“I don't miss the commute, the cubicle lifestyle, office politics or having a boss.”
From Marketing to Travel Career Consulting
What work were you doing previously?
I worked in marketing.
Firstly, I worked for a medical textbook publishing company, then later for a digital music programmer and for cable and satellite television.
What are you doing now?
I run my own business as a career consultant and founder of Tourism Exposed.
Tourism Exposed is an online community that helps career changers find their dream jobs in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
Why did you change?
I wanted to have the flexibility and freedom that owning my own business allowed.
This was why I left corporate life to teach tourism at my local community college, and also to start Tourism Exposed.
When was the moment you decided to make the change?
The moment I decided to make the change was when I realised that I could actually make a career out of doing something that I enjoy, I'm good at, and that helps people, all at the same time.
More importantly, I realised I could accomplish all of this by working for myself instead of for someone else. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people who want to break into travel – it's an industry I'm passionate about.
Are you happy with the change?
I'm absolutely happy with the change.
Tourism Exposed is still relatively new, but I'm excited to be in control of my day, especially since I'm able to be with my two-year-old son full time.
What do you miss and what don't you miss?
I don't miss the commute, the cubicle lifestyle, office politics or having a boss.
However, since I work from home, I do miss face-to-face communication with colleagues.
How did you go about making the shift?
I've always wanted to have a career that allowed me to travel around the world.
Through networking, I was able to break into the international tourism marketing field. I worked for various organisations in the travel industry, such as tour operators, destination marketing organisations, and retailers.
While I was working in tourism marketing, I did a lot of international travel. Whenever I would meet someone and they asked what I did for a living and I told them, they would always ask me, "How did you get into that? I would love to learn how to get a job where I could travel around the world".
So out of this, I started informally coaching friends, acquaintances and their referrals on how to break into the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
As these people began to successfully find jobs in the industry, I had a lightbulb moment that was the beginning of Tourism Exposed.
I tested and validated my ideas by having some preliminary workshops; these led to me securing a spot to teach a non-credit travel careers course at New York University. Once I started getting a lot of demand for my workshops and NYU course, I knew that I had to pursue Tourism Exposed as a full-time business.
What didn't go well? What 'wrong turns' did you take?
Initially, I underestimated how important it is to consistently and continuously talk to your target market when starting a new business. It's so important to always know the needs of the people my business serves.
How did you handle your finances to make your change possible?
I'm lucky to have substantial savings and a supportive spouse.
What was the most difficult thing about changing?
Maintaining a positive mindset that includes not giving up.
What help did you get?
I read a lot of business books and entrepreneur blogs.
Also, I'm a member of various online entrepreneur communities where I can ask questions and get feedback on my ideas.
What have you learnt in the process?
I've learnt not to be afraid of reaching out for help from those who are where I'd like to be, as far as my career development is concerned.
Seeking help and guidance from those who are successful has helped me to jump ahead much farther and quicker than if I'd tried to figure it all out and do it on my own.
What do you wish you'd done differently?
I wish I'd started Tourism Exposed years earlier than I actually did.
What would you advise others to do in the same situation?
Speak to as many people as you can about the entire career change process, career opportunities and respective strategies.
Don't listen to negative people or doubters, and don't get caught in the endless cycle of always "thinking about making a career change".
Start before you think you are ready.
What resources would you recommend to others?
Choose Yourself! by James Altucher, and Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt.
To find out more about Kimberly’s services, visit www.tourismexposed.com
What lessons could you take from Kimberly's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.