The Vagabond Monkey – Episode 2

Posted by in Projects

In the previous episode of The Vagabond Monkey creation, I was explaining where the idea came from: a mix of strong desire to travel more, my skills in trip organisation and John’s skills in photography and the observation that people were looking to travel differently. This is an idea. But is it a business? Not yet.

We’re at the end of October 2017. John and I have settled on our objectives, ironed out the concept, and we’re ready to put that baby out in the world. Where do we start? Numbers!

Projecting numbers

Let’s be honest here. The financial portion of a business plan has never been my favorite to write or to read. I have participated in the creation of dozens of projects (yes, I know…) but I rarely was the one opening up the dreaded Excel spreadsheet. My theory is the following: if you don’t know how to do something, find someone who does.

Although, at this stage, the number crunching is not rocket science. I decided to explore the tool provided by Chris Guillebeau in his latest book: Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, and do a “paper napkin” version of our financial projection.

  • Option A (original):
    Income per person (before expenses): $1,500
    Expenses per person: $1,000
    Trip income per person (profit): $500
    Number of persons per trip: 6
    Trip income (net): $3,000
  • Option B (optimistic):
    Income per person (before expenses): $2,000
    Expenses per person: $1,200
    Trip income per person (profit): $800
    Number of persons per trip: 6
    Trip income (net): $4,800
  • Option C (conservative):
    Income per person (before expenses): $1,500
    Expenses per person: $1,000
    Trip income per person (profit): $500
    Number of persons per trip: 4
    Trip income (net): $2,000

Remember, the idea is that the benefit covers for our portion of the trip, that’s it. So, even with the conservative option, we should be able to make it work. At this point, those are really loose projections, all the assumptions need to be verified with some field work. Which is what we settle to do.

Vision & Purpose

It was also time to put TheVagabondMonkey one page business plan on paper. This acts as a pledge. It makes the project real. Because of that, it’s worth spending time and energy working on it. We started with the Vision & Purpose statement.

Photography is a form of art that many people are sensitive to and willing to experiment. Travel photography, in particular, has seen a great increase of interest within the last few years due to the rise of social media, travel bloggers and digital nomads.

In parallel, tourism and traveling have changed and many people are looking to see, and preserve through photography, the beauty in their destination of choice with a rise of the expectations they’re putting behind the quality of those photographs.

We believe that a small group of people traveling together can capture those moments without any damage to the scenery or the culture of the destination. We also believe that the guidance of a professional photographer will allow this group to improve on their technique and encourage them to bring home not only photographic memories but an uplifting experience and upgraded skills.

Because we are both conscious travelers and photographers, we want to surround ourselves with like-minded people to share our adventures. This project is not meant to become a high income business. It is meant to allow us to afford and share more travel time in our agendas.

Now we’re getting real. From that pledge to the first trip we’re organizing, in Ireland, in May 2018, there are many other steps. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode!