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With Bizee’s monthly #INCspiration Founder Story series, we highlight the real-life story of one actual Bizee client who used Bizee’s business formation services to start their businesses. Sometimes when you’re considering whether to start a business, it can help to see some real stories of other successful entrepreneurs.
After a year of pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, many Americans are excited to travel again. This month, we’re featuring the story of Here & Now Travel Company, a business that provides adventurous group travel experiences for young professionals.
Founded by a husband-and-wife team named Alex and Elise Coleman, Here & Now Travel helps eliminate the barriers to travel. They enable busy professionals to get the most out of their vacation time by seeing exciting international destinations while meeting new people. The company offers group tours in Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Greece, Iceland and Mexico.
Learn more about the story of Alex and Elise Coleman and how they started their business.
Making Travel Dreams a Reality for Busy Professionals
Here & Now Travel was founded with a vision to provide unique travel experiences for young professionals who work hard and who might struggle to find time to take a vacation.
“Alex and I were working corporate jobs in engineering and sales, and we wanted to create something from the ground up for people like us, who were working corporate jobs and didn’t have the time or vacation hours to plan an international trip,” Elise Coleman said.
A common challenge for a lot of working adults is that even though they have the money to take an international vacation and would love to travel, they might not know where to begin with booking or planning the trip. Here & Now Travel offers pre-planned itineraries in exciting destinations, making it easy for people to choose a trip that interests them while minimizing the time commitment.
“We were always intrigued by the travel industry,” Elise said. “The idea of bringing joy to people’s lives and giving them once-in-a-lifetime experiences seemed so fun and exciting.”
Creating Life-Changing International Tours
Here & Now Travel offers international group vacations specifically for young professionals (21–35 years of age). Travelers visit the company website, select a destination on the travel calendar, and join a group of 6–14 other young professionals who are in the same stage of life. Once travelers land at the destination airport, Here & Now Travel plans and operates a 5–8 day itinerary, including activities, accommodations, meals and guide service.
“Our trips are authentic, off the beaten path and build a strong community among our travelers, who arrive as strangers and leave as friends,” Elise said.
Here & Now Travel offers local guides, provides immersive experiences such as hiking and swimming, partners with environmental organizations for sustainability and makes extra efforts to create economic opportunity within the local communities where they visit.
If you would love to experience a new part of the world while getting the support and camaraderie of a group tour, Here & Now Travel might be a great choice for your next vacation. They help young professionals experience the best of international travel without having to organize all the details yourself. And you get to meet new friends along the way.
Outsourcing to Bizee
In a way, booking a vacation with Here & Now Travel is like “outsourcing” your travel planning. Many young professionals have busy work schedules and don’t have time to book lodging or decide on tour destinations.
Here & Now Travel serves as a trusted guide and takes all those decisions and details off your to-do list as a traveler. In the same way, Elise and Alex decided to outsource their business formation to Bizee.
“We were looking for an affordable and reliable way to file for our LLC, and Bizee provided that,” Elise said. “They helped us create our business by walking us through a simple way to file.”
When you use Bizee’s business formation services to form an LLC, you are getting the support of a trusted guide who knows the process. Instead of figuring out the details of the business formation process all by yourself, Bizee can support you and help you save time while getting to your destination.
Overcoming Challenges of the Pandemic
The travel industry was hit hard by the pandemic, with millions of people suddenly forced to cancel their trips due to lockdowns and border closures. Businesses like Here & Now Travel had to refund a lot of money to customers, cancel tours and wait through many months of unprecedented uncertainty.
“The most challenging part was absolutely when COVID hit,” Elise said. “The travel industry screeched to a halt and we didn’t run a trip for 15 months. We had to learn quickly about refund policies for our travelers and our vendors while waiting patiently for travel to start again. It was difficult balancing a positive outlook and getting our customers excited about traveling again, while also feeling the weight of the pandemic in our own personal lives.”
Fortunately, Here & Now Travel has survived the pandemic. During 2021, demand for travel has come surging back and is now making a strong recovery. The company is gearing up to host more trips in 2022 and beyond.
“In 2022, we are running 25 trips to Iceland, Cuba, Colombia, Greece, Mexico and Costa Rica,” Elise said. “We recently quit our corporate jobs, so over the next year, we are scouting new destinations and building new trips to launch in 2023!”
Advice to Entrepreneurs? Go, Go, Go!
It’s appropriate that Elise is in the travel industry because her advice to other entrepreneurs is all about forward motion.
“My advice is to just start,” she said. “Starting a business requires hundreds of small decisions, and if you think too much about the details beforehand, it can take years to get it off the ground. Start small, learn as you go and take one step at a time.”
Elise and Alex have learned a lot from being entrepreneurs, and despite the challenges of navigating through the pandemic, they are excited and grateful to be doing this for a living.
“I feel proud to be an entrepreneur, and seeing the impact our trips have on our customers is by far the most rewarding part of owning our own business,” Elise said. “They are so happy and relaxed! I love the fact that we brought them together to show them a different part of the world because of our company. Choosing our own schedules is a huge plus too!”
Founding Here & Now Travel has been an act of community-building, as Elise and Alex bring together groups of young professionals for new connections and travel adventures. They also consider themselves to be part of a larger community of entrepreneurs.
“No job is easy, and entrepreneurship has its own set of challenges, but it’s so rewarding at the same time,” Elise said. “We have looked up to many entrepreneurs in the past, and we are proud to be a part of the community.”
Ben Gran is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Ben has written for Fortune 500 companies, the Governor of Iowa (who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and many corporate clients. He writes about entrepreneurship, technology, food and other areas of great personal interest.
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