Love to travel but hate planning for it? Wild Bum has you covered. A curated, crafted travel guide site, Wild Bum connects novice travelers with experienced globetrotters so you can create a meaningful adventure of your own. Here’s how credit cards played a part in this #wildbumming.
Because Mollie Krengel is an intrepid global traveler, friends were constantly asking her for advice. In response, she began crafting unique travel guides that were based on her extensive research and experience.
“Many people either dislike the planning process or simply don’t have the time, but I completely geek out over it,” says Krengel. So, in 2018, she transformed her passion into a business: Wild Bum, a global platform that sells curated travel guides.
Wild Bum connects people with travelers who’ve been there, done that and want to share their knowledge. “It’s like buying a travel guide from a best friend you didn’t know you had,” says Krengel.
“There are no affiliates or sponsorships. A Wild Bum Guide is loaded with tips on how to get around, where to stay, eat, drink, shop, cool things to do, hidden gems, a packing list and even etiquette.”
To ensure quality, Wild Bum “Guide Architects” go through a rigorous application process. Once accepted, they create a profile so viewers can learn more about them and determine if they have a similar travel style. If so, they can purchase the travel guide.
Krengel’s vision is for Wild Bum to encourage more people to get out and explore the world. “With 705 million unused vacation days in the U.S. in 2018, we want to be the catalyst for change in which people, companies and organizations recognize that travel is not a luxury, but an essential part of our health and well-being,” she says.
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Your company is still very new. Has launching been tough?
As a start-up, the biggest hardship is getting people to know you exist!
And with anything innovative and different, the hardships occur when people don’t understand the concept. They might not see the potential — it’s also creating a new habit.
So much free information exists on the web. While this is fantastic and great for Guide Architects — those who have the patience to sift through it all — Wild Bum’s purpose is to be a tool for those who have yet to travel. It’s for the people who are leaving all of those hard-earned vacation days unused.
Connecting with Guide Architects all over the world has been the most rewarding part of building and launching Wild Bum. At its core, it’s about building community. Everything we do stems from that vision.
Any surprise costs catch you off guard?
Yes. The first hurdle was the cost to build the site. Since it’s complex, it required custom coding.
Wild Bum is scaled to be a global platform, and it required something really well done. While its current site is considered MVP (a minimum viable product, which has enough features to satisfy early adopters), and we are so proud of it, we know it will only get better from here.
Then there is the cost of legal work, marketing, advertising, public relations, the list goes on! It’s definitely a bit of a struggle when you want to do it all and shout about your company from the rooftops — but you have to pick and choose where to prioritize your budget.
Since Wild Bum is growing organically, we have to be patient. A start-up mentality is definitely required. I want to do as much as I can, try things, see what happens and make changes, but getting who we are out there is key — especially on a limited budget!
Speaking of budgeting, have credit cards helped you with expenses?
Absolutely. We have a Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card, which offers 2 miles per dollar on direct Delta purchases.
We also have a U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card. It allows us to earn 2 points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores, or airlines — whichever we spend the most on during the monthly billing cycle. And we also earn 2 points per dollar at most cell phone service providers and 1 point on everything else.
We definitely chose these cards for the rewards. My husband owns his own business as well, and we love racking them up together.
As a travel enthusiast, many of our airline tickets are purchased with our points and miles. Any time I can use a credit card to pay for the things my business needs— like marketing materials and supplies, legal fees, computers and so on — I will.
What are your future plans for the business?
We have big dreams but are very fluid and flexible. Wild Bum is growing in ways that we might not have even anticipated!
We believe that we can be the change in our travel dialogue and culture — particularly here in the U.S. There is a lot of research that shows how meaningful travel can be. It improves overall health, deepens relationships and has a positive impact in the workplace.
Wild Bum should be part of employee incentive and retention programs. Employees who use their vacation days also take fewer sick days, return more creative, productive and less stressed. Bottom line: It’s good for business!
They can also earn extra money by becoming Guide Architects. And when they do, they can share travel stories and build camaraderie.
What is your advice to other business owners who are just starting out?
An entrepreneur’s life is a roller-coaster of emotions, so my go-to advice is to act in moments of courage.
When I am feeling brave, I take action. It doesn’t have to be big either. It could be setting up the LLC, sending an email or posting a date for an event.
Also, find people who support and encourage you. I like to surround myself with people who have different skill sets and people I look up to. They make me better; they’re how I learn. Those people are great resources — they will hold you accountable and help you when you’re feeling stuck.