Alison Hunter-Gray, a mum of three girls who lives in the Shetland Islands, off the north-east coast of Scotland, had often joked that she’d like to be a travel agent but didn’t think it would be possible. But when her youngest child started school she began researching if she could make her dream come true.
But just six months after investing in The Travel Franchise, she can’t believe how busy she is and how her new career has “slotted into life”.
“I've always loved travel and hearing about people's holidays but because I'm not big on computers or the ‘office type’ I just thought I'm not going to have the skill set to do this.”
As Alison’s husband often works away from home, she thought retraining was not an option as she had her kids to look after.
But when she discovered she could complete The Travel Franchise’s intensive training virtually from the comfort of her home and become a Not Just Travel consultant in just five days, it didn’t take her long to sign up.
“I discussed it with my husband and we thought I should just go for it because it's something that I would actually enjoy and be able to do from home.”
But while Alison’s business has got off to a flying start (she’s already sold £171k-worth of holidays) she admits to feeling a little lost in the beginning.
“When we did the five-day training online live as part of a small group, I was really overwhelmed. I was thinking, I'm not going to be able to do this. My head cannot take any more information… This is just going to take forever. I've put all this money into it. How am I ever going to do this?”
However, Alison followed The Travel Franchise’s proven business model and with hard work and the help of head office support and her personal Business Development Manager (provided as part of the franchise package), things suddenly snowballed.
“I feel very fortunate and very lucky that there is that support there and people need to really use it. That's what it's there for.”
While Alison is busy, the important thing for her is that the job offers flexible hours so that she can look after her kids and she’s beginning to settle into a routine.
“I could literally stand at my laptop from nine o'clock in the morning till nine o'clock at night. That's how busy I've been but I try to just work while they are at school and during the holidays I dip in and out because my laptop actually just sits in the playroom.”
Alison also loves the fact there’s no lengthy commute.
“It's handy being at home. I don't have to drive anywhere. I can nip to the town if I want, meet my pals and take my laptop with me and work from a cafe. If the kids are at athletics or swimming practice, I'll take the laptop and just pop to the library for an hour.”
Alison, like all franchisees, can join optional ongoing training sessions, dipping into weekly webinars to increase her travel knowledge.
“I'll try and watch NJT’s weekly webinars. It’s great to listen to people passionate about the products that they're selling. And then they usually have a couple of deals that you can then go and put on your social media. So they generate lots of interest.”
Alison invested in The Travel Franchise’s most popular Elite package and now business is so good she’s on her way to making the Money-Back Challenge, where the company refunds your franchise fee if you sell a set amount of holidays in a year.
“Honestly, I thought the Money-Back Challange was so out of my league but that changed when my BDM said I’d do it if I sold eight holidays a month. As I’d just done five in 10 days it actually got my mind ticking and I think I might be able to do it.”
So what will she spend the £14,995 refund on if she succeeds?
“We'll definitely have a bigger holiday!”
In the meantime she’s simply proud that she’s able to pay for the kids' activities, weekly groceries and other bills.
“I cannot believe I've got this business, it's working financially, it’s flexible and I enjoy it as well!”