Do you have what it takes? I didn’t think I did, but here I am 25 years later and find it hard to imagine ever working for someone else.

It took me about four years and four different jobs, including working for myself as a typesetter. I worked for a real estate sales magazine, selling a travel franchise and even making jewelry and selling it at craft fairs and boutiques.

But when I took over an existing travel franchise, I began to develop actual business acumen. That involved showing up five to six days a week, putting in long hours, brainstorming various methods of finding new clients and developing relationships with others who might have contacts that would need my travel services.

The travel franchise was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I had employees that worked for minimum wage and had a minimum wage mentality about their job. No matter how hard I worked, I’d never bring in more than 10% of the total sales price of a ticket or tour.

The overhead was $8,500 a month with five employees, a beautiful office in the middle of a business park and the rest of the overhead was draining.

But the best part of having the travel agency was I learned how to develop relationships in the business community and I got over my shyness.

It took 3 1/2 years to take the agency from $30k a month to $185k a month and have an offer to sell it to someone who had a lot of fresh enthusiasm. It was one of the best days of my life.

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