“Only the lonely…know the way I feel tonight” warbled singer Roy Orbison all those years ago. Still today I know a lot of independent travel advisors who really relate to those lyrics. For all the plusses of working on your own, there are times when you feel truly isolated.
Sometimes it’s important for your mental health to just get up and get out. You should never feel guilty about ‘slacking off’ if your time away from your desk is well spent – and you always have business cards with you. Take that exercise class, and be sure to chat about what you do with your fellow participants. People love to talk about travel – but you knew that! Join your local business association or group for self-employed folks. Not only will you likely enjoy discounts at local businesses but you may gain a few new clients.
It goes without saying that industry functions and product launches are a great way to combat loneliness, but make sure suppliers know where you’re located. A BDM may be enroute between sales calls and love the chance for a chat over coffee.
At Vision Voyages Travel, we also have a weekly conference call for our ITAs. It’s a great way to share news, tips and insights – and to feel part of a successful, thriving group.
Not directly related to the issue of loneliness but one which does contribute a lot to your frame of mind is your workspace. It’s hard to be successful if you are working from a corner of your dining room table. Do try to have a dedicated workspace, and one which is pleasant (not in the basement, next to the furnace, with pantyhose dripping on a laundry line a few feet away!). Having a proper space will also help you separate your work life from your personal life.
And if after a long heart-to-heart with yourself you decide that working alone just isn’t cutting it, look into renting a desk at a travel agency. This works really well for a number of our ITAs. They retain the financial advantages and freedom of working on their own … but are in a bustling office setting where they are happiest.