This week we caught up with Natasha and James.
A dynamic duo from Berkshire, they decided to join in June 2021 and have had great success, all while working part-time on the business.
They also went on to beat the unique Money-Back Challenge, meaning their business has cost them nothing to start!
Watch their full video to find out:
- Why they decided to join
- How they get customers
- How they make it work around other commitments
- And what the most special part of it all is
They were looking for something they could enjoy doing for the rest of their lives.
Both James and Natasha had a similar story to many of our franchisees. They simply couldn’t imagine working in a 9-to-5 job forever and felt the pull of entrepreneurship.
Natasha had already started her own successful beauty business around her work in the NHS. Now it was James’ turn to look to the future.
He told us:
“We were in lockdown and thinking about what’s next for us both. In terms of what are our passions? What would we like to do for the rest of our lives? And it was very clear to me that doing nine to five wasn’t the future.”
The couple spent a long time exploring their options, and it was clear that travel was a natural fit.
“From our very first date, we spoke about the types of travel we’d been on individually and where we’d like to go in the future. It’s always been a big part of our lives.”
And Natasha elaborated that it was after a bad experience elsewhere, that they realised they could really make a difference.
“We had a really bad experience as a consumer after booking a holiday with another company and then having to cancel due to the pandemic. It was a catalyst to saying ‘we could do this so much better’. After watching the video tour, reading reviews and speaking to others out there, I knew it was right for us. The one thing all our friends know us for is our passion for travel. So, this is a natural step for us, it wasn’t surprising for anyone we knew.”
They built their own momentum quickly.
The couple didn’t wait to start promoting their new business, even though they hadn’t officially started it. Natasha told us what they did.
“The moment we signed up for the business – after speaking to Paul – we immediately started networking around the pool, as we were actually on holiday in Barbados! We created a Facebook group and invited everyone we knew to it. We went into training as prepared as we could be.”
With the groundwork in place, their first booking came the same day as they finished training.
“We finished training at 3pm on the Friday and by 4.30pm on the same day we had our first booking. And it was from a complete stranger!”
They find customers everywhere they go.
In the video, Natasha explains how her beauty business is a great place for conversations about holidays.
“A lady booked an eyebrow wax with me for £10. It turned into a holiday to the Maldives worth £23,000.”
They also leverage social media sensibly, being helpful and active online. Natasha said:
“We’ve not paid for one advertisement since joining and have just worked social media. Clients do find us from our Facebook page. We join a lot of the holiday groups and provide free advice.”
And being on holiday is perhaps the best place to find customers of all.
James told us:
“I think every holiday that we’ve been on, we’ve got a booking from someone that we’ve met. We went on a cruise at Christmas, met people and they booked with us to go on a couple more cruises.”
And a recent trip to South Africa created 13 new customers at once.
“We recently did a booking for Borneo. It was 13 individual bookings because we had taken a trip to South Africa and made friends with everybody on the trip. And we’re actually doing the tour with them as leaders, taking all 13 as our clients.”
They love the support and community.
James explains that being totally new to travel meant they needed to pick the right partner to start their business with.
“I think one of the great things about Not Just Travel is that it’s always been for people with no background in travel. That was really endearing to us.”
He also highlights that the Business Development Managers are always there as you grow in knowledge and confidence.
“We’re still learning. That’s the industry. I think you’re constantly evolving. At the beginning, it’s more, how do you do this? Or how would you do that? Now the questions are more complicated because we’re getting bigger clients with more complex needs. It’s great to have that support network available to you. And you definitely need the support… you couldn’t do it on your own.”
And Natasha tells us that other consultants are a massive help, not competition.
“Other travel consultants have been really helpful. It’s not a competition. So you can actually ask somebody else questions and they freely give that advice.
Being part-time doesn’t mean being less of a professional business owner.
Natasha explains how they run the business around James’ other work, her part-time role in the NHS and her beauty business.
“It’s only about this time last year that we started. And now James is no longer full-time in IT. But I’m still very strict with timetables and calendars. We have dedicated time to do one thing and then the other. We just share it between us like a tag-team.”
Customers clearly love their service, as they have 5/5 ratings on Trustpilot.
Their advice is that you need to love talking about holidays.
Natasha explains that although you get everything you need to get started, it really is down to you to put the effort in to make it a success.
“It can be hard-going, but it’s all about the kind of personality you have. You’ve got to have confidence. Just go out there and start talking to people about holidays.”
And James says that, once you start making bookings, it’s that love for holidays that’s the cherry on the cake.
“Obviously we’re here to make money, and the value of the bookings are great. But it’s the stories behind them that make them stick. We’ve helped people propose and we’ve helped people spread ashes. We’ve brought together families. I think those untold stories of travel are what really make every day special.”