7 Things to Consider if You're Thinking About Starting A Home-Based Travel Business
As a Travel Counsellor, you’ll be a self-employed business owner, running your own travel business from home. You’ll enjoy all the benefits of being your own boss, but that kind of working lifestyle is very different to the office, shop or other salaried employment you might be used to.
Undoubtedly you will have lots of questions and concerns racing through your head, and our New Franchise team here at our Head Office in Manchester are dedicated to putting all that to rest.
Here’s some of the questions the team are asked most often, plus some things you might want to ask yourself to discover if life as a Travel Counsellor is right for you.
1. Am I ready to start my own business?
All Travel Counsellors have a passion for travel, but being a Travel Counsellor is about more than selling holidays, it’s about running a travel business. It’s no lie that you have to be driven and dedicated, and the more you put in, the more you will get out. It’s up to you to build your customer base and manage your customers or clients. That being said, we don’t expect you to be a master of the boardroom or a super-savvy entrepreneur. We will discuss your business plan with you before you start, and your Business Development coach will guide you as your business grows to help you be your most successful. Travel Counsellors are with you every step of the way when starting your home-based travel agent.
2. If I’m running a business, will I have the time to do what I love?
As a Travel Counsellor, you will have over 350 Head Office staff to support you with admin, finances, supplier contracts and more, so a lot of the ‘business’ side of things is taken care of. However, we don’t tell you how to service your customers, or the hours you should work. We are all about empowering people to take control of their work-life balance and provide wonderful travel memories with exceptional customer service. Every process is put in place to make this the reality for Travel Counsellors, so you can get back to doing what you love… selling travel!
3. Will I feel lonely?
Depending on your current situation, you might already be used to working from home, or dream of the opportunity to do so. Plus, many Travel Counsellors find that because they have the flexibility to go out for lunch with friends, pick the kids up from school or attend client meetings, they don’t feel like they’re sat on their own all day at all. But suddenly changing from a busy work environment to the quiet of your home might leave you feeling a bit isolated. If that’s the case, you could look at sharing an office space, with other Travel Counsellors or other businesses.
You might be thinking ‘what if I get stuck when I’m home alone?’. Well, our advice is to pick up the phone! Speak to one of your 1,600 fellow Travel Counsellors who are always happy to help via Skype or post a question on the message boards. Remember your Business Development coach and Helpdesk teams from various departments are just a phone call away, so if you have a problem, we can work together to get it fixed.
4. Do I need a fancy home office?
When you set up as a Travel Counsellor you will get a phone line, laptop, printer/scanner and all our tech already installed, so you will have everything you need to start working. We’d recommend you have a separate area away from the distractions of family life and a clear desk space to organise your work, but you don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing office. And, you can always pick up your laptop and work from your garden, a local café or anywhere else, as long as there’s an internet connection to access Phenix, our in-house booking system.
5. Is self-employment right for me and my family?
Ultimately this is something only you can decide with your loved ones. When you come to an event or ‘demo’ (which is where we discuss your business plan and chat to you in-depth), we encourage you to bring your partner along too. It really helps put their mind at ease and understand better what your new role will involve. It is important that your family are on board with your new venture, and understand that just because you are at home, doesn’t mean you can be at their beck and call… you do have a job to do! Many Travel Counsellors have young children so the flexibility of being a Travel Counsellor is perfect for them, and many say that they don’t get distracted because they have their business and their customers to focus on!
6. What kind of working hours do I want?
As a Travel Counsellor, you can work at times that suit you, and no-one will be checking up on you to see what hours you’ve done. That being said, like any business, being a Travel Counsellor does require a lot of hard work, especially in the early months. So, if you’re looking to put in part-time hours, you will probably struggle to make a success of being a Travel Counsellor. However, for some, being able to work more hours is what they’re looking for: they are willing to put in more, and as a result, they reap greater rewards.
7. Can I afford to give up my salary?
As a Travel Counsellor, you will earn commission from the holidays you sell. By booking through Phenix, you are in control of your margin so you can maximise your earnings. There is an initial fee when you join (this is variable depending on which route of entry you take) and you will receive your commissions 6-12 weeks before your customers travel. So, we’d always recommend having a savings ‘cushion’ to fall back whilst your business gets off the ground. To assess whether Travel Counsellors would be right for you, it’s best to get in touch with one of the team who will be able to discuss your individual financial situation with you in confidence.
Before you decide whether life as a Travel Counsellor is for you (and you don’t have to decide now), you will want to think whether it is something that will work for your personality, your family and if it will be a change for the better. We understand it is a big decision, and that for many people it takes a lot of time to make the leap to becoming self-employed.
Chatting to one of the New Franchise team is the best way to find out if life as a Travel Counsellor could work for you, so get in touch to get the ball rolling.
Still considering whether Travel Counsellors is right for you? Read about how to start your home working travel agent to get you on track.