I’m very active in social media whether promoting my business or networking with other agents. I share my business marketing strategies, destination expertise, local contacts and business ventures ideas freely. I recently had a speaker use my screen captures from website as a reference in his presentation to a group of travel agents. I found out that an agency in another state took some of my website marketing pieces intended for my clients, and repurposed it with their name! I have also had other agents contact me to ask if it would be OK for them to remove my name and share my content on their websites. I could only shake my head.
It all happened within a short period of time but it felt like it was all at once. I started to ask myself if all the hard work I had put into developing my business was worth it. “If I’m going to spend so much time and energy trying to be different and still I get copied then why do it? I should just be average and do nothing to stand out and I won’t have these problems,” I told myself. Except that I can’t do that. I’ve come to the realization that, like everything else in life, I have to be careful of “who I hang out with,”–yes I believe it applies to business as well. If I hang with other people who aren’t serious about taking their businesses to the next level (whatever it may be for them), then why am I hanging out with them?
I can’t talk about charging fees with colleagues who still advertise their services as being “free”. I can’t share my marketing strategies because they won’t understand that they weren’t pulled from a magician’s hat. I spent time and money to get to know more about my ideal client and devised a strategy that works for my clients. I surely can’t talk about major business decisions and joint ventures I am considering, they won’t get it. So then, why hang with them? My immediate circle within the industry has gotten smaller and smaller, I’ve found a small group of agents I can share with because they get it and they’ve been there and done that.
Now let me ask you? Who do you “hang with”; do you have a group of professionals who will support and contribute to your vision? Maybe it’s a mentor or an accountability partner. Is it within the industry or outside of it? Please share in the comments and let me know if I’m the only one feeling this way.
Brenda Llamas Young is the owner of Encore Romance Travel, which specializes in weddings and honeymoons to exotic beaches to include the South Pacific, Asia, Australia, Indian and African Coast. Brenda entered the travel industry in 2009 and after two years of education, opened her own home based agency.