Founder Stories: Gareth Johnson’s Young Pioneer Tours

In today’s Founder Story we feature Gareth Johnson, the founder of Young Pioneer Tours!

Read on for lessons he’s learned from launching and marketing an unconventional business.

1) Please introduce your business and share your role.

My company is called Young Pioneer Tours and we are an adventure travel agency. I’m Managing Director with particular emphasis on finding and introducing new destinations. Our customers are people just like us who like to get off of the beaten track and travel to crazy places 

2) What’s your backstory? How did you come up with your business idea?

I am a keen traveler, having been to 164 countries. I was living in China and wanted to visit North Korea. This led me down the road of starting a company taking people there. After that I simply thought “where else can we go”? And the company grew from there. 

3) How did you prepare for, and go about your launch?

The initial launch was very low key as we did not intend for it be global. When we did eventually try to scale it was all about social media and SEO. 

4) Since launching, what types of marketing campaigns and designs have worked best to attract and retain customers?

It changes a lot. Facebook was key now it’s Instagram and even Tik-Tok. SEO is still key though. I have also learned that print media is very much dead. 

5) What are your favourite marketing platforms/tools?

I like Moz as a vehicle for SEO as well as RankMath. I’m also keen on growing mailing lists and keeping people engaged through MailChimp. 

6) Looking ahead, what are you most excited about?

Covid finally finishing in full so that we can go back to pre-pandemic levels and ramp up both our destinations list and sales force. And of course exploring more of the world.
7) Who or what inspires and motivates you?

Putting a smile on the faces of my customers and achieving things other companies simply fail to do. I’m motivated by always pushing the envelope of what’s possible. 

8) What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would share with other entrepreneurs? 

No one will do it for you, no one will do you any favours. Get out there and do it yourself. Don’t be afraid to get things wrong.
9) What do you believe are the qualities of a good entrepreneur?

Quite simply you need to be fearless and headstrong, but also humble enough to know when you are wrong and change things. You need to always adapt and move with the times.

10) Let us know where we can go to learn more!

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