Solo travelling is in the bucket list of almost everyone of us. Some fulfill their list, whilst many others let it remain there. We came across a free spirited lady who is adamant of making solo traveling for females easy.
Her name is Rebecca. A graphic designer by profession, Rebecca continued to add skills such as marketing, digital marketing, social media and web design and development. Most of what she has learnt and been doing over the past 10 years has been self taught with some great mentors.
This is her story.
Rebecca. Tell us about your startup.
She Roams Solo is a social networking platform for women who travel solo (or just love travelling in general, we welcome all women). It is a forum, an online network, your own personal profile, a chat room and much more.
It is a place to connect, meet like-minded women, engage, get support, safely ask questions and proudly give advice.
A place to share your photos, blog posts and stories, travel discoveries, thoughts and feelings; Your creative freedom! Your zone!
How did you come across this idea?
I was inspired by Facebook groups, I loved the way they bought strangers together with like-minded interest. I loved how other travellers and locals could offer advice and ease the worries of others. However, I felt like Facebook groups and the information in them was never organised well enough, questions repeated and advice missed etc.
I also didn’t like that these groups were taking up my personal news feed. I wanted something which wasn’t relying on Facebook. Something that was just for women! It’s own standing platform without strict rules of what you can and cannot post. A place specific for travelling and specific for women!
I always loved forums but felt they were not very well designed, so I decided to set out to improve on this. From here the idea just grew and grew. The more I thought about it, the more I started to develop ideas of how this community could help individuals from bloggers guest posting to women who cannot travel living and being inspired from others.
I knew that on a freestanding platform, this idea had the strength to grow into something special. I wanted the platform to be designed and ran with the members best interests and desires in mind. I wanted it to become the go-to place for women travellers!
What was the reaction from your family & friends?
Everyone has been so very supportive! My boyfriend has been amazing and encouraging, most of the time he doesn’t understand what I’m talking about but he supported me whilst I was working on it full time and is always happy to listen and offer advice.
I was overwhelmed by how excited my friends (especially women) and family were about this project and I have not yet received any bad reactions.
The most amazing part comes from people who are not my family and friends. Emails I get from women saying they love the website/platform and thanking me for creating it. This is what keeps me going and believing in the bigger plans.
Tell us about your startup journey so far?
So far, She Roams Solo has become my obsession. I developed the idea about a year before I started making it. When I moved to a European country without a work permit I decided I would put my everything into the website. I worked for 5 months full time on it to develop the platform whilst waiting for my permit.
6 months later and we have about 1,500 members. I have received fantastic feedback from the community and am very excited at the next steps.
I have learn more and developed so many skills. Now that I’m working full-time, I’m juggling She Roams Solo as a side project but still watching it grow makes me happy.
I want to create She Roams Solo without the help from investors as I believe that will have the possibility to change the values I hold so high with the community.
What was the key challenge & how did you overcome it?
One of my key challenges is organisation and finding the time. I am a one-women band on this project and with a full time job. I have been trying to work as much as possible on weekends and evenings.
Other small challenges have popped up that I have learnt a lot from. There is still so much more to learn, but that’s half the fun! (I think)
Please share your road map ahead.
I have some big plans for She Roams Solo. Currently, the focus is on growing the number of members, adding more activity and making it increasingly valuable for the community. There are still a few usability and design changes to make as I go along.
The beginning of this year, I am looking to grow our ultimate travel resources section of the website, which will make travelling easier and less scary for women.
The second half will be the eBook. There is a collaborated eBook coming out which features solo travel stories from some amazing female travel writers. This will be out around May/June time.
The next steps will be to create an app for the website, a monthly magazine on subscription basis and in the very long term plan events, safety features on the website/app, giveaways and company sponsorship, retreats and more.
The very, very long term plan, and when I know that the website has “made it” is when I can get the quarterly “charity” happening. This was a huge part of my big dream and basically involves no money, simply the community getting together and using sponsors from big companies in order to provide one lucky person a quarter who cannot travel, the opportunity to do so. More details of that to come in the future.
If there is one thing you would like to give as a message, what would that be?
Just book the ticket! Figure the rest out later. There is so much more advice I would love to give, but that’s my favorite. If you wish to get in touch, feel free to add me on www.sheroamssolo.com
Well, if that inspires you. What are you waiting for. Go for it, girl.