Valerie Joy Wilson. I live in West Hollywood, California (when I am actually home!)
Tell me the story of Trusted Travel Girl and how you started your blog
Trusted Travel was started by complete accident. I knew that I had a passion for travel, but I was working a thankless staffing job and I was so unhappy. I knew it wasn’t going to get me anywhere I wanted to go in life. I made a website and just started writing about travel so if a travel job opportunity came along I would have something to show. People started sharing links and emailing me, and next thing I know I left my staffing job, and became the CEO of my own business, writing, hosting videos, giving tours in LA and doing private travel consulting. Now I have a pretty heavy Instagram following and businesses contact me to work with me and tourism bureau’s are sending me on all expense paid trips– it’s crazy!
What have you learned in the process that will stay with you forever?
It may sound corny, but hard work, determination & perseverance really will pay off. Doing what you want comes with sacrifices, and you can’t be focused on too many other things in your life if you want to be successful. Entrepreneurs are the only people who are crazy enough to work 80 hour weeks to avoid working a 40 hour week for someone else, but it’s completely worth it. Set goals. Specific goals matter, because if you wake up every morning with that one goal to focus on. For me it might be “tackle two articles today and answer emails” or sometimes it’s waking up and saying to myself “I want to host my own travel show, what can I do today that will take that one step forward?” Once you tackle it you move on to the next one, and 6 months or a year later you can look back and say “wow, look at all I have accomplished!”
Do you believe more women should become solo/entrepreneurs? What do you think women bring to the table?
Can you dish out some advice for women who are thinking about starting something on their own?
Just go for it! Maybe don’t quit your day job just yet if you still have to pay the bills. But go for it, full force. It will require sacrifice, time away from friends and family, but if you don’t pursue your passion, you will always have a huge regret in life. Also, you are never too young to start! Make the decision each day when you wake up to do something to inch toward your goals. Starting something of your own isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon, so if you are doing one small thing a day you will be more successful than the person that takes on too much and burns out. Also, a great thing to pick up is the audiobook of “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale. I find this to be great to listen to as much as possible while getting ready in the mornings or while in the car. If you really listen, it will help motivate you.
What are your plans for Trusted Travel Girl?
The end goal is a successful travel show that showcases the meat & bones of the places I visit. The local secrets, the hidden gems, the people… I want my audience to see, taste and feel everything that I experience when I travel. I have a unique point of view on the world and I would love to have an audience to take on my journeys with me. So, as far as short-term goals, making more YouTube videos, coming up with more unique content, and I’m really interested in improving my photography skills because I love Instagram and I have been wildly successful thanks to it! I am interviewing Peter Greenberg, Samantha Brown and Rick Steves this weekend so hopefully getting some advice on how to better inch toward my own goals when I chat with them!
What makes you the happiest about what you’re doing?
That I can do what I want, whatever makes me happy. To an extent at least. If I don’t believe in something, I don’t have to do it. I get to follow my passions every day. Two weeks ago I got to work with a ski boot company on a pair of custom fit ski boots because it interested me, and I got to turn that passion into work. It works the other way too, if I don’t believe in a company that wants to work with me, I get to say no— it’s very liberating! I have a voice, people listen to what I have to say which comes with an awesome responsibility to put out quality, truthful, creative content. Every single day is a challenge, but it’s exciting when I look back at how much I have accomplished in the past year alone.
What’s something that you’re proud of yourself for doing? Being? Learning? Realizing?
This may be a weird response to this question, but I have realized that the only jobs I’ve ever been bad at are the ones I haven’t liked! I’m proud of myself that I’m succeeding (slowly but surely) at something I love and that I think is important. I’m proud that despite all of the struggles I have faced to get here, that I make things look easy enough to inspire others to follow their own dreams. That’s monumental. I’m proud that I didn’t take the easy road, and I’m not still sitting in that staffing office dreaming of my next travel opportunity. Instead, I can book it and share my journey with others.