Jackie starts her 2-week induction training on the 1 August 2020. She comes with a wealth of working experience in travel as well as a passion and love for travel. We caught up with Jackie to learn more about her and her journey to starting her own travel business.
What is your travel background?
I have been in the travel industry for over 30 years. I have been lucky to work for only 3 companies during this time. I moved from Johannesburg to Cape Town 7 years ago and was fortunate to work for the same company remotely. This taught me how to have a work-life balance. I am known to work much longer hours when required.
I have always wanted to be my own boss and knew that having the right clientele is important. I had been considering joining Travel Counsellors for over a year. What held me back was not having the financial sustainability for the first few months. I couldn’t take uncalculated risks. Then Covid-19 happened! This was my opportunity to make the move, after taking a voluntary retrenchment package. I am excited for this next journey and I am extremely happy that I chose Travel Counsellors to be part of my journey.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a single mom with the most amazing daughters. One has finished her English honours at Stellenbosch. She is teaching English in Fukuoka, Japan. My other daughter is doing her matric year and has been accepted to study at Stellenbosch next year. I am in a relationship with an amazing man and we both love the outdoors and can spend hours walking on the beach or up the mountain. I love travelling. For my 50th birthday I arranged a family reunion to Thailand. There were 20 of us in total. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. 2 of whom live in Melbourne, Australia.
Last year my sister and I with our kids (4 in total) spent 10 days in the Greek Isles, island hopping. My first few years in travel, I travelled at least 3 times a year. I went to London for a night to watch the Phantom of the Opera. I travelled to New York for the weekend. I enjoyed a 3-night fam trip to Dubai. I have spent 11-nights cruising the Med, skied in Austria (3 times), and been tobogganing in Colorado.
What does become a Travel Counsellor mean for you?
Becoming a Travel Counsellor and being my own boss will bring me freedom. Freedom to work the way I want to. I enjoy working on my own. I love the work-life balance that I have. I have my own office set up separately to my house. This works very well. I am looking forward to the challenge of building up my business back to where it was pre-Corona. I am looking forward to being able to write my own cheque.
What motivated you to start your own travel business?
Covid-19 presented me with an opportunity to have the time and money to start this journey. I have worked hard for many years building up my clientele and now I want to enjoy the freedom to enjoy the benefits of working for myself. I am highly motivated, and a hard worker so I know that I can make a success of my business.
What are you looking forward to most about being a Travel Counsellor?
Having the freedom to work for myself and knowing that I have a brilliant company behind me.
Have you set yourself any goals or milestones for what you want to achieve in your first year?
When our border re-open and giving myself 6 months. I would like to bring in a turnover of a minimum of R 1M month. I have clients who are waiting for the green light to travel.
What do you love most about working in the travel industry?
I love discovering new destinations. I enjoy putting fares and routings together, especially the challenging ones. I have done quite a few round the world tickets and I find it quite challenging. I love the challenges and working out the difficult routings. I love that I can help my customers, especially when things go wrong, and stress levels are high. I am level-headed and can remain calm in a crisis (although I feel frantic inside). I love hearing about people’s holidays and how appreciative they are of what I had arranged for them.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would love to do a cruise to Alaska and to do a train ride through the Canadian Rockies. I have always loved nature and wide-open spaces. I love the sense of serenity that one gets from vast open spaces in Alaska. The spectacular mountain range in Canada appeals to me. I booked a train trip for a client many years ago from Calgary to Vancouver. This is on my bucket list. It was a 7-day trip with stops along the way. The one carriage was all glass, so gave the most amazing views all around you.
Have you always wanted to start your own business? Perhaps like Jackie you were concerned about the risk in leaving a paid salary? Covid-19 has levelled this playing field and for some has minimised the risk of following a dream and passion. If this is something that you would love to explore then please get in touch with us. We would love to chat to you and to explain how it all works.