You Are Amazing, But You Can’t Do It All
By: Sandy Saburn, CTIE

One of the ways travel advisors limit their businesses is by doing everything themselves. If you are truly a single-person business, then you are limited by the number of hours you can work. Right now, a lot of you are probably feeling the weight of being a one-person show. Since the floodgates opened and bookings are soaring, it has been hard for most travel agents to keep up. From talking to clients to researching to invoicing, and all the other “things” you must do, you are probably working a lot of hours during busy periods.

Of course, every business or job has times when you are working more than others. There are always those days and weeks when the floodgates open or every deadline hits at once. The secret is having good processes in place to handle this as well as extra help so you are spending your time on the highest and best use possible.

For entrepreneurs, focusing on the highest and best use of their time is critical to long-term success. Every minute you spend on one thing is a minute you don’t have to spend on something else. For instance, if you are spending an hour putting bookings into your CRM or invoicing system, that’s an hour you don’t have to meet with a new – or prospective – client. What’s a better use of your time?

While this often makes sense to people, they are hesitant because they believe they can’t afford it. That is “employee mindset” thinking and not “business owner” thinking.

If you opened a restaurant, you wouldn’t try to cook and serve until you could “afford” to hire employees, would you? No. Because you’d never get there. No one would put up with the slow service and you trying to do everything.

If you want to have a hobby business where you just take a few clients here and there, then you can probably get away with doing it all yourself.

But if your goal is to build a business where you make enough money to pay yourself a salary and can afford to travel, then you must have help. There is no way to do it all on your own.

So, what type of assistance do you need?

The first hire most travel business owners make is an assistant. Often this is not a person dedicated to their company, but someone who is a virtual assistant shared among other business owners. For many travel entrepreneurs, even 5 to 10 hours per week can make a huge difference in their productivity and peace of mind.

As your business expands you can have them work more and more hours to help take tasks off your plate.

Other travel entrepreneurs hire a “client care specialist” who handles all client-facing tasks from entering bookings into the various systems to setting up a communication flow between booking and travel, entering the booking into an itinerary builder system like AXUS or Travefy, and handling travel documents.

The best way to go about hiring someone is to first figure out what you need and what the highest and best use of YOUR skills are. Then find people to do the other things.

A word of caution: bringing on ICs is not the solution to this issue. Travel industry independent contractors want to sell and make money from what they sell, not do administrative work. You need to be prepared to pay for these services directly

Don’t let the idea of “hiring” put you off. There are a lot of companies out there who will handle the payroll and make it seamless for you – even with one employee. If you work with a virtual assistant service, you won’t have to deal with this, and many people like starting there.

The bottom line is that you need support in your business. You shouldn’t do this all alone.