When Kate Diete and Paul McCann decided to leave the corporate world they had one thing in mind: how to combine travel with their other passion, entrepreneurship? They came up with the idea of launching one startup a month while travelling the world for a year. They are taking the idea very seriously and they are now already in their eighth month of travelling, with their eighth startup coming up.

MediaChange first met Kate Diete and Paul McCann in Ljubljana, at the Poligon Creative Centre, where they introduced themselves and their startup challenge to a crowd of like-minded people, the Remote Year members. They all share the same innermost desire – to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas and discover the wonderful experiences of our planet at the same time.

Kate and Paul, partners both in life and in business, decided to quit their corporate jobs in London as they had gradually realised that their 9-5 jobs would never be as fulfilling as they wanted. “We’ve always had a lot of ideas and knew that we would never be able to realize them working in the corporate world,” said Kate in our Skype chat during their stay in Sarajevo. They soon found that their decision had been the right one. “We have experienced more in just a few months of travelling than we would ever have experienced in our corporate jobs,” agreed Kate and Paul, who have joined forces under the name of Inner Wanderlust.

All the businesses are self-funded

Kate, 28, who moved from Australia to London in 2012, and Paul, 35, born in Liverpool, UK, have many years of experience in digital agencies. Kate was working as a developer, project manager and business analyst, while Paul was a systems architect. Their knowledge and skills serve them well in their “Bootstrap 12” project, as they call it. They intend to launch 12 startups in 12 months, and so far they are doing an excellent job.

In the last 8 months they have created 8 startups: the healthy teas subscription service, Tea Witty; a greeting card and reminder subscription service called Forgetful Mr;  the geo-locating juice bar finder app, Find Juice Bar; the crowdsourced user testing platform Webevate; an entrepreneurial community named You Me Achieve; a socially responsible marketplace with uniquely crafted items called Purpose Wins; a documentary about their startup journey, Start Me Up; and finally the business generating ideas network 24hr Ideas. As Kate explains in her blog, each business is being designed around the concept of the 4 Hour Work Week written by Tim Ferris, along with The Lean Startup model written by Eric Ries, creating a minimum viable product to launch, gauge interest and ultimately find a market. 

When asked how they finance their startup family, Kate and Paul answered that they self-fund all the businesses. Before hitting the road, they sold all their belongings to be able to cover the initial expenses, but their first entrepreneurial efforts are already yielding results. “We have been lucky that the first startups we launched have already begun to be successful, so we are able to fund all the others, which still need some time to grow.”

For now, they are doing everything themselves, from the creation of websites and content and finding the suppliers (as in the case of the Tea Witty), to the design, branding and marketing.  “Of course, it was much easier to do everything ourselves when we were just starting bootstrapping than it is now, when we have a lot of things to juggle. It is definitely trickier now to handle all our activities. Luckily for us, managing time is something we are good at, and we are getting even better at it. We are definitely not thinking about our challenge as work; it is something that we love doing and it has already become our way of life,” said Kate and Paul enthusiastically.

First Europe, then Asia, and finishing in Australia

The entrepreneurial pair is in awe of Europe, with its rich culture and history, as well as its thriving startup community. “At the beginning of our journey, we thought that we would only stay in Europe for a couple of months, visiting three or four European countries, but now, after eight months, we are reluctant to leave it. We plan to stay here, in the Balkans area, for another couple of months and then head to Asia and finish our project in Australia,” Kate and Paul said of their near future plans.

When asked if they plan to go back to London after they reach their goal of creating 12 startups in 12 months, they answered that they will continue to travel, as it has become their lifestyle. “However, we will stay in different places longer because we have now been jumping around quite a bit,” said Kate, and Paul added: “It depends on how this year goes, but we are very much looking forward to Asia, which is also very rich and diverse.”

They said that they are very grateful for all the opportunities that have come their way. “We have mostly had positive experiences throughout our journey. We are often asked what is the worst thing that has happened to us and we can only think of one time when our wifi connection was down. Fortunately, with Paul’s background in IT, we were able to fix it,” they laughed.

You can follow Kate’s and Paul’s journey here.


Photos: Kate Diete and Paul McCann, the Inner Wanderlust duo.