After 14 years working for a tour operator, Imelda McCarthy joined Travel Counsellors in 2017. Before she started, one of her main concerns was where she was going to find her customers to build her business.
"One of the main concerns I had prior to joining Travel Counsellors was where I was going to get my business from and how I was going to grow my client base. I was starting with a blank sheet. So, I put together an action plan of what I was going to do in the first few months, with the help of my Business Development Coach, Bernie. I started to get the word out about my business in my local area. I asked my family and friends to tell people about my business. My husband, Donal, is so supportive of me - he has been with me on every step of this journey. He helps me out at wedding fairs telling everyone about my business model. I have had some bookings from his work colleagues too - he would say himself that he is my best referrer!
I have used lots of networking opportunities. I joined my local Chamber of Commerce, spread the word at the school gate, and told people about my business through playing music in my local area. Music has always been a huge passion of mine and one which I have passed down to my two children, Amy and Conor. Since joining Travel Counsellors, I have much more time for myself which has allowed me to get back to playing music at events and in my local bars.
This is much more than a job. This is a family business which we have invested a lot of time and energy into and the more successful it is, the better it is for us as a family. I am part of such a positive community of supportive people. For me, it has just been about using each opportunity to talk about what I do. I always ask people to refer me, and I always thank customers for their business - after all, they’ve chosen to trust me with their travel plans. People want to use a trusted local professional who has been recommended – it just grows organically by word of mouth. I also use social media to help build my business. I don’t have a retail store window, so my social media is my window display - it’s where I put inspirational holiday ideas, which are regularly provided by the Marketing team - it’s so easy to send them out to all my clients. I wouldn’t worry if you are not sure about setting up a Facebook or Instagram page either as the Support Team will help you with that and so much more in the way of marketing.
My customer base and bookings are building steadily. My business is doing better than I could have hoped for, and I feel very lucky that I can see a stable, secure future for myself and my family."