Sahara Rose De Vore on The Art of Monetizing What You Love
Sahara Rose De Vore is the Founder and CEO of The Travel Coach Network
Can you begin by telling our audience a little about yourself, your business, and what led you to pursue your particular passion as a profession?
I graduated with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2010 and was very underwhelmed by the lack of diversity in career options in the industry. At the age of 22, I knew that I wanted more out of life than to sit in a corporate office and continue to be unhappy struggling with anxiety and depression so I took an unconventional route in life. I bought a one-way ticket to Ireland, packed a backpack, and set off to travel to Western Europe. What was suppose to be a month and a half trip turned into a decade of hopping around the globe to 84 countries solo.
During my decade-long journey, I gained a unique perspective on the tourism industry. I traveled during a prime time in the industry with the rise of travel technology and social media. I was having thousands of conversations with travelers and getting to understand the deeper and more personal reasons for why they traveled and why people were quitting the 9-5 job to travel the world.
Although I had a lot of education of and experience in travel, I struggled for almost a decade to find my own ideal career path, one that aligned with what I believed in and saw regarding travel. I didn’t want to be just a travel agent, a flight attendant, a travel writer, work in a hotel, a travel “influencer”, or work for a company that “paid me to travel”. I believed that there was far more to a career if you have a passion for travel than what the industry said was possible. I spent years researching the personal reasons for why people traveled and the various wellness benefits of travel.
I knew that I wanted to become a Wellness Travel Coach and Consultant to help companies open their eyes and mind to just how important and powerful travel is on employees and company culture. I also wanted to reshape how travel was marketed, booked, and sold because it has remained at a very surface level. In 2019 I founded the Travel Coach Network and created a platform and a program where I could educate, inspire, and empower other passionate travelers to do more with their love of travel, stand out in the industry, align their personal interests and expertise in travel with how they helped people, and embrace travel as a tool that helped us in all aspects of our life (because humans have been doing it all along anyways, it’s just that no one was talking about it).
I'm curious to know, what was the defining moment that made you realize that this passion could actually become a business? How did you identify the unique value it could bring to others?
When I realized that I needed to create my own career path because nothing that I had learned about satisfied me, I began doing research online about how to start an online business in the travel industry. This is when I first learned about the rise of the online coaching industry and how successful it was. Something inside of me just clicked and I had a gut feeling that travel coaching was going to be a thing. Over the years, I gained more and more clarity on how to define travel coaching for my business which ultimately resonates with the right people who I want to attract. With the travel industry as a whole completely shifting after the pandemic by adding more emotions, wellness, personalization, and meaning to the industry, I knew that travel coaching was going to succeed and be that differentiator.
Every entrepreneur faces obstacles, especially when turning a passion into a business. Can you share some of the initial challenges you encountered and how you overcame them?
I had to learn everything about starting a business and running an online business from complete scratch so everything was pretty much a challenge initially. I spent a year absorbing as much business advice and inspiration as I could. I sought out mentors to help me along the way. I tried and failed, gain clarity on what I wanted and didn't want for my business, and I stayed consistent in my efforts.
Monetizing a passion requires a solid business model. Can you walk us through how you developed yours, and the key factors that make it successful?
I first had to get clear on what I wanted for my business and what I didn't want, meaning how did I want to make money, how did I want to spend my time, what did I want to put my energy into, what kind of people did I want to attract, and how did I want my revenue streams to look. Once I was clear on this, I was easy for me to structure my offers and build a system within my business. There are revenue streams that I wanted to create that didn't take my time and energy after launching. There are other areas of my business that I wanted to spend more time in and create different revenue streams for them at higher prices.
Many people worry that monetizing their passion may take the joy out of it. How have you managed to balance the business aspects with staying true to what you love?
I have such a love for the travel industry that I created a passion that has a core mission of bettering the travel industry which makes it easy for me to work towards that goal every day without losing interest. I have a grander vision for what I am doing which really helps.
As your business grew, what strategies did you employ to scale it while maintaining the core values and essence of what made it special in the first place?
I had to build a team that helped me in areas that I no longer wanted to manage myself or that freed up my time so that I could focus on other projects. I also continued to work with mentors when I felt like I was at a point of scaling.
Your journey is truly inspiring. What key insights or pieces of advice would you offer to someone looking to turn their passion into profit?
Find what sets you apart and run with it, no matter what others say or think about your mission. All that matters is what YOU believe in.
Reflecting on your journey so far, what are you most proud of? What future developments or projects are you excited about in your business?
I am proud of the impact that I am, and continue, to make in the travel industry as a whole. To go from an aimless backpacker who had no clue what I wanted to do for a career for almost a decade, to someone who is making waves in the tourism industry, it's truly incredible. We are beyond excited to expand the concept of Travel Coaching across the entire travel industry!