Startup lessons from working with our very first customers

This month has seen us make a fairly big leap from dreaming to doing — analysing to testing? — but not in the way we might have expected. Yes, we’re building an online travel business, but rather than diving into a snazzy new website build (more on that soon) we’ve been working closely with our first customers to help them plan real-life, incredible trips instead.

Why have we done it this way?

Labelled a “concierge service” in the endless start-up lingo — what we’re trying to do with this hands-on, low-tech stage is to check that what we think our customers want is actually what they want, and see where the greatest problem areas lie.

Coming out of FFWD, we knew that we didn’t want to jump into applying to another more advanced accelerator programme (with the time and energy commitment that’s required) or seek a full seed investment round straight away (with the time we might waste doing so when we could be doing, learning and earning some money instead).

Instead, we were hungry to crack on and get some practical experience under our belts.

Startup lessons from working with our first customers

Operating the service has been slow and frustrating at times (we definitely have a love/hate relationship with Google maps!) but it also feels like real progress. Working with people in the throws of planning sabbaticals, mega honeymoons and for-the-hell-of-it big trips has been a huge learning experience for us that will no doubt save us time and money in the long run.

In doing this, we’ve…

    • Evolved our 1 minute pitch (still needs work)
    • Worked with different types of people, and learned about the different types of help they’re looking for
    • Got clearer around what a “Faraway experience” is and isn’t
    • Built relationships with providers we might never have come across otherwise
    • Realised which day-to-day activities we’re really not so keen on – and how to motivate ourselves / start to minimise them!
    • Had a good dose of reality around how long things take (an average of 5–7 times as long as we think)
  • Spent a little and learned a lot about what our next step needs to be

So, it feels like a good investment of time.

Also, apparently Airbnb and Zappos both operated a similar service in their early days, manually matching home owners with guests and shoppers with shoes – so at least we’re in good company 😉

A big thank you

to our intrepid first customers who’ve put their trust in us, given us the opportunity to save them from drowning in travel research and stayed patient with us as we figure some things out for the first time.

Take time out for a life adventure.

Do you dream about escaping your routine and going on a far-flung trip of your own? Whether it’s 3 weeks or 3 months, we’d love to help. Book in a free exploratory call here to get started.

No immediate travel plans? Why don’t you come over and join us on Instagram?

Team Faraway x

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