What It's About
A lawyer guides her passion for storytelling into a six-figure hustle.
Words of Wisdom
Akila has some helpful thoughts about growing a business, "I am constantly thinking about scaling, but scaling has to be balanced with profitability. If I could go back, I would have instituted a "Profit First" system from day #1."
Atlanta was originally named Terminus and Marthasville. The city got its current name from railroad engineer J. Edgar Thompson. It’s thought to be a shortened version of “Atlantica-Pacifica" and it's also known as the "City in a Forest".
Notes from Chris
Akila McConnell was ready for a change in life. After law school followed by four years at a prestigious firm, she was ready to call it quits. While many lawyers dream of making partner, she dreamed of traveling and seeing the world. So after doing some soul-searching, Akila and her husband decided to take a trip of indefinite length. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do next in terms of work, but knew she needed a change. After traveling for nearly four years, Akila and her husband learned that they were expecting their first child. As much as they loved travel and experiencing exotic places, they thought it best to come back to the United States to raise their child in their hometown of Atlanta. Akila began doing some legal work for her husband’s software company while still travel writing for magazines and websites. Again, she found herself in a rut and craving another pursuit. She loved the storytelling aspect of writing, it was difficult to write about travel when she wasn’t doing much of it. What once was a desire soon turned into a dread. This caused her to think about what she loved so much about writing before. What she discovered is that wasn’t the writing, it was the experiences she had in each location they traveled to and the stories that come from it. She started thinking about more about Atlanta and all of the food and history there. What if she could share her city and its hidden secrets with locals and visitors alike? So that’s exactly what she did. In 2015, Akila cooked up a delicious and unique walking tour called Atlanta Food Walks:. There are a lot of walking tours available in Atlanta and it takes a lot to stand out. What sets Atlanta Food Walks apart is its unique storytelling approach. This authentic approach has caused Atlanta Food Walks to grow into a larger brand called Unexpected Atlanta: which includes history tours. The tours are led by a group of knowledgeable, home-grown Atlanta natives. It’s become one of the top walking tour companies in Atlanta selling more than 6,000 tickets per year. To give a little perspective, in its first year they sold 700 tickets and made $60,000. This year they’re on track to bringing in than $300,000. Unexpected Atlanta continues to walk an unexpected and compelling path. Akila now has a full-fledged team and has turned this into her full-time work while the law has become her side hustle. Within the next five years, she hopes to hit seven figures in sales.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- UnexpectedAtlanta.com: Akila's business has grown. Learn more at the Unexpected Atlanta website.
- AtlantaFoodWalks.com: Check out Akila's original food/walking tour company.
- Profit First by Mike Michalowicz: Chris and Akila mentioned this book and important philosophy when thinking about growing your business, sustainably.
- Food Tour Guide Chomps Down on $100,000 Profit: After first beginning with private cooking lessons, this former marketer discovers an even bigger opportunity in the world of food tours.
- 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.
- ABC News Reporter Dishes Out Profitable Pizza Tour: A Chicago food reporter launches weekly pizza tours, showing Windy City visitors that there’s more to life than just deep-dish.
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