rimvydas_makaliusWhen four years ago Rimvydas Sirvinskas presented his pseudonym Makalius, now very well-known brand name, in one conference in Kaunas – everyone started laughing. What? “Makalius”? – they replicated. He left the conference angrily and at that moment he thought – I will show you what I can do. Today, when people hear the name Makalius – they don’t laugh. Internet platform Makalius.lt has been developed in order to make travelling easier and cheaper than people are used to. It’s the biggest and the most popular website about travel in Lithuania, everyday it receives approximately 15 thousand visitors.

Trip to Riga was like a trigger

Rimvydas understood that travelling is fun in his young age. He was 13 when he and his classmates first went outside of Lithuania – he visited Riga’s Water Park in Latvia. He was fascinated by traveling, so when he came back he wanted to travel again as soon as possible. turn_your_hobby_into_businessBut as a teenager with limited budget he could not afford usually high cost travels. This encouraged him to think outside the box when it comes to planning trips on a very tight budget. Every week his dad was giving him 6 euro allowance and Rimvydas was saving it all for the future trips. Soon planning trips became kind of a hobby for him: reading, checking every day for new lower prices tickets opportunities, searching for random places to go, the main goal – to find cheap and interesting travel options.

While buying tickets for the first time he faced many challenges and things he needed to overcome. Ticket purchase in different language was really difficult and stressful for him: additional charges for baggage, lottery, insurance and preemptive right to board the aircraft increased plane tickets price 5 times or even more. Therefore, he started to share his questions and experience under pseudonym Makalius in one, quite popular Lithuanian forum. With increasing number of stories and advises he wanted to share, Rimvydas decided to establish a separate travel expert blog Makalius.lt and to place all his stories and photos there.

Friendly advices turned into business

When Rimvydas was developing his webpage, he couldn’t imagine that soon it will grow into successful business with thousands followers.travel_leisure

Moreover increasing traffic of website gave significant income to the owner. People actively started to seek for assistance in purchasing plane tickets. Originally R. Sirvinskas did it free of charge, but later he started to ask for his favourite chocolates. Some people trusted Makalius so much that they even gave him credit card details. “I do not want to be called, for example “Rimvydas travel”, my nickname is Makalius. Everyone knows me by this name.” And his nickname gained the trust. Now his webpage can offer to purchase low cost flight tickets for people who don’t know how or are afraid to do purchase by themselves, apart from this service, everything else is free. “We do not want to be entirely commercial. Discovered cheap travel opportunities are announced on web free of charge.”- explained R. Sirvinskas.makalius_magazine

Today you can find Makalius not only on internet. A few years ago he had his TV show in which he was explaining how people can spend their weekend overseas with only 100 euros. A lot of famous people from Lithuania had travelled together with him. Later in 2012 R. Sirvinskas published a book “Makaliaus pigiu kelioniu vadovas” about travelling on low budget, and now he is publishing a magazine “Makalius’s trips”. Second number just came out this week.

When he was asked to reveal his business secret – he told one simple, but effective tip: “travel_the_worldWhen I’m telling about my trips or writing stories or advising people – it’s always me. I don’t want to hide under someone else’s name. I guess that’s my secret.  Nevertheless, now he is unable to answer all the letters he receives by himself, so now he hires staff to help him.

Makalius is a really great example showing that it’s truly possible to make successful business from the things you like, you just have to believe in yourself and do what you love.

Ieva Ivaškevičiūtė, Intern at Institute