One of our newest Travel Counsellors, Kelly Pope, decided to leave the high street behind in order to pursue her own home-based business with Travel Counsellors.
Kelly had previously worked for a number of travel agencies over the past 13 years, spending the last three in a branch where she was the top seller. She used to work with fellow Travel Counsellor Emma Otter and has been contemplating becoming a Travel Counsellor and starting her own business for a number of years.
In 2018, she eventually decided to make the leap and joined us on her initial one-week induction training in February. We caught up with Kelly during that week to find out more about her decision to leave the high street behind and embark on her Travel Counsellor adventure.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background…
“I’m a mother to our son Jackson, who wants to be a world champion snooker player when he grows up, and wife to my lovely husband. He loved to travel, so that’s where I got the bug! I’ve worked in the industry as a travel agency for nearly 14 years, starting off in a small independent agency, but spending most of that time working for a well-known high street travel agent.
I love to sing and have performed in many shows over the years, singing various styles with my favourite being soul and blues. I also love musical theatre and would love to be in a musical. I’m also a new mum to our baby Tommy and a black Labrador, who is currently destroying my house!”
What does becoming a Travel Counsellor mean for you?
“Flexibility, not just for me but for my customers. I love that I can dedicate my time and expertise from the initial enquiry to them returning home. I also love the margin. I will be paid regardless of if I hit a target and regardless of who I sell to, unlike my old job, which gives me complete power of my work life.”
What motivated you to start your own travel business?
“I was passionate about the old product I sold and how I sold it. But no matter how hard I worked, I was still only bringing home the same salary of someone who was performing at a lower level. I left achieving 127% and was the number two sales people in the region, but I wanted to be in charge of each day and concentrate on what is at the heart of the business – the customers.”
What are you looking forward to most about being a Travel Counsellor?
“I love that I can work from home, knowing that I have the interests of the client at heart and offering products that will be best for them, not only in TC packages but also the commercial companies that we work with.”
Have you set yourself any goals or milestones for what you want to achieve in your first year?
“Salary wise, for the first year, I have been realistic and have set myself the target of achieving the same salary I was earning in my previous role, but with the intention to work with smart and TC package as much as I can. I also want a 100% net promoter score and to be on stage at Conference in November!
Finally, I want my work-life balance back. I want to have weekends with my family as I have missed out on so much working in retail.”
What activities have you been doing to promote your new business and leave your customer base?
“I started a travel clinic in an upmarket beauty salon, which is getting me more contacts out of town, and my dog needs walking so I have been looking into some walking clubs. I have also enquired about Business Network International group and I am on the waiting list to join, as well as arranging to go to several local networking events in my area.”
Starting your own business is a big decision; what were your main concerns when you were making the decision and how did you overcome these?
“The biggest one was money, but fortunately I have savings and a six-month back-up plan. That was the only concern – the rest of it was a no brainer!”
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
“Without sounding corny, I’m happy wherever my family are. But if I had an unlimited supply of cash, it would have to be the South Pacific and the French Polynesian islands. I dream to swim in blue seas, take in the tropical islands and live the island life.”