Small business advice personalized for those who are new to business
Welcome to the second installment of our Legit Side Hustle Interviews! If you’re new here, this special series on my blog is where I interview women who are crushing it with their side hustle. My criteria for everyone was women who have started their own legit side hustle earning at least an average $200 per month and working less than 10 hours per week. Enjoy!
In today’s interview, you’ll learn about Kathy Feather and her side hustle as a travel agent. If you love to travel and have ever thought about earning money from it, you’ll definitely want to pay attention to today’s special blog post.
Editorial note: some responses have been edited for readability and storytelling. These interviews are not clients of New Morning Coaching, unless noted.
What do you do?
I'm a home based independent travel agent. I provide travel planning and consulting services to clients to ensure a relaxing vacation.
How did you get started?
I had been known to family and friends as "The One Who Knew Disney" and was helping them plan their Disney vacations. When I started participating in Disney’s running events known as RunDisney, I sought out an agent to help me book the unique particulars of that trip. During booking, my travel agent mentioned I could make money doing exactly the same thing- I was sold.
What made you want to do this?
I love to travel. Also, I was trained on guest service at The Disney Store in Santa Barbara CA while in college, so I was already familiar with helping families get a magical experience. I get tremendous joy out of helping families spend time with one another and providing all the planning they want and need so they can have a stress free vacation.
What do you like about doing this?
I've watched my father’s health decline the past 5 years; and it has been particularly hard the past 2 years as dementia truly set in. As a travel agent, I’m able to help families make those magical memories while they can. I believe that memories made on vacation with everyone together are the best kind, the kind that will stick with them.
How did you come up with the idea?
I didn't – it came to me. That fellow agent introduced me to my host agency and I love how they manage their brand. I was in.
What were your start up costs?
Truly they were minimal. My first year was a $350 start up fee for my agency. That covered my training, email address, website, and the basics of how to track and manage the business. From there, I personally invested in business cards for $65 (design and print); and a CLIA card for $110 that allows me some agent perks. I had a computer and internet already at home- so that incurred no further expense. That was it. I marketed via my Facebook and Linkedin Networks for free. After that initial push, my business expanded mostly by word of mouth and referrals within my client’s social networks. 85% of my business is currently either repeat clients or referrals.
I invest more now to help me better manage my business. I now utilize a CRM tool specifically for travel agents. I just started investing in the ability to conduct email newsletters, I just participated in a wedding expo, 2 conferences, and participated in Familiarization trips to new locations so I have first hand experience with the vendors I'm proposing. The good news there- I utilize my standard vacation time and extend a few days for personal vacation so it's a win win.
How much time do you put into this per month?
I'm currently operating at roughly 60hrs a month. I tend to have 10-15 hours a week. This includes training, client calls, client proposals, and managing existing bookings. I also reconcile my expenses monthly so tax time will be easier.
How much PROFIT do you earn per month?
I started 8 months pre-pandemic so just as I was starting to book, I had to cancel and reschedule everything. As a result, I truly consider July 2021 as when my business started moving again. I estimate I'll make roughly $8k in profit this year. Even though I’d like to earn more, I consider my profit a big win at this stage, especially considering some individuals still aren't ready to travel and others are cutting back due to increasing costs. Currently my bookings aren't consistent month to month so the income stream isn't stable yet, but I’m optimistic it will get there.
Thank you so much, Kathy for sharing about your side hustle with us! If you would like to get in touch with Kathy, you can checkout her website here, or email her at email@example.com
Be sure to subscribe to our email list so you can get updates for all the interviews! Wondering what makes a side hustle legit? Read our article. Check out our previous Legit Side Hustle interview with Anna who earns an extra $500 upcycling leather scraps!
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Hey! My name is Christine and I'm an entrepreneur and small business coach. I've learned most of what I know through trial and error. I help women who are new to business to take their next steps with confidence and clarity.