Four years ago, Antonio Cala and Amanda Zeisset quit their day jobs, bought two bicycles, and took a cycling trip from Southern California all the way to Patagonia, Argentina. Little did they know this unique – and risky – adventure would one day lead them to starting a business in the travel industry. Today the married couple proudly runs The Adventure Junkies, LLC, a startup they formally established in June 2016 that is registered in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The two entrepreneurs are the only employees in the startup venture, but they have hired several freelance writers to contribute to their unique online portal. “Our website is a resource that provides information for thrill seekers and anyone else who is looking for some exciting travel adventures,” Cala explains. “We provide all kinds of content that is free to access, including articles, reviews, ideas on courses and gear for certain adventures, travel guides, and so much more. Our motto is, ‘Dream it. Learn it. Live it.’” So, how does the web-based company make money if its content is free for all users? “We make money through an affiliate program,” Cala says. “We find companies that will provide our readers with gear, courses, and other products or services, and then we’ll get paid when our visitors go to these affiliate companies’ websites. We have links to stores in lots of U.S. states and other countries depending on the type of adventure someone is interested in pursuing. Doing all of this has helped us build an important trust with our readers.” During their lengthy bike trip that led them to startup success today, the two entrepreneurs saved up lots of money from their day jobs that they used to go hiking, kayaking, and scuba diving along their journey. “Friends of ours would ask us our opinion on the best places to visit, so we decided to start a small blog about our travels. When the site was growing pretty quickly, we thought it was time to get serious about this.”
Cala agrees with most entrepreneurs who cite flexibility as their favorite thing about working for themselves. “I love the freedom to organize my schedule the way I want,” he says. “I can work and live wherever I choose. Plus, I can avoid the stressful commute and have breakfast with my wife every morning.” He adds that working with his wife has been truly rewarding. The two have developed a plan of tasks for each person, which has worked well so that they aren’t stepping on each other’s toes. “I’m in charge of the accounting, legal, and SEO facets of the business. My wife handles more of the content production and working with our writers. We cycled together for 3 years, getting by on $10 per day, camping, and cooking our own meals. So by now, we’re pretty set doing anything together.” When asked about the best spots in the world for adventure traveling, he immediately points to New Zealand as being at the top of his list. “I lived in New Zealand for 4 years, and it is a very unique place in the world,” he says. “Whether you’re into climbing, fishing, sailing, hiking, or anything outdoors, this is the place to go. I also think Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana are big hot spots because of the mountains.”
Cala, who is originally from Spain, admits he was a bit nervous about diving into the web content space that has become oversaturated in recent years. So, he and Zeisset made it their goal to remain an independent website that users could visit as a one-stop shop for adventure travel information. “We’ve gone from competing to creating the ultimate online resource for travelers. We want to increase our users’ quality of life and make them happy by providing them with everything they need to find joy in experiencing the world.” The company’s website is www.theadventurejunkies.com. It also has a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. “We were pretty big on using social media early on in this venture, but we found that the traffic we got was not the quality we wanted. That’s why we have implemented SEO strategies much more, and we’ve found that our target audience tends to come from people searching on Google. We also use e-mail marketing and have created groups on social media so people can share their travel interests and experiences.”
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in so many interests when starting a business, Cala admits. “In the beginning, we started doing too much. Once we realized this, we started to focus on one main thing – providing the best quality content to our readers. Now that we’ve mastered that pretty well, we are looking to develop mobile apps and other products.” He offers some advice for entrepreneurs who may be nervous about the risks of self-employment. “First and foremost, invest in yourself,” he urges. “If you grow, your business will grow. Get all of the skills you need, and be sure you can have an intelligent conversation with anyone about any aspect of your business. Also, build a team around you and delegate tasks to free up your time.”
Antonio Cala says that he and his wife have been happy with the small business accounting support they’ve received as clients of 1-800Accountant. “I like the responsiveness whenever I contact 1-800Accountant. You guys are always super-fast and quick with your helpful tax assistance. You’ve also made sure I’m working with the right accountant since my business is a little different.” Photo credit: The photograph of the Choquequirao Trek in the Peruvian Andes was provided by The Adventure Junkies, LLC and is used with permission.