Many of our consultants start part-time and then take their business full-time later. This week, we caught up with Sarah to learn how she did things the other way round…
Watch the video to learn more about Sarah’s journey, including:
- Why she decided to become her own boss as a travel consultant
- How she finds customers
- The best bits of the job
- And how she makes as much part-time as she used to do full-time
Sarah’s been a successful consultant with us for over 6 years
Starting any business is daunting. And that’s even more true when you’re moving countries to do it.
Prior to joining the business, Sarah lived abroad. It happened after a planned 2 week visit with her brother on the island of Utila in Honduras turned into a 6 and ½ year stay… That included both meeting her husband and having her son!
For family reasons, Sarah had decided to come back to the UK. She had a goal of more work-life flexibility, but no fixed plan. Having worked in travel in the past, she started exploring working for herself in the industry.
“I had no idea what I was going to do. Having a child, I wanted to be able to do the school run and things like that. Whilst I was overseas, I was working full time. He spent most of his first years with a child minder. So one of the big requirements was that I had flexibility.
The Travel Franchise stood out as the right one for me.
It gave me the flexibility and support I knew I would need.”
Networking was a her biggest source of customers at first
Any new business needs a big push to get it moving. As part of your training, we teach you exactly how to go out and find customers from multiple sources. That includes how to make the most of more formal events such as networking.
That’s what Sarah focussed on first:
“I didn’t have a network to call on. Everyone I did know in the UK, from my previous life, were already travel agents. So I got out and started networking and that’s where I met my first core of customers.”
She firmly believes that networking is a great way to get your business going quickly.
“You’re meeting like minded people – and they all know multiple people. It’s a fantastic way to get your name out there and show that you are a professional.”
A major focus as you grow your business is getting repeat bookings and referrals for. Sarah explained that’s exactly what’s happened for her.
“Now, my customers are all word of mouth. I don’t network anymore. All my business comes from referrals.”
Sarah loves life as a personal travel consultant
Sarah loves the work she does for people and the experiences she helps to create.
“I love to put together the tailor made trips, those super special ones you can’t do online. I’ve got customers at the moment out in Canada. They’ve flown into Calgary. They’re doing the Rocky Mountaineer. Then they’re picking up an expedition cruise from Vancouver and doing a 28 day sailing all the way up through the Northwest passage.”
She also does a really wide range of bookings.
“I do plenty of small bookings as well. Bookings can be anywhere from £1,000 up to £40,000 pounds or higher. It really does depend on the customer and the trip. It’s a real mix and match which keeps it all interesting.”
Sarah also explains that being a great travel consultant isn’t about booking cheap flights or hotels. It’s about really understanding what’s going to make a holiday special for that particular customer.
“I get so involved in the planning it’s as if it’s my trip. I get to know the customer, so I make sure that the hotels are suited for them. We can easily find the cheapest flights, but those might not be the best ones. It’s having someone that’s actually looking out for your best interests and making sure that the trip you have in your head is going to be perfect.”
Sarah also highlights that it’s about providing insight and expertise (which you learn via our trade team and suppliers).
“We can add in bits that people wouldn’t think about. Like guided tours or private trips. Or suggesting somewhere that they should go, that could end up being the highlight of their trip.”
Now Sarah works less hours without earning less money
Sarah started the business working full-time hours but then took the decision to work part-time around family commitments instead. Because it’s her business, she has total flexibility on when and where she works.
“I now just work smarter. In terms of the amount of bookings coming through that hasn’t gone down at all. My son plays an awful lot of football, so it means that I can finish early and get him to wherever he needs to be. And if I have to work in the car while he’s playing, so be it!
The real benefit of working with The Travel Franchise is that you can work the hours that you want to work, and you are always available for your customers.”