By Shaun Busuttil @shaunbusuttil22 Sep 2017Isn’t it time you stopped making someone else’s dreams a reality and instead focused on your own? Isn’t it time you finally reaped the rewards you deserve as a travel professional with years of experience? HELL YEAH! the crowd responds. Today we get to sit down and chat with Gayle Dawson about her transition from an employee travel agent to a personal travel manager who is now making her dreams a reality with her niche category offering of travel to dance destinations. This mum, wife and passionate travel professional tells us about all the extra time and freedom she now has a TravelManager, and how it can all be yours too – if only you took that first step… Gayle Dawson, TravelManager What made you make the move from being a travel consultant to owning your own travel business? A change in my work circumstances found me promising I would be the only one to determine my future and my destiny and no longer allow an employer to have control over my life. It was the best decision I ever made to start my own business with the support from TravelManagers. The money I used to make for my previous employer, I now make for myself and for my family’s future. How did you start your niche offering of Destination Dance, and grow your client base? It did take me a few years after joining TravelManagers to get Destination Dance off the ground. I made mistakes and wasted money on marketing campaigns that didn’t work. However, I persevered, worked a lot of late nights, and in the last two years Destination Dance has really taken off. What challenges do you face growing your business and how do you continue to overcome them? Competition is always a challenge with any business and that is one challenge I have always faced head on. It is important I set myself and my niche offering, Destination Dance, apart from any other business. It was important to get my point of difference out and known in the dance industry. Through sponsorship pursuits and referrals, I have been able to do just that. What do you love about TMA and the support they give you? What I love most is that when I went to head office about my idea, Destination Dance, they worked with me and encouraged me to make it a success. I am a very independent person and I was determined to do this on my own but the fact is I didn’t have to. I have the support of TravelManagers’ National Partnership Office anytime I need business advice and the support of other personal travel managers to talk to whenever I feel alone. Not the mention all of the back office support systems that are in place to ensure my life as a personal travel manager, someone who is trying to grow a business, has all the basic day to day tasks of running a business already taken care of. What drives your passion both for travel & family? I have a dream to build a travel empire of my own. I want my daughter to see that it is possible for a woman to not only be there for her family and be the mum that she wants to be, but also have the ambition to build and create something that is important to her. I want her to know that we, as women, can “have it all”, and I believe I am living that dream. I may not be exactly where I want to be in my business at the moment, but I am having a ball getting there. How does being a PTM allow you to spend more time with your family? My time is my own. I run my own schedule. If my child is sick, it is no problem for me to take the day off and make her my priority. I don’t have to worry about upsetting a boss and taking time off. I determine what is important to me and whenever my daughter or husband need something, I can drop everything and go to them. My business is very important to me and I put a lot of work into it, but it will never be more important than my family and they will always come first. As a personal travel manager with TravelManagers, that is never an issue. What other things does being a PTM allow you the freedom to do? I have the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want. Even though I’m very strict with myself and I put a lot of hours into my business, I still make it a priority of going to the gym and doing things for myself. I’m also able to help family if they need me. Just not having to answer to anyone else is its own freedom! Growing your business – what are your secrets to being a successful personal travel manager? Hard work, vision and a clear direction. I have put in a lot of hard work building my business. I have always had a clear vision, and as my business changed and grew rapidly, I had to find solutions to service that business. I have a clear direction and vision now because as my business is rapidly growing it is impossible for me to service all my customers, so I intend to bring on other personal travel managers as partners, not employees, to help me but to be able to grow their individual businesses at the same time. Lastly, what’s your advice towards other entrepreneurial travel consultants out there – can they too make the change from employee to successful business owner? What I would say to anyone that wants to take the leap, has the drive, the determination and the willingness to put the work in: go for it! Don’t waste another day working for someone else and making their dreams come true. It is time to make your own dreams come true and build your own future. To find out how you could be just like Gayle, visit http://join.travelmanagers.com.au/ and join the TravelMangers family today. Have you launched your own niche travel business with TravelManagers? This article was brought to you by: Other stories you may like 5 ways to tell whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year What does 2018 predict for agents, numerologically speaking? Were you at the AMAs with Discover L.A.? Or maybe you were spotted in North Queensland & more?