How I Turned A Car Trade Into A Million Dollar Tourism Business

Lots of people wonder about our Florida Bioluminescence Kayaking Tour company. It is a bit of a wonder. Not only because of the phenomenal bioluminescence that we show people, but also because in less than 3 years, the company went from a figment of my husband’s imagination, to a million dollar business. Here’s how it all started…

How We Started A Successful Tour Company

Like all businesses, this one started out as a dreamy idea. My husband had just lost his job at a Florida eco-tour company, and he needed to get back to work. “Why not start your own tour company,” I suggested. Afterall, I already had a small office, and 2 employees who helped me do mission treks in the Himalaya with Medical Trek Nepal, so we could help him get going. But what types of tours to do….

My husband was a whitewater kayaking instructor. He grew up by a river in Nepal. He knew water, he knew rivers, he knew kayaking. It just so happened that kayaking was becoming a popular outdoor activity in Florida. So, we decided that kayaking tours were the way to go.

To Be an Entrepreneur, Be Willing to Sacrifice for Your Start-up

Once we knew we were doing that, our first idea was a local river route that would require a drop-off point, then a pick-up a few miles down the river. That posed a problem. At the time, I drove a Ford Fiesta, and he drove a luxury black Jeep with a cool dragon on the side (his pride and joy if truth be told). “You can’t fit tourists in that Jeep,” I said. “You’ll have to trade it in and buy a van.” The problem was, he LOVED that Jeep, and he was currently unemployed. Believe me when I say, we had no capital. None.

“You just got your last paycheck, right?” I said. He confirmed. “Go trade the Jeep and show them that paycheck and get a car loan for a van.” So, out he went looking for a 12 passenger van. Twelve hours later, he came back with a Ford Transit. It was not cool and flashy like the Dragon Wagon Jeep, but it would hold twelve tourists if we could just get them to come kayaking. Deep breath – let’s do this thing.

Create a Great Website At least 6 Months Prior to Opening

We created our website (always the first thing necessary for a new business), and created a handful of tours. For the first year, me and 2 student interns did everything we could online to tell people about our amazing Florida tours at BK Adventure. Then, one day in March of 2017, after 15 months of posting daily on social media, one of our posts went viral. It was a post of bioluminescent kayaking, and of course, it had a link to our website connected. In one day, our website had over 100, 000 views. Iit went straight to the top of search for Florida Bioluminescence and related keywords.

Because I had spent my entire career in media and communications, I knew the viral post meant gold. We put everything we had into promoting our bioluminescence night tours. Suddenly, we needed another van, and then a truck. Then, we needed a whole lot more kayaks too! Like an entrepreneurial dream, the phone was ringing off the hook. Our $50 per day Facebook marketing budget brought in $5000 per day in sales. Whaaat?!

That was in 2017… It all started with trading something my husband really loved, and betting on his skills, his dream and our tiny little marketing team. Today, BK Adventure has many vans, trucks and trailers. The company employs over 30 guides, and a small admin. staff. In 3 years it has grown from $0 to over $1million in annual revenue. Over 80% of the revenue comes from our variety of bioluminescence night kayaking tours. But we do other things to.

What’s the Secret to Creating a Big Hit Business?

1) Find something there is a market for, and do that thing better than everyone else.

2) Be a fearless marketer – we spend more on marketing than any of our competitors, and the ROI is worth it.

3) Believe in your business idea enough to trade your favorite thing for it – make the sacrifice – it’s worth the reward.

4) If you are a small business, find out everything you can about SEO and social media influence. This is like having the biggest billboard online, and having the best word-of-mouth possible. Educate yourself about this, and invest in it.

5) Just have fun with this. Life is about having fun, loving your family, and making people happy. When you are working hard at that, people want to be part of your product and what you do.

If you want to see what we do, read more about me and Ram at BK Adventure here.