What It's About
A niche chocolate, tourism-based side hustle in the United Kingdom!
Words of Wisdom
When Jennifer was considering the kind of side hustles she could start, she created a very simple list, and I encourage you to do the same! This exercise involves writing down all the ways you spend your time when you have a choice about it. This could include:
- Hobbies, art or music, sports, video games, reading (novels, nonfiction, teenage vampire romance, etc.), travel, etc.
Basically, if your day was open, what would you do?
Sometimes people don’t really know what they want. Jennifer used information from a customer survey to launch a Chocolate & Coffee Tour option that never really took off. After that she decided to use her own intuition and launched an Ice Cream Tour—it’s now her second best-selling tour.
Notes from Chris
Jennifer Earle runs chocolate tours with her company, Chocolate Ecstacy Tours. Sounds like a dream job, right? It definitely is now, but it took her awhile to get there. To really understand her story, we have to jump back to 2005 when Jennifer was temping part-time to make ends meet. She knew she wanted to do something on her own, but she wasn’t sure what kind of business she wanted. So she started by writing down everything she loved and everything she was good at. That list included chocolate, meeting people, talking, eating and London. From there, she brainstormed potential ideas, and the standout idea was chocolate tours. She optimistically figured that everyone loves chocolate, so it should be any easy sell. And just as important, it was the right level of commitment for her—different enough that it was outside her comfort zone, but small enough that she wouldn’t have to take out a loan or spend too much money to get started. After about a year of trying to make her chocolate tours into a full-time income, she decided she needed a “real job.” Over the next few years, she worked in various roles at three big companies. Jennifer got those jobs because she had her own food side hustle, which was a great added benefit, but the whole time she really just wanted to be working for herself. Business slowly increased over the years, all the while Jennifer was working full-time and managing this on the side. In 2012 she brought in £16k ($20,581.04 USD) in revenue, and since £24k ($30,871.56 USD) was the average salary at the time, she felt pretty good about that. So good that at the end of the year she decided to quit her job and make the jump to full-time entrepreneur. Over the next two years revenue doubled each year and in 2016 she brought in £82k ($105,477.83 USD).
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Chocolate Ecstacy Tours: Indulge in your chocolate obsession with the assistance of Jennifer's website
- Weekly Recap: Live Crickets, Tarot, and Reinventing the Bra: In our seventh weekly recap, we'll highlight the lessons learned in this week of Side Hustle School. I've also included a quick exercise to help you generate ideas based on your interests
- Dreamweaver: The program that Jennifer used
- Keyword Planner: This tool helps you reach the right customers with the right keywords and helps you to better build your SEO and ad campaigns
- TripAdvisor & Yelp Some of the companies that drove business to Chocolate Ecstacy Tours
- The Guardian | How to start a tour operator business: Interested in starting your own urban touring company? Get started, here
- Sagenda: A free, online booking option if you're looking to cut costs
- Belgian Fine Chocolate Comes to America: After living in Belgium for 13 years, a Louisiana freelancer starts a seasonal side hustle making fine chocolate out of his home. It brings in close to $8,000 in the first year of business!
- Renegade Museum Tour Guide Earns $2 Million: A man in New York City proves that with enough passion and innovation a side hustle can thrive in museums
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