Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Monitz.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lauren. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
You know what they say: When your back’s up against the wall is really when it lights a fire in you. I hated my first job out of college — biomedical marketing, which was essentially the marketing equivalent of watching paint dry. I didn’t know what I wanted to be doing, but I knew I wasn’t in an environment or workplace culture where I could thrive. I started throwing darts at the wall and seeing what stuck – anywhere I could be creative, strategic, and appreciated the work-life balance.
That led me to the travel industry. My first role was as online marketing manager doing lead gen for adventure tours. There was a lot of overhead working with travel agents doing trip sales and pretty much overnight, the company changed their entire business model to be a digital travel publication. I was told if I wanted to keep my job I could figure out how to be a managing editor.
We started selling sponsored content campaigns to tourism boards and that was really my first foray into content marketing. We would rope in different bloggers to help promote the destinations who were really the OG influencers. These were just people who figured out how to tell a good story with no formal journalism training or professional photography experience. I was having to rewrite and edit a lot of their content anyway, so my boss basically challenged me to get my own audience so we wouldn’t have to pay outside contractors anymore. I obsessed over Instagram for a year, learning the ins and outs, and as you could say, the rest is history. I now have 185K followers on my social media channels and have collaborated with over 50 brand as a travel and food influencer.
I recently founded theInfluencerInstitute.com to help up-and-coming influencers maximize their earning potential and to help educate brands on best practices for running trips and campaigns.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t been a linear path that’s for sure. A lot of people ask me how I got the “dream job” in travel, but it’s not like it was a position I went out and applied for on Linkedin. It’s a position that evolved and I created. The lifestyle isn’t for everyone (in fact, it’s downright exhausting) and working for yourself comes with a lot of highs and lows. More than anything it comes with an added layer of accountability so think long and hard if that’s something you’re up for.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about your business – what should we know?
I’m a digital storyteller. I work with tourism brands (destinations, hotels, airlines, etc.) to tell their story. This means immersing myself in a place and figuring out what makes it bucket list worthy. This could mean sharing the experience on my social channels (primarily Instagram), on their channels, producing content for my blog, or their website. My niche is really unique — offbeat adventures and foodie fun, which has led me to some truly incredible experiences around the world. I’ve become a certified Viking in Iceland, blackwater rafted in New Zealand, and dogsled in my home state of Colorado.
Most people think my clients are all the sexy travel destinations like the Banffs and the Balis of the world, but really, it’s more like the Idahos and the Kansas’, the places that people don’t know a lot about, don’t think about, or that want to show off a different side of themselves. Everywhere is worth visiting — it’s just figuring out why that is and sharing it with the world.
Which women have inspired you in your life?
Personally, my mom because she’s so incredibly selfless. Professionally, Amelia Earhart because she’s a true trailblazer and believed that nothing was off limits.
- Website: http://thedownlo.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lmonitz/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedownlotravel/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenMonitz
- Other: https://www.instagram.com/anadventurestory/