How This Young Mom Built her Dream Business With a Travel Website🌅


– Hi, I’m Sarah Kok, I’m the owner of Montenegro Pulse, I
have an online business with Solo Build It! which has allowed me to be a stay-at-home
mom, to renovate my house and to travel the world,
and this is my story. – Sarah had always wanted to
be financially independent. Raised in New Zealand,
she and her husband, Zavo, had two false starts,
first, with a business that they really didn’t enjoy, and second, with one that effectively
bought them a job. Nothing worked, until their
return to Zavo’s home country in Montenegro and Sarah
discovered Solo Build It! in 2013. – The business has allowed me to be there whenever my son is sick, I
was there for his first steps, I was there for his first
words, I’ve been there for him for all those important
milestones that many people miss. And for me that’s absolutely priceless. – Hello, I’m Paul
Buckingham, roving ambassador for Solo Build It!, Sarah’s
doesn’t just resonate for a stay-at-home mom, or dad, who wants to improve financial well-being, and add an extra dimension to their life. If you have a site already and
want to earn more effectively then her monetization
experience is a lesson for any online business owner. – Once you get that first dollar, then you realize it’s just a numbers game. – We’ll discover, Sarah’s
Solo Build It! journey, and the powerful difference
between doing something you love instead of something you
hate, right after this. (light music) – Well first of all we tried
Amway which was horrible because with that kind of scheme you’re always trying to sell
to your friends and family. And, you know, pretty soon
people start avoiding you ’cause you’re always trying
to sell them something. And it’s just hard slog,
it was not pleasant. Your basically, you want
to enjoy what you’re doing. And then we bought into this franchise which was a huge investment
and we had two shops in two shopping malls, yeah,
and the overheads were huge, the time commitment was
huge, shopping malls in New Zealand are closed
for three days a year. And we realized, really, that
we’d bought ourselves a job because every time our revenue
went up our rent went up, so, you’re stuck on this
treadmill of working for the franchisor, working
for the shopping mall, working to pay your staff, and you get whatever’s left over at the end, which is typically, not a lot. – You know, it’s a stark contrast with your life now in Montenegro and your growing online
business with Solo Build It!. – Yeah, the business gives me
a whole different lifestyle to what I would have
had if I didn’t have it. If I didn’t have the
business I would’ve had to go back to work which was 10AM to 6PM and then my son would’ve grown up basically with somebody
else, with the care. The business has allowed me to be there whenever my son is sick, I
was there for his first steps, I was there for his first
words, I’ve been there for him for all those important
milestones that many people miss and for me that’s absolutely priceless. That’s the biggest gift that
this business has given me. And on the other side,
financially, the business has paid to renovate our
house, it’s paid for us to come back to New Zealand
and visit family every year, really important things that
we’re really grateful for. – So when you look at
it, if you look at it as a balance sheet, you’re really talking about the quality of your
life as you, as Sarah, by yourself, then there’s
a quality of your life with your family, then
there’s a quality of your life with the financial improvements
you’ve been able to make and also to come back to New
Zealand to visit your family. I mean that’s all pretty significant and not something that
you can do with a job that is actually requiring
your hourly time every day. – Yes, yes, and I should mention also that it’s given me and identity outside of just being a mother. Being a stay-at-home mother is hard work but it’s often boring work
as well, for some people. And I’m one of those people,
and for me this has given me something intellectually stimulating and it’s given me my own
identity and freedom, so that’s something that’s
really important to me. – So how did you know that
a Montenegro travel site could work, because really,
you were traveling blind. – Well yeah you are but not
with Solo Build It!, in a way, because I had looked into other kind of online business
courses at the same time as I was thinking about Solo Build It! And a lot of them were, you
know, very kind of wishy-washy. But when you get into
Solo Build It! you can see that you’ve got this
thing called Brainstormer and you put in your IDL,
let’s say, Montenegro. And you can see the numbers
and you can see off the bat, fairly quickly, will it work or won’t it. Solo Build It! gives
you it in plain English, and black and white, will
it fall between this number and this number and it gives
you the way to work out whether this is a viable idea or not before you even invest any
money or build anything. – This idea of a tourism
niche is obviously very appealing and you’d be hard to think why you wouldn’t ever want to do it but were you ever daunted
by the competition? – Yes, yes, it’s easy to
compare with other websites and get daunted but I always
remember what Ken says, he said put your blinkers
on and just keep building. And that’s what you’ve gotta do. And get to know your audience,
connect with your audience and just keep going, because
at the end of the day I like to think of myself as contributing to the conversation about Montenegro. I’m not the one and only,
and maybe my viewpoints aren’t going to be for everybody. So I’m contributing my thoughts,
my ideas, my perspective but I don’t have to be the
only voice in the niche. – That’s really nicely
put but nevertheless you do need to be fairly high up the search engine rankings
in order to be found to be able to make a
contribution with your voice. How have you gone about
being able to do that? – Following the action guide
really kind of makes it a bit of a no-brainer in a way. You write your page, of course
you do it as well as you can and then you follow the steps,
and that way it’ll rank. – Can you give me an
idea of how your traffic has grown steadily and where it is now? – It’s quite seasonal,
so in the summer months I have higher traffic and
it varies at the moment anywhere between 11 and
40,000 visitors a month. Of course I’m working
on growing it as we do. But when I think about
40,000 people that’s good. – So how does that fit in
then with you’re lifestyle, because it would be easy to think that you are working
as hard as you might of with a franchise but you must
have other things going on in your life that this
needs to fit around. – So it’s been very part time, now I do it when my son is at
kindergarten in the mornings. And the rest of the time I’m free. – Right, so given that work pattern, we haven’t talked very much
about your monetization program. Can you talk about, first of all, when you started monetizing,
when you first started doing it in the sequence of the
development of the site. And also, how you’ve gone about doing it. – Yeah, sure, well first I started out writing a whole lot of information pages. I followed the action guide and wrote my 20 to 30 pages first
before I started monetizing. However I had the ideas for how I was going to monetize
before I had started building because that’s also in the action guide where you write out
your monetization plan. So I started, I have some
friends from the tourism industry who run tours in Montenegro
and so I had started out contacting them and
saying, hey, can I offer your tours to my visitors
and if somebody books you’re given your commission. So it was that personal
affiliate model with them. And that worked, that got me started. So I knew these people personally, I was really happy
recommending their tours. I’d done a lot of them myself. I now knew that my
customers were gonna get really good service, so that worked, and still works very well,
and as time’s gone on I’ve joined affiliate
programs like booking.com, Viator Get Your Guide who
offer tours in Montenegro now. I kind of get revenue from
a whole bunch of places which is really important
for me, I’ve diversified it. – So what sort of roles do
your existing tourism operators have in your diversification strategy? – They say oh, every
time I google something about Montenegro your site comes up. And so they’re like, I
don’t know how you do it. But it’s always there, so
I told my friend about you, they run such and such a tour. And you should go and see them. And I told them all about you so, yeah, so in that way now it’s
kind of word of mouth through partners and that’s
how I find new partners who are offering new tours
and new activities, and yeah. – You seem to be relying on
an incredibly amount of trust with the tour operators that
you work personally with because there’s no tracking
links, there’s no way of knowing whether they’ve made a sale or not. – Yes there is, but generally
I have a great relationship with these people, they don’t
want to lose business from me. They value what they’re getting from me and I value what I’m getting from them. And I’ve never had a problem with them, with somebody not paying, so yes, so it’s worked out
fantastically and I’ve made a lot of friends that way as well. It’s just a really nice business to be in. – So there you have it,
everyone who uses Solo Builders rock solid support system is
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