Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m Katja and I’m a co-founder of Time to Trawell and creator of The Ultimate Travel Planner. Together with Réda, my husband and business partner, we equip travellers, both beginners and experienced ones, with all necessary tools for better planning and traveling. Time to Trawell is my passion project, given that I’m otherwise a full-time brand manager in a media company. Time to Trawell takes a big part of my free time, but with some organisation I still manage to make time for traveling, baking, leading monthly creative events or taking time for a cup of coffee in the city centre of Munich.
What inspired your career?
Already as a young girl I was very creative and critical towards products, such as yearly agendas. I was never happy enough with the way they were designed, the look of their covers, or the line spacing, so I used Word and Paint to create my own monthly planners. As a teenager I loved foreign languages and I was passionate about traveling with my family.
I nurtured my passion for creativity, traveling and languages throughout my studies of International Relations, which I completely fulfilled abroad (France and Denmark), and later on focused on communications, marketing and branding in my Master studies in Paris.
My first career steps started in L’Oréal in Paris, a company that was an excellent starting point that gave me an incredible insight in the functioning of the biggest international cosmetics company. From there on, I continued my career path as an international marketing manager in a French startup, where I got fantastic insight not only in the marketing development but also business, partnerships, product development and more thanks to the small company structure with flat hierarchies.
After having left Paris and before starting my current job in Munich, my partner and I brainstormed about possibilities to transform our passion for traveling into a concrete business idea. All experiences I’ve been gathering for the past 10 years were proven really helpful at that moment.
The idea about a travel planner started from my own need for better travel planning and documenting. I myself really don’t enjoy travel planning. I’m the happiest when I travel, but endlessly searching for flights, coordinating and preparing in advance were never my cup of tea. So many confirmation emails, important information on hundreds of screenshots, and also loss of the majority of cute spontaneous travel notes and diaries that we’ve written down on all kinds of restaurant bills encouraged us to create a travel planner, which would join this all into one product and upgrade this even further with a variety of tips for a more sustainable and responsible traveling.
What does your day look like? Walk us through your typical day…
My day usually looks something like that. Truth be told, I’m not really an early bird. When I was still working in the office, I’d wake up around 8h30, get ready for work and enjoy some breakfast in the office directly while scrolling through marketing trends before the first meeting with my team. Now when I work from home, I have some more time for my morning routine. I enjoy a cup of coffee with my husband, and before my work I take 5 minutes for my Five Minute Journal to set intentions for the day and write down some grateful thoughts. I always take at least 1h for lunch, which I also use for some instagram posting, message responding and new orders managing. Around 17h when I’m done working, I take an hour or two for some concrete work for Time to Trawell. I plan posts, create new projects, do some research. If possible, my husband and I go out for a walk at the end of the work day – to disconnect from computers, phones, work. Before sleep, I again take 5 min for my Five Minute Journal. It’s so beautiful to finish the day with grateful thoughts.
What is your favorite failure that sets you up for later success?
I don’t believe in failures. I’m an extremely positive person and I try to see positive sides in anything that happens. I’m also very stubborn and don’t give up easily. Hurdles, on the other hand – there have been so many on my path. My ideology follows the idea that we can’t always choose what happens to us, but we can always choose how we’re going to react to it. I’ve started the path of entrepreneurship without concrete and structured knowledge, but with lots of ideas and observations. At first I was always looking for perfection in everything on my business path, but later on I got to conclude that it is sometimes better to be more spontaneous and relaxed. I am still learning new things every single day and I try to approach this learning with smile, even though I sometimes almost give up. In such moments I ask myself why I do what I do – and get new motivation and energy for new challenges.
When you feel unfocused or not motivated what do you do?
My job as well as Time to Trawell give me a lot of freedom, so when I notice lack of motivation, I stop. I make myself some coffee, I skim through a magazine, I watch some funny videos or I simply sit down on the sofa for a few minutes. If I see that I’m really unproductive, I review my priorities for the day and adjust my work day accordingly to finish up earlier. If needed, I catch up the day after. Now when both my husband and I work from home, I sometimes peek into his office, have a quick chat, sing a song – and the energy comes back 🙂
If you could send a mini message to all people, what would it be?
Know that everyone walks their own path. Don’t compare yourself to others. Observe with eyes wide open and take others’ success as an encouragement and motivation. Know why you do what you do. When times are hard and you feel like giving up, the faith in what you do brings back the much needed motivation.
Know that everyone walks their own path. Don’t compare yourself to others.
What advice would you give to someone starting a business journey?
Don’t try to do everything on your own. Sometimes we simply need to ask for help and we’ll easily get it.