Travel Noire CEO, Zim Ugochukwu Gives Us Insight On What It Is Really Like To Have A Job With No Office

A few days ago, after staying up until 3 AM working on some behind-the-scenes blogging work, I woke up bright and early to an email from Travel Noire CEO, Zim Ugochukwu.

The fellow North Carolinian (at least temporarily) had written out an email that basically answered all of the questions that I could have ever had about what life is like for the CEO of a travel media outlet.

As the editor and writer of Quirky, Brown Love, I know that a lot of people don't have a clear understanding of what I do every day. Whenever I tell people that I am a blogger, they dismiss what I do to be just a hobby. When I come back and tell people that I make money from what I do, they are quick to come back with how easy it must be to do what I do. Little do they know how much harder creative entrepreneurs have to work to solidify our income, as well as how much teamwork it takes to build our empires.

Zim Ugochukwu On Entrepreneur Misconception
"When you choose to step out on faith and do what you love, it may be challenging for some people to understand.
'Whaaaaaaaaat you take pretty Instagram pictures all day?' 

'OH, you’re a chef so all you do is eat and take pictures of your work? I could do that.' 

'YouTube videos? Must be nice doing make up and looking good and stuff all early.'

'So with that camera you take pictures all day? And just travel? And host events? Really? That's all? Yea, that’s not hard at all.'

'Oh, you make your own schedule? Are you free now? How about in 30 minutes? In an hour? What about in 90 minutes? I’m gonna stop by and we can go shopping.'

The list goes on. 

If you've ever taken the leap of faith to build a life you love, you know that it can come with a fair share of friends, family or colleagues who just don't get it. Why? Because perception is reality." 
As a successful creative entrepreneur, you don't have to report to an office. So you get to sleep in right? Wrong.
"My days typically start at the crack of dawn — on the days where I’m most productive. If my body is still recovering from serious jet lag (PST, CST, CEST and everywhere in between), I wake up between 7–8:30a EST."

Excerpt from A Day In The Life Of A CEO With No Desk:

7 AM— I hop onto our video platform for a 90 minute video call with my developer in Romania. Yes. 90 minutes. At 7 in the morning. Of course my video is off, because I look like a hot mess. In any case, we go over design functionalities, whether or not I want buttons to fade in or slide in, what to do with users who can’t retrieve their passwords, what happens if a user favorites a story, the type of scroll that is optimal for a user, what happens in a customer center, what resolution images on the mobile interface should be, and the like.

8:45 AM — Breakfast time, woo! But wait, I forgot to send mockup notes over to our designer in Los Angeles. She’s sleeping, but I really need to get these over to her before she wakes up. I log into our shared platform and take a look at the mockup notes.
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I quickly jot some notes down within the platform so that she’s notified when she wakes up. Now it’s time for breakfast.

Because I’m not home as often as I’d like, I never really have enough good food. I have this weird habit of eating dry oatmeal, but this isn’t the post for that. I hop out of my apartment quickly to head to this cute little juice shop down the street. I have about 30 minutes to kill and I’m feeling good. Holla!

9 AM — I hop into Slack to shoot a quick note of love to my team for the morning. I never check my email this early, but this one time, I let go of all inhibitions and slide in my inbox. A note from our videographer in South Africa. I am a week late on some edits that I owe him. Shoot. Adding to my list of things to do. I’ve got a green juice in hand & I’m making my way back to my apartment.

9:30 AM — I plop onto my comfy couch, the place I will remain until 7p in the evening. I open up our team video to greet everyone.

We use 30 minutes of our morning time to prepare our calendars for the day. We start out with a musical theme, and each person gets to choose a song. We’re going with “World Music” so I choose Nomakanjani, a South African favorite. We listen to music while we sync our calendars.
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9:45 AM — Our morning meeting ends early, so I can hop over to some video edits for the remaining 15 minutes. I’m only able to get through edits for 1 video before I get a note from one of my other team members. We get a customer service question that requires all hands on deck in thinking about how we can best serve the customer in the highest capacity. Everyone on the team pitches in to help craft a message that is empathetic and kind before we all agree to send it off.

10 AM — I finalize the edits for the promo video and email our videographer. Alright, I take a look at my calendar and see what else I’ve got up for the day. Hmmm, looks like I’m scheduled to have calls to overlook new 2017 TN Experience destinations presented by our TN Experiences Ops team and I also seem to be chatting with Maya on the updated TN Experiences Bali itinerary.
As I’m sitting in this meeting, I’m blown away by my team. They are such rockstars, showing up every step of the way.

11 AM — I spend some time chatting with Bunge about a few surveys and notes from our current experience. We learn that a guest’s relative has passed away while on her experience. How can we make her trip a little better? We hop on the phone with our local Experience Designer and see what he thinks about stopping by a florist to pick up a beautiful arrangement of flowers. He’s 1000% game.

We get a note from another experience about a small disturbance in one of the rooms. The challenge here is that the hotel is completely sold out. How can we upgrade the guest experience? Bunge spends about 30 minutes researching viable options and solutions. We book another hotel room a few steps away from the current hotel for the guest. We review a few more surveys that have come in & we send them around the team for review. We hop on the video conference line to discuss possible outcomes, points of tension and solutions.

12 PM — It’s time for our daily sync! Our entire team spends 30 minutes connecting about customer feedback, finance updates and daily themes. We also have 10 core values that we speak to each day before we start the call. While the entire team works on different facets of the company, we really do rely on each other a ton.

Zim lays out her whole day for us in hopes to show people that creative entrepreneurs have to put in several hours every day to maintain their autonomy. 

The idea that working from home means hardly working is a huge misconception.
"Because we work at a travel company, a lot of people think that we lounge all day and work exclusively from the beach. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We are never not working."

Make sure to check out Zim Ugochukwu's full day schedule and to sign up for TravelNoire.com's newest wanderlust-inspired product, Compass.

About Us

Quirky, Brown Love is a media outlet for quirky, brown millennials. EST 2014.

Email Bryanda Law, Editor-in-Chief
editor@quirkybrownlove.com