Working from home – is it the right option for you?
By Peter Watson*
YOU have heard about, read about, been told about consulting from home and you are starting to seriously think about it. So just what is it that you have to consider?
Is it as simple as closing the door of your shop, dragging the filing cabinet into the garage and setting up a home office? I strongly suggest not.
The absolute first thing that you have to consider is – are you suited to working from home, because not everyone is. Working from home takes discipline, focus, commitment and the ability to avoid distractions that will disrupt your business day.
If you are the sort of person that needs people around them, who thrives in the atmosphere of a busy office, who revels in the camaraderie of your workmates then working from a home office is unlikely to suit you.
There is, as a rule, no one for you to chat with, no one to bounce ideas off, no one to swap witticisms with and no one to kick you in the backside and say get going, start your day. Sure your spouse/partner may well be around – but they have their own things to do, their own work schedule and neither of you can afford to disrupt each other – because in doing so you disrupt yourself.
You need discipline, a strong will and the ability to work alone, undirected and unmanaged; and you need to be a self-starter.
You also need to make sure that you have some funds available to sustain you for the six/nine months that it will take you to start generating an income.
If you do tick all those boxes, then you come to the first of a number choices that face you.
Do I want/need my own license to run my home based business or do I start by working with/through one of the host agency companies; and there are a number, perhaps many more than you might think, operating in Australia offering a variety of options.
If you make the decision that you will join a host agency, it will save you time, money, red tape and give instant access to a range of support levels, depending on the option you choose. In simple terms, if your motivation for moving to a home based business is cost related as well as lifestyle based then a host agent is your best option.
Next step: Who and how to choose? NO – I am not going to recommend any one host agency but will look at just some of the choices, highlight a couple of key points and then leave the research and decision making process to you.
I will say however that research is an absolute must, and different people will make different choices because the range of options and opportunities is quite large. There is no one right answer although there well may be a number of wrong answers, it is an individual thing, and you need to do the research and make the choice
The three best known options are:
• MTA (Mobile Travel Agents):
Based on the Gold Coast, MTA has in excess of 300 members across the country and is the oldest established host agency in the country, pioneering the model in the late 1990s.
Australian owned and operated, MTA is a member of the Travelscene- American Express group (now in the process of morphing into helloworld) and has been for many years. It is also a member of the prestigious international grouping, Virtuoso, and Australia’s most powerful cruise consortium, Cruiseco.
• Travel Counsellors:
Melbourne is the Australian head office for what is a truly international business with offices in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa, UAE and Canada as well as here. There are around 100 Australian- based TCs mainly along the east coast and more than1200 globally.
Sydney-based TravelManagers is the largest (numerically) host agency in the country with more than 400 members. TravelManagers is part of the trans-Tasman House of Travel business group with annual sales turnover in excess of $1 billion. It is also part of the CT Partners buying group.
There are others you should consider and two niche operations that may well be worth looking at are Travel Concepts (with no set-up or administration fees) and Cruise Holidays (cruise specialists, Australian owned and operated but also part of a large international franchise group).
Next time we will explore in more detail the offers and the options, until then stay strong, focused and work on your business not just in it.
* Peter Watson has spent over 40 years in the travel industry primarily in sales, marketing and distribution. He helped build large franchise networks with national and international brands and he worked with and developed smaller agency groups and single businesses. He now operates as a management consultant, travel writer, communicator, teacher/mentor and ‘elder statesman’ within the travel industry.