Sam is the CEO and Co-Founder of Well Traveled, the first members-only social platform for travelers, foodies and adventure seekers.
Prior to starting Well Traveled, Sam built her career in consumer tech and marketing where she led go-to-market strategies, international marketing and member monetization programs at some of the worlds biggest consumer brands. Her previous roles include leadership positions at Pandora, Snap and most recently Dollar Shave Club. Sam’s been featured in multiple podcasts and covered in publications like AdWeek and Business Insider.
She was featured in Travel Massive’s Top 100 Inspiring Women Travel Founders for 2020 and is a proud member of the Female Founder Collective, Dreamers and Doers and All Raise’s Visionary Voices.
Where did the idea for Well Traveled come from?
The idea for Well Traveled was born out of my own frustrations while travel planning because finding vetted travel recommendations is painful. There are lots of travel apps and tools out there but nothing that seemed designed for me. I realized that current solutions are failing to meet the needs of today’s modern traveler creating a huge gap in the market. I knew we could build something better, so we did.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts around 6am, I wake up, make a coffee and take the dog on a walk. I use this time to get my head right for the day and listen to a book or podcast. I try to get a workout in during the morning as well. Then… meetings, emails and all of the start up things typically dominate my day. I also try to carve out time to be strategic and network with other founders, friends and peers. I try to wrap things up by 6pm for a dinner break (and maybe a show) with my husband, then I’m often back to work for a few hours before calling it a night.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m a big picture thinker. I love brainstorming and talking to others about my ideas and vision. I’ve also realized as an entrepreneur, the best way to bring ideas to life is to just start doing things. So now, when I have an awesome idea I want to get off the ground I start taking action and commit to taking action to bring that idea to life every day until it’s a reality. It can be small steps or big steps or chasing down milestones, but the ability to combine doing with thinking is what’s going to make an impact.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think the power of niche communities is extremely important and we’re seeing that more and more as social platforms become increasingly overwhelming and exhausting. People crave connection, we know that but many of the worlds biggest platforms are now having the opposite effect of making us feel more isolated. This is where I think private communities, with a specific focus can thrive. We’re already seeing this with motherhood focused communities (like Peanut), sneaker communities (like SoleSavy) and even in travel (like us, Well Traveled). People want to feel like they belong somewhere and connect with others who share their interests and so I think this is going to be a really exciting and interesting space to watch in the future.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I take a walk with my dog and listen to a podcast or a good book every morning. Knowing I’ve carved out time for myself to get my head right as I start the day, sets me up for success.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Vegemite is delicious, especially on toast with butter.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Take risks and take action. I’ve found the more action I take, the more opportunity I create. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Talk about your idea and your company all the time, you never know who’s listening and you never know the breakthrough you might have because you did.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Building a supportive network. I believe in the power of a strong and supportive network. I actively seek out new connections and do my best to support other in my network. It’s been a strategy that has helped tremendously as an entrepreneur, which can certainly be isolating at times.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Just one? 🙂 We’ve been fundraising and that naturally comes with a lot of no’s and that’s ok. I don’t mind the no’s, the missteps, the failures… it means we’re onto something. Many people back off when they encounter resistance, for me that’s where things get interesting. That’s where the magic happens. It motivates me to keep going.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’d love to see someone build a company/product/brand that helps people buy cars. It would be great to have an advocate for car buying, to help with figuring out all the details, I think a lot of people (likely a lot of women) get taken advantage of here, there’s something there…
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I cook a lot (it’s a great way for me to unwind after a long day) and I bought an Our Place pan and I’m already obsessed with it.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I would be lost without Evernote. I use the web and mobile app and it helps keep me sane. I keep all my notebooks organized by topic and I use it both as a meeting planner and place to dump my wild and wonderful ideas.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I just finished “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight and couldn’t recommend it more. Honorable mention goes to Marie Forleo’s “Everything is Figureoutable”
What is your favorite quote?
“Everything is Figureoutable” by Marie Forleo. I have this quote framed on my desk, it shapes my whole perspective. A close runner up would be, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm” by Winston Churchill because resilience is key to being a successful entrepreneur.
- Take action and take risks
- Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress
- EVERYTHING is figureoutable
- Make time for yourself
- Build a supportive network
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.