We chatted to Business Chicks Premium member Monique Farmer on her community for women seeking adventure.
Tell us about Women Want Adventure, and what inspired you to create it?
Back when I was living in the country, teaching kids on remote farms and growing veggies, I set up a Facebook page, created a website and started ‘blogging’ about carrots and hiking. I know, weird combo, yet surprisingly similar.
Adventure is something that pushes me. Maybe a little, or maybe a lot. It’s about discovering the new in the world around and the one within. It could be improving the quality of soil in my garden or hiking mountains to feel good. It’s being outside that counts.
I was inspired to create Women Want Adventure for many reasons – to support women to experience something new, connect with others, make lasting friendships and feel empowered. Fast forward to now, the platform about carrots and weekend adventures transformed into a thriving community. Women Want Adventure guide day hikes, kayaking trips, camping weekends and larger multi-day adventures. The heart of what we do is community. Bringing women together to have fun, laugh and feel supported.
Can you tell us about the women in your community?
Women attend from all walks of life, different backgrounds, fitness levels, ages and life circumstances. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you turn up individually or with friends. There is something about being on the trail or sitting around a fire toasting marshmallows that unites us. The women in our community are strong and capable – more than they know or have realised themselves! It’s about turning up and having a go.
Some women have been through challenging circumstances such as losing a loved one or going through a divorce. Others are mothers who are re-discovering their inner wild as their children have grown up. These women don’t always have someone to go on an adventure with.
Having a community that says “yes, let’s go” helps women on a range of levels. I think women in the community are incredible and they inspire me everyday.
For us non-hikers out there, what’s the benefit of hiking and spending time in nature?
There is nothing more rejuvenating than taking time out from our stressful and busy lives. Being constantly glued to desks, Zoom meetings and stuck indoors with COVID-19 isn’t good for anyone. We’re not wired to go go go or spend too much time indoors. We are humans.
Nature is the perfect place to reboot. Sunshine on your face, the sound of wind rushing through trees overhead, the soft earthy feel of the trail under your boots. Hiking is enjoyable, lowering stress, boosting immunity and… burning your back side (in a good way). Hiking doesn’t need to be vigorous. Even a short walk helps you feel good.
The other benefit (there are many), is time away from technology. Most of our hiking trips help women digitally detox without checking who get voted off Masterchef and the latest Facebook post. When you hike you also simplify your possessions. It’s nice to feel like you don’t need much to be happy, and you don’t!
What are some of your favourite places to hike in each state?
The Grand Canyon Trail in New South Wales, Black Mountain Summit in the ACT, Hinchinbrook Island in Queensland, Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail in South Australia, South Coast Track in Tasmania, Cape Le Grand Coastal Trail in Western Australia, and Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.
What’s been your biggest learning in business so far?
I’ve learned that you can’t beat having a great product combined with great marketing. I’ve seen many people do one thing or another, thinking an amazing product will sell itself or their excellent marketing skills will work magic. Having both is the goal.
I studied teaching and outdoor education at University, not marketing. But I figured this, I’m on the trails, listening to women’s stories about their cats. What they ate for breakfast, what they didn’t eat for breakfast. Chatting about past relationships and critiquing new ones. Handing tissues to wipe tears from a proud women as she summited the mountain. She made it. We did it together.
I’m a counsellor, a chef, a friend. Whatever I am, I’m out there. That’s the key. I’m walking beside women learning exactly what they want, and I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s not adventure!
Clever business marketing can get some customers, but only for so long. It’s the amazing culture Women Want Adventure has built because we know who we are speaking to that creates long-term word of mouth movement for success. And, women can talk. So if you’re running a women’s only business or any business for that fact, know your clients better than you know yourself.
What’s been the biggest surprise since launching your business?
How many rough patches I’ve hit. Big ones. Real ones. Muddy trails and COVID-19. I thought pursuing something I’m passionate about would be easy. Surprise! Running a business can pull you into a downward spiral, even if you are hiking or camping under the stars for a living.
Tackling my own self criticism and fatigue has been hard. Running back-to-back trips and trying to be everywhere for everyone is a roadmap for negativity. I’ve surprised myself how much more support I need. Surrounding myself with positive people, mentors and someone to cook me dinner.
How are you recovering from COVID-19, and looking ahead, what are you excited about in the future?
There is nothing like seeing 100% of your revenue disappear in a single week to focus your mind on the fact you might have to do things differently in the future. The way I see we get though this is as a team. My family, neighbours, friends and the women in the community, they are my team.
Recovering and re-building is about betting on the good. Surrounding myself with people who work hard and think the same way.
I’m excited to see a transformation on how women want to adventure and travel. I’m realising the community I created is exactly what women need. Now more than ever women want to feel connected and get outside. That’s what we do best.
Women are realising they have to restructure their lives too. They are looking local. A simple backyard Aussie adventure. There is an opportunity to help women realise they don’t need an overseas ticket to feel rejuvenated or inspired. An easy day hike, weekend paddle, swimming with whale sharks, Australia has everything we need. It’s now about supporting women to realise they can access it, and we’re here to help.
What advice would you give to someone curious about signing up for one of your trips?
You’re not too old and you are fit enough. Sometimes women hesitate because they’re filled with self doubt. We all do it. When it comes to adventure there are many unknowns. That’s the exciting part!
‘What if it rains? Will you be able to keep up? Is it okay to wear K-mart tights hiking? Where is the closet coffee shop?’
It can be scary not knowing where to go or who with. But know this – turn up individually, we’re in this together. We’ll hike slow and make you a cuppa on the trail.
How long have you been a Business Chicks Premium member for, and what would you say to someone considering joining our community?
I’m a newbie! I’m a couple of months in and thriving amongst the community. Women supporting women, is there anything more powerful? Sign up and get involved, you’ll certainly find your tribe here.
Monique Farmer is a Business Chicks Premium member, and Founder of Women Want Adventure. Check out their upcoming opportunities to immerse yourself in the outdoors here.