It occurred to me that after months of sharing strategies for how to be successful as an independent agent, perhaps it’s time to meet an agent who went from being an employee to being home-based, who loves it and is enjoying huge success.
How huge? Read on!
Jodi Fox has spent most of her life in the Calgary area, and now lives in Carstairs, AB with her husband and two kids, ages two and four.
“I started my travel career 12 years ago, straight out of travel and tourism school at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology,” Jodi says. “I worked for a year in a Marlin agency at a Walmart where the clientele was very focused on price and sell-offs. There were a lot of tire kickers and I soon realized that was not the market for me.”
Jodi left and joined Vision where she quickly decided that luxury travel was going to be her niche. She started selling high-end cruises and in her first year went on a Virtuoso luxury fam to Guatemala where she decided she wanted to sell beautiful experiences – “not necessarily the most expensive, but special experiences.”
Fast forward to motherhood. “Once I became pregnant with my second child I knew things had to change. I had always known that being an independent was an option but I was frankly scared to make the leap – about the money, mostly. I wondered if my clients would follow me. Carstairs has a population of less than 4,000 … could I make a go of it here? But I didn’t want to miss my kids’ lives.”
Jodi took the leap 19 months ago. One of the first things she did was write to her clients, explaining her situation (that she was now essentially self-employed) and asking that they keep entrusting their travel arrangements to her – and spread the word.
She also hosted a cruise night for 20 people in conjunction with Viking. “And I got two amazing bookings worth over $20,000 out of that one evening.”
What else has worked? She is running a co-op ad with luxury suppliers each month in the Carstairs paper to promote luxury offerings – planting the seed that when it comes to landmark vacations, she’s the one to contact.
Though she says she doesn’t travel as much as some, given her kids’ ages, she does one “big” trip per year (so far the Galapagos and an African safari; next up: Antarctica). “Not only do I get to experience what I sell to my clients, but I pick up new clients as well.” These include a couple from Ohio who have become regular clients and recommend Jodi to their friends in the U.S. “They say, ‘You know us. We don’t care that we are in Ohio – the reason is you know us.’”
Though not a huge user of social media, Jodi does post on Facebook, more to educate clients than to promote special offers.
So, how is it working for her, financially?
In her first year of business, Jodi sold almost $900,000. She has sold over $500,000 in the first half of year two and is confident she will exceed $1,000,000.
No wonder we are all so proud of her here at Vision Travel!