What It's About
An Aussie sails away to Croatia on a strong current of profits.
Words of Wisdom
Although starting out, Chris said he did have to get creative to get noticed by Google’s search engine. He did his best to get linked to as many websites and blogs as possible. It was about saying, “Yes.” If the opportunity to get interviewed by a blog or company came along, he’d take it.
This “Yes” mentality paid off in 2018 when he attracted the attention of Shark Tank Australia and found himself pitching his brand on national TV. That spot earned him some mentoring from the Sharkies!
Although it probably wasn’t fun at the time, Chris’ first tour nearly didn’t happen because of a PayPal fiasco. PayPal froze his account right before he had to use his funds to pay for the boat. They weren’t going to release the funds until the tour was delivered—but he couldn’t deliver the tour without the funds! Fortunately for both Chris and us, he secured a loan from friends and family to get his first tour off the ground and into the water!
Notes from Chris
Episode 884Approaching his 30th birthday, Australian Chris Tabone felt it was time for a change. An established graphic designer for nearly ten years, he decided to take a year off to travel the world. But after nine months of hostel stays and banana pancakes, money was in short supply and Chris was thinking of ending his globetrotting then and there. Not quite ready to cut the adventure short, he applied for a tour guide position and got the job. It only paid $78 a day, but his meals and accommodations were covered. Plus, he’d get to travel all around Europe for free! He ended up staying in the role for several years, learning a lot about the industry. After a while, many of his typical passengers (who were in their 20s) started asking him what tours he would recommend when they returned in a few years. They were getting too old for youth accommodations but also didn’t want to end up on a cruise ship that served Baked Alaska after ballroom dancing and bingo. This was when Chris spotted a gap in the market. The demographic of young professionals in their late twenties to late thirties just wasn’t getting much love from the guided tour industry. So, he decided an experiment was in order... The next off-season, Chris went back home to Melbourne and put pen to paper, figuring out how he could create something for this age group. Then, he leveraged his large network of industry contacts and made the decision to sell sailing tours in Croatia for the following summer. These Mediterranean trips were big winners and they appealed perfectly to his demographic. Using his background in design, Chris put together a website, created social media accounts, and started contacting all of his old passengers through Facebook. He was able to convince 40 of them to trust him with the idea that he could take them on a spectacular adventure—only now with his own company, Koda Sail. the Koda Sail tours run between $1,200 to $1,500 per person (up from ~$900 per person on his first tour). He’s upgraded his selection to four boats that run during the summer months. The tours run for seven days and specifically target young professionals. The business currently brings in just under $300,000 a year, with word of mouth still being his number one marketing tool. For Chris, it’s full steam ahead with no plans of taking his hands off the rudder anytime soon. He plans to add a new destination every year, starting this year with Turkey. Italy, the Greek Islands, Asia, and the Caribbean are also in the works.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Koda Sail: Set sail over to Chris' website yourself to learn more about this seafaring side hustle!
- Bucket List Becomes Swashbuckling Adventure Tour Company: A small-town Oregonian grows a travel blog into a multiple six-figure business
- Amsterdam Bike Tours Become Passive Profit Center: A traveler’s attempt to pay rent turns into one of Amsterdam’s premier touring companies
- 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
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