Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Joy Martinello, founder of Wild Nectar Immersive Travel Collection, located in Portland, OR, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Wild Nectar Immersive Travel Collection is a platform for wind-in-your-hair, sustainable luxury travel worldwide. Our world-class “trip store” website offers four channels of travel: Nature, Culture, Polar & Wellness travel. We offer a curated collection of custom land journeys and expedition cruises. Our tour operators have sustainability plans in place, plus we'll offer offsetting carbon recommendations for your trip. We include the use of our award-winning phone app with 24/7 support while traveling. Our dedicated expert travel professional will provide you with personalized service for a lifetime of sustainable bucket list experiences.
Tell us about yourself
During the Covid-19 downtime, I took a long look at my skill set and what I might do to make a difference in the world. I’d had a solid career in the travel industry. I was always very good at travel planning, plus I had two previous businesses of my own, so I understood the entrepreneur’s journey. Travel is a privilege, and I’ve long felt the industry wasn’t doing enough to monitor the carbon footprint of an activity that is an honor to experience.
So I asked myself, what if a travel sales and marketing company, a third party who was not a travel operator, could keep a close eye on what travel operators were doing, could offer eco scores that represent the travel operators’ sustainability efforts and could provide clients with the most immersive, wind-in-your-hair travel experiences all at the same time? Could a company who understands what kind of deeply affecting, exciting adventures travelers want, plus the desire for different levels of luxury, also be a force for promoting sustainability? That’s what my team and I have set out to do.
During my 16-year career, I’ve sent thousands of travelers on extraordinary trips. I’ve designed and managed polar expeditions. I’ve become aware of a stunning collection of unmatched adventures offered by operators who focus on sustainability. And now, I’m going to use every insight I have to promote sustainable luxury travel.
Watching mist rise over a moon-like Icelandic landscape, leaning your head out the window of a small ship in Alaska to see two humpback whales breach right in front of you, having an elderly Costa Rican lady welcome you into her kitchen and show you how to make tortillas—these experiences change people, have changed me as they all happened to me. I want to make sure more people can have these life-changing experiences and still protect the absolute source of them all: our beautiful, irreplaceable planet.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I’ve had a great deal of support during my whole entrepreneurial journey so far. I think my greatest accomplishments have had to do with seizing opportunities. Thanks to mentors who showed me funding avenues, I raised over $60K in loans and grants for a travel company—during a pandemic! I selected some fantastic team members who helped me along my path. When people started traveling again, I dove in with both feet and generated $250K in gross sales over three months. I’m now preparing to pitch for venture capital so we can start a big company and be as impactful as possible with regard to climate change, so there’s a lot of work ahead.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Stamina is essential. Nothing gets done if I don't keep moving forward, and I know perseverance will get me to the finish line. Staying 100% focused at all times, even when I’m tired, can be a challenge. Having self-confidence and trusting that I can figure it out even if I don’t know something is also necessary. Sometimes, having that kind of trust in myself and the entrepreneurial process can be daunting. I’m doing something no one else is doing, and I just need to trust it will all come together.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you love what you’re doing because you will be doing a lot of it at all hours of the day.
- Ask for help. There are resources all around you, people eager to support new entrepreneurs. Listen to them. They know what they’re talking about.
- Wait and see. If you find yourself in a tough spot, don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t despair. Take some time. Breathe and wait to see what happens next. There’s always another idea coming at you, and things will probably turn out better than you ever imagined if you just wait and see what opportunities are about to be presented to you.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
The world needs every contribution right now. It needs yours. If you have a passion, if something is gnawing at you the way climate change and the decimation of our beautiful planet has been gnawing at me, get out there. Do a thoughtful assessment of your skills, and then put those skills and your relentless, powerful will to work on the issues that move you. The world needs your beauty, art, voice, hard work, and ability to care for others. You are needed. Take the lead and do something wonderful. Instead of fearing failure, feel the urgency of a world calling out for transformation and let that urgency hurl you forward. Just begin.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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