What It's About
A Mile High food tour hits the right spot.
Words of Wisdom
Today's story is a great contrast to Ep. 508 because there are two ways of building this kind of business: either it's dependent on you, or it's built around a brand. In Ep. 508, Rob is doing all the tours himself. In this story, Jessica is building more of a tour business so that she can go to Mexico and still get paid for tours taking place in Denver. The question is: which is better for you?
Not sure exactly what Denver has to offer in the food spectrum? The Mile High City's tastes date back to the era of pioneers who spent their nights roasting buffalo and potatoes over campfires along the South Platte River. While they still have a soft spot for anything involving meat and potatoes, hatch chile peppers are a staple along with smothered burritos.
Notes from Chris
Jessica Baumgart had made a lot of active choices. The Denver, Colorado native was working in marketing when she and her husband took a year-long career break traveling through 5 continents. They did this after saving up for several years and downsizing most of their possessions. When they came home, Jessica didn’t want to jump straight back into the same kind of work. She needed something new, and she found it in at least two new opportunities. The first was a full-time business she started teaching private cooking classes. On the side, she moonlighted for a company that provided guided food tours. She discovered that she liked leading tours for strangers more than she liked cooking for them. Maybe it was because someone else cleaned up—maybe it was because she got to connect more instead of slaving away in the kitchen. Whatever it is, she liked the tour guide biz, and she had some ideas on how she’d do it differently if it was her own project. 8 months later, she made it her own project, launching a new brand called Savor Denver Food Tours*. Each tour lasts about 3 hours and covers 6 tastings around the city. It followed the same format of other tours, with good food and rotating locations—but this iteration had her own spin. It focused more on local chefs and local ingredients, to truly give a memorable and unique experience. 5 days after her website went up, Jessica received her first booking. She says she was caught off guard at how quickly it got started. All of a sudden, her planning became real. After 3 months, she was guiding tours 7 days a week... and desperately trying to hire other guides to take some of the stress off her plate so she could turn it into a real business. It’s now been almost a year since Jessica launched Savor Denver. How fast can you grow a tour business in one year? Well, the proof is in the pudding (or decadent hatch queso)! She currently hosts around 350-450 guests per month, and the business is on track to gross $200,000 with 50% profit margins. The best part? She accomplished this spending only $3,000 in startup costs! As Savor Denver grew, she was working less and less on her day job/other business of cooking lessons. She finally decided to let it go and focus full-time on the tours. She recently added a cocktail tour to her repertoire and hopes to launch more neighborhood tours in response to demand. *Producer side note: since the airing of this episode, Jessica changed her business name from Savor Denver to Delicious Denver Food Tours.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Delicious Denver Food Tours: The Mile High City has so much to offer in the way of food—be sure to check out Jessica's website if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood!
- Food and Travel Writer Creates Food Tours in Marrakech, Earns $60k Annually: In the North African city of Marrakech, an American expat starts a project that she hopes will earn $200/month in spending money. It ends up earning more than $5,000 a month
- London Chocolate Tours Lead to Sweet Success: Banking on a universal love of chocolate, a former temp worker creates a unique side hustle leading guided tours that allow tourists to eat their way through London’s chocolate shops
- Policy Researcher Offers Private Tours of Nation’s Capital: A public policy researcher starts a Washington, DC tour guide business and overcomes the hurdle of competitive TripAdvisor reviews
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