I always wanted to share why and how I started Refuga and my thoughts about the future. It is an exciting time for Refuga and I am absolutely sure that we are on the right track to do something really great.
I am working everyday to grow the community around Refuga and I see that as a crucial thing for achieving the things I am hoping for. To all of you who are already following the project, I want to open the doors and invite you in.
Why I started a travel agency for entrepreneurs and what the future brings. CLICK TO TWEET
Why I started Refuga
In the summer 2012 I quit my last job as a Country Manager for a Swedish e-commerce company. My girlfriend just got accepted to a masters in Beijing and we had been dreaming about living abroad for years. This was our chance to break free, go on adventure and live in a (very) foreign country.
I started doing some freelance consulting (within online marketing), but I quickly realized that going from having an office and colleagues to being on my own and working from home, could be a difficult transition. It can be quite lonely working alone.
I got an idea. What about finding some other guys who could join me in Spain for a week to work and relax? I thought this was a good idea to grow my own network. I just wrote the idea on my private blog and hoped I could get 5 people together for an awesome week. Within 24 hours I had 20 (awesome) people who had signed up and paid for the trip. A big surprise, but I was in a hurry to arrange the camp.
The first trip to Barcelona was a great experience. I had a lot of fun, the feedback was very good and I saw an important thing; This was the most valuable networking I had ever experienced. After a few days, people who eat, live and work together just start to share and help each other a lot. I have never been at a place, where so much valuable knowledge was being shared. I saw that being a smaller group, together for a week was much, much more valuable than attending a conference.
The first event kickstarted something in me, so I kept on doing the events for Danish entrepreneurs the next two years.
Why I didn’t focus on Refuga right away
The last two years I have had some awesome experiences with Refuga, but I always thought to myself that it was just a hobby project, that I couldn’t turn this thing into a real business, that it couldn’t scale, etc.
It’s funny, because the it was the one thing I was most proud of, the project I had most fun doing and the project I had most success with (in small scale), I just didn’t focus on it. I always pictured myself starting a traditional startup with a lot of employees, funding and an office.
It took me about 8 years to realize that the traditional way is just not for me. I get burned out from working the same place every day. I need to travel, I need to go on adventure, I need to break free and do things my way.
Actually, I think this is a big problem for the startup environment. Being an entrepreneur is becoming so popular it has reached a hipster-level. Everybody wants to do something in “tech”, an app, a SaaS company or something with social media. So many entrepreneurs are just thinking about getting funding and selling their company. It took me 8 years to realize that entrepreneurship – for me – is a great chance to actually do something I really love and live the life I dream about. Workway has slowly transformed the way I see working and living and how to combine these things.
What the future brings
I have been focusing more and more on Refuga. The first international event (held here in October 2014) was the last test for me. If that was a success I wanted to focus 100%. Being together with 10 different nationalities in a beautiful house for a week for adventure and work, was one of the absolute best experiences of my life.
After the bus had taken the participants from the house to go to the airport, I was sitting outside the house with my girlfriend, Michelle, and talking about the week. I had a fantastic week, people was giving incredible feedback and when they left they gave me a hug. Sounds like the perfect life and business and I just realized that this might be a once in lifetime chance to work with something that is really, really amazing.
I am sure that the future will bring a lot of good things for the project. I will start doing more trips myself, but I am happy to tell, that I am working hard on making it possible for other entrepreneurs to easily host Refuga trips themselves.
I see more and more people trying to do events like these and I want to help kickstart that movement even more. I want to enable proactive people to host events, to access to my setups and the Refuga community. I really think that every entrepreneur out there should go on a trip like this. It’s difficult to find a better place to learn, go on adventure and have fun for entrepreneurs.
I will tell more about all the new things that are coming in the near future.
Thanks for following the project, I hope to see you somewhere out there!
The future plans for @refugacom, a travel agency for entrepreneurs. CLICK TO TWEET.