1. Do your homework in advance.
Working from home is a tremendous opportunity to lower costs and increase profitability for many agents, be they agency owners closing a storefront location, past employees of agencies that may have closed or new entrants to the world of travel sales. However as in any new business direction, there are a unique set of objectives and even challenges to operating from home. Read anything you can about operating a business from home so that you are prepared and ready to take on this new direction. The book “How to Start A Home Based Travel Agency” can certainly propel you on your way.
2. Zoning, Permits, Travel Seller Registration and Insurance
These are four very important things to study up in advance of your move. Certain cities and counties across the United States may have zoning restrictions and or permit requirements in order to operate a home based business. Be sure to check with the local and city authorities to be certain you are in compliance. Additionally, some states have what are known as travel seller registration programs that may require your compliance. Generally the attorney generals office of each state can assist you with information as can NACTA at our NACTA Members Only website.
If you are planning on having clients come to your home to discuss travel, you need to check with your home owners insurance provider to be certain you arrange for coverage should they harm themselves in some way on your property.
3. Invest in your home office
Take pride in this exciting move home and indulge yourself by furnishing it comfortably and efficiently. Just think of all the money you are saving on office space rent and other overhead costs and invest some of that money back in your new location. A new desk, comfortable chair, state of the art computer, printer, scanner, fax, good phone system and more can have a tremendously positive impact on your self esteem and drive to succeed in this new venture.
If at all possible, dedicate a spare bedroom or other location in your home that can be isolated from the daily home life. A quiet office where you can shut the door and keep out the sounds of the barking dog or lawn mowing gardener is very necessary to maintain your professional approach to your business.
4. It’s all in the family
If you do not live alone and have family members who share the home with you, you will need to get them all in your corner from the onset. Have a family talk and discuss the plan with them. Include them in the decision and make them feel a part of the success of your business. There is bound to be some times when you are just too busy to attend to their needs because you are on the phone selling travel. Have a plan on how you will handle home life and work life from home. We have what we call a Family Chat about once a month just to be sure we are all communicating and working together so that everyone is happy and fulfilled.
5. Go tell it on the Mountain
When you make this decision to move home with your business, enlist the support of everyone you know. Tell all your suppliers and be proud of your smart business decision. Tell your clients with enthusiasm and they too will feel your passion for this change and support you in your endeavors. On the flip side, if you are unsure about making the move home and have concerns that clients and suppliers might misinterpret your move as a financial failure, then you will certainly have a challenge convincing them otherwise. Instead, share your direction as a brilliant move to make better use of technology and the ability to better service your clients with more personal attention. If your heart is in it, they will be proud to be a part of your success.
In closing… the most common statement I hear from agents who have moved their business home is “Why didn’t’ I do this 10 years ago, I am making more money now and having much more fun!”
by Home Based Travel Agent Information Center