TLabs Showcase - Career Break SecretsNewsBy Kevin May | December 16, 2010Share This article was originally published on TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring US-based trip planning service for getaway professionals Career Break Secrets.Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?Career Break Secrets provides video guides and advice for career break and around the world travel adventures.Through the power of video and internet, Career Break Secrets takes the viewer on adventures around the world to get a taste of activities that are common for career breakers through first-hand reporting. It’s real people, real stories, brought to you by Jeff Jung, our experienced travelling a host that is also a traveller. Jeff Jung - a former healthcare executive in the US, Jeff took a two-year career break in 2007-2008, and currently resides in Bogota, Colombia. Jeff hosts the Career Break Secrets travel series and is responsible for the podcast, blog, and travel advice content on the website.Cheryl Habbe - an advertising executive, Cheryl is an avid traveler, too. She oversees the website design and the company’s sales and marketing efforts from Austin, Texas.What financial support did you have to launch the business?The site is self-funded. Jeff used his travel money to launch the business.What problem are you trying to solve?Career breakers and long-term travelers are interested in making their time count since they likely upended their lives to make their trip possible. There are three types of travel experiences that these travelers like to have. VolunteeringLearning a new skill, or focus on a hobbyCool ways to explore a country Information on these travel experiences is often overwhelming, unorganized, incomplete, and biased in favor of agencies looking to sell a packaged program.Through video, we can tell the stories of these sought-after travel experiences. The focus of the video travel guide series is depth, not breadth. And, the goal is to entertain and inform the traveler so they can plan a better travel experience.At the end of each full-length, HD episode, Jeff gives his "Top Secrets" which contains the independent advice travelers need to know about the travel experience to plan better.Describe the business, core products and services?Our website is the center of our business model. We are a completely online venture. It hosts our blogs, features, entertainment and inspirational videos, and our for-sale products.From there, we link out into the web through social media tools like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and StumbleUpon.We also just launched a video podcast called Career Break Coffee Breaks to give Jeff’s behind-the-scenes reports from the field when he was out filming the series around the world.Who are your key customers and users at launch?Our initial target markets are the US and the UK. We are specifically targeting people from their late 20s through their 50s who are getting ready to take a career break and travel for an extended period of time.Studies suggest that those career breakers in their 40s and 50s are a growing segment.Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?We interviewed 45 career breakers from around the world to understand who these people were, why they took a career break, how they planned, and how they traveled.What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?Our site is monetized through the sale of our Video Travel Guide Series. The analog is a TV series you would buy through iTunes.Customers can purchase either a Country Pass which includes 4 episodes plus two bonus episodes, or the entire season which includes 16 episodes, plus the two bonus episodes.We have just launched an affiliate program to help grow our distribution channels. We are launching our own store to sell other travel-related products. And, we eventually will consider accepting advertising on our site that is relevant to our market.SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?Strengths: Novel and unique productGrowing niche within the travel marketFew direct competitorsStrong expertise on the topic Weaknesses: Relatively unknown brandNew product conceptMinimal distribution and sales channels currently Opportunities: Licensing of our contentBuilding a worldwide brand via the web Threats: Established guidebook brands getting into the businessContinued economic hardships minimize people’s perception that long-term travel is for themWho advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?With so much free content and free video out there already, some of my friends were concerned that people may not want to purchase our video guides.To counter, we ensure that our content and video quality is well-above what is provided for free, that it is organized for the traveler and actionable after viewing our episodes.What is your success metric 12 months from now?Our biggest short-term goal is to get on the travel industry map and be able to fund Season 2 with the proceeds from Season One. There’s a lot of the world still to explore!Here is a clip:httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EhNLuiS6SsNB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.