We’re delighted to welcome new Travel Counsellor, Adrian Walters, who joined us in June for his induction training. We spoke to Adrian about his decision to start his own home-based travel business…
Welcome to Travel Counsellors, Adrian! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I live in Devon with my wife Pauline – we live in a beautiful village on the Exe Estuary which gives me plenty of scope to pursue my hobbies of running, cycling, walking and kayaking. Sport is one of my main interests with a lifetime following of Arsenal football club, as well as travel, of course. I’ve been lucky enough to visit 5 continents and nearly 40 countries.
What did you do before joining Travel Counsellors?
I worked as a Financial Advisor and Insurance Broker in London for 15 years but decided to spend a year travelling the world. Inspired by my travels, I moved to Edinburgh and began life as a ‘mature student’, graduating with a degree in Tourism Management in 2006. I then began my travel career with a leading travel company as a Worldwide Consultant. For the last six years I have been a Premium Travel and Cruise Consultant after transferring to a new branch in Exeter in 2010.
Leaving an employed role to start your own business is a big leap of faith; what motivated you to take the plunge?
I felt that in my previous role within a high street travel agency, I’d exhausted the possibility of further professional and personal achievements and I’d become a little frustrated with the onerous working hours, shift patterns and lack of flexibility the company offered. For me, starting my own business as a Travel Counsellor will give me a fresh challenge after a few years of what felt like ‘stagnation’ in my previous role.
How do you plan to find new clients and build your business initially?
I plan to target friends and family initially, using social media such as Facebook and Instagram and will be encouraging people to spread the word about my new business. I’m also exploring other advertising avenues such as local publications, exhibiting at wedding fayres and the local festival, as well as identifying local business networking groups that I can join.
Have you set yourself any goals or milestones for your first year?
My main is to adapt as quickly as possible to a new way of working and to establish a regular and reliable customer database to help grow my business. Obviously, I would like to start earning as much money from sales as soon as possible, but I have a realistic grasp that this may be a slow process that will gather momentum as the year goes by.
What are you looking forward to most about being a Travel Counsellor?
I’m looking forward to being able to focus on growing my own travel business and building clients relationships, but also having the ability to exchange views, ideas and information with a network of like-minded travel industry experts. And, the flexibility that self-employment offers will give me control of my working life, allowing me to decide when I work and for how long for, rather than being dictated to by another organisation.
Travel is an exciting industry to be part of, what do you love most about working in it?
I love the fact is allows me to use my love of travel and destinations around the world to make a living. It’s basically like turning a hobby into a job. Having worked in financial services for many years, with no real enjoyment, the travel industry is a positive and forward-thinking environment. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like talking about their holidays rather than their pensions!
So, if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would love to visit Argentina and Patagonia as I feel this is an area that would allow me to enjoy all the things that I love – amazing countryside and wilderness, fascinating cities and history, football and of course, wonderful wines and food.