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How I switched careers after 10 years in the NHS

Sian tells us how she used her transferable skills to start her own personal travel consultant business.

In the full interview below, you’ll learn all about how Sian managed to get out of a career she found herself hating. Watch it to find out.

  • Why she knew she had to make a change
  • The way her business has changed family life
  • What she loves most about being a travel consultant

Sian’s job was making her (and her family) miserable

In the interview above, Sian explains her career wasn’t panning out the way she’d expected it to.

“I was working in the NHS for 10 years. I was absolutely miserable in my career. I was bringing my work home with me and it was really affecting my family life. And I was looking for a change. And actually a friend of mine who was already in The Travel Franchise recommended it.”

While away on holiday, she sat down with her husband to discuss the opportunity. It became clear that she had all the transferable skills she needed – as well as the necessary love of travel.

Sian thought the transition out of the NHS would be difficult and complicated.

“I guess I was taught that you have to learn it in school, learn it in university, then get your qualifications. I thought you can’t do it if you haven’t done those steps.”

But she soon learned that our onboarding is specifically designed to help people without travel experience get started in just 5 days.

“It was just such a seamless, easy process to get into The Travel Franchise. I was actually really surprised at how easy it was. I expected it to be really complicated and really overwhelming, and it wasn’t. The training was really concise. I didn’t feel left on my own. We were really supported, and we had a good group of people that were all in the same boat.” 

Things weren’t easy to begin with

When you join, we give you a customer-getting-blueprint to follow. It shows you exactly what to say and do if you are new to travel.

It’s a proven way to get started and many of our consultants love it, as it means they can start making bookings quickly.

However, it’s your business, so you decide how you want to run it.

We’ll be there to support you and suggest what to do, but there’s no boss telling you what must be done.

Sian explains that she didn’t get off to a brilliant start, with the transition to self-employment taking time to adjust to.

“One of the main things I was scared of was that everybody knew me as a podiatrist. I’d worked as a diabetic foot specialist for 10 years. That’s what they knew me as. It’s taken a while for me to get to the stage where I actually feel that I’m running a successful travel business.”

Initially, Sian decided to follow her own plan. 

“I wanted to do it my own way, at my own pace. I didn’t utilise all of the help that was offered. I think in hindsight, if I’d have done that a bit more regularly, I may have built this business quicker.”

She explains that – after a while – she decided to go all-in on growing the business faster, rather than be frustrated.

“There’s a point where you just have to do it or you don’t. I wasn’t building quickly enough. But it’s because I wasn’t listening, I wasn’t listening to what everyone was saying. How, if you do the things you’re supposed to do, it will work. And it does.”

Once she switched gears, she found that networking was her biggest success for getting customers initially. It meant she could introduce herself as a travel professional from the beginning, with none of the baggage of her prior job.

Sian now has a fantastic travel business

After building her business up over the past few years, most of Sian’s bookings now come via introductions. She’s got a great group of customers who use & refer people to her regularly.

“Now it’s a lot easier. There’s an element of how I can almost pick and choose what holidays I’ll book. I don’t have to work with just any clients anymore. There’s always value for money but they know what they’re getting when they book with me.”

She also has a very active profile on LinkedIn, where she tends to attract the kinds of customers she wants to work with.

“Every single holiday I go on, I just take loads of pictures and shout about it on LinkedIn and Instagram. I get a lot of serious customers from LinkedIn because it’s a more serious platform. I don’t really use Facebook a lot.”

She’s also created partnerships with businesses – like her local hairdresser. 

Every time a customer is referred by the hairdresser, Sian books them an extra treatment (such as nails or massages). It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved!

One referral alone created a £34,000 holiday booking.

Of course, you could create partnerships with as many businesses as you like, where they can get paid a small share of the commission. Simply use Partners In Travel, which is included with every franchise we offer.

She loves creating holidays that make memories

Sian takes her role as a travel consultant seriously. 

“It’s a really personal thing… When you’re creating somebody else’s holiday, that’s their investment in their happiness. They’re trusting you with that. And that’s a big thing. I don’t take that lightly. So, when somebody says that they’ve had a good time, it’s such a fantastic feeling! Because I’ve put my heart and soul into that -and I want them to have a good time.”

One family recently took a road trip in America that Sian was able to make really special. Focusing on their love of cult movies, she was able to incorporate plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the way. It meant they got to visit the locations of some of their favourites – including Santa Cruz, home to filming of the iconic Lost Boys film.

And, with the daughter in the family a keen Instagram fan, she managed to make sure every hotel & location was truly Instagram worthy.

Photo of Santa Cruz by Ryo Chiba on Unsplash

When bookings like this come in at over £40,000, it can be very lucrative as a travel business owner. But it’s helping people make memories that’s the most important thing to Sian.

Would you love to switch careers and help people make memories? Watch our video tour now to learn how you could do it in just 5 days.

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