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I left my finance career to book holidays from home in Portugal

In 2020, Ann Botterman left her financial career in London to book luxury holidays from her home in Portugal. We caught up with her to find out how it’s going.

Tired of life in London, Ann wanted to do something she was passionate about for her career instead.

Like many of our franchisees, it was clear that it was time for a change. And travel was at the top of the list of options.

“Like so many people, I just absolutely love travelling and I always have from a very young age,” says Ann. “I’ve got two children, and even when they were much smaller, we would take them everywhere. So I just wanted to do something I was absolutely passionate about.”

You can run your business from anywhere

Living in Portugal doesn’t hold Ann’s business back.

She has clients from the UK as well as expats in Portugal and Belgium, where she’s originally from. 

While most of her customers are UK based, she also has the ability to work with some suppliers who have routes from European airports for her clients.

And, while she doesn’t come over to the UK for every one of our events, she knows the choice is hers – as well as being able to access all our extensive optional online training sessions.

“However you choose work, whether you are someone who’s going to join in at conferences or events or you just want to work by yourself, you still get the same support in the background.”

Ann also loves that head office support is available by phone and online, with people ready to help almost immediately.

“It’s amazing. They come back within minutes,” she told us. “That helps when you’re working remotely or you’re working other jobs at the same time.”

Many of our franchisees make bookings while they’re away on yet another holiday, so being remote really doesn’t slow you down.

And, now that initial training is virtual, it means you don’t have to leave home to attend. 

Ann makes the business work around her lifestyle

With frequent visits to see her two children (who are in higher education back in the UK) and helping with her husband’s business, Ann certainly has her hands full.

But she makes the business work around her, rather than the other way around.

She loves that it’s something she can do in the evenings or weekends if necessary.

“I love it! I can just do this whenever I want to… weekends, at night, early in the morning. It’s super flexible and it’s your own business at the end of the day.”

Ann loves helping clients who have more complicated requirements for their holidays

Over time, Ann has specialised in luxury bookings that cost more and require greater in-depth planning.

Not that she’s complaining, as that’s exactly what she loves to work on.

Recent trips have included a £19k booking to South Africa (with a stay in a luxury Richard Branson property) and a £17k trip around India, including a quick trip to Goa for Christmas Day.

“I do low volume, high value holidays,” says Anne. “I love doing bespoke, complicated itineraries and really helping people, guiding them through and doing all the preparation.”

Ann also knows that she doesn’t have to be an expert in every destination, with suppliers on hand to help every day.

“I work with a supplier who’s amazing. They only do India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. I told them my brief and they spent an hour with me. They even offered to speak to the clients with me on a Zoom call.”

Ann’s advice is that anyone can do this

We’re the UK’s #1 travel franchise for taking people without any experience and turning them into travel entrepreneurs. And we’ve just been named #17 out of all the franchises in the UK for any sector.

From a franchisee’s perspective, Ann agrees that not having experience should be the last thing holding you back. She says:

“It doesn’t matter what your background is or what your expertise is. If you have a passion for travel and you like working with people then you can do it. Go for it!”

Would you love to run a travel agency from home – or anywhere you choose? Find out how it all works here.

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