A Day in the Life: Sarah Pearce, Travelshoot

Today, I’m joined by Sarah Pearce, whom I met when she asked for a mentoring session after her win on Channel 10’s Shark Tank! More recently, Sarah took home a $10,000 cheque as Style Magazine’s winning ‘Style + Substance’ entrepreneur. Sarah’s business, Travelshoot, connects travellers with local photographers around the world to ensure you have beautifully captured memories to take home. Say goodbye – thank goodness – to the selfie stick or asking strangers to hold your camera. The online booking platform makes it easy and affordable to set up a photo session in over 20 destinations around the world – with many more to come. I sat down with Sarah to find out how she moves in such leaps and bounds.

What’s your job title?

Travelshoot Founder.

I had a business idea when I was travelling and, after 2 years of research and development, I am now managing Travelshoot full-time.

How did you get to where you are today? Any stand out career moments?

Marketing degree + 10 years working on IT projects doing change and communications (and saving $$$ to run my own business one day!) + an inspiring holiday = 6 months in running Travelshoot. 

Do you have a morning routine? What does it look like?

Because we’re a global business I get just as many emails overnight as we do during the day, so I must admit my morning routine starts with checking my emails upon waking up to get a sense of what we need to address that day. I work between a co-working space in the city and a couple days at home, so my home days are much more civilised and start with walking my dogs and grabbing a coffee. On days I’m in the city it’s normally a mad dash to get breaky and dressed to be in town by around 7.30am. 

What about a night routine?

I try to be off the laptop, but as any start-up founder will know, it’s just not possible some days. The nights I’m not on the laptop working, I’m cooking dinner with my husband and then unwinding with some TV. My guilty pleasure right now is the Bachelorette – my bet’s on Sasha 

What do you love most about what you do?

Freedom to be my own boss.

I’m happy to wear the risk and stress that comes with that for the benefits it provides. I also like that our business model is about making a difference – supporting local photographers with more work, helping customers capture some very special memories, and we also have a charity appointed for each location and a donation from each shoot in that city goes back to them. 

What do you find most challenging?

Managing where best to spend my time. There’s so much to do when you start a business. For Travelshoot, there are so many opportunities to collaborate and meet new people. It’s about finding balance and sometimes having to say no.

What do you think is one of the most important skills an entrepreneur / freelancer needs to have?

I think a good entrepreneur is a optimistic hustler. They’re not afraid to do anything to make things happen, they are constantly meeting new people and building relationships, and they enjoy the ride so that when it gets hard and s&*t happens, they can get through it. I must admit, my hustling ability is probably stronger than ‘remaining optimistic’ when it gets hard, but now that Travelshoot has had some pretty big wins it’s easier to remind myself that it’s totally worth it to keep going. 

What’s one thing you learned this month?

Face-to-face is gold. With the Style and Substance competition we had exhausted all of our ‘online’ options. I literally had friends asking us to stop spamming them for votes! So on the last day myself and my interns went door to door in the city talking to people and asking them to help by voting for us. The power of that ‘old school’ face to face time was what got us across the line. 

What is a problem in your industry? What do you think the solution is?

Our market research about the photography game highlighted that customers can sometimes find it difficult to understand what they get for their money – how many images, in what format, ranging lead times, and really understanding the fine print. Some photographers do this really well and have clear and easy packages set for their business, but others don’t. We spoke with many people who had struggled with this for their wedding day or special event and ended up paying a lot more than they had budgeted for. So we made sure we tackled that problem straight on: Travelshoot has 3 simple packages that spell out exactly what you get for your dollars.

Any advice for other wannabe or existing entrepreneurs / freelancers?

Validating your concept is critical – so before you spend a dollar, make sure you do a bucketload of research that includes speaking to your customer (host a focus group night as one exercise) to validate your business has a need in the market.