Chantel Smuts - My Tipping point to me going it alone
My name’s Chantel. I spent 13 years working for a large retail travel agency before starting my own business with Travel Counsellors. This experience gave me plenty of opportunity for development and a thorough grounding in the travel industry.
I reached a point where I was working very long hours and missing out on time with my husband and children. I am ambition and I had a desire to start my own travel business. I realized that it was time to look after me and my family and that I had become a number and felt very unappreciated.
I had worked for my previous company for 13 years and worked in various roles and teams. It took me leaving and being successful in another business for people to only now say hey what happened? Why did she leave? While I was there, I wasn’t recognized in the business, but they didn’t see my true value. I have come to notice this more and more after I had left. I also disliked the continuous pressure of reaching high monthly targets. In the times that I hit them it was great, but when I didn't hit them, they I was frowned upon and there was no assistance to get me there. The continuous stress and pressure lead me to not want to be in that environment anymore. This is essentially why I made the change.
Travel is my passion; it is my driving force – it is what keeps me going and I love making people happy. I felt like I was not able to deliver on this in my previous roles because I didn’t have enough control. Becoming a Travel Counsellor franchisee meant that I could manage my expectations for my customers.
I did my research and found that Travel Counsellors offered way more than any other ITC host company did. Plus, many of my friends had moved across and they only had good things to say. They knew what was important to me and they all told me it was a perfect match. So, knowing that the systems would work for me was a no brainer.
I joined Travel Counsellors in January 2016 and I’m loving it! I will continue to be a TC for a million more years.
I chose to partner with Travel Counsellors as I felt that they ticked all my boxes.
- I didn’t want to have to set up my own company name
- I didn’t want to have to go and build a website from scratch
For me choosing a partner who would provide me with everything that I needed was the perfect choice. When I completed my induction, my business was activated, and I was ready to start making bookings. Had I chosen another ITC partner I would have left still needed to build and design a website. With Travel Counsellors both my leisure and business travel websites went live on my final day of induction.
As a Travel Counsellor I feel empowered! I’m empowered to run my own business and to also make my customers happy.
One of the things that I appreciate most about being a Travel Counsellor is the flexibility. When my child is sick, I love that I don’t have to send her to school and that I can keep her with me. I love that I make this call and that it does not depend on my asking a boss for time off to be with her.
I have the best of both worlds - I can look after my customers, my business and my family. My husband also doesn’t have to worry when our daughter is sick as he knows that I am here. It's a win-win for our family.
I also love that I can go and visit my customers in person, something that I could never do when employed. I love hand delivering their travel documents. And my clients love it too! I can manage my time and sit with them to help them apply for their visas, for me it’s all about making the process as simple for my customers as possible. When I have first time travellers I love that I can walk them through the entire booking process. I go the extra mile to ensure the booking experience is as memorable as possible. It’s my aim to remove the stress and hassle and to make it as memorable as possible. In my previous role I could never do this as I was so pushed for numbers.
I love too that I can use my time as I wish. I can be out and about with friends or meeting with clients. I can attend networking meetings with clients & suppliers or my fellow TC colleagues. It's my choice. This freedom has been beneficial to my well-being.
I love my life as a Travel Counsellor and wouldn't change it for anything. If you too can relate to Chantel’s story, then please get in touch with us and we can show you how we can help you start your own travel business.