I have a confession. I am a home based travel agent with a full time job.
Whew, I feel much better that I admitted it! I remember when I joined the industry; I read quite a few forum comments that implied, home based agents that joined the industry in a part time capacity were not taken seriously by their peers. In fact, I learned a new term– “vanity career”. It was used to describe people that joined the travel industry because they loved to travel, thought the benefits included traveling cheap and flexible hours. Fortunately, those were never my drivers.
The decision to embark on a new career while maintaining my current one was HUGE for me. I never intended on quitting my job to pursue it and it’s a good thing because it took quite some time to get my first client and building a client base is definitely a work in progress. For me it was not practical to quit a job that I was skilled at and made a decent living from. Unless my profit was consistently more than my annual salary, going solo would not be an option.
Working two jobs is not new to me. I spent a good portion of my adult life holding two jobs. I knew I could manage it but was smart enough to know there would be challenges. Time would tell if those challenges would surmountable. I felt my biggest challenge would be learning how to balance a new and unfamiliar workload so it did not interfere with my day job. For me that was a deal breaker. I was not willing to jeopardize my current career.
I also worried if I would be able to service my clients effectively? Would I have scheduling issues for client consultations? Would I be bogged down with administrative tasks that would keep me up to the wee hours of the night? These are questions that threatened my resolve to go into travel.
It didn’t take long for me to realize most of my concerns were not only unfounded, but definitely manageable. In fact, all of my consultations to date have been conducted over the phone. Booking turned out to be a non-issue since all of my preferred suppliers offer online booking tools, and in some cases, late hours when I need to call. Email seems to be the preferred method of communication with my target demographic and my so my PDA has become one of my most valuable assets.
The truth is, we live in a time when dual incomes are the norm, people hold two jobs to supplement their income and risk takers, like me, are realizing that not only is it possible to have a dual career, but it is possible to live out your dream, potentially becoming successful at it, without sacrificing your livelihood to do so.
Are you a dual career agent? Or are you into travel full-time? Please leave a comment.
Tracy Kidd is the owner and agent of The Traveling Kidd in Central New Jersey. She specializes in planning travel for couples, friend getaways, and groups. She is a member of NACTA and entered the industry in 2010. Yo can contact Tracy at www.travelingkidd.com or by email at email@example.com