Working from home is the dream, right? Who wouldn’t want to avoid commuting and working inflexible, rostered hours when you could be working from the comfort of your own home office? Even though working from home is an attractive prospect, finding the right home-working set-up can be challenging. It’s a big leap to take and that’s why we encourage agents thinking about leaving a retail or corporate travel role to do their research.
These two travel industry professionals did their research on home-working and discovered that Travel Counsellors came out on top.
Bronwyn Wakefield, Jan Juc, Victoria
With many years of experience in the travel industry under her belt, Bronwyn was looking for a role that she could do from her home located in the coastal beach town of Jan Juc in Victoria. Understandably, a long commute from the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne wasn’t appealing.
“I needed to find something to do that was flexible around my kids. Travel Counsellors seemed like a really good fit for what I wanted to achieve,” says Bronwyn. “I did look at one other home-working travel company but it didn’t seem to provide the level of support and systems that I was looking for.”
After weighing up her options, Bronwyn decided that Travel Counsellors was the best fit for her.
“The main drawcard for me was that I liked the whole Travel Counsellors ethos. After I joined, the induction was really thorough and the free refresher courses for Galileo were helpful too.”
Obviously, the first year of building a small business can be challenging, but Bronwyn believes the support she received made all the difference when she first started out on her Travel Counsellors journey.
“The support provided by the TC Care team was amazing. I don’t know how many times I called them during my first three months but it was a lot!”
Today, Bronwyn is using the decades of experience she got working in South Africa and the UK in retail and wholesale consulting, business development and corporate travel account management to grow her own successful travel business, while juggling running a household and caring for her two boys.
And what advice would she give to someone in the industry who was thinking about joining Travel Counsellors?
“I’d tell them that the systems and support at Travel Counsellors really are amazing. I started with no client base, so it was quite hard for me at the beginning, but I’ve managed to turn over $300,000 in my first year, so it was definitely worth the effort.”
Mel Williams, Brisbane, Queensland
Like many other women in the industry, Brisbane-based travel agent Mel Williams hung up her travel boots for a few years to raise children. With experience in retail consulting and store management, Mel soon began eyeing a return to the travel scene. But going back to work in a retail store wasn’t very appealing.
Mel wanted to work flexible hours so that she could take her three kids to the park throughout the day and be there for them when they needed her. With this in mind, Travel Counsellors was a tempting option. After doing some research and speaking to a friend who had joined Travel Counsellors, she decided to take the plunge.
“I love having the flexibility to work from home or from the café down the street,” says Mel, who was drawn to Travel Counsellors because of the company’s commitment to building strong relationships with customers.
“It really is about being personal and that appeals to me. If you have a personal relationship with a client, then they’re going to enjoy the experience more in comparison to rushing them in and out of the door. I love a good chat so this way of working works for me!”
Even though Mel works from her home office, she doesn’t feel alone.
“I’m connected with an amazing cohort of Travel Counsellors. Even though we don’t all work in the same office, everyone is there to support and help you. It really does feel like people genuinely care about you.”
Mel believes that one of the greatest things about being a Travel Counsellor is that there’s far less time-pressure than working in a retail store.
“If I need an hour consultation with a client, then I can do that. But when you’re working in a retail store and there’s a big line of people waiting to be served, then you feel you have to rush.”
Being a business owner can be tough, especially when you’re starting out, but Mel thinks that setting small, manageable goals is the key to success.
“You can have big dreams and goals, but if you keep taking small steps in the right direction, one day you’re going to look back and see the big picture. The first couple of years might be hard, but the first couple of years is hard in any role. Challenges help you grow and you only know what you’re made of until you jump in and give it a go.”