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Made redundant? Be your own boss and launch your own business, like Zoe

What do you do if you’re approaching 50 and made redundant? 

See it as an opportunity to change your life and use the redundancy money to launch your own business like Zoe!

Zoe is unlike many of our franchisees in that she has always worked in travel. 

She completed her first season overseas when she was just 21, starting out as a chambermaid, and then worked her way all the way up to hotel manager and then running corporate events.

But after spending virtually her whole career working for the same tour operator, Sunsail, she was made redundant after the pandemic.

Zoe wasted no time in using her redundancy money to invest in a franchise with us and launch a business on her own. After all, no one can sack you if you’re the boss!

“Travel is in my blood,” says Zoe. “I wouldn’t want to do anything else. Travel is a passion of mine. I turned 50 this year, so the timing was probably quite good in that it was possibly time for a change.” 

Choosing which franchise to opt for was easy after a little research. 

“I liked the fact that all the information you needed was on The Travel Franchise website. I then looked at the Trustpilot reviews and felt really reassured. It seemed to be the best fit for me.”

Despite having worked in the travel industry, Zoe didn’t feel she had a huge head start over other new franchisees who often switch careers having been nurses, teachers, couriers, HGV drivers and business managers. 

“It still took me a while to learn the systems, research the suppliers and discover how everything worked.” 

This is where Zoe’s business development manager (BDM) stepped in to help. 

“It’s good to have the support from a BDM. I have meetings once or twice a month and she really encourages me and helps me to focus. She’s fantastic.”

It wasn’t long before Zoe discovered her entrepreneurial feet. 

After two years, she’s already close to matching her previous salary, without working crazy hours.

“My business has been growing year-on-year. I set myself the target each month of beating the monthly figure from the previous year and so far I’m achieving that – in fact, I’m already £30,000 up on last year!”

But whereas some of our agents choose to skyrocket their business, taking millions in holiday bookings, Zoe says her goal is a good income combined with a relaxed work/life balance.  If she doesn’t want to start at 9am, she starts at 10!

“I’m trying to get a good balance so that I make a good living yet can maximise my enjoyment. I don’t want to work all the hours godsend.”

That said, Zoe makes sure she’s always there for her clients.

“I think being there for my customers is the key to success. I know it sounds like a pretty simple thing, but I’m always there at the end of the phone or a WhatsApp message away.”

Her clients know she can smooth any problems and she does. 

“I had one honeymoon couple who arrived in the Maldives only to find that their over-water villa wasn’t available because the hotel had made a mistake and overbooked. So I woke up at 7.30am to my phone going crazy with them trying to call me. I instantly got on the case.”

While the couple had to spend two nights in a basic room, they were fully refunded and then moved to the correct, luxury, villa.

“They were both so grateful that I was there for them to hold their hands and I got it sorted.” 

Following the recent wildfires in Europe, luckily none of Zoe’s clients were in situ. However, even so, Zoe reached out to her customers who were due to fly to the affected areas just to reassure them that she was there for them should any issues occur. 

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Zoe, like all agents, has discovered that this high level of service attracts repeat customers and referrals which means you don’t have to go out looking for customers as your business grows.

“Repeat bookers and referrals are my main business – and that gives me a boost because it shows I’m obviously doing something right. Referrals mean a lot too because it demonstrates how my customers have trust in me to look after, not just them, but their friends as well.”

However, to continue to find new customers and boost business further, Zoe joined her local Business Networking International (BNI) group in December 2022 and has been amazed to see that it pulled in over £40,000-worth of business. 

She’s also used social media to attract new clients, even though she’s not a big fan.

Luckily, we realise that many consultants need training and support with social media and that’s where our new social media manager, Amy-Louise, steps in. Not only does she provide training to consultants but the entire marketing team provides ready-made timely promotions to post.

“The information and posts we get from head office are invaluable. Just being able to go in and schedule what posts are going out for the next couple of days is absolutely brilliant.”

Since setting up her own business, Zoe’s skills have broadened immensely 

“It’s a constant learning curve, but you’ve always got the support.”

Zoe encourages other people, especially those made redundant, to consider launching their own home based travel agency. 

“Although I may have worked in travel, being a travel consultant is really different. If you’ve got the right attitude, love travel and enjoy getting to know people, then all the other skills can be learnt.”

Watch our 10-minute Discovery video to find out more

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