Rosemary Chawke from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, joined Travel Counsellors in 2006 and has recently celebrated €10 million sales in just 10 years! We asked Rosemary about life as a Travel Counsellor and what it means to her.
Why did you decide to join Travel Counsellors?
For a long time I had been toying with the idea of setting up my own travel business. When the local travel agency I worked in closed its doors, I knew it was time to make a decision about my future.
I had been unhappy in my job for a long while, working long hours and getting little recognition for my hard work. Then I rang Cathy Burke at Travel Counsellors and everything changed. I realised that this was the best opportunity for me because I had always wanted to run my own travel company but would never have been able to afford to set up my own.
Under my franchise agreement I can operate as a limited company and I employ my sister on a part-time basis; she has a background in the industry too.
How has Travel Counsellors changed your work/life balance?
When I joined Travel Counsellors I didn’t have children, so it was easy for me to spend every minute setting up the business and growing my customer base. By the end of my first year I had my first daughter, Katie, who was born at Christmas and the January that followed was crazy busy trying to work and get used to a new baby. I managed with the support of my family and being able to work from home, then Laura arrived two years later!
Since then, things have definitely become easier as the children get older, so working from home has been a great benefit to us, especially over the school holidays. We have been able to do so many things, such as day trips with the children. I can get up early in the morning, do a few hours work in the office, and then work later that evening.
Having my emails and internal systems on my phone and iPad is a bonus because I am constantly in touch if I want to be and can make sure anything urgent that comes in is dealt with immediately.
The children have had a great summer and we have done many fun things over the holidays and my business has not suffered in any way. I have also noticed that my child care bill has reduced as the children get older. They are able to come home from school and get on with their homework and I can work away in the office, so they only go to after-school three days a week now.
How do you find the support in Travel Counsellors?
I certainly couldn’t do this job without it. The Head Office teams in Cork and Manchester are always available if I need them; anything from a problem on a booking, to a marketing idea or just to have someone to phone if I am having a bad day, they are fantastic. I never feel alone. There is always somebody there to help you in any department, from admin to ticketing to customer service.
We have the most amazing booking system called Phenix Quote & Book. This has made a huge difference to my earnings. We have a message board so that all Travel Counsellors can communicate with each other and if you are not sure of something there is always someone that can help. I have made life-long friends in Travel Counsellors and I consider myself to be a very lucky person to have these people in my life. If I hadn’t joined Travel Counsellors, I would never have crossed paths with them.
What do you love most about being a Travel Counsellor?
I love the satisfaction I get each time I make a booking, especially with the Phenix Quote & Book system. I am earning more money than ever before, especially compared to working in a travel agency – there is no comparison.
I love helping people make their dream holiday or honeymoon come true and I will go above and beyond the call of duty to make this happen for them. After all, it is my business and I want people to remember my service and refer me to their friends and family.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering becoming a Travel Counsellor?
Anytime I speak to someone who is considering joining Travel Counsellors, I always give them the true picture and here are some of my top tips:
- Success doesn’t happen overnight and it certainly doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work. I am a true believer that you get out of it what you put in. I would always tell people you need to give yourself a good year to settle in.
- Working on your own might be difficult at first, especially if you have come from an agency where you have had a number of colleagues working with you. You just have to motivate yourself every day and get out and let people know what you do. Don’t be shy! People need to get to know you.
- Join a local networking group. I am part of the Women in Business Group in my area and the Chamber of Commerce – they are inexpensive to join.
- Always have your business cards in your pocket or handbag and don’t be afraid to tell people what you do.
- It is so important to attend all the training courses and webinars that are arranged for us by our head office. These are vital to the success of my business and I would never miss any of them.
- The Irish Conference and the UK Conference are a big part of my calendar every year, so I recommend you make sure to attend both; besides – they are great fun!
Joining Travel Counsellors has been one of the best decisions I have made in my career. I have built myself a successful business, I have a great work/life balance and have made some amazing friends along the way. Why would you not consider joining such an amazing travel company?