You don't have to choose between having a
successful business and a life you love!
“Mom, I like it better now that you don’t work from home.”
These words, coming from my young daughter, broke my heart.
I had just started a corporate job after years of working from home, struggling to get my travel agency off the ground. It was working, sortof, but wasn’t exactly the dream life I had imagined it would be.
Instead of helping people discover the most amazing bakeries in Paris, and planning stays at luxurious tented camps in Kenya, I was spending hours each day making sure I had found the absolute cheapest hotel in Waikiki, and then more hours trying to get that hotel to pay me my $40 commission.
Instead of jet-setting around the world, checking out the best hotels and learning the ins and outs of exotic locations, I rarely left the house, because when I had money I didn’t have time to travel (and couldn’t, because I had clients to take care of) and when I had time, I didn’t have any money.
Instead of enjoying lunches with friends, I was stuck at home working. Every booking seemed to require so much time - researching hotels and destinations, following up with suppliers, creating printable itineraries...
And instead of enjoying my life in the evening, and spending time with my family, I was constantly consumed with trying to improve my business. How can I get new customers? Is there a new software program that will make tracking commissions easier? How can I make the booking process more efficient? There’s no way it should take this much time!
The reason I started this business in the first place was so that I could be free - free to meet a friend for lunch on a Monday afternoon, free to go on vacation without having to ask permission, and free to spend quality time with my family whenever I wanted.
And after a gave up, and took a corporate job (where I literally had to ask permission to use the restroom if it was outside of my 2 breaks and 1 lunch a day) my daughter told me she liked it better, because I didn’t have my nose in my computer all day and night when she was home.
I used to think it was just me - that because I didn’t go to travel school, and didn’t have any formal travel agent training, that I was just doing it wrong. But after talking to many other agents over the years I now understand that this is the reality for many of you out there right now.
You’re either killing yourself trying to figure out this marketing thing - Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, SEO, weekly newsletters…. You’ve been told you have to do it all, and you’re trying! But it feels like you’re on a hamster wheel - you’re working hard, but not getting anywhere with any of it.
Or, you’ve got enough clients, but it takes so long to design each vacation, and monitor all of the details… Between working with clients, and being on hold with suppliers, there’s no time to have a life! Let alone go anywhere.
It doesn't have to be this way!
Imagine if you could have the business and the life you’ve always dreamed of.
You work with clients every day that you adore. Clients who trust you and value what you bring to the table, and who love the types of vacations that you love to plan. Clients you’re EXCITED to talk to. Clients who feel more like friends.
Your business is successful. You’re making money and you have work to do, but it’s work you enjoy, and it doesn’t consume you. You have the freedom to skip out for lunch with a friend if you want, and at the end of the day you actually have a life! You can relax and spend time with your friends and family on weekends, you have time to read, or paint, or knit, if that’s what you enjoy.
And best of all, you have the time and money to travel so you can come back energized and full of ideas to share with your clients.
This isn’t an unrealistic goal. This could actually be your life.
I didn’t leave the travel industry for good when I took that corporate job. I took a few years off but once travel gets in your blood, it’s hard to stay away too long. Over the years I’ve worked in a boutique luxury agency, and large, multinational agency, I’ve sold really cheap vacations, and booked resort stays of $2,000+ per night. I’ve sold corporate travel and leisure travel, and worked in back office support, marketing, and web design. And for the last 3 years I’ve been coaching small business owners and solopreneurs through starting and growing their businesses.
And during all of that I’ve been learning from the best minds in business and marketing, spending countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars to learn everything I could. You could say I’m a little obsessed, but it’s something I really enjoy and always want to learn more about.
I know there’s historically been a fear of the internet among travel agents. People still think we’ve died off because the online booking engines, and 24/7 access to information and reviews makes it so “easy” for someone to book their own travel.
But I think the internet is the best thing that has ever happened to small business owners, INCLUDING travel agents. We can work from home, without the high cost and risk of leasing office space. We have access to powerful software that makes the tedious parts of running a business a breeze. And for the first time ever we have easy and inexpensive ways to reach people all over the country, and the world.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many people helping travel agents harness the wonderful opportunities the internet provides. The information is out there, but it has to be adapted to the travel industry, and travel agents. What works for some marketing guru, or even a large cruise line, won’t necessarily work out of the box, for travel agents.
Most of what I’ve seen shared is either terribly outdated information, or is someone telling you WHAT you should do (get on Pinterest! Send a weekly newsletter! BLOG!!!), but not telling you HOW to put that into action, and how to make it work for you.
Instead of being useful, most of it just leads travel agents to believe things about running their businesses that aren't true, and leave you believing that running a successful travel business is really hard.
I've spent many years being silently frustrated (and angry) that so few people are providing information that actually HELPS agents create profitable businesses that they love.
So I decided to just stop being frustrated about it, and start doing it myself.
Are you believing these big lies when it comes to your business?
BIG LIE #1: You have to to do all the things (be active on every social media platform, blog regularly, be an expert in SEO, publish a regular newsletter, go to networking events, etc. etc.)
THE TRUTH: The more you try to do, the less you're actually accomplishing.
In fact, trying to do this is a direct path to overwhelm and frustration, and the belief that nothing works.
And, you’ll eventually start to hate your job because you’re spending most of your time doing a bunch of stuff you hate.
Unless you have a big agency, with a staff whose only job is to handle your marketing, there's no way you can be on every social media platform, and write a new blog post every week, and publish videos on YouTube and do any of them well.
You can have a successful business without being on Facebook. You can have a successful business without ever publishing a single blog post. You can have a successful business without a website even! (I don't recommend that one, but it is possible. 🙂
Each of these tasks has a purpose, but there are a lot of different ways to accomplish the same thing. The secret is to find the right ones for you, focus on those, and let the rest go.
BIG LIE #2: Running a successful business is hard work
THE TRUTH: This belief gets you stuck in a business you hate because you don’t think there’s any other way. You’re not looking for a solution, because you don’t think there is one, and if you’re presented with a solution, you don’t believe it because - it must be too good to be true.
But it's not too good to be true! I know a lot of people who run businesses that they love, and live lives they love, too.
It takes planning, and requires that you check in with yourself every once in a while to make sure that you're not letting work take over, but it is SO possible, and so worth it.
BIG LIE #3: You have to be very tech savvy to take advantage of everything the internet has to offer.
THE TRUTH: You don't have to be!
Yes, there are a lot of tools out there, and it can sometimes feel like every time you turn around you have to learn a new tool that has nothing to do with planning your clients’ vacations.
Much of the overwhelm around technology comes from thinking you have to try every new software solution you hear about, and from trying to use cheap or free solutions that just don't work well.
You don't need to use 50+ different software programs to run your business! Instead, invest in just a few tools that WORK, and that are easy to use and understand, and you'll save yourself loads of time and frustration every day.
(And stick with me. 🙂 I love tools and have found many that are easy to use and will impact your business in BIG ways. )
BIG LIE #4: If you could just figure out social media and marketing, then all of your problems would go away.
THE TRUTH: Social media is sexy so everyone wants to do it, and everyone wants to talk about it, but if this is all you’re focusing on you’re missing out on a BIG piece of the puzzle that could change your business.
All the social media in the world isn't going to help you if you don't have systems in place to back it up. What if, by some miracle, you figured out the secret to getting hundreds of new clients via instagram. What are you going to do with them all? Do you have time to plan all of those vacations? Can you manage all of the questions and special needs each customer has? Will you have time to follow up with them all after they return home? How will you keep track of all of the payment dates and commission payments? Will you be able to do a good enough job to earn some referral business from them?
Social media can play an important role in marketing your business, but it's not the ONLY thing you should be focusing on. (despite what you read in magazines and marketing sites) It only works if you've got systems in place to work it efficiently, and to handle the business that comes your way as a result.
It's time to stop believing these lies!
I'll show how to get more done, while working less, so you can LOVE your job again
Without having to learn a bunch of new technology on your own. There will be a few tools we'll add to your toolbox, but I've worked hard to find the ones that are easy to use. AND I've created video tutorials for everything, so anytime you're stuck, you can refer to them.
Without having to do ALL. THE. THINGS. I'll help you figure out just the right things for YOU so you're not wasting time on a bunch of things you hate, that drain your energy, and that just aren't working for you.
Without having to be on every single social media platform. We'll find the best one for you and master that before we even consider dipping our toes into more than that.
Without trying to beat big box stores and discount hotel sites with the lowest prices. I'll show you how to showcase your expertise, and how to attract clients who value excellence and experiences more than low prices.
And without having to work so hard! We're going to look at your entire business to find ways to streamline processes, automate as much as possible, delegate tasks that don't require you, or aren't in your wheelhouse, and start creating a business that supports the life you want instead of taking away from it.
Let me help you with my 3-step system to designing a travel business you love
Here's how it works:
STEP ONE: Assess where you are, and where you want to be.
We don't want to waste time doing work you've already done, or building a business, and working towards a goal, that isn't exactly what you want. So we're going to take a look at where you and your business are now, and wher you want to be.
Do you have a niche? What systems and foundational pieces do you already have in place? (website, email sequences, etc.) Are they working for you?
What kind of business do you want? Do you want employees and contractors, or would you prefer to be a solopreneur?
What do you want your life to look like, and how do you want your business to support that?
This is YOUR business and YOUR life. I want you to love it and wake up every day excited about the work you get to do and the life you get to live. One person’s dream business is another’s nightmare. We’re working on DREAMS ONLY here.
We need to know the goal, so we can build it. You may have heard the example of going on a trip without knowing the destination. I could invite you to the best resort I’ve ever been to. OMG YOU HAVE TO COME! Here’s a map!
But if I just give you a map with a bunch of roads, but don’t tell you where on the map you’re supposed to meet me… it won’t do any good. (It's the Amankila in Bali, BTW. I love that place. 🙂
STEP TWO: Build your foundational pieces.
These are the building blocks for your whole business. These are the things you can almost do once, and leave alone, except for some tweaks and updates every once in a while.
We'll zero in on your ideal audience so that you know how to find them, how to take care of them, and can customize your offerings to meet their needs.
This is also where we'll get clear on your branding, build, or refine your website, set up your email marketing systems, and any other technology tools you'll need.
STEP THREE: Design your systems
This is where the magic happens, and I can't wait to get here!
In this phase we'll look at all of the systems and processes in your business and work on eliminating, delegating, automating, or streamlining everything. Even the things you're SURE there's no hope for.
Systems and processes don't get a lot of attention, but having the right systems in place will help prevent mistakes. It will save time and frustration. It will make the tasks you hate easier to do AND easier to hand off to an assistant when you're ready.
And, if you have a great system in place to take care of your clients from the time of first contact, through their return home, and beyond, you'll eventually have so many referrals you won't even NEED to do any marketing if you don't want to.
We'll set up systems to help with everything from accounting, to operations, content creation, social media, customer care, vacation planning, and everything else you do in your business. And yes, we'll create systems for your social media marketing, too. Don't worry. 🙂
Christy is always super helpful. Before being able to tap into her as a resource, I was significantly farther behind in my business journey. I had to learn the hard way that time is money - and Christy is helping me save A LOT of it.
3 Month Strategy Session
- ★ Three 40-minute calls per month
- ★ Unlimited emails (answered twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays)
- ★ Recorded "how to" videos for any tech tools suggested
- ★ 20% discount on any done-for-you services (website design, PDF creation, etc.
Package PLUS Aftercare
- Same 3-month program as Standard Package
- PLUS One year of maintenance mode ($1,500 value)
** Your one year begins after the initial 3 month strategy session
- ★ One phone call every 6 weeks to check in and assess any new needs or ideas
- ★ Unlimited emails (asnwered every Tuesday and Thursday)
- ★ Continued access to archive of recorded "how to" videos.
- New benefits added all the time!
Schedule a free, confidential, 20-minute phone consultation with me to see if we're a good match. Just send me your name and email, and within 24 hours of receiving it, I'll reach out to schedule a convenient time for a phone call.
I love, love, love Christy's ideas. I love being able to go to her when I need suggestions.
If, after our first official call together you don't think this will be a good fit for you, just let me know and I'll happily refund your money, no questions asked.
Well, I'll ask, because I'm always looking for ways to make this better, but you don't have to provide any feedback if you'd rather not.
*request must be received within 24 hours of first strategy call.
Q - What other costs are involved?
That depends on a lot of things - what your ultimate business plan is, what you already have in place, etc.
Some possible added expenses could be:
- A website, if you don’t already have a one and we determine you need one. This could add $1,000 +
- The rest of the stuff is fairly inexpensive and will cost $100 - $200 per month depending on your needs, and the specific tools you choose to use.
- An email marketing program ($30/month)
- Google for business ($10 per month)
- Canva for business ($12 per month)
- Website maintenance plan ($30 per month)
- CRM ($30 per month)
Q - How much time do I need to devote to this process?
Again, this depends! One of the most time-consuming parts of the whole process is the branding and content creation, especially if you need a website.
Beyond that, we are spending time setting up systems, so depending on what you need for your business, you’ll be preparing documents, gathering data, analyzing your workflow... (Don't worry! I'll be there to help and guide you along the way.)
I would say, 2 - 3 hours a week for the first few weeks, then 1 - 2 after that.
Q -What will I have at the end of the initial 3-month session?
At the end of the 3-month session you'll have a very clear idea of who your audience is and how to find them and speak to them. You'll have a clear brand and brand message, you'll have a website that isn't just pretty, but works for you, and you'll have systems in place for every part of your business.
You'll know every day when you start to work, what you need to do and how to do it.
And if you continue with a maintenance package, you'll have me to bounce ideas off of, to help fill in any gaps and make adjustments as your business changes and grows.
Q - I’m not very tech savvy, can you just do it all for me?
I work very hard to try to find tools and solutions that don’t require you to have an IT degree.
But, if you really don't want to be bothered with some of them, and would rather pay to have someone take them off your plate, we can definitely figure out a way to make that happen. 🙂
Q - Why should I work with you? Can't I just figure this all out on my own?
Sure you can! If you've got lots of time on your hands. It has taken me a lot of years and a lot of money to learn what I know. It is definitely all out there if you'd like to figure it all out on your own. Or, you could take the shortcut, and let me share what I've already spent that time figuring out.
And it's not just my knowledge that you'll be getting either. There's something to be said for having someone cheer you on, remind you that you're worth it and that you DO know what you're doing, and to keep you accountable when you're trying to do something that's a little scary and new.
I have a coach myself! I tried to do it on my own for years, and even though I knew I had the knowledge and the determination to make it work, I still needed that extra push and support from my coach to make the leap.
Q - What makes you and your program different from others out there?
First I want to say that there are some good programs out there - some general programs, and some specifically for travel agents. I think that most of the time it's not a case of something being better or worse, just different, and better for different people.
That said, here's how I think my program is different:
- I don't just tell you what to do, I show you how to do it, and work with you until you've got it figured out.
- I focus on systems, which is a long-term strategy, instead of just teaching a short-term marketing strategy
- I focus on your whole business! It does no good to focus on getting new clients if you don't have systems in place to support those clients.
- My goal is to help you love your job, business, and life! Maybe that means more money, but maybe that means more free time, more of the parts of the job you love, more travel, better clients.... Whatever that looks like for you, that's what I want to help you achieve.
More money means nothing if it means you're working in your office 15 hours a day, 7 days a week.