As 2012 draws to an end, it’s time to look at how our virtual tour business has evolved in the past year. This is our second full year operating Vision Quest Virtual Tours as our full time job and sole source of income. It’s been said that you can’t EXPECT what you don’t INSPECT so this exercise is very helpful in seeing how far we’ve come and also in setting our goals for 2013.
Here’s how we did on the specific goals we set for ourselves:
GEOGRAPHIC GOALS —
Having traveled almost full time in 2011 and then bought a small house on the Mississippi River at the end of the year, we decided that we wanted to concentrate our travel on a corridor between Illinois and Charleston, SC. We accomplished this goal and were able to spend a great deal of time at our home in Illinois and as well as with our families in Georgia and South Carolina.
We are a national virtual tour company and we photographed tours in 13 states this year and logged 37,500 business miles — however it was all in the Southeast and Midwest which meant that we spent many weekends at home. We discovered some new places we love such as bike trails in Iowa and Wisconsin but we also got to enjoy the beaches in Charleston and the Gulf Coast and got to enjoy the beauty of our own backyard.
CORE BUSINESS FOCUS —
At Vision Quest Virtual Tours, we specialize in virtual tours for healthcare, hospitality and education. This is our core business but this year, we also began doing more real estate and created a secondary business focus. The great thing about local real estate is that it is a consistent stream of income but when we were traveling full time, it was difficult to service those clients in a time efficient manner. This year we solved that by hiring an additional photographer who is available to shoot our Quincy, IL real estate virtual tours when we are on the road.
There’s an old saying that you can add to your income or multiply it. With limited hours in the day, the only way to multiply your income is to find a way to make money passively. Rather than stray from our core business sectors, by adding the other photographer, we simply added another division that operates in a self sufficient manner. Last year, real estate accounted for 5% of our business…this year real estate accounted for 20% of our business!
Our business was split between the following sectors:
44.8% — Hospitality
29.7% — Healthcare and Education
19.6% — Residential Real Estate
6% — Architecture and Design Photography
INCOME AND VOLUME GOALS —
Our goal was to average at least one tour per day and we exceeded that. We will end the year with about 370 tours completed. What that means is that many days we shot anywhere from 5 – 10 and many days we shot none. We also had specific income goals — both for annual income, average monthly income and also for a specific amount of income in a single month — we exceeded each of those. We had a good ratio of smaller jobs (like houses and cabins) and larger jobs (such as hospitals and nursing homes).
SOURCE OF BUSINESS —
We reached a huge milestone this year in that only 26% of our business was attained by cold calling. This year the vast majority of our business came from repeat customers, referrals from existing customers and leads from our website. In all honesty, we could have made an even higher income by focusing more on new business but it was so delightful to have the phone ringing with referrals and repeat business that it was not as necessary to do aggressive cold calling to meet our income goals.
39% — Repeat Customer
26% — New Customers
20% — Web Leads
18% — Referrals
The most important goal we accomplished this year was less tangible. We ran ourselves ragged the first year we were in business and we wanted more balance this year. Achieving that goal is our greatest accomplishment of all. We reached fitness goals — losing over 80 pounds between the two of us; I ran my first half marathon, a 10k and 5k race; we rode our bikes in lots of new places. We spent a lot more quality time with our families, we became more involved in our church, took more time to relax and rest and enjoy our business and our lives.
All in all, 2012 was a very good year indeed and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2013!
Vision Quest Virtual Tours is a national virtual tour provider specializing in healthcare, hospitality and education. We split our time between the North Georgia mountains, the South Carolina lowcountry and our home in Quincy, IL on the Mississippi River. To learn more about us or to schedule a virtual tour, visit us online at www.VisionQuestVirtualTours.com or give us a call at 404-863-9769.