1. You had a very successful career as a senior executive in the travel and hospitality business, but decided to leave a global job to focus on your health and self-care. Can you tell us why and how you made that decision?
For a long time, I had focused on my career, my family, and my friends. It seemed there wasn’t enough time in the day to spend on my self-care. Then a close friend was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. We had many long talks about what was most important in our lives…and I promised her that I would take care of myself, and put my health first. That was the last time we spoke before she passed at 50. The next day, as I walked around the block with my dog,. I was shocked that I was exhausted after such a short walk!. That was the wake-up call I needed. Each day after that, I pushed to walk a bit further. After two months of walking, I discovered a local hiking group, and joined my first “easy” hike. I struggled through, and managed to complete my first one-mile flat hike. By committing to hiking each day, I was soon hiking 6-8 miles daily, and feeling great!
2. After you fulfilled your goal to get yourself back to a healthy place, you became an entrepreneur at age 62. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in creating something on their own but doesn’t know how to start?
My advice in launching a start-up is to have a passion, a plan, and a partner. The passion is your “why,” know the reasons why you want to start something new. You need to be passionate, because you will be the head cheerleader, even on days that are difficult. Start-ups are challenging, but your passion gives you the motivation you need to grow your business.
Next, develop a plan – that’s the “how.” Your path will invariably change course many times, but it’s important to map out where you want to be and how you will get there. . And finally, choose a partner. Either a business or support partner – someone you trust, to give feedback and advice along the way. When I started Wowzitude, as a “COVID catalyst,” I knew that live-streamed, immersive virtual tours could engage older adults. My 96-year-old mom was Wowzitude’s first remote traveler. Since then, thousands of “armchair travelers” have visited amazing cities around the world – live and up close, promoting conversations, curiosity, and connections. We’ve added tour subscriptions for museum, library, and club members – and our partnerships offer exciting, new opportunities.
3. Now that you have established WOWZITUDE, what is next for Susan Black? Are you hooked on being a serial entrepreneur?
As it happens, I am concurrently creating a start-up for a well-established media group, in addition to building on the early success of Wowzitude. I’m advising a consulting firm on best practices for a vacation package start-up! I’m not sure if this makes me a serial entrepreneur, or just a bit crazy! But I’ve never felt more alive, connected, and motivated. Although I enjoyed my corporate life, this new chapter is so much more exhilarating. I continue to grow and invest in Wowzitude, as I work with others to implement the vision and plan. It’s a great ride!