Who in your life inspired you to start your business? For me, one of the most influential people that I have met along my journey to entrepreneurship has been Tracy Komlos, the founder of Pangea Dreams.
If you haven’t heard my story, back in 2018 I decided to pack a bag and head on a retreat to Bali to learn how to start and grow an online business using social media. The retreat was hosted by Tracy, who truly inspired me to go for my dreams, pursue my passion and live the life that I had always dreamed of! Thanks to her amazing retreat, support, and encouragement, I came home from Bali and launched my online business and never looked back!
I had the opportunity to ask Tracy a few questions about her start in becoming an entrepreneur and want to share her incredibly inspiring answers with you!
“When I was just starting out as a digital creator and solo-entrepreneur, I often found myself lonely, and at a loss when looking for other like-minded women to co-create with. I was craving a sense of community and support, but I simply couldn’t find it. Turns out, I wasn’t alone. In 2016 I decided to solve this problem and host a retreat for female creators and entrepreneurs just like me to come together to learn new skills, collaborate, and connect. We very quickly proved our concept – in less than two weeks, we sold out of three back to back retreats that took place in Bali. Now, after 3 years running, Pangea Dreams is the #1 industry leader in women’s educational retreats. We are dedicated to building a global community of female change-makers, thought leaders and creatives. Through our intensive week-long educational retreats, we empower women with the necessary tools & skills to succeed in the digital world.”
What is Pangea Dreams?
Pangea Dreams is the #1 industry leader in women’s educational and creative retreats. We are dedicated to building a global community of female change-makers, thought leaders, and creatives. Through our intensive week-long educational retreats, we empower women with the necessary tools & skills to succeed in the digital world. Pangea Dreams was built to address the over 111 million female entrepreneurs around the world who need access to a community and a support system of like-minded women that will allow them to thrive and build their businesses with confidence.
When did you first realize that you wanted to work for yourself and start your own business?
19 was a big year of realizations and experiences for me. These realizations ultimately put me on the trajectory for the life that I have been living over the last 10 years.
The first lesson was shown to me when I worked my first corporate 9-5 job over a summer. I was totally miserable and promised myself that I would never allow myself to feel so insignificant and uninspired again like I did at that job. In that moment I knew I would never work for anyone but myself. In that moment, the “ how” did not matter, I knew I was going to figure it out. There was no other option.
Shortly after that, lesson number two presented itself. Which of course, reinsured lesson one and fuelled me with the passion and drive I needed to pursue this path.
I took my first backpacking trip to India. I stayed in the slums just outside of Delhi in a town called Faridabad and volunteered at an orphanage. No one spoke a word of English, not even the host family I was staying with. This trip, to date, has had the biggest impact on my life. It taught me so many lessons that I still hold so close to my heart and guide me daily.
I learned that…
- We are all the same, we all want and need the same thing, and ultimately we are all fuelled by the desire to love and be loved.
- That communication and connection can happen on deeper levels than just through spoken language.
- There is so much more to life than what we are exposed to and experience in North America. I saw the extremes during my experience in India: extreme poverty, wealth, happiness, and illness.
- Happiness cannot be bought and that life is too short to not pursue what you love.
- Most importantly, it allowed me to realize that I am truly my best self when I am at service to others.
I came back from that month and a half long trip with a totally new outlook on life. I was no longer going to compromise and I was going to do whatever it took to pave my own path, on my terms. That is when my entrepreneurial journey began.
How did your friends and family react when you first decided to start your own business?
At first, no one really understood what I was trying to do or create so I always felt like I had to justify my ideas and explain myself. And it’s not because they didn’t want to support me, they just genuinely couldn’t relate to what I was trying to build because it was so new and foreign to them. That was very hard at first because it felt like no one understood me – it was very isolating. And that all goes back to not having a community of like-minded people who just “get it” and that’s why Pangea Dreams has always been so important to me and so close to my heart. Because for the first time I was not feeling judged or critiqued for not having “a real job” and truly felt the support and understanding I had been looking for.
What was one of the biggest challenges you faced when first starting?
The lack of community and mentorship was a huge struggle for me as I truly was figuring out how to run a business on my own. I felt alone as a solo entrepreneur and like I had no one to ask questions to or bounce ideas off of. When I tried to reach out to other people doing something similar to me, I often got cryptic answers back, or no response at all and that didn’t feel right to me. That struggle is what ultimately led me to creating the Pangea Dreams retreats and I haven’t looked back since. We have now hosted 30+ retreats in destinations around the world bringing women together from around the world to learn, connect and grow together. It truly is a beautiful thing.
What was one thing that you feel moved your business forward the most?
This is an easy question for me as it still holds true almost 4.5 years later. Passion!! My passion for what we are doing, creating and offering with Pangea Dreams is my driving force, it’s what keeps me going. It’s the fact that through Pangea I am working on something bigger than myself, something that directly impacts and changes the lives of hundreds of women from around the world who join us on a retreat. There is nothing more humbling and rewarding than that, and that feeling of knowing you are making a difference is what gives me my ‘why’ every morning when I wake up.
How did you first begin marketing your business and gaining traction? What was that process like?
The original marketing strategy for Pangea Dreams was all through Instagram and leveraging the community I had built through my personal IG account @tracykomlos. It all started by first asking the women in my community what they loved, what they wanted to learn, and what they felt like they were lacking in their lives. Through directly asking this, I saw a major gap that so many women were experiencing – a lack of community! So I decided to create something special that would fill that gap, and now the Pangea Dreams community is stronger than ever! I also can’t stress enough how crucial organic, word of mouth is! It’s all about creating and experience or product that will bring real, true, honest value to someone’s life and in turn, they will share that experience.
What marketing strategies have you found have brought you the most success long term?
We spend a lot of time building our community through outreach initiatives and actively searching for women who we think could benefit from our program. To date, Instagram has been our biggest driver for acquiring new customers as it’s allowed our brand to not only be seen globally but has also allowed for us to share our experiences to such a wide audience. That’s why we post value-based content DAILY on our Instagram stories and feed every SINGLE day!
What would you tell someone who is thinking about starting a business, but is nervous about taking the leap?
Well, firstly, there are so many factors, so I would make sure that financially you are in a place where you can take the risk of potentially not making very much money in your first year. Whether that means you need to work part time or whatnot. Ultimately though, what I would say is, if you have an idea and a business model that you are passionate and excited about then do it!!! You will never know what you can do unless you try. Also remember that the outcome is never the outcome, so just starting will allow you to open yourself up to opportunities that may arise that otherwise you wouldn’t have had the access to if you never got out there and tried.
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