Lee Friedman of Mango Tree Travel on helping busy parents plan trips of a lifetime
Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:
Hi everyone! I’m Lee Friedman, founder of family travel company Mango Tree Travel. I believe it should be easier for busy parents to find excellent hotels that welcome kids and have rooms that actually fit families (that aren’t your stereotypical family resorts). So about 9 months ago, I decided to build the online resource I wished existed. MangoTreeTravel.com offers an ultra-searchable interface to help parents find and book unique, family-friendly hotels that suit their specific wants and needs. Our mission is to help busy parents plan trips that will bring as much happiness and relaxation to them as it does to their kids.
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
I can’t wait to learn about all the companies and ideas this impressive group of women has come up with.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I saw a problem and wanted to solve it. For years, I have informally been advising friends on travel destinations, and encouraging other parents to travel with their kids. One day, over mimosas, I was talking to my core group of moms — you know, the village you share all things motherhood with — about the ways online travel resources are failing busy moms. I thought, if anyone can build a better resource for parents who want to travel with their kids, I can. And so I did.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I was – and still am – a lawyer in private practice. Traveling was how I spent all my free time, and now I can make it part of my professional life too.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No. I never considered starting my own business until this idea came to me, and I felt I just had to run with it.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I’m still in the launch phase! Our website went live on June 28 and I am spreading the word through my community of moms and fellow travelers, by networking as much as I can, and by talking about the mission behind Mango Tree Travel to anyone who will listen!
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?
It has been hard for me to accept that I can’t do everything all at once. Building a business — and learning all the different components of having an online business — takes an incredible amount of time. I have been learning how to have fun doing it, because it’s such a phenomenal feeling to build something from the ground up, even if it’s challenging.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Getting our website launched! What was just a fleeting idea 9 months ago is now a functional and beautifully designed website that I hope parents everywhere will find useful.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I have been striving to find the right work/life balance since I first became a lawyer. My best piece of advice is to set boundaries. If you’re starting your own business, you may have the instinct to work all the time. But that takes the fun out of it! Take a break. Better yet, visit our website and take a trip!
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Be confident! It may take time, hard work, and mistakes along the way but, if you have a vision, you can make it happen. Don’t be intimidated or discouraged by those who are ahead of you in their journey. Once upon a time, they were just starting out too.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We are starting with the Caribbean because that’s where our expertise lies. Our first major goal is to have family-friendly hotel recommendations in every Caribbean country. With time, we know we’ll have recommendations around the globe.