Entrepreneurs: Steph and Katie Burlton

Biz: Lez See The World

Tilt: Travel and lifestyle community for queer women

Primary Channel: Instagram (70.3K)

Other Channels: YouTube (1.28K), blog (10K monthly visitors) 

Time to First Dollar: 2+ years 

Rev Streams: Sponsored content 

Our Favorite Actionable Advice

  • Look at what’s missing: Steph and Katie wanted to travel around the world but found a content gap. They didn’t find travel information targeted to queer women, so they started their content business.
  • Outsource your weaknesses: Steph and Katie weren’t experts in brand deals, so they hired a professional to help.
  • Appreciate the unexpected: Moving around a lot meant Steph and Katie didn’t have a lot of queer women friends. Now, their online community is changing that for them and others.

The Story

Katie and Steph Burleson have carved out a niche for themselves as the resource for lesbian travelers. With a robust Instagram following of over 70K and a blog with 10K visitors each month, this couple shares all the details about the best travel destinations that welcome queer visitors. They have traveled to Asia, Australia, Europe, and all over the Americas. 

The couple met in 2010. They traveled as much as they could while holding down a house and jobs. In 2015, they married and, upon returning from their honeymoon, realized typical domesticity was not for them. Three months later, Katie and Steph rented out their home, and Lez See the World was born.  These passionate and beautiful influencers have been churning out high-quality content ever since. 

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, create it (aka filling a content gap)

When Katie and Steph started traveling, they discovered a big content gap in the available information. “We were doing some research for our early trips and some of the different countries we are going to – things like LGBTQ+ laws, public opinions, and other considerations that we have to (know) when we are traveling to different countries. 

“Most of the information that we were finding out there was really not geared towards queer women. Most of the LGBTQ+ (travel) content was just geared toward gay men,” Katie says. “And so we thought, ‘Well, we’re going to go on all these trips anyway, it would be great to compile all of our resources and share them because surely we’re not the only ones looking for this information.’ So that’s how Lez See the World started.”

Content entrepreneurs Katie and Steph Burton discovered their content tilt from their own experience, seeking but not finding travel information geared toward queer women. #LezSeeTheWorld #ContentBusiness #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Steph continues, “Queer women are our target demographic and, more specifically, couples.” While traveling and sharing resources have been their primary goals, Steph and Katie recognize the value of being seen traveling as a same-sex couple. 

“It has always been important to us and been our mission from the beginning to normalize same-sex relationships. It is something that we both felt that we really lacked in our lives growing up, and so we’ve always wanted to be that for other people,” Katie shares. “We want to show that queer women can travel around the world, have like healthy marriages or long-term relationships, and run a business together and be entrepreneurs. We want to be all the things that we wish we would have seen when we were young.”

All their hard work has paid off for them, not just financially. “For us, it’s just been really cool on a personal level because we didn’t have a lot of like queer women friends and because we’ve moved around a lot. That has made it hard to kind of build a core community, but we have been able to find it online. I know we’re doing so much to create that for other people, but it’s also to create it for ourselves. I was something we really wanted and really needed. It has changed our life in so many positive ways,” Steph says.

Hire a manager

Lez See The World has grown organically over the years. However, when the time came to work with brands and leverage the community they built, Steph and Katie were a bit out of their depth. “The (influencer) industry is so new, and there is no real regulation on how things go. It can be tricky to navigate because we didn’t even know what is standard, and a lot of the time, (brand) clients don’t know either,” Steph says.

The newness of the influencer industry makes it difficult to know what's standard in doing deals with brands, says Steph Burton of Lez See The World. #Influencers #ContentBusiness #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

“So we brought on a manager,” she says. “It had been a goal of ours for a while. It has really really helped us to have someone who has more knowledge of the industry. She does all of our contact with our clients and has helped us to navigate this industry. It’s been so beneficial. We’ve been working with her for about a year now, and this past year has been our most profitable year. We’ve had the best opportunities, and it has really brought our business to the next level.”

Wait for the right opportunities

Steph and Katie spent a lot of time growing their audience before ever working with brands. “We didn’t do a ton of pitching in the beginning. We waited for things to come to us because we felt like holding out for the right partnerships and the right projects made sense in the beginning,” Steph says.

They supported themselves through contract gigs in the first few years of traveling the world.

“If you don’t have other income or if you don’t have other revenue streams, it can be easy to just jump at every small opportunity. However, a lot of them are probably not going to be paying you fairly,” Steph says. “In those early days, we decided that we didn’t need to do that because we had other work. So we rather took our time building our audience and waiting for the good projects. There was a lot of time where we didn’t get paid, and there was a lot of time where we turned stuff down, and we waited.”

Start your content business while you have other income. Otherwise, it's too easy to jump on every small opportunity that probably doesn't pay fairly, says Steph Burton of Lez See The World. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

It was, in part, a decision prompted by their respect for the audience they were growing. As Steph explains: “We didn’t want to throw a whole bunch of ads at them. We want to make sure we’re doing that properly. So we really focused on content strategy, growth, and building community for a really long time. Once we really started growing, we started pitching projects to tourism boards, hotels, and lifestyle brands that aligned with what we had built.”

About the author

Kimmy Gustafson is a freelance writer with a passion for sharing stories of bravery. Her love for world traveling began when her family moved to Spain when she was 6 and since then, she has lived overseas extensively, visited six continents, and traveled to over 26 countries. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French. Currently, she is based on Maui and, when not writing or parenting, she can be found kiteboarding, hiking, or cooking.