Jon Grosse joined us as a Business Travel Counsellor in March 2017. Here he tells us how switching from 23 years in employment to becoming his own boss has given him freedom he never thought possible.
Jon has lived and worked in Edinburgh his whole life, but of course his passion for travel has taken him to far flung shores. With a honeymoon in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, unforgettable trips to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and dreams of being a pilot or enjoying a laid-back life in a beach-front house in the Caribbean, discovering the world has always been Jon’s ‘thing’.
So, it’s no surprise he chose to pursue a career in travel: specialising in business travel for over 20 years, it’s something he really enjoys, and a job he is very good at. The day to day routine wasn’t bad and his salary was fair. But he couldn’t help thinking things could be better. Always one to push himself, Jon liked the sound of being his own boss, and the potential to finally feel like he was earning what he was worth. Plus, having more flexibility to work around his 8 and 12-year-old daughters was a big appeal.
Leafing through copies of TTG and Travel Weekly, something stood out. The words ‘self-employed’ and ‘corporate travel’, together, in one sentence. A franchise, that’s something he had never thought of before. So, he picked up the phone and got in touch with Travel Counsellors.
After first speaking to Cathy Oldfield from the New Franchise team, he realised it was something he was interested in, but of course the decision wasn’t simple. He spoke to Cathy more and watched some webinars, gathering all the information he needed.
“I got lots of help and advice from Cathy Oldfield who was excellent and very patient with me.”
Like the rest of us, Jon needed to put all that information into context, so seeing Head Office for himself helped seal the deal.
“As soon as I saw Head Office I realised this is what I wanted to do, was very impressed with the back-up and systems in place for TCs. The tour gave me huge confidence, after meeting all the departments, like the Group Travel team for example, I thought to myself ‘with all this support I can do this’.”
“The New Franchise team were great, I had meetings with several of them when I visited Manchester. I had a list of questions which were answered and found it a huge confidence boost into making the leap.”
Despite being confident he was making the right decision for himself, he had to make sure it was the right decision for his family.
“It was a very difficult decision as I am the main bread winner in the household so it was a bit of a gamble. I wasn't sure my accounts would all come with me to my new Travel Counsellors venture. My visit to head office and meeting the team swung it for me although I stalled for 6 months before finally making the leap and joining Travel Counsellors.”
And making the leap is exactly what he did. Re-visiting Head Office for his induction training, having prepared by using COACH and by speaking to other Travel Counsellors, he got off to a flying start.
So, four months down the line, what does Jon have to say about his new life as a Travel Counsellor?
“It’s liberating! I worked from home for 6 months before becoming a TC so I am used to that however what is new is the freedom of being self-employed. I can now spend more time with my family and don't feel tied to my desk like when I was employed.”
If you’re an experienced travel professional like Jon and you’re looking for your next big challenge, starting your own home-based travel business could be perfect for you! Starting your own business is exhilarating, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s also a big decision to make.
If you’re wondering if you’ve got what it takes, download our checklist, ‘8 signs you’re ready to start your own corporate travel business’ to find out!