A decade ago Tamsin Catto was faced with the challenge of starting a new travel business from her home office in Point Cook, Melbourne. With no customers on her books she had her work cut out for her.
“I had never worked in retail, I’d only worked in wholesale. I didn’t have a client base so I was starting from scratch,” explains Tamsin who, got out into the community to meet new people and increase her visibility in the early days of being a Travel Counsellor. “There was a little market and I had a stall there every month for about a year and a half. I actually got quite a lot of business from it.”
Recently winning the Best Business Increase award at this year’s company conference, Tamsin’s achievement proves that it’s possible to build a successful travel business from a client base of zero.
Initially drawn to Travel Counsellors because of the flexibility offered by remote working, Tamsin has made the most of the freedom that comes with being able to work at any time of the day or night. Working from home has given Tamsin the ability to be there for her children, but it’s also given her the flexibility to meet with clients at times that suit them. Because of this she has been able to build a loyal base of customers who keep returning to her year after year.
“99% of my business is repeats and referrals. I feel like I’m running a successful business. I’m earning an income but I can still do everything that I need to do for my kids and I’m always there for them,” says Tamsin.
Shrugging off the naysayers who question the role of travel agents in a digital world, Tamsin has proven that there is a very real market for the provision of tailored travel advice delivered by an experienced professional.
“My business has grown and grown. It just goes to show that people want that relationship. It’s more than just transactional. They want someone there that they can contact any time. I treat every holiday like it’s my own.”
Werribee-based healthcare worker Michele is one of Tamsin’s long term clients. Michele appreciates Tamsin’s ability to go above and beyond, especially since she has a food allergy that needs to be taken into consideration when travel planning.
“The service that Tamsin provides is so personable. She’s friendly, easy going, obliging and approachable. She actually feels like a part of the family. She treats every client like it’s her trip, and that’s important,” says Michele, who has referred Tamsin onto several family members and friends.
Working from home requires a shift in approach if you’re accustomed to working in an office or retail space, but Tamsin believes the support of the Travel Counsellors team has made all the difference to her business.
“You might be on your own at home but you’re not really on your own. You’ve always got the head office or other Travel Counsellors who are so happy to help you at any time.”
Setting monthly and yearly goals (that she’s surpassed every year), Tamsin’s mindset has been a crucial factor in her success. “I’m a big believer that if you want to do something and you put your mind to it, you can do anything. I couldn’t be happier. I could do this forever.”
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