During this webinar, we chat with Tammy O’Hara, owner of Million Miles Travel Agency. Tammy shares her travel business journey and tips she’s discovered on how to stay sane and profitable. She also shares her absolutely favorite tools and software for saving time.
This is a great webinar for anyone just starting out or veterans looking for inspiration to accelerate their travel business!
Stephanie speaking: Hi everyone, welcome to this webinar in the evening, or maybe it’s the morning for you. It could be all hours of the day. So we’re so excited for you to join us here today. This webinar is hosted by a Travefy Academy and we have an amazing guest Tammy O’Hara here today who’s going to share so much inspiration with us. I’m really excited. I know all of you who have signed up are just as eager and excited to hear everything as well. It’s been a really popular webinar we’ve noticed so we’re just really pumped to have this broadcasting today. So first to quickly introduce myself, my name is Stephanie Gries and I’m the Senior Client Champion and Education Coordinator here at Travefy and I will introduce our special guest here in a minute, but I do want to give a quick plug really quick on Travefy Academy. Just kind of what to expect on today’s webinar.
Travefy partners with experts across the country the travel industry to provide these free educational webinars through Travefy Academy. These webinars are not commercial in nature to promote those organizations nor does Travefy ever accept compensation or partnerships. Travefy Academy really just exists to provide these powerful educational experiences and fulfill our mission to power the success of travel professionals. So today’s webinar is for informational purposes only and we you know, so we’re really excited, you know for you to learn more about it. We have a website that just launched as well that you can check out past webinars. You’ll be able to check out this webinar as well in there and all kinds of other content that you might find really helpful. And I also do want to mention that throughout this webinar. We are going to have a question at the end question and answer time. So there is a chat box in there. There’s a question boxes.
I think what they call it and throw your questions in there throughout this presentation, and I’m going to be watching those and I’m going to pick those and that in which we will try to get through as many as we can in this hour. So use that chat box provided. The other thing I do want to mention to you is that this webinar is being recorded So after this, if you have to hop off or you get a call or you need have something else comes up. That’s okay, at the end of this we’re going to send an email follow up with a link where you can watch this again. So if you want to pass it along to a friend you can do that if you want as well. So now to the fun part why we’re all here today. I want to introduce Our Guest Tammy O’Hara. Tammy is the Owner of Million Miles Travel Agency. That is based in Brooklyn, New York and has owned this independent agency since 2017. She’s a New York state licensed attorney and Tammy began in the travel industry putting together travel itineraries for friends and family mostly to Europe and Central America for over five years before officially entering the travel industry.
In 2016. After a few months with the host agency Tammy began researching ways to work without a host agency until officially making it the leap in 2017 by joining CCRA Accredited Travel Agency program. Since 2017, Tammy and her agency has expanded to include three independent contractors and one virtual assistant. Tammy has been mentioned in publications such as CNN Money and was also featured in the Travel Market Report. Today Tammy works full-time as an agency owner, but she also continues to practice law in a reduced capacity. So shows are playful. So we’re really excited that you could make time for us here today Tammy and join us here today.
Tammy speaking: Thank you so much Stephanie. And and I’m excited to speak with everyone about my journey from a hosted agency. Well from being hosted to being an independent agency. So again thanks Stephanie who pretty much gave a really great biography of my career as a travel agent and it’s an agency owner and before that as an attorney. So again Tammy O’Hara, I am an attorney I’m legally allowed to do that by New York state. I’m also the Chief Experience Creator for Million Miles Travel Agency, LLC.
Um, so a little bit about me that yes, that is me. That is me hanging off the side of the Grand Canyon and I am crazy but I currently am a licensed attorney.
I’m currently doing administrative law and I run my business full time from my home and it’s been a crazy journey and I loved every single minute of it and I want to share with you kind of my tips tricks of how I managed to stay seen while working as an attorney and also managing my ICs and also my business. All right, so as I said before or as Stephanie stated I am headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. I’ve been independent since 2017. My business itself has been in existence from since 2016 and before that. I was just, you know working for free for friends and family and today..
I have 3 ICs that work with me. One in New York City and two in Florida and we consider ourselves a boutique agency in that. We’re small, we don’t take everything and we really try to put as much of ourselves into each action area that we do and as I said the the journey from hosted two independent was bumpy but ultimately satisfying.
alright, so first I guess what I should what would I want to talk about while my computer since they’re frozen is I want to talk about Why or if you should become independent, so it’s very sexy I feel for you for people to think about becoming independent. That is the topic of a lot of Facebook groups. And you know, there’s always questions about should I be independent? What should I do about becoming independent? And you know, whenever anyone’s asked me about my personal experience of becoming independent. I always say, you know, make sure that you really think about it before you go down the path of Independence. I always tell when I have counseled people who have contacted me personally, I always ask them have you looked at your numbers in terms of what numbers and what are your numbers for the current host agency that you’re working with? What are the commission levels that you’re receiving from?
Host agency. What is the commission split? How much are you paying as a part of your business? And how much is the host agency paying for your business?
So it’s basically you look before you leave. I said, it’s really it sounds very sexy. But there are a lot of things when you become the captain of your ship that you have to be responsible for that previously your host covered such as a seller of travel compliance. I’m sure everyone here knows that there are particular states where you are required to have a seller of travel license in order to sell to residents of that state.
Your host agency usually or sometimes we’ll be covering your I&O insurance, the cost of your CRM system and also the fact that when you are a part of a host agency, especially a large Host Agency, you don’t have to start at the bottom of commission levels as someone who is becoming independent you get the benefit of the you know, thousands of other hosts thousands of other agencies that are working under that host agency. So you get the host agency has the volume so that they can command the higher commission levels.
So if you decide to become independent, you either have to show those suppliers that you have the volume so that you can negotiate or do you start at the bottom?
Now I started out six months after I became was started with a host agency. I decided to go independent. So I was pretty used to being down at the bottom. So for me, it was nothing for me to start over and basically rebuild my business up, but if you’ve been with a Host Agency for years and you feel now is the time to make that leap you definitely want to look at your numbers and make sure that you are in a strong position to negotiate with suppliers.
Now I don’t have to tell everyone that because they always you know, preach specializations, you know, the riches are in specialization. So I guess one of the great things about becoming independent is that you get to be a little bit more choosy with your clients and your time.
If you don’t have an issue yet now is a good time to get one. You should have one regardless of if you’re with a Hosted Agency or not. Just because you can’t be everything to everyone but you can be what I call everything to someone so why my clients love me for what I can do for them. I don’t take everything but what I do take I put a 100% into it. They know I stand by every single itinerary that I’ve put together because I know that I am responsible for that itinerary regardless of what happens, you know, if it’s 3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and of my clients have an issue in Europe. I’m up at 3:00 a.m. taking care of that issue because I stand behind everything that I do with my agency.
Charging fees: I know everyone has talked about how to do it. You know, how should it be done and it’s a fact that for a lot of Host Agencies they don’t really allow it. I am a firm believer in planning fees. I believe that and I believe that this is kind of a kind of a result of because being a lawyer where as a lawyer you are you are expected to have fees and you’re expected to be compensated for your time. I believe that Travel Agents and Advisors, whichever way you want to call yourself. You are also professional and you should be paid to be a professional. So I believe in planning fees. I do charge one to all clients regardless of if they are new or a current client. I just have a different way of implementing it based on what position they are.
If they’re a new client, I implement a straight fee which basically means that it’s 100% non-refundable. It does not go towards their trip. It is my compensation for the planning that I do with my time for my existing clients. I do more of a plan to go fee and that I put towards their trip if they book or if they don’t book then it comes to me and I do allow my ICs to do the same and I do it through my merchant account so that they I’m able to keep track of what’s going on. And that way, I’m not running into any laws specifically in the of the seller of travel laws.
All right. So the number one enemy I feel of any small business owner not just travel agents is time and money. Those are in the like the co-occurring number one and number two enemies use don’t have enough time and you don’t have enough money. And again, I’m kind of a type-A personality. So I’m always about building systems and building your business through systems so that you are able to spend your time doing the thing that you do best, which is sell travel.
My mom had a constant phrase that I heard all throughout my life about being the chief cook and bottle washer basically or everything and you have to learn to let go And the way how you let go is to automate your business and I’m sure that if you’ve heard any of the travel marketing gurus or anyone who’s working, you know in a high-volume system, they tell you that there is a sales process and you commit to the sales process and they will help your life go easier and they’re not lying. It makes your life so much easier. If you are able to automate your sister your sales process in any way. So this is a three-step process. It’s hard. It’s a hard three-step process because the number one the number one step is very hard to do because it does require some introspection. So the first thing that you need to do is you need to sit down and plot your sales process from lead the time that someone comes in.
To they’re returning from travel. I did that when I was back in 2016 back when I was planning and I put together and if I could have it the perfect the perfect sales process. This is how it would look and I plotted it. You know, I wanted an appointment system because you know, I wanted to make sure that while I’m talking with my potential client, they’re the only ones that I am dealing with at that time. So I don’t have multiple phone calls multiple people talking to me. I am focused on that one person.
Yes that does, you know kind of reduce the amount that I can do in one in a in a day, but I feel that a part of you know, the process and the part of what I sell to my clients is that When I am working on their trip, they are the number one priority.
And you have to create a system that automates that sales process. So it’s all well and good to have a sales process. But if you have to have your hands in it at all times, it doesn’t really help because you’re still spending way too much time in the sales process instead of just selling.
So you have to find systems you have to find apps, you know, sometimes you have to you have to spend a little money in order for you to get the the process that you want and that will work for you.
And the third, and I guess most important step, is that you have to actually implement it. It’s all great to write it down and you know make a plan, but if you don’t implement it or if you don’t implement it all the time, then it doesn’t really help you.
So when I was approached by Travefy to put together this webinar. I sat down and I went again through my sales process and I went and looked through the top seven tools that I use pretty much every day or that is being that’s being used by me everyday to automate my system and it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty perfect for me.
All right. So these are my top seven tools for saving time and tears. I know for me I can I get really frustrated at times if things don’t really go the way how I want them. So saving time and tears for me is a daily struggle but these are the tip the tools that I use and some are free, some are not and some are you know freemium so you can pick and choose or there are other options and that can give you some ideas of some other options that are available out there that you know are similar. These are the tools that I have used and I love experimentation. So before I used or have stuff to these tools, I probably have tested at least five other tools that are kind of the same and I use the one that works best for me.
All right. So let’s start with the first tool which is Acuity if you’re not familiar with Acuity, it is a scheduling program. It’s an appointment set appointment setter and it’ll basically will turn your business from people who just call your business into an appointment based company. So occasionally, I’ll get phone calls but my business is very web-based. I guess. I’m I’m in part of the millennial crowd. I guess my birthday makes me fall under it. So I am big into the internet and using it using the internet to the best of my ability. So Acuity I’m allows you to turn, you know to create appointments from a lot of different platforms. So I have an Acuity of scheduler on my Instagram account my business Instagram account my business Facebook.
Page so if anyone wants to they want to schedule an appointment with me on those platforms, they will all go to my Acuity account at which also also syncs up with my Google Calendar. So I’m actually able to block off time that I know I’m not going to be able to take calls. For example, if this was a webinar that took place about an hour or two earlier, I would have blocked off all of that time to make sure that my phone didn’t ring while I was on this webinar.
Another great thing about Acuity is that it connects with your email marketing system such as MailChimp and Convertkit.
I’ve used Acuity with both of those and you can what if somebody signs up through Acuity for an appointment? They can also at the same time that they sign up they can choose to now get your newsletter your e-newsletter. So it’s a great way to kind of capture those email addresses. So even if you don’t end up booking a trip with that person who made the appointment they now still get your e-newsletter because they have signed up through their appointment.
You can as I stated earlier, you can control when potential clients can sign up. So, you know, if you’re going to be away on a FAM and you’re worried about people contacting you to make appointments, you can block off that time that you will not be available.
Next one. Okay. I couldn’t be on a Travefy webinar and not talk about Travefy. So I’ve been using Travefy and now before I say two or three years and I’ve used a few other ones you other itinerary builders. I was putting together my itinerary Builder when I first first started and it takes a lot, you know, if you’ve done complicated or even not so complicated itineraries you need something that’s will cut down time.
In part of my specialization is pretty complicated complex Group Travel and you know honeymoons and just European and South American vacations, which involve a lot of moving Parts, a lot of hotels, lots of flights, rail, you know activities and if you have to put to do that manually it will take forever Travefy and again, there’s other itinerary builders that you can use but I have found just use one of them but an itinerary builder can cut your time in half. Now that I have been using it for years. I can go in and put together a very complicated itinerary in 15-20 minutes. It’s kind of an old hack for me right now. I like also that it auto-updates flights and it allows you to attach documents to the itinerary because my goal for 2019 is to go green. So what I do is I attach all of the travel documents to the itinerary and then my clients can either access it through the travel the travefy app, or I can download it as a PDF and send it to them electronically. So yay for not, you know not killing trees.
It’s very green and I like It’s in a part of cutting down time is that I’m able to save certain activities that I used to most I always include like
Round-trip airport transfers so I actually have a part of my travel system is that I have the departure transfers and arrival transfers and I could move it right in I don’t have to type anything in it is an activity that I have saved.
I can also integrate with certain CRMs including mine, which is VacationCRM so I can move itineraries from VacationCRM right in to Travefy. Yay. I’m all about saving time saving typing so that I can use my time more efficiently. I also have a consumer facing travel app. So if my clients are for example, and I had a client in Bali and they texted me via the Travefy app, I was able to resolve their issues without them having to make an expensive international call and for me not to have to make an expensive international call.
And one of the new things that they that Travefy has now is that you can create proposals and approvals. So if you submit a proposal to a client you now can they can automatically approve the proposal so that you don’t have to use you now have a record that they have approved the proposal that you have made to them which you can use towards if there’s an issue later on.
Speaking of CRMs. I use my Vacation CRM. I know that there’s you know, it seems like there’s a lot of different CRMs. Everybody has something a little different and I encourage you to regardless of you know, where you fall just have one CRM. It’s a great way to keep track of your clients, keep track of upcoming trips manage ICs. If you have any do auto emails for birthdays anniversaries, it’s a way to keep top of mind for the clients that you already have. I use it also to track my Revenue by I track it by myself my agents suppliers. So if I it’s a this is a great way if you’re looking to do a co-op with a supplier because when you know a part of that application is that you want to show the supplier.
That you are actually booking their product and it’s very easy to just pull up. Hey, you know, I did x amount for this year, you know, I think that you know, I have a great idea for a co-op.
And specifically to Vacation CRM. It allows me to track leads. So if I don’t have the booking yet, but I do have someone who contacted me. I could include that in my vacation my CRM system and it will give me updates. It will send auto updates to the client to keep them top of mind and keep me top of mind so that we can continue having conversations about the trip that I have sent to them.
And again, there are a lot of other lot of CRM systems. I know the most popular ones are TravelJoy and Vacation CRM. I have used all three of them. So as I said, I tried to experiment and find the best one for me and you should do the same. Most of them have some kind of free trial.
So even if you’re not sure about which one to use, trial it and if you’re like, I don’t know how to do a CRM, trial and then learn. You gotta start somewhere.
And I use Vacation CRM because I love their group and custom travel management again. I do a lot of custom trips. So I tend to put together a package and present one price to the client and I love that Vacation CRM enables me to present it as one price instead of broken down into different pieces. So it prevents, you know Price shopping and things like that. So that’s why I eventually went to Vacation CRM, but I used to test for few years and I use Travel Joy for a couple months. So I’m able to kind of give and you know, see which one works best for me.
Now I spoke earlier about whatever email newsletters and email marketing systems that you use, I use MailChimp, but I’ve used ConvertKit in the past .Again part of my experimentation. I’m always experimenting because one of the things about becoming independent and being able to do your own thing is that you’re able to kind of break free from whatever it is that you you might be used to. So if you’re with a host agency, you might be kind of stuck with whatever CRM system that they use and that you that they require you to record your your trips your trips in.
The great thing about being independent is that you can use one you can try them all or you can kind of do a mixture if you know, I you like a little bit more about using a lot of people use Excel and then they kind of supplement it with other things you can do whatever it is that you want. I use MailChimp because marketing is a part of your job and it continues to be use MailChimp for my lead magnet campaigns. It’s okay. I got part of my sales process is how people have come into my sales funnel. I manage a group email through MailChimp with auto emailing and my newsletter management. I actually use MailChimp not only for my client newsletter, but also my newsletter to my ICs.
Each of them go out every week my ICs get their emails on Monday and then I send out my emails to my clients on Wednesdays.
So it’s the great thing about having an email marketing system is that you can make a template and then just go in and drag-drop change, you know edits a little bit and it doesn’t take a lot of time. So you’re not reinventing the wheel every single time that you have to do it, which I understand that a lot of people the reason why you kind of fall off the bandwagon of newsletters is that it’s tough It’s hard so and then you get frustrated because it’s taking a lot of time but when you have a system any kind of email marketing system and you have templates, it makes it so much easier. It makes the time go by easier. So instead of you know taking a couple hours it might take a half hour. I’m that type of person that will be writing my my client email my client newsletter at you know on Wednesday morning at 6 a.m.
I wake up early. If I don’t do it on Tuesday night. I do it 6 a.m. In the morning before I start working and it takes me about a half hour to do it because I’ve gotten it down where I have a template I know where they need to put in each section and I move on from there and it’s done very quickly. It actually now has made me be more consistent with my emailing.
All right “Later”. So Later, if you do any kind of social media posting later is amazing. They have a free version and they have a paid version. So, you know, if you’re like, I don’t have money but you still want to use it. There is a free version that you can use which is just as great as the paid version. I started out with the free version and then I moved into the paid version because I wanted a little bit more. I wanted to look a little bit more Sparkles to my social media scheduling. So the basic free version schedules Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages and you get believe in one of each for your basic free plan and you get 30 posts per month so enough for one per month one post per month for each each platform.
I wanted to do video and I also wanted to do Instagram stories. So I upgraded to the paid version. So I’m able to schedule videos and Instagram stories. The great thing about any of the many social media scheduler and there are there are a lot of them out there. There is Later. There’s Buffer. There’s a ton of them.
It allows you to sit down on a quiet day and you are able to schedule all of your posts for a month and it will take you a couple hours to do. So instead of every morning waking up and struggling and like what am I going to post about today? You sit down one day per month. You plan out your social media strategy for that month. You post it all and you set it and forget it. It’s amazing. And once you start doing it and you it you wouldn’t believe how much time you save.
Additionally, it makes you more intentional about your social media because if you’re sitting down once a month and you’re scheduling your Instagram your scheduling your Facebook and your Twitter and your Pinterest it makes you intentional about what it is that you’re scheduling. How does it fit in your overall marketing and sales?
And it you you see how everything starts to kind of go together. So if you’re focused on romance travel, you might focus one month on honeymoons. So you can you can plan all of your honeymoon posts for Instagram Facebook and it makes everything very cohesive this year. I’ve done feature destinations so I know each month when I plan with my virtual assistant. I tell her this is my my future destination for this month and then we plan the videos we plan these the posts that I want the type of Graphics the type of language.
I want used in the post the hashtags so that you’re able and I’m able to know that Regardless of anything that happens in my life, you know, if I am away on a fan or if I have a personal issue that you know leads me to take away take away a little bit from my work. I know that those posts will always go out unless there’s a, you know an outage if Facebook and Instagram has now that we can’t do anything about that, but beyond that if things that I can control I can’t control those and it it causes less stress for you.
And also it allows you to track your analytics for your page. You can save hashtags I have.
On my Later account. I have hashtags that I use, you know, depending on if I’m doing Group Travel. I have hashtags for those if it’s a destination wedding hashtags have honeymoon hashtags. And all I have to do is just copy and paste it into the post you I’m telling you. I’m all about using finding the easy way to do things Later is it.
Hey your virtual assistant. I have one and I’m not rich. So I’m just gonna put that right out there. I’m not rich and you know, I feel pretty successful as a travel agent, but I feel that a part of that success is the fact that I have a virtual assistant.
I’m able to and you have to use a great virtual assistant and you can’t just use you know, just a random person why hire one first. It’s to work on those time-consuming projects that you keep putting off. I’m sure that each one of you have a list probably a long list of things that you want to do, but you can never find the time to do mine was lead magnets. I had all of these great ideas about the lead magnets that I wanted to put together which was basically little booklets that were maybe a few pages long and highlighting different destinations from the New York City area. I had great ideas when I was able to do them. It was I had them in my head for about a year and a half before they were realized on paper because I did not have the time to do it either.
Always something else for me to do.
When I got a virtual assistant, I basically emailed her and I told her hey, you know, I’m looking to do a you know, a booklet for LGBT friendly destination Caribbean island destinations from New York City and you have to be you know, I might lead magnets are very specific and I told her these are the the islands that I would like to feature. Can you please put together something for me? And she put it together? It’s amazing. I loved it. She probably did a much better job than I would have done because she does have that experience. You can use a virtual assistant to Source photos and scheduled social media posts.
And it doesn’t have to be expensive if anyone wants, you know, some ideas about how it is that you can dip. You can set it up. You can contact me. I’ll give my email address after the webinar, but you can there’s a million ways that you can set it up but I think the most important thing that you need to keep in mind when you’re hiring an assistant is that you pick someone that has the experience for the task that you want. So if you’re looking for someone to manage your social media you want to have someone that has experience doing that.
You can’t just hire any person you have to have someone that knows how to schedule post that knows how to write hashtags and right, you know, Write comments on Instagram and Facebook. You can’t just have any ole’ person if you want someone who is more of a graphic artist then and you want them to put together, you know lead bath. Its or you want them to update your website you want to make sure that they have that experience because if they don’t have that experience that experienced and you’re going to end up having to change a lot of things which does not help you.
And a part of picking someone that has the experience for the task that you want. You have to make before you even think about hiring an assistant. You have to decide what it is that you want them to how you want to use them.
So because Learning knowing what it is that you want knowing how it is that you want to use them. Well guide who it is that you choose so it doesn’t help if you want someone to you know, do data processing for you, but you pick someone who’s a graphic artist because it’s going to be a long fit all the way around.
All right. These are free. Let’s follow. This is a great if you have Google, you know a Google email the Google Suite business emails first off if you are using a Gmail, so if you’re you know, Tammy’s travel at gmail.com. My first suggestion to you is please go out and get a professional bead business email, you know, get Tammy at Tammy’s travel.com. It just makes it just gives an outwardly more professional appearance to your business. The second thing I want to talk about is Google Suite tools. I am a huge fan of Google Suite tools. I use them every single day.
Because I work although of my my hours are usually about 12 to 8 every day. I’m working basically from twelve to eleven every day. So for me those these tools really helped me make sure that I am still working, you know, still utilizing my time as much as I can first thing Google tasks on on my desktop. I have a on the right hand side of my screen. I have a long-running list of tasks which could include, you know, put together proposals for different clients. And when it’s due when do I want to have it done the second thing scheduled emails? A lot of people have talked about you know, how do I manage my clients that, you know contact me at 3 o’clock in the morning.
I might be still up but I don’t want to respond at three o’clock in the morning because then that will just encourage them to Keep emailing you at three o’clock in the morning. It’s a very it’s a vicious cycle. You don’t want to do it. I schedule my emails if I might I have a very firm office hour or so after eight o’clock if you contact me by email, I will respond because I’m still doing work, but I will schedule that email to go out.
The at 12:00 p.m. Which is my my office opens. So unless I read it and it’s an emergency and my clients who are in and traveling and having an emergency. They have a separate line that they call but for every other person they get their emails or scheduled it will go out at 12 p.m. I’ll so that means that I respond I don’t forget that they emailed me and it goes out when I wanted to go out.
Another thing that I don’t know if everyone’s aware of is canned responses.
Basically, if you rewrite the same email a million times in a day, you can save that email and just kind of click it when you are you want to use that email again. I have different ones. So I have a canned response for when someone gets their travel documents send it out to them. I have a canned response when someone approves their travel fi itinerary, so I send them an email like hey, thank you for approving your itinerary. I’m so glad to work with you and here are the next steps. It’s very simple and it saves me from having to type that a million times and Google Voice. So I use Google Voice as my emergency contact line. It’s primarily only for clients that are traveling.
Everyone else is routed to my office line and I use it also to contact or keep in contact with suppliers International suppliers because you know Google Voice they you can actually, you know call overseas for a couple cents per minute and so $10 will last you a long time. It’s my $10 is still lasting me over. It’s almost a year now and I still have used I still have the same $10 that I put on the Google Voice account last year, so it’s great.
Alright so my final thoughts and I think that I’ve kind of stressed this over again is just do what works for you. This is my this is what’s my journey and I hope that maybe I have given you some tips on things that you can use or you know, if you don’t want to copy me but you can use a you know, oh, I like this idea. Let me use that or you know, I really like this later thing. I’m going to do more research into that do what works for you because everyone’s sales process is different everyone’s you know tolerance for emailing client client emailing at midnight is different you have to work with your strength and you know, if you love love, you know, the excitement of putting together your social media every single day a schedule is not great for you. You want to be spontaneous.
However, if you want to plan things out in advance, you want to have those things put in place so that you can enjoy not only your business but you also enjoy enjoy your life. You don’t want to be chained to your desk. My thought is you can make back money but not time. So my philosophy is that I always find a product that I can use that can give me back my time and I’m going to shout my boyfriend because I always end up quoting him on this which I hate but I always end up quoting him on this is work smarter not harder as a part of you know, you make back your money, but you don’t make back your time because the less time that I use that I waste basically doing all of these random office type things the more time I have to go out there and find new clients.
Take care of the client side now have And make more money for myself and for my agency. I’m going to turn it back over to Stephanie and also to the others in the listening in this webinar. So if they have any questions for me.
Stephanie speaking: Yeah, thank you so much. That was that was really really awesome. I think everybody learned something even I learned something. I’m gonna go check out Later after this for sure because that was really cool. Lots of really great tips. Yeah, we had a lot of just questions sporadically throughout so I’ll just start here one and a lot of people are saying right now thank you. That was really great. So many people saying great webinar Richard also said no question here. Just want to say that Tammy rocks. She is an amazing business owner. So Tammy you have a lot of Praises going on right now. Thank you. But for the first question here, so the first question is Margarita asked, how do you find most of your clients? Do you feel like a strong social media presence is important?
Tammy Speaking: So right now I have made an effort to be more local. So for me, I now go out into the community which for me is as a it’s crazy that I’m a lawyer because I’m so introverted at times but I really have made an effort to go out into the community and really talk to people so I’ve been getting a lot of my business now if it’s not referrals from my old clients am now getting a lot of business for from people that I have spoken to them and in the community business owners, I’ve joined my the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and I have, you know reached out to former co-workers and I I’ve stumbled upon different things because I am now going out so it depends on how you want to work your business.
I want to be more local so in order, Be more local you have to be more local you have to be out there. So and I also made the efforts in the time. So I want to shout out Emily from bom bom Yamcha copy because she helped me put together my website the copy for my website so that it will resonate with the the clients that I want. So I use that a lot my web site attracts people the type of clients that I want for him in into me into my website and to my sales funnel I would do it. I would say that my social media is the hugest thing because I don’t have like a millions of followers or even thousands of followers, but I am consistent with it. So and it’s more about if you’re consistent.
Eventually people will start coming to you because you’re not doing kind of a fly-by-night you’re showing them that you know, you are a legitimate business owner and you are consistently doing this.
Stephanie speaking: Also, that’s great in one quick question here too. And we can also if anybody does miss this later. Feel free to reach out to us at Travefy just that firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get you Tammy’s information. But Tammy a lot of people are asking what is your contact if you mind sharing that really quick.
Tammy speaking: My email address is my first name Tammy@MillionMiles Travel.com.
Stephanie speaking: Perfect. Thanks and again to anyone if you have any questions for Tammy after the sir, you know, we don’t get to your question feel free to reach out to us and I can work on getting that answered for you and getting you connected with Tammy. So another question is we have a lot of questions coming in about the virtual assistant and I’m really curious as well to some excited people ask this. So I have two questions from you from two different people, but I’ll just say them together is is there a source to find a virtual assistant? And then also what is the price range for a virtual assistant?
Tammy speaking: Both so this is going to sound weird but I actually found my virtual assistant on Facebook. I did a I posted a job posting on Facebook for virtual assistant. I put down exactly what it is that I wanted and I got a million. I feel that I had I got so many responses but part for me I was particularly looking for someone who was local. So I wanted someone that was in the New York City area. I wanted someone that had previous experience being a virtual assistant so that they were able to kind of work with me and my quirks sometimes and I ended up choosing Someone who lived in Bronx in the Bronx low not local to me per se but luckily enough and she had experience with being a personal assistant.
She has she’s actually still a virtual assistant to I Three other people and she somehow manages to work with us all and it’s completely insane. She is my Lifesaver most days and you know, I don’t know what I would do without her in terms of how you pay. So I use I my agreement with her is I have set a set block of time. So I have I get the 10 hours every two weeks and I pay her a flat fee regardless of if I use those ten hours. I pay her a flat fee.
Some people pay hourly but because of my it was kind of spotty. So because sometimes I would use her like more one week and then I might use her at all for a second week or if I do all of my we do all of the social media postings in the at the beginning of the month and then I might not use her again for the rest of the month. I thought that it would be more simpler if I do a block set of time. So I get 10 hours every two weeks for her and back and forth. Like we went back and forth a little bit in terms of how much time it would be but I felt that I was enough time where it would be worth her while and also worth mine because I use her a lot primarily as I said before for my lead magnet creations.
Stephanie speaking: That’s excellent. And that sounds like also kind of a secret to success for having virtual assistants. That’s really cool. So kind of going on how to build your business. This is a really good question in there. Linda asked she said I’m already an independent and already have been booking. I originally had been mentored by midsize host agency and they allowed me to have in iata card. I’m growing away from them. Do I need to have any certifications to continue as an independent travel agency? I am an LLC.
Sorry, I need to unmute you here really quick. Tammy. I’m muting you right now. All right. All right. Tammy speaking: Um, I just want to make sure I understand in terms of looking for additional certifications like destination certifications or in like industry certifications.
And if I could have or maybe she should I think she should contact me because I want to get some more clarification on that question. Yeah. Yeah, so I forgot her name, but just tell her to contact me directly and we can probably talk about it offline a little bit longer. So that kind of got I want to make sure that I answer it correctly because I’m not quite sure what it is the question.
Stephanie speaking: Yeah, definitely. I will yeah, and it was Linda so there was a couple other people who ask kind of questions around that too. And I think also be really cool. You’re such a wealth of knowledge on you know, all this stuff. But you also have that lawyer side, which is really cool, which would be really helpful for a lot of people and actually somebody asked about that. It’s Jenny early and she has do you review I see contracts just curious since you practice law.
Tammy speaking: So I I put together my own contracts with help because I do administrative law. So I don’t have a particular. I don’t do contracts regularly, but I do review them. Just I will review if somebody is looking for just a review I you know, I don’t write them. But if you’re looking for reviews and if you have enforced suggestions about what to include in your contracts definitely contact me, but that is the limitation that I have. I don’t write them because I’m not a contract lawyer but you know lawyers we have our own special little thing contracts is not mine. But yeah, if anyone has, you know, I see contracts that they you know that they just need an extra eye on you know, definitely feel free to reach out to me.
Stephanie speaking: Perfect. And then Suzanne just ask now I think this is a really good question is can you tell us some more about lead magnets do you put sample itineraries together? And how do you Market them or it basically is that what you do as a lead magnet? Can you share a little bit more about what your lead magnets look like?
Tammy speaking: Mind leaving believe magnets currently look like booklets and you’ve probably seen them pretty much all over where you know some what I usually use them. If I’m doing Instagram or Facebook ads where I would say, you know find the top five destinations, you know from jet from New York City for LGBT couples and then they would click on it and it would send them they would have to include their email address and that it will send them the lead magnet which is a booklet. I can tell you that my elbow.
My LGBT one is basically five destinations around the Caribbean that are LGBT friendly and then I give them information about hey, it’s you know, it’s a rubra and this is information about Aruba and you know, these are the flights that fly from the New York City area into Aruba and here is a very Popular, you know lgbt-friendly area in Aruba and here is you know, a IGT La, you know approved Hotel. So it’s you have when you’re doing your lead magnet you have to be focused on who it is that you’re trying to Market to. So my LGBT lead magnet is looking for LGBT couples in New York City who want to travel to the Caribbean and they are curious about which you know, which Islands would be most friendly for them.
And those and those are the ones that I am trying to Target and they’re the ones that will be interested in picking up or we’ll be signing up for that booklet. So you can your lead magnet magnet could be anything. I know that a lot of times when people first start out it’s not packing list or it’s a, you know timeline calendar if you’re doing destination weddings, so it could be anything but you want to make it something that will be worth the while of the person that you’re targeting and you want it to be targeted because the you don’t want to just make a random, you know lead magnet because it’s not really going to Target anyone you want it to be extra targeted, especially if you’re using it for you know in conjunction with Facebook ads because you know that can get really crazy and expensive really quickly.
So you want to be super targeted about who it is that you know is clicking on that ad and getting those that Getting that weed. And yeah, I have a few of them since I do a lot of romance travel and a lot of travel in general in the Caribbean Central and South America. Most of my lead magnets are targeted towards that I’ve been starting to helping my icy put together their lead magnets and you know, I have one that does family traveling Europe. So we’re going to be starting to design a lead magnet, you know a success how to you know, have a successful european vacation with you know, a large family because she does a lot of large especially very large families. So, you know, it said, I think the takeaways from lead magnets is that you want them to be targeted.
And you target it to you. You need to have a client in mind when you’re writing your lead magnet.
Stephanie speaking: That’s really great ideas in there and how sorry I’m gonna gonna meet you there really quick. That’s really cool though to you know, focus in I think everything that you’ve been saying from the beginning is finding your Niche and your expertise and then putting that into you know into your marketing efforts and really Halloween into what who you’re trying to go for that’s so cool and such great stuff and I wish we could keep talking here. I know everyone’s there’s still questions just kind of pouring in here. So so sorry everyone that were not able to get to all of your questions during this time, but I do just want to say once again, you know, thank you so much Tammy for joining us here today. This has been really fun. And I know that everyone else has learned a ton on him as well. And sorry I needed to me. There’s a little I sound like an alien on their one when we have we have some little back and forth.
Stephanie speaking: It’s so that’s me a new Dean and muting. Sorry everyone, but I just want to thank everybody again. Thanks for being here. And Tammy, do you have any last words I guess for us to part with.
Tammy speaking: Thank you the first off thank you to everyone that has come on this webinar if you have any additional questions, so I’m sure that there’s a ton of them. I know I had a ton when I when I, you know made my transition so feel free. I am I try to be as responsive to everyone as possible. And I know that I have spoken to a lot of people that have thought about making that transition and they don’t really know if it’s the right step for them. So if you have any questions about that feel just I don’t don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I really really serious about that do not hesitate to reach out to me I try to and if we need to have a longer conversation, I will get on the phone and I will talk to you so, you know, I once you get me talking I start talking but it’s so I am I am I am excited.
For everyone who might be thinking about doing the whole I’m going independent, and if you have any questions, I am free to talk, you know, I think I’ve already started getting some emails and I will respond to everyone and you might get a really late response from me, but I’m going to respond nice. Yeah, you’ll get the three am response. That’s how special well. Thank you so much again, and thanks everyone and enjoy the rest of your evening. I’m too many around the evening, but any in the morning, enjoy your Friday. Have a great long weekend as well. Stephanie speaking: Thanks, Tammy.