Lynne Haslop (Return to Travel - Joined 2018)
"I’ve found the British Mums of Dubai Facebook group to be a great source of business. There are 15,000 women in that group alone; I’ve been getting lots of personal recommendations on there."
I’d been out of the travel industry since I moved to Dubai 12 years ago. I’ve worked in different sectors, but I always wanted to get back into travel. Working in the UAE can be tough, with a long-hours culture, and a real shortage of flexible working, so starting up my own business with Travel Counsellors has been a revelation!
One of the biggest concerns I had prior to joining was where I was going to find my customers, as I had no clients to bring with me. But what I did have was plenty of experience in finding new business - I’d previously worked in Sales roles - so I was confident in going out and getting my name out there. I also understood how to sell to and how to keep customers - invaluable skills in setting up my Travel Counsellors franchise!
I’ve used social media heavily to connect with potential customers. I’ve found the British Mums of Dubai Facebook group to be a great source of business. There are 15,000 women in that group alone, and there are lots of similar social media groups to tap into. I’ve also leveraged my family and other personal networks too, with friends and friends-of-friends recommending me. I’ve been with Travel Counsellors for less than a year, but I’m already starting to get repeat bookings, which gives me great confidence that the model is working!
I’m comfortable attending events to spread the word about my business and the personal service that I offer, thanks to my previous work experience. I pay to be part of the British Business Group, but this has been a great investment; the bookings I’ve had from it have already re-paid the subscription fee. I can see so many opportunities for finding new customers to tap into that I feel very confident in how I’ll grow my business.
It’s important to be realistic in your expectations when you join Travel Counsellors. There’s a lot of hard work to be put in, and it will take time to build your business - for me, that may mean a couple of years to get to back to the same level of earnings as before, and you do need to plan financially for that. However, our booking platform and the support from our team - both in Dubai and in the UK - is phenomenal! With Travel Counsellors, the risk is taken out of running your own business. Aside from the initial joining cost and the low monthly fee, Travel Counsellors takes care of all the rest, and you get a 400-strong team of experts working with and supporting you.
This year I’m heading back to my native Scotland for the entire summer, for the first time in 12 years! I can’t believe that I’ll be able to escape the Dubai heat and carry on working! But with a phone and Wi-Fi connection, I can work from anywhere. My daughter’s coming too, and we’re so excited that we’ll be able to do this together! It just wouldn’t be possible to work like this if I was still employed. Being in control of my business and my time means everything to me. My future with Travel Counsellors is very exciting!