Back in August of 2006 I went on an interview because I needed a job. Not because I was looking for a career. I was in college and needed gas money!
At 22yrs old and had no idea what I wanted to do or where I was going (Hence where ‘Vaggabond came into play – but see earlier posts for more on that!). Of course the interviewer asked me what I knew about the company and I literally knew nothing. She was unimpressed and to this day I have no idea why she ended up taking a chance on me because it was obvious I was uninformed and possibly a little naïve.
I ended up getting the job, that was 1 mile away from my home, and still had no idea what I was getting myself into until my first day of training on 9/6/2006. I knew I was supposed to do customer service of some kind but had no idea how or what that entailed. I was just excited to have some gas money and some health insurance!
So on that fruitful day, I entered my training room that had about another 8-9 people in the room and as soon as I walked in, I knew it was about to change my life. The whole room was filled with world maps, gorgeous beach photos, enticing European coastlines and more than my brain could take in. I was in awe and took the closest seat so I could sit and look at what was around me.
Our trainer, Valerie, was a plump woman around the age that I am now. She had just moved back to Long Island within the past 6 months from Turks and Caicos, where she worked on a Club Med resort as an activities manager. She described a day in her life and the things she did and how much she loved it. She was so bright and vibrant and talked about the island as if it was a part of her soul and I could see the sunshine beaming out of her eyes when she spoke, as if she brought the sunshine with her.
Of course on the first day of training, you usually listen to info about your trainer, the company, what you’ll be doing and company benefits and what’s expected of you and blah blah blah… While I liked listening to Valerie talk about Club Med, I wanted to know what I was going to be doing. How these stories tied into what my role here would be. Then it came out. I was working for Travel Impressions. One of the largest tour operators in the United States and it didn’t even hit me until that day when Valerie started boasting about all of the amazing opportunities we would have at our fingertips.
I was never into travel like that and as a matter of fact, my mother always used to tell me, don’t ever let yourself get stuck in a rut – always travel and explore the world. But I never really understood why because I thought where I was WAS the world. I didn’t see that there were so many different cultures and beautiful cities out there. So, that first day of training opened my eyes to how big the world is and what’s really out there. We started talking about all of the destinations that I would be dealing with on a regular basis. Between Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and even the USA – my mind was blown.
It had all just fallen into my lap and all of a sudden I KNEW it was my destiny to see the world.
So I began to study all of the different destinations, all of the different airport codes I would have to know, the hotel chains and what each offers vs the others, and everything that we needed to know as travel professionals. I did amazing, and throughout my 6yrs there I was promoted 4 times from a Customer Service Rep up to Product/management.
The company was unable to offer me any further growth and I knew I wanted to get into sales, whether it be with Travel Impressions or another company. So, in 2012 I left and decided to go to another company that offered me a full time sales position with better salary, benefits and a great commission structure…the only downfall, it wasn’t in travel. I was going to sell car insurance.
At first it was great, I got my state license and completed the 3 month long sales training. I was even the first one out of my training class to start selling and making bonus. I always knew sales was in my blood and this proved it!! I did better and better but as I did better and better and felt like a small part of my soul was dying because it wasn’t where I wanted to be. I started to resent my job because I only had a weeks vacation and couldn’t hop on a plane like I used to and go where I wanted when I wanted. I didn’t want to sell insurance, I wanted to sell travel, it was where my heart was. But, I needed more money as I was getting older so I stuck with it. Unfortunately, the money in the travel industry isn’t the best.
After 4 years of misery and illness (Yea, it actually ended up making me so miserable I began getting sick from it) I left and decided I had to get into sales in the travel industry. I owed it to myself to fulfill my dream.
I wasn’t surprised when I was offered a position with one of the largest and most well known travel agencies in the country. I had to go to NJ to do a 2 week training where I was put up in a hotel and expected learn the ins and outs of the company. A lot of the people in the class hadn’t been in the industry before so a lot of what I was learning was very redundant but I stuck through it. I made it through and began working in the Garden City office. In the beginning, I LOVED my job and all aspects of it.
Slowly, I began to see that I had one ASSHOLE of a boss, and the assistant team leader was no better. I started to become paranoid found out they were talking about me and going through my things while I wasn’t in the office. The assistant team leader actually went as far as telling another girl in the office that I was talking crap about her…I was in complete shock and appalled. My boss would talk down to me and act as if I was an idiot. It was not ok. I was beating my sales goals by as much as 400% but was treated like I had no idea what I was doing.
My best friend was a manager at another company like Travel Impressions and of course she saw how horrible I was being treated and once a job opened up, she wasted no time sending my resume to the manager of that department.
I was offered an at home after hours position with her company for much more money that I was making at my current job and I didn’t have to drive an hour to work and back, buy lunch, buy my morning coffee (Because I am NOT that girl that makes it at home) or buy work clothes etc. I was instantly sold and put in my 2 weeks. Seriously, the most satisfying 2 weeks EVER.
So, here I am sitting at my desk/workspace that I created for my work at home position. I started with this company in February of this year. A month after I started, I was informed that this company was not only bought by another, but they wouldn’t be offering 24hr customer service as they do now, so as of August 4th, the overnight crew was being laid off.
I am grateful that I have been given some time to figure my life out and get my shit together to be honest. I loved this job, I would get maybe 6 calls in an 8.5 hr time span and the rest of the time I would either read a book, watch a movie, catch up on Netflix or ever write in my blog! I had it so easy, but all good things come to an end.
I have been racking my brain because I have had a taste of working from home and all I know if, I DO NOT want to go back into an office and deal with office politics, other personalities, getting to work on time and the hard things, you know, like getting dressed lol.
I realized, I do not want to work for anyone else and I sure as hell don’t want to spend my time building someone else’s dream/empire. So I got to thinking…why can’t I own a travel agency? I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit and with my wholesaler experience, my agency experience and all of the contacts that I have built up through the years, I know I could do it.
‘I’d rather hustle 24/7 than slave 9-5’
So, I took the leap. Until Aug 4th I will continue to log in at home and get my pay check every 2 weeks. I will continue to write in my blog and write my books and surf the net etc.
But, that’s my night time gig. As of right now, I am officially the owner of Vaggabond Vacations LLC. That’s right, I am a business owner and I am going to ROCK this shit!!
I have until Aug 4th to start booking and getting my business off the ground. I have people already waiting to book with me which is awesome and I even have 3 girls looking to become an independent contractor under me so not only will that help my business grow, but help them make some side cash as well!!
I am ready, I want to travel, I want to help people travel, I want to hear peoples stories when they come back after an amazing journey. And most of all, I want to tell my stories.
I have so many ideas running around in my head. I want my travel agency to be different. I want to offer things that other agencies don’t. I want to make my customers know that they are #1 and their needs come first. So much to do!!
Look out for me, cuz this shit is gunna be big ❤