How One Entrepreneur Grew a Global Business From Her Facebook Friends
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When Evita Turquoise Robinson first shared her passion for travel on Facebook with 100 like-minded travelers four years ago, she couldn't have imagined what it would become. The group, Nomadness Travel Tribe, now has over 10,000 members from all over the globe. What makes the group unique is that
while it is open to travelers of all ethnicities, it is primarily African American, age 25 to 40, with 80 percent women. Members live in cities around the world. The economic demographic runs the gamut from the underemployed to professionals who earn six figures. The global trips are so affordable that it allows the diverse groups to connect no matter your income bracket.
Robinson, an artist and filmmaker, was bit by the travel bug right out of college when she took her first trip to Paris. A stop in Tokyo to teach English and then a trip to Thailand as part of a travel web series rounded out her global travels by the age of 25. She founded Nomadness Travel Tribe in September 2011 to connect with urbanites who travel as part of their lifestyle, not just as vacation.
Robinson wanted an intimate group, so she invited people from her Facebook friends list with the prerequisite that the potential members had traveled at least once and had one passport stamp. Today, through word of mouth and social media, Nomadness Travel Tribe has grown to a little more than 10,000 members worldwide.
"There is no place that I can go in the world today where I don't know someone there," Robinson said.
Social media was the key to the group's growth. "There are so many social media outlets: Twitter, Periscope, Instagram. Instagram and Periscope- -- the live-streaming app -- allow anyone to follow along on our trips,'' she said. "If the Internet was a geographic location, Facebook would be the capital. It is where everyone is. If you can start someplace where everyone is and then push out from that point, you have the opportunity to do something special."
Robinson was able to bring strangers and friends on her urban travel adventures, something new. "Nomadness Travel Tribe was the first group to spearhead targeting diverse millennial travel," she said.
This year alone, Nomadness Travel Tribe has appeared in the New York Times, The Daily Beast and on several national television programs, all without the help of a public relations agent. The press has approached them. "We have not used outside media outreach to grow the membership,'' Robins. "People within the group have shared their amazing stories because they want the group's authentic story to be told."
Robinson said Nomadness Travel Tribe became a business by accident, but it was born from a place of passion. "This group could not have existed without social media. Social media is this generation's megaphone and our way to communicate. I don't think we could have had the same impact in that time span without social media."
Robinson always knew she was going to be an entrepreneur, but she did not know what it was going to look like. While she is an artist first, Evita Turquoise Robinson is still figuring out the world of being an entrepreneur and knows it is important to trust the process. If you have a passion and want to build it into a business, Robinson has a few tips.
Just do it.
Break out of analysis paralysis. Nothing starts in perfection--it does not matter who you are or how much money you have. At some point, you have to jump and build the parachute on the way down. Just do it.
Learn as much as you can.
Robins said when she launched the business she was "a little bit of a lone wolf where I tried to learn everything. I never want to create a business where if one person leaves, they can derail the entire system, so I try to learn as much as I can. You should know how to do as much as possible.''
Ask for help.
"You feel like you can be an island, but learn to open up and ask for help,'' Robins said. "Once you see your idea has promise, put the proper people in place. I picked my team from my members, so I did not have to sell people on the idea, they were as passionate about it as I am. I know they will get the job done.''
On Saturday, September 26, the Nomadness Travel Tribe will have their first travel conference that caters to the urban traveler. The sold-out event in New York City will have about 150 attendees. Hopefully, I will see you there!