Radha Vyas made a successful and inspirational career change from charity fundraiser to setting up her own travel company. She is co-founder and CEO of Flash Pack, an award-winning adventure travel company for like-minded solo travellers in their 30s and 40s.
- Hi Radha, we first met while working in the fundraising team for Macmillan Cancer Support. What prompted you to make the move from fundraising to starting your own travel company?
I always wanted to start my own business but couldn’t find quite the right idea. People kept telling me to follow my passion, but I loved so many things I didn’t know what to do. I tried out a few ideas before finally spotting a huge gap in the market in the solo travel segment. It was a lightbulb moment and when I had the idea, I knew this is exactly what I was destined to do.
- How did you make the first steps towards launching your own company?
I did tons of market research at the British Library, held focus groups and went to trade shows to understand the competition and how I could develop something different. I didn’t spend too long researching though. As soon as I knew I was on to something, as confirmed by my research, I built momentum and energy for my idea by developing a website and a few products to launch to market. It’s important to start getting feedback on your products as soon as you can.
- What were the biggest challenges you faced in making this career change and how did you overcome these challenges to make your business a success?
I didn’t have much money to invest so I had to learn everything from scratch; marketing, legal requirements of setting up a business in a semi-regulated industry, finance and even a bit of coding. I juggled my fundraising work with setting up Flash Pack for over a year and a half before I could afford to switch full time. I often worked into the early hours of the morning to make Flash Pack a reality.
- Tell us a bit more about Flash Pack and how this career choice suits you
Flash Pack connects solo travellers in their 30s and 40s to enjoy authentic, stylish and rewarding adventures together. You can hunt the northern lights in Finland by snowmobile, learn to ride a Vespa in rural Spain or sleep on your own private island in the Philippines. We want to rehabilitate the outdated image of the group tour with an aspirational and on point brand experience and we focus on this demographic as they are largely ignored by the travel industry. This business idea was just perfect for me as I had been travelling since the age of three. I’ve always been obsessed with travel having lived in three different countries by the age of 25. I also speak four languages. It seems ridiculous now that it took me so long to figure that out!
- What advice do you have for those feeling unfulfilled by their career and thinking about pursuing a career change?
Don’t wait for the perfect idea to fall in your lap! I tried setting up two other businesses before Flash Pack and I trained my mind to look for opportunities. They say luck is when opportunity meets preparation which may seem like just an airy-fairy platitude, but I believe it’s true. Too many people complain they are bored and don’t know what they want but how will you discover what you want unless you go out into the world and try new things? The best way to do this is by developing new and seemingly random skills. Become a relentless learner and learn for the sake of learning, even things you think you’ll never enjoy. Take a class in coding, data analysis, painting or whatever. I can guarantee opportunities will start presenting themselves once your mind is open to new experiences.
Thank you, Radha, for your truly inspirational career change story!
You can find out more about Flash Pack here.