
The History channel and I would watch anything that's on. I double majored in college in art history/ history, and I think that is where my love of travel stems from...learning, about different cultures and want to see and experience them first hand.