Meet Michelle who loves to plan memorable holidays with her customers.

Michelle Gnade has a passion for travel and people, the perfect foundation for her new travel business which she'll grow with the support of her family and friends. Travel Counsellors is the right fit for this early bird who doesn't want to be tied down by rigid office hours and wants to reap the rewards of the effort she puts in.

What is your background and where did you work before becoming a Travel Counsellor?

I am from the Platinum City in Northwest, Rustenburg - born and raised. I always say travel is in my blood, not only a passion. With a distinction in Matric, I wanted to pursue a career in Tourism. As destiny has it my family were all in the mining industry and so off I went to Impala Laboratory as a chemical analyst. I worked in many different industries but never found myself. In 2013 a colleague saw an advert and dared me to apply as they knew my dream of becoming a travel agent. One week after, I joined a travel agent training program and boom, I made it. I started a 7-year career with a global travel group and won many awards for my hard work and achievements, including 2 business class tickets and a car! How awesome is that, right? I was also privileged to go on various educationals, travelling the world, doing what I love.

Due to unfortunate circumstances (COVID), I had to leave the industry, but I left it on a career-high, as a store manager with the same travel group. Post-Covid, I worked as a sales consultant in the developer industry selling various products in the construction field.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (family, hobbies, pets, interests, places you've travelled)

I married my school sweetheart in 2022 after 25 years apart. I have 4 children and 2 fur babies that keep us busy when the kids are with their "extended" families.

I have travelled to Mozambique, Botswana, Australia, Reunion, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Bali, Thailand, and China/Macau. My hobbies include breeding Guppies for our beautiful Koi pond. I love to travel at any opportunity I can get.

Myself and my hubby are always busy with some kind of building project around the house. We have been renovating our home for 4 years! It's a never-ending story, but he is very hands-on, a Jack of all trades.

What does becoming a Travel Counsellor mean for you? (Whether it’s a better work/life balance, more time with your family, or being able to do more for your customers, how do you think being a TC will change your personal and work life?)

Flexibility and no set working hours. I am an early bird and do not want to be office or hours-bound. As my hubby works for himself we can now work side-by-side. With a flexible routine, I can easily fit into my clients' schedules. I love the idea of incentives and goals which allow me to measure and motivate myself and which give me the ability to achieve success.

My reward is always to travel and now I can do that again. My daughter Luane "Nanie" wants to study Dietetics after matric and I plan to make that a reality for her through hard work.

I am a self-motivator, my family and finances are just contributing factors that push me to work harder. Well, who doesn't like money? I love the idea of what you put in you will get out. To sit in an office earning the same salary monthly, and not loving it is dreadful. Now I'm up in the mornings with a song in my big heart.

I can now dream with my clients and make their dream holidays a reality, giving them value for their hard-earned money.

What motivated you to start your own travel business?

My passion for travel and people go hand-in-hand, which is why I love this industry. I love to explore different foods, cultures, and places. Working on itineraries and planning holidays with people is so fulfilling.

It just makes sense to me, to do what I love and get paid for it - what a bargain. I love building relationships with my clients and most of the time we become friends.

It is actually because of their insistence that I decided to return to the industry and make that final decision to become a business owner with Travel Counsellors. I am sure, if not for Covid, I would have never left the industry. With the great support from my family, I will get my business up and running very quickly.

What are you looking forward to most about being a Travel Counsellor?

To grow my client base with a wide variety of customers, and to broaden my knowledge of different destinations. Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge! I want to take my hubby to all the places I have been. Also on my vision board is achieving the status of Gold Travel Counsellor.

Achieving success while doing what I love and being my own Boss at 40! Yeah!!

Have you set yourself any goals or milestones for what you want to achieve in your first year?

I want to be able to pay for my daughter's university education and have set myself a monthly income goal. I will chase any incentive I can get my hands on - my suitcase has been covered in dust for too long.

Have you started planning how you will grow your business/find new customers, and if so how?

I have started my Facebook page and Instagram is next. I plan to attend networking events and have 2247 contacts that I want to add to my database.

I have already received some referrals and will treat them well!

What do you love most about working in the travel industry?

Making dreams come true!! Some people save a life-time for that special holiday or honeymoon. I love making them happy by not just giving them value for their money but also memories of a lifetime.

There is so much to learn in the world out there. So many experiences and adventures. The travel industry makes this all possible.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

The Maldives. I love fish and I love to swim. The idea of snorkelling from your room and being in the middle of nowhere with only water around you gives me a sense of peace.

Interested in Becoming a Travel Counsellor?

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