Q&A with Jeremy Jauncey
The creative industry has completely transformed the concept of work-life balance. For Jeremy Jauncey, Founder/CEO of Beautiful Destinations, that means inspiring people to take the road less traveled to find it.
The247: Tell us a little bit about your journey creating Beautiful Destinations. How did you get here?
Jeremy: So my background is in technology and marketing. Way before Instagram had even started, I was spending my time in e-commerce lean rewards marketing, trying to understand how you could use data to basically better serve customers the kind of products and services that they wanted. So when social started at the very, very beginning of Beautiful Destinations, it was very much a passion project. It was very much this idea that the world of creativity was starting to explode on mobile phones. There were people all over the world who were creating content way before content creation or influencers was a profession. They were really just doing it for passion. And so the idea behind Beautiful Destinations originally was to be a meeting place for people who were sharing their life experiences through the lens of Instagram.
Would you call yourself a serial entrepreneur? What do you think of that term?
I see it as a huge compliment. I've really driven my whole career building businesses where, if they worked or didn't work, it was really up to me.
"I love the idea of entrepreneurship. I think it's something that everybody in life should try. It really does give you a whole set of skills that you don't get if you follow a more traditional career path."
And I think this creative economy that we now live in is really set up to enable entrepreneurs, people who thought of themselves as creative talent that maybe had to go into traditional companies or structures to make money - it gives them a chance to actually do something different. This social-mobile world that we live in is really geared towards creating creative entrepreneurs.
How do you think creative technology has improved your work-life balance?
So much of my work and the work of the people that are in my business can now be done anywhere in the world because of the tools and platforms that are available and the ability to do it all on their phone. And I think that changes the nature of work for everyone. It also changes the way you think about how you live your life, you know, really valuing the things that are important to you. If I don't want to be going in for a nine-to-five in an office, I don't have to do that anymore.
What was the moment you decided to turn Beautiful Destinations from a passion project into a company?
I always felt in the back of my mind, regardless of whether the business community and the brand community understood, that consumers want this. Because one: more consumer attention is going to mobile phones and apps. And two: there are more and more people that I'm connected with who are saying their careers are going to be in the creative industries. Although it was an imbalance at the start, I very much believed those two factors would come together.
"And I think certainly in the last three years, this whole world has exploded. And we've seen now how powerful it is to be a creator, how powerful it is to be able to use the kind of tools that you already have to actually make world-class content for yourself, for your audience and for brands as well."
With a business designed around travel, were you nervous about your business staying afloat during the 2020 travel restrictions? How did you handle it?
So we think of our business in three pillars: the first pillar is the brands and partners that we work with in a B2B standpoint - they pay us to provide content. The second pillar of our business is the creative community, which is the hundreds and thousands of content creators all over the world who are making content with us, helping them to commercialize their work and their careers. And then the third pillar is the community at large, which is the everyday traveler that follows Beautiful Destinations. And really where we land is a community of over 40 million people around the world across our platforms that are all interconnected with each other.
So when the pandemic hit the reality was that, for the first six months, that whole first pillar was down because we couldn't travel. The third pillar, however, exploded. It really exploded. And so we were sitting at home, of course, but looking at the way our social channels were growing and seeing that people were dreaming about travel, they were spending more time on the platforms that we use, they were sharing more content. 90% of millennial and Gen Z consumers will now book travel based on content they see on Instagram. And so when you think about what behavior shift occurred in the pandemic, you see people are spending much, much more time consuming travel content before they actually go to travel. Although it was challenging at the beginning, I think we grew by 10 million followers in one year, the fastest rate we've ever grown.
Are there any boundaries you’ve had to set between representing your business and being your authentic self online?
I would say that the core theme between the two channels, because I do try to keep the two different with a unique sort of positioning and identity, is this very passionate belief that travel is a force for good in the world. Where I try to position myself slightly differently as an entrepreneur and as a businessman is really trying to show people that I came into the travel industry with no background in travel. I believe in living a good and high quality life. There is that pressure to be putting out content every single day. There is that pressure to be relevant and to be, you know, in the conversation every single day. And so what I try to put forward is, you know, make the time to have time for yourself to meditate, to go out and be active, to go to the gym, to spend time with your partner or your loved ones. And trying to set an example that I hope gives a more sustainable approach to a career in the creative.
"We work with so many young creatives who get burned out because they are just nonstop traveling, shooting, traveling, shooting, just constantly working. And hopefully I can set a bit of an example that you can do it differently and still be successful."
So how do you ever shut off?
That one’s a work in progress, if I’m honest. The entrepreneur is I’m an entrepreneur that’s sort of going 24/7. There's just so much exciting stuff happening in the business and so much exciting stuff happening around the world. It's really about structuring ourselves in a way that works within our framework. And, you know, when you have the flexibility to work when you want to work, that means you need to lock out those key times when it's just absolutely switching off, going out and actually experiencing things, maybe even without any devices, without really even thinking about creating content. My partner and I really try to make sure that weekends are absolute free time for us. Mental health in this space is a conversation that we're not having enough of. I really believe that creators are burning out far faster than they did in the past. I think it's very important to be talking about that, otherwise you can't continue for the longer term. And the longer term is something that, for young creatives, doesn't cross their mind.
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