Will and Jess Sueiro of Worldtowning stand on the ruins of a 12th century castle in France. The large expanses of the ruins dotted with green spread beneath them in a fascinating display. As the sun sets in the distance, all the colors around them grow warm, tinted with the pink of the fading light.
This is the daily life of the Sueiro family who run a business and travel at the same time.
Running a business on the road might seem crazy, but after listening to Will and Jess’s story, it made a lot more sense. After all, living the entrepreneurial life is living out the unexpected, and sometimes that means giving up an office for fresh air and open roads.
An Entrepreneur at Heart
Jessica Sueiro had always grown up knowing she wanted to run her own business. “Everything stems from my childhood… I grew up in a rural part of Maine, and they [my parents] were just different,” she said.
“I had a history of seeing my parents doing it [running a business] so I knew what goes into running your own business and the amount of work and sacrifice it involves, but I also got a nice taste of the flexibility when I first started my design business.” Because of her childhood experiences, Jessica was the first to begin on the entrepreneurial path.
However, her husband, Will, worked a well-paying accounting job at State Street. Leaving that job would be one of the hardest things he’d ever do, but leaving the job also introduced him to the joys of employment flexibility.
An Unexpected Realization
The two planned for their world trip for a year and left with their children in 2014 for Costa Rica. Planning the move was difficult though. They had to figure out “the housing, the medical, the finances, the tech, vaccinations, and schooling for children” and deal with daily family duties. Jessica admitted, “We gave ourselves 12 months, and I think that if we hadn’t set a timeline…We might have pushed it out and pushed it out”.
They eventually finished planning and moved to Costa Rica, to Ecuador, and then to France. At that point, they had been answering “questions left and right for…years”, and they noticed something. Unlike them, many people who were thinking of doing these trips would pull out as soon as they realized the full scope of what they had to do, thus the two realized, “We saw that others never actually followed through with what they wanted to do to start business travel life. So the idea was: How do we help them become more accountable?”
Because of her experience in running a business, Jess was the first to suggest the idea. As talk became action, Will decided to quit his contracting job and join in full time too.
Worldtowning is dedicated to aiding people or families in planning trips of three months or longer by offering consulting and even step-by-step “hand holding” sessions so they can prepare, follow through, and transition to another country to live like a local.
Developing the business hasn’t been easy though.
The first issue for the couple, especially as they were raising two children, was “going from making a comfortable income to a startup”. Jessica points out that “it’s hard to go to work every single day…working till midnight, and not making what you used to make in a 40 hour week.”
The second issue was connecting with a network of travelers and potential ones too. Right now, around the world, countless families live the digital nomad life, but connecting with them and integrating them into the business has been an interesting process. The founders currently operate a YouTube channel where they connect with 90% of their clients. Moving forward, Worldtowning hopes to build a support base using their network to help connect with more people and aid them in planning long term travel. After they’ve attained a critical mass of clients, they plan on utilizing a more niche marketing strategy.
Worldtowning’s focus hasn’t changed too much. Originally, they had two models. One was based on by-the-hour consulting, and the other was based on helping travelers through every step of the way, but they “realized there needs to be an in between”. They plan on starting an online class, Worldtowning University, in October.
Through this course, they can provide guidance and make the consultation more scalable. Furthermore, they can also “build a community of other like minded people who also want to travel”.
At this point, Will and Jess have been traveling for three years and have no plans of stopping. Looking to the future, they plan on building a brand where they can branch off, create more programs, and help people “travel, connect deep to cultures…and create a community of other travelers as well as locals.”
“Start young. If you know that that’s your path, don’t go down the corporate rat race. Don’t waste time.”
Favorite Country: Peru
Favorite Place: Machu Picchu
Opinion: “Machu Picchu in Peru was mind-blowing because we hiked to Machu Picchu for four days with our children through the Andes.”
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