The Opportunities We Unlock As Solopreneurs In this episode, Angela Shen, owner and founder of Savor the Wild Tours, discusses starting a new business and changing her approach after selling her first business, Savor Seattle.
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When Angela Shen sold her food tour business, Savor Seattle, it wasn't an easy decision—and it involved many tears. After pivoting her business to curated food boxes during the pandemic, Angela wasn't feeling challenged professionally or personally, so she decided it was time to move on.
But the entrepreneurial drive that made her succeed with Savor Seattle never faded. After trying a corporate job and taking time off to travel, she decided to start something new: Savor the Wild Tours. Her new business offers novel food experiences in Washington's local wilderness, such as mushroom foraging and oyster shucking.
"You should be a lifetime learner. If you've stopped or you feel like, 'I know enough, I'm a pro at this already,' that's no fun," Angela said. "I'm having way more fun today than I have had in years."
At Savor Seattle, Angela had a team of 30 to 35 team members creating and running food tours with her. With her new business, she's a solo entrepreneur and does all the work herself: finding locations, creating itineraries, and leading tours.
When creating a new business, Angela also adopted a new mindset—less focus on success in terms of profits and more on providing quality experiences.
"It won't be 30,000 [customers] a year like we did before, maybe a couple hundred, maybe even a thousand," Angela said. "That personal touch and that impact that we have is so much deeper, and it makes me happy. That is a marker of success that never was part of the equation before."
After owning and working on Savor Seattle for 17 years, Angela felt her identity was intertwined with the identity of the business. With Savor the Wild, she tries to compartmentalize work from her personal life to avoid stress and burnout. As a one-person operation, she's able to run the tours on her own schedule, allowing her to spend more quality time with her family and work on other business ventures, such as business consulting.
"I was lucky as an entrepreneur to have started a successful business early in my career, so I have this privilege now of not having all of that pressure on me to say my success in life is defined by this one business," Angela said. "I feel really proud of that, and my kids got to see that, and I think now it's about showing them and myself that I'm capable of more."
In addition to Savor the Wild having a similar namesake, Angela maintains Savor Seattle's values of diversity and inclusion in her new ventures. She makes sure every customer feels welcome at each experience, no matter what they look like or where they come from.
"I don't really look like your average mushroom forager. Most people I encounter in the woods look very different," Angela said. "As someone who is of minority background and had to deal with adversity to get to where I'm today, and will continue to deal with it, I want to make it easier for others to come into this space and to do so in a way that feels safe and welcoming."
When debating big business decisions, other business owners can learn from Angela's journey, including the following tips:
- Stay true to your values. While Savor the Wild offers different experiences from Savor Seattle, both businesses foster a spirit of adventure and inclusion, representing the business owner's values.
- Form valuable partnerships. Throughout her journey, Angela found trustworthy business partners that helped her think through tough business decisions and even connected her with the company that bought Savor Seattle.
- Listen to your gut. When debating the sale of Savor Seattle, Angela listened to her hunch, leading her to a fulfilling decision that opened doors to new opportunities.
Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Angela, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday. You can also check out our 2021 episode with Angela.