Floating isn’t an uncommon experience in Amanda and Stephanie Long's business.
In fact, floating high above the Arizona desert (in nothing but a suspended basket) is at the core of what they do for a living.
The two sisters own and operate Hot Air Expeditions, a hot air balloon ride/adventure experience that provides participants with an uninhibited view of the Arizona landscape - and the thrill of being in open air high above the ground.
Their hot air balloon rides have been described as similar to “a magic carpet ride” and like “riding on a cloud”. The two agree that the exhilaration and thrill of flying through the air never seems to lose its luster, despite being experienced veterans of ballooning.
Over the years, the Long sisters have successfully provided a five-star experience for their passengers. Their guests can expect gourmet cuisine and champagne with every hot air balloon tour they take. Incredible views, a luxurious meal, and champagne all in one package? Sign us up!
Their balloons have also been frequently chosen as the romantic spot for many an in-flight proposal.
Recently, Hot Air Expeditions was featured in National Geographic’s Traveler magazine, and the two sisters couldn’t be more thrilled. They make their customer’s adventure dreams come true every day, but this was one of theirs.
We reached out to Amanda and Stephanie to see if they could share some of the ways they create success in their business, and insights into how to fit in self-care as busy #girlboss business owners.
Advice on Routines, Success, & Self-Care for Busy Business Owners
If you could share one piece of advice with small business owners just getting started, what would that be?
Stephanie: “To focus on the bigger picture. There will be day-to-day struggles in any occupation, but keeping focused on the bigger picture of why you are doing what you do will keep you motivated and progressing, instead of remaining stagnant and focusing on smaller, more insignificant issues.”
What inspires you to do what you do every day?
Stephanie: “Seeing the smiles on our guests’ faces and knowing that we are providing a once in a lifetime experience for our passengers.”
What stands out as one of your proudest moments as a business owner?
Amanda: “What’s great about what we do is that we often get instant gratification. Reading online reviews, watching Instagram stories/posts that our company is tagged in, and receiving emails and letters thanking us for the experience, all makes us so happy and proud. We have been lucky enough to have been featured in some pretty cool avenues, and just recently in National Geographic Traveler, a total bucket list check for us.”
The experience we create for our customers is so important to a brand's ongoing success. Your team does an incredible job of creating an amazing experience for your guests. What makes you so successful at this?
Stephanie: “Being a long-standing family business in a niche industry, many of our staff have worked with us for years, so we are not just working together as a team, but as a family. Teamwork is imperative to what we do and, without it, there is a domino effect. Having a culture of trust, and the passenger experience at the core of what we do, keeps everyone focused and motivated towards the same goal- providing the best possible hot air ballooning experience.”
What is one thing you do to motivate yourself before a busy day or a tough week?
Amanda: “Self care is so important. It is so easy to get wrapped up in your to do list, and everything that is going on, that sometimes YOU take a backseat. It is crucial to plan some ‘me time’ even in the midst of craziness, because if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t be your best for others.”
What's one thing you do in the morning to set yourself up for a productive and powerful day?
Amanda: “In the morning, when I’m not out with a flight, I try to take a couple hours of quiet work time alone to go through our online reviews, update our social media, and answer any urgent emails before the busy-ness of the day begins. It makes getting to the office in the morning a more peaceful experience.”
Thank you, Amanda and Stephanie, for sharing your experience and your words of wisdom to all of our fellow entrepreneurs. Your advice is invaluable and your attitude is awesome. We can’t wait to see more of your biz on social media (and up in the air!)
Click to book your next great adventure with Hot Air Expeditions today!
If Amanda & Stephanie can take a dream and transform it into a successful small business, you can do the same!