What would you do if a restructure made you redundant and you were approaching 50.
For Julie, who had held a senior role in financial services for over 10 years, the answer was simple.
See it as a sign and invest the redundancy money into launching her own business in something she was passionate about. After all, who can get rid of you if you’re the boss?
“My redundancy came out of the blue. It was a real shock and it was quite upsetting at the time,” says Julie.
But in hindsight, Julie admits she was a little burnt out and it was the best thing that could have happened.
“I would never have left my previous role because I enjoyed it and it was too well paid to walk away from. So when that happened, I kind of thought it’s probably a sign to step back and think about what I’d really like to do. You’ve got to be passionate about what your business is going to focus on.”
“I had thought that one day I’d love to have my own travel company, but I didn’t even have a clue how I would go about doing that. So I started looking into franchises and as The Travel Franchise just really resonated with me I took a leap of faith and went for it.”
Julie invested her redundancy money on our most popular Elite package and began doing what she loved: researching and building amazing holidays for clients – and giving them incredible personal service.
But Julie also goes one step further, actively saving them money where she can.
“I’ve got this thing about doing the right thing. So being able to help people by finding amazing travel options feels like I’m able to give back. I always want to get the best value for my client. So if they’ve come to me and said can you book this particular hotel for me and I see another with equally good reviews and the same facilities but it’s a thousand pounds cheaper, I’ll tell them even though that means less commission.
“I’m also very creative at coming up with a really good itinerary for them. And I love when a client gets really excited about what I’ve put together.”
The result? Julie doesn’t have to go looking for business. It comes to her.
“My clients appreciate what I do for them so now 70 per cent of my business comes from repeat clients and word of mouth.”
And now, in just the third year of business, Julie’s salary is not a million miles away from her previous job where she was in a senior position and in charge of 100 people.
And the bonus is as a home-based agent, there’s no commute and she’s not getting burnt out as hours are flexible and she sets her goals.
“Although I work long hours, it doesn’t feel like work because it’s my passion.”
Last year she sold £500k-worth of holidays and this year she’s on target to increase that figure by 50 per cent. At a time when many businesses are struggling, that’s a pretty impressive growth trajectory.
But while money motivates some, Julie’s BDM, a travel expert who is on call to help every franchisee when they need it, discovered that what drives Julie is dream trips, typically to her favourite destination: Africa.
“My BDM got me to focus on a personal goal, which was really easy for me because I wanted to go to Uganda to see the mountain gorillas. I reached my target and spent the money on the dream trip and now that I’ve been, I’m desperate to go back. Now that I’ve set a goal, I work really hard to achieve it.”
While Julie is happy to plough any extra income into holidays, she also benefits from agent educationals and is going on a cruise with one of our travel suppliers.
She is also making the most of our new Cruise Division and training. She plans to attend our International Mastery cruise onboard MSC’s new ship Euribia in October where she’ll be one of the first to get an in depth behind-the-scenes tour and expert training too.
“It’s nice knowing that if an opportunity comes up to travel, I can just go because I don’t have a boss as such and I can just sort of go and I can take my laptop and work from anywhere.”
She’s also been on our unique Millionaires’ Retreat in Marakesh and our Elite Experience in Mauritius, both free luxury trips where we enable agents to explore a destination, several hotels and get face-to-face business training with our co-founders.
“It gives you a real boost when you go on these things because it just kind of focuses your mind. There’s so much great advice that I have to pick out the things that resonate most with me. And there are always really good takeaways. It also reassured me that I was on a good path in terms of how I was focusing my business. And of course it was incredible being able to experience the island and Beachcomber resorts – I’ve sold quite a lot of Mauritius since.”
So is Julie glad she was made redundant?
“You know, I think my son would tell you I’m way more chilled now than I used to be. I’m just happier, more zen and you know, things tend to happen for a reason. You’ll often come out the other end better off in terms of health and happiness and I have.”