Some customers have mentioned that they read my blog. If you're reading this and deciding whether to book, you definitely should.
July and August have treated me well -- and September is off to a great start. I considered the 4th of July to be my first weekend “in business” and I’m stoked on my progress since then. The learning – both personally and professionally – has been intense. The psychological management has actually been the hardest (and most rewarding) component of the business -- and I’m feeling more confident every day.
A snapshot of the numbers:
July was a really good month for revenue but I struggled to manage costs. I was moving a million miles a minute – trying to fill every hour of every day with productivity. Going to every networking event I could find, hitting the streets with flyers, pitching all kinds of random partnerships – it was exhausting and I knew I would burn out if I kept that pace -- and I was spending too much money on any marketing opportunity I could find. It was dumb.
In August my main focus was to manage expenses and find a more realistic pace on the proactive day to day marketing stuff. I made $2,500 less than in July but I only came out $350 worse financially. I consider it to be a huge win -- because August was WAY more chill than July.
To go from a ~$5k loss per month in the first 6 months to less than a $1k loss after accounting for everything is a huge win. I’m very proud and excited to see such positive momentum so early on.
In September I’m focused on increasing my average revenue per trip and continuing to keep my costs down. I’ve been giving a ton of discounts and those add up quickly. I won’t feel pressure to do more trips if I can accomplish those two things.
Another metric I've been tracking are reviews. I've got over 50 reviews spread out between Trip Advisor, Yelp, Facebook, GetMyBoat, and Google -- all are 5/5 stars. Boom.
In August I took my first vacation since starting the business, and I felt it was much deserved. Julia and I explored Washington State and had a total blast. Having the business in action by my 30th birthday was my main goal – and I accomplished that goal – and I celebrated (skinny dipping!)
Boat Maintenance & Sonny
The hardest part for me has been the boat maintenance. These little issues come up way more frequently than I originally anticipated and for the most part I have no clue what’s going on. It’s incredibly frustrating when issues come up.
Luckily I met this guy named Sonny – another charter captain on my dock. An LA dude who knows how to catch some big ass fish. He’s is a genius when it comes to boats. He’s successfully talked me through multiple issues on the boat – and some huge mental headaches. I’d be a mess if it weren’t for Sonny and I’m deeply grateful to have had crossed paths with him.
In exchange for his help with my boat, I’m helping him with his online presence and marketing. This skills barter has been the best partnership I’ve established.
One of my favorite things to do is go watch concerts on the boat. They are always fun charters that are super low key and relaxed. Some of my favorites include a Hollywood themed orchestra performance, the band America, the Temptations, and a military themed orchestra performance.
I filmed a music video for a gospel singer out in the Bay. That was really fun. We just blasted this gospel song off the boat on loop for a couple hours. The reaction from the people nearby did not get old. I’ll share when it’s released!
I’ve done a couple of sea safaris – whenever you see the megapods of dolphins it’s the coolest thing ever. Hundreds of them all around the boat – it’s epic.
I’ve taken out surfers to boat-only surf spots off Pt Loma. It was intimidating at first, because you have to get pretty close to the wave break – but I’ve mostly got it down now and know the cool spots (despite my complete lack of surfing intel).
Night cruises – the Bay is pretty choppy during the day – the wake from other boats, winds, and currents make everything a bit more challenging for me. At night – the Bay is empty, the wind totally dies, and the entire Bay is super calm. The downtown skyline, moon, and quiet make a powerfully awesome combo. It’s the best time to be out there.
One of the hardest parts of this whole thing for me has been the shift of schedule from the 9-5 to a schedule full of variance. Working weekends and evenings and nights – trying to enjoy week days when things are slow – but everyone else is working – and feeling unproductive if I’m chilling while everyone else is working.
It has pros and cons – when you can enjoy the “off-time” it’s great. I played Frisbee golf this morning and partied in Mexico all of last week after working all of Labor Day. That’s the cool aspect. The hardest part for me has been the challenges in building my social network. I’m working when people generally meet up and hang out. I want to enjoy these week days off but everyone else is working – and it’s not as fun when you don’t have people to hang with!
That’s been a big focus of mine. Being deliberate and proactive to make this type of schedule work for me – not letting it prevent me from building out a social network – and embracing the pros associated with the schedule.
Preparing for Winter
I can feel that it’s September – that feeling of summer is slowly fading. The countdown to Day Light Savings is daunting. Sunset cruises and concerts make up about 25% of my business – if you account for hot days where we can go anchor and party – we’re looking at ~60% of my bread and butter business getting hit.
Crabbing and lobster season is going to start in mid-October and I’m going to learn how to do that – as it seems like a pretty chill activity.
Whale watching season hits in December and will go through March. I’m hoping there’s a ton of whales and I don’t have to work that hard to get them. If they’re anything like Blue Whales I’ll probably pass on the whale watching angle – Blue Whales are so hard to find! If they are easy to find – that’ll be something I push hard.
Night cruises / Bar Boat – I want to push this angle hard – because night cruises are so dope. I’m rarely getting hit up for those but it’s the coolest thing I do. I’m going to have to pivot and have that be a main sell sooner than later. There is a 2-week festival of lights on the Bay in December which should be great for business – I’m going to deck my boat out with Christmas lights and it’s going to be super fun.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. I’ve got so much more random shit floating around in my mind. I’ll be sure to barf out a big update again in a month or so.
I hope you know I love you.