What It's About
A lucrative food tour side hustle in Morocco run by an American expat and her local husband.
Words of Wisdom
Since her husband, Youssef, grew up in Marrakech, he already knew a lot of people and a lot of good places to eat. They also ate out fairly often, so they had plenty of non-touristy stops to choose from. The first step was coming up with a tour route that made sense. They wanted the tour to be a walking progressive meal, so they’d go to one place for appetizers, another for salad, another for the main course and a final stop for dessert. Making sure the order of the food and the route of the walking tour made sense was the most time consuming part initially.
If you're struggling to come up with ideas, start with what you know! You'd be surprised what you can create utilizing skills or information you already have.
Amanda and her husband Youssef got the inspiration for their food tours from watching tourists go into mediocre restaurants and then recalling their family and friends complain about the bad food in Morocco. They knew where the good food was and they could take people there. $50 in start up costs plus three years has resulted in a steady income stream and the financial freedom for Youssef to quit his job.
Notes from Chris
In January 2014, Amanda Ponzio-Mouttaki was sitting with her husband, Youssef, at a cafe on the main square in Marrakech, Morrocco watching tourists go into restaurants that they knew weren’t great. As an American expat married to a local, Amanda would give advice when she could and specific recommendations on her website, but she suddenly put these pieces together and realized she was perfectly situated to offer English speaking tours that would show tourists where the good food was hidden in Marrakech. And as a freelancer who writes about food and travels for food, Amanda had the skill set to pull it off. With minimal marketing in place, Amanda started with really low expectations. She wanted to make $200 a month to cover schooling costs for her two kids and to give their budget a little more breathing room in general. However, they exceeded Amanda’s financial expectations in the first couple months, and within six months of launching they were bringing in $2,000 per month. Amanda credits a lot of their success to finding something missing in the marketplace and then going for it. As she explains, “We were the right people at the right time to meet that need. We also made the decision to just focus on food and only do tours in English. We couldn't be everything to everyone and so we've made a decision not to do tours in other languages. Specializing has been very powerful for us!”
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Marrakech Food Tours: Learn more about Morocco and Amanda's foodie tour service on her website!
- MarocMama: Amanda's Moroccan resource blog
- Wordpress: Amanda used Wordpress for her website, and here you can learn how to install your own Wordpress site in 5 minutes!
- 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
- The Guardian | How to start a tour operator business: Interested in starting your own urban touring company? Get started, here
- EzTix: An online ticketing service that makes it easier for you to schedule tours
- Sagenda: A free, online booking option if you're looking to cut costs
- Chocolate Ecstacy Tours: Indulge in your chocolate obsession with the assistance of Jennifer's website
- 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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