My interview this week is with the super woman, Mariza Melia. Why did I say that she is such a super woman? Have you ever heard about the Laguna Trip? She is the founder of this company and she is continually updating everything regarding the Laguna Trip. The twitter, the facebook, the blog, the website itself. It got so much travel deals or affiliation with hostel, homestay, hotel, trip package, water sport package and much more it amazes me how she manages it all. Whatever it is you want to find, Mariza and her Laguna Trip cover it all.
1. First question, so what are you exactly? A travel advisor? A travel organizer or a travel writer?
I’m all of them! at least I tried to be. Hahaha. But basically I’m a traveler who makes money online. In the beginning, I was a trip organizer, a way of mine to travel for free and make money while doing it. But then during my travels, I’ve made a lot of network with people in tourism and so I can get good deals from them and then sell it online for travelers…. and so I’ve made sort of a one-stop-shopping for travelers. And to give back to other travelers, I’ve made a blog, where you can get travel tips or travel notes from me and other travelers. Hopefully LagunaTrip network encourage more people, especially Indonesian youngsters to explore Indonesia and the world. My goal right now is to be a better travel writer and also make an income from it! 😀
2. I read in a magazine that you were an IT Assistant Manager, and you changed your career and set up Laguna Trip. Can you share what made you do this?
Meeting people and experiencing a lot things during my travels sort of define what I’d like to do in the future. I want to be free to do things I love in life and and do it whenever I want. It takes lots of guts to do it and of course moral support from my close friends and family. 😀
3. What do you like and dislike most from your current job/business?
The best part of it, I can still make money while I travel. Dislike? hmmmm … NONE (at the moment)! 😀
4. Laguna Trip has almost 2,000 likes and on twitter @lagunatrip has more than 9,000 followers. How important is social media to your business?
Extremely important! In the beginning it was only a word-of-mouth reference by friends/clients. But now, most of our customers are from Social Media. They know us via Twitter or Facebook.
5. How do you see your business growing in the future?
Bigger and better than it is now of course. I still have a lot of things to learn. Hopefully we can start hire permanent employees. At the moment we only work with freelancers.
6. Does Laguna Trip give you enough income to support your life or do you run other projects on the side?
Yes. But I do other projects too. Extra income wouldn’t hurt. As one my good friend would say: “better not to put all the eggs into one basket!” HAHA
7. What do you think is the key part of the promotion strategy that you use for your business?
Social media! Twitter is my best friend.
8. Are most of your clients from outside Indonesia or are they Indonesians?
I would say 70% Indonesians, 30% international travelers/expats who work in Indonesia.
9. Do you have any advise for anyone who is thinking about switching their 9-5 job for a freelance position in the travel industry?
Man, I’m still in the learning process as well. But I guess it’s better to gain lots of network and be passionate about it! Remember, better to fail rather than not trying at all.
10. I am sure that you really love travelling. What are your favourite travel destination/tourism attraction around Surabaya, the town where you were born? Why do you like them so much?
Nothing much happening in Surabaya, but I LOVE the food! In general, what makes a place my favorite is where I can travel with my good friends, meet new friends and eat good food. So basically every place I’ve visited is my favorite.
11. What are the most memorable travel experiences that you ever had?
So far the most proud travel moment was to spend less than USD 250 for two weeks trip in South Sulawesi and Raja Ampat, West Papua. That was AMAZING! But the most memorable part of my life is when I start traveling as a real traveler back in 2008, it changed my life!