We’re shining the spotlight on some of our best-performing business owners. Meet James Wilson, who has consistently achieved our prestigious Gold status for the past five years, while providing exceptional service for his clients.
We sat down with James to discuss what high performance means to him, his secrets to success, and how taking the leap to set up his own travel business has transformed his life for the better.
Hi James – congratulations on achieving and maintaining Gold over the past five years. What does high performance mean to you?
I couldn’t achieve high performance without my incredible clients. I really value being a ‘Gold’ Travel Counsellor and I enjoy going on the Gold trips and catching up with other high-performing franchisees. The trips are a great opportunity to share tips and advice. It’s nice to achieve a level of income that provides security for my family – however, I’m acutely aware that strong client relationships are key. You can’t ever afford for your service levels to slip.
How have you built and grown your business since joining us in 2017?
There are three ways in which I’ve grown my business. Firstly, I managed to secure the business of a big charity client in my village thanks to a friend who worked for them. They’re now my third-biggest client. Secondly, I have a background in both leisure and business travel, so I’ve been able to attract some leisure bookings from friends, family, and my wider network. Finally, I’ve teamed up with two other Travel Counsellors to cope with increased demand and grow my business.
How has your life changed since becoming a Travel Counsellor?
I’m happier and more fulfilled! I honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else now. I love being my own boss and having the flexibility to work the hours I want. It means I get to see more of my kids and allows my wife to do the shift work required in the NHS. My commute used to be 1.5 hours, but now it’s just a few paces to my garden office!
In your opinion, what’s the best thing about being a Travel Counsellor?
I think it’s the flexibility. Being able to take on as much business as I want, being empowered to look after clients personally and give them a wraparound service, and enjoying family life thanks to the great work-life balance.
What are your goals for the year ahead?
I’m pretty close to having my business at the level I want it, but it would be nice to go back above £1.5m in annual sales and enhance my margin. I'd also like to push leisure bookings a bit more.
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of joining the Travel Counsellors community?
Be prepared to be patient, and don’t ignore any booking. When I first started out, I got really frustrated by a new client because the booking was low value. However, my service led to her recommending me to her cousin, who is now my top leisure client.
Whether your background is in business or leisure travel (or perhaps you have a passion for travel and want to turn that into a career), we can help you set up a thriving travel franchise. Here at Travel Counsellors, we take care of everything – from best-in-class training and round-the-clock support to innovative tech and systems that make life easier for you and your customers. If you’re ready to be your own boss, get in touch to find out what we can offer you.