When I was in the second grade, our old black and white television broke and it stayed that way for over three years. Why? My parents told us we were watching too much TV (sound familiar?). However, the reality was we were too poor to have it repaired or replaced. As a result, I became a voracious reader – a habit that continues to this day.
It was around this same time my grandfather gave me a book that would influence the rest of my life. It was an original, well-read, 1937 copy of the now classic Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. If you are not familiar with it, look it up.
I read the book several times throughout my youth, but I was too busy having fun to pay much attention to its principles. I knew that we were poor and that I didn’t want to be that way when I grew up – so, I kept reading it.
I was not a good student by any stretch of the imagination, I bored easily. I also knew a conventional career path was not for me. So, with the approval of my father a former professor, I dropped out college to follow my passion – scuba diving.
After two years of teaching full-time, I was hired as a diver on a cruise ship. A couple of years later, I moved into the Pursers office. It was a decision that would change my life forever.
It was here that I soon discovered many of the problems we dealt with onboard tended to be travel agent related. I thought, if I could deliver the same high level of service in the booking process as they received on their cruise vacation – we could build a successful business specializing in cruises.
While commonplace today, there were very few cruise-only agencies at the time. It was an uphill battle to say the least but, we stayed true to what we knew best. Time and time again, our customers would say they sought us out because they “heard” we specialized in cruises. It is because of this fact, that we continued to attract new customers and grow into a successful company.
Today, industry CEOs, consortia and host agency executives, and especially coaches, mentors, and business advisers, all sing from the same hymnal. We all agree, the real key to your success is not social media and not marketing, it is specialization. As a specialist you will become “known” and new clients will be attracted to you. This is a long-term strategy. Invest the time and resources to achieve this worthy goal. Google and YouTube are your best friends. Use them judiciously in your quest for knowledge.
I reflect on the learnings in Think and Grow Rich. Napoleon Hills’ fourth principle of success, Specialized Knowledge, is as relevant today as it was over eighty years ago, “The accumulation of great fortunes calls for POWER, and power is acquired through highly organized and intelligently directed specialized knowledge….”
I was once hired to give a presentation at a travel industry conference about Dubai. I turned it down three times because the extent of my knowledge of the country was where to find it on a map. But, he was insistent, so I immersed myself into learning everything I possibly could about the region. By the time I was finished, I knew more about Dubai including: how the buildings were constructed, how they were cooled and where the water came from, what to do, and where things were located – than most people would ever want to know. When I finally visited Dubai a year later, it felt like I had been there a hundred times thanks to my learnings from YouTube, Google, and the Discovery Channel. Three years later, and I still receive emails from travel advisers asking for advice on selling Dubai.
Specialization will make you stand out in a crowded field, attract customers who will pay for your expertise, and give you the foundation on which to build a sustainable business.
Very few achieve success without help from experienced coaches and mentors. If you want to learn more about how we can help you achieve financial freedom and become the Wealthy Travel Agent, visit www.danchappelle.com or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Chappelle is a professional business advisor, sales consultant, author, and speaker. His personal development and consulting firm helps develop sales oriented business leaders and entrepreneurs, His best-selling book, Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com.