Bitten by the travel bug at a young age of 16, it comes as no surprise that lifetime traveller, Carole Medcalf would have a career in travel and tourism at the age of 60.
A Sociologist by training, Carole has been a CEO of five community organisations. When she was the CEO of an Aboriginal organisation for a National Heritage-listed site, Carole decided to get her training in travel and tourism.
Wandering Women was founded in 2012 when Carole was at a birthday celebration in Queensland, and a chat with her three ‘sisters’ lead to the idea to curate shared adventures.
At Wandering Women, Carole crafts tours to enable other women to join in on the best journeys she has had, combined with new adventures on each tour.
Who’s your favourite entrepreneur and why?
“Apart from Suzi Dafnis for obvious reasons, it would be Veuve Clicquot (translated to the widow Clicquot) as the first woman to take over the Champagne business left by her husband in 1805. I don’t drink much but I enjoy a glass of champagne from time to time. This was a time when women didn’t run businesses and she turned the business into an international success. I include a visit to Reims/Epernay to meet a fabulous group of women champagne makers on our tour of France.”
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
“I love showing women new places, sharing new experiences and enjoy their company. The people I meet, the freedom to create what you want to and have other women share the joy of travel is a great way to spend my life.”
What three pieces of advice do you wish you’d been given when you started?
- Start when you first get the urge to do it – I waited a while.
- Don’t lose focus on what you set out to do but don’t be afraid to adapt.
- Planning is great but the execution is everything. I learned that from a fighter pilot during leadership training. Very true- lots of great plans stay on shelves gathering dust. It’s all in the execution of the plan.
What advice would YOU give someone thinking about starting a business?
“Make sure you are passionate about it, do your research, choose good advisers and then go for it. Be resilient so that when something unexpected or a setback comes along you can stay focussed and get through the rough patches. Make sure you have a great support team around you – not necessarily employees but confidants, cheer squads.”
What skills and knowledge areas would you recommend those starting out in business get acquainted with quickly?
- My favourite saying for a long time was – at least I can count! Understand the numbers and what that means in terms of money, people, requirements.
- Systems- make sure you have good governance, find out what best practice is for your industry and aim for that initially.
- Know your customers preferably before you start- research.
- Something I’ve learned in HerBusiness – Networking as it’s practised here. As a long time community industry person, I have established networks all my working life. Not like these networks and I’m so glad I’ve been able to experience them and learn from the women here.
What does your IDEAL business look like? Even if you’re not there yet, what would it look like if your business was ideal?
“I will be taking women to all these destinations and creating others. I will have 2-3 other women also guiding tours and 2 admin support people. I will have a great marketing team who will write and create great marketing ideas.Clients will be returning for the next tour and there will be no fear of Covid -19!”
What problem does being a Member of the HerBusiness Network solve for you and your business? And, how?
“Connections- to other women also wanting to improve their businesses, to ideas happily shared in the Network, to support when it is tough, to fun. All of which goes to improving the way I conduct my business, the creativity that I can inject into what I offer.”