Last week I was struggling to service a booking. It was for a couple heading to the Dominican Republic for an all-inclusive vacation. Traditionally I work in the European space, so AI’s in the DR are totally out of my comfort zone. Couple that with the paralyzing fear I have lately surrounding booking travel in general, I felt my procrastination defenses settling in quickly.
Then I remembered – I have people.
Over a zoom call with Ashley Morris of Alpaca Your Bags, I brought up my new booking predicament. We met during a FAM opportunity to Belize a few years ago, and that’s that. She’s stuck with me. She also happens to be an all-inclusive whiz. I just had no idea where to send people, having only been to the Dominican Republic once. Immediately she rattled off suggestions to quote the client. Boom. Saved.
Then I thought of all the things that I would normally do for an FIT itinerary to Europe. Again, that feeling of dread – activities in the DR. Excursions? Who is the one to call? So I called Karen.
Karen Baker of Blissful Honeymoons, is an incredibly sharp agent, and has become a dear friend. Remember that FAM to Belize? She was the organizer of that escapade, and, same as Ashley, she is stuck with me.
Immediately Karen walked me through the do’s and don’ts and reminders of servicing and all-inclusive clients (mainly reminding me that they aren’t as complicated as an FIT, and reassuring me that I wasn’t missing anything.)
Time and time again I can give examples of voxer conversations with my partners, Wendy & Ashley, coaching calls with my host agency, Kinship Vacations, and mini mastermind sessions with other travel advisors that have helped me over the hump, talked me off the ledge, and helped me work through problems.
I know we all like to think of ourselves as solopreneurs – total bosses in our business with a solid handle on #allthethings. The problem is that when we run into situations that are new or put us out of our depth we need a strong community to fall back on.
Do you belong to a collaborative community?
Over my years as an entrepreneur I have belonged to several. And there are a few main criteria I believe need to be in place when you claim your entrepreneur community.
It needs to subscribe to the “Community Over Competition” model.
Being an entrepreneur is tough. It’s even tougher if you are always looking over your shoulder or afraid to speak up or collaborate with others on ideas. Surely you’ve heard the phrase “A rising tide raises all boats.” It’s so true in entrepreneurship. Instead of trying to vie for the biggest piece of the pie, your community’s focus should be about making more pies.
When you work in that kind of an environment, you allow for more creativity, collaboration and ingenuity – prime ingredients for stellar growth and improvement.
Be wary of “Our community is like a family.”
Families are messy. They are full of drama, and in some cases flat out trauma. You don’t need a family. You need a team. Teams hold each other accountable. Teams work together to a better goal. Families let egos get in the way. Teams have no room for large egos. Teams work towards a common goal. They still love one another. They still support each other. But they never lose sight of the tie together – the team and the team’s mission.
Be generous first. Then take when you need.
When we enter into our community, be careful not to immediately armor up. I love Brene Brown’s “Strong back, soft front, open heart.” Walk into a community and give more than you get, or even long before you get. The ability to trust the process and be generous with your knowledge has a way of always returning to you tenfold.
I also love Elizabeth Lesser’s: “Do no harm. Take no shit.” Be smart. Take graciously. Give credit when credit is due. And never be afraid to set boundaries if needed.
Who are your people? Whether you enter the relationship through a free facebook group or a paid membership or mastermind, please let this criteria serve as the bare minimum litmus test before investing your time or your money. You are amazing and worthy of a community that can help take you to the next level, both personally and professionally. Be choosy. You deserve it.
If you are looking for a community of travel advisors we invite you to check out our free facebook group Travel Agent Training & Mentorship.
Krystal Eicher is one of the Co-Founders and the Marketing Guru of Kinship Travel Academy, the Owner/Founder of Serendipitous Traveler, the self proclaimed Girlfriend Getaway Guru, and the marketing strategist for Kinship Vacations. Krystal coaches other agents on finding their ideal client, setting up their content calendars, and actually having a marketing strategy in their travel business versus taking random business by default. She is a yogi (that should do more yoga), coffee addict, and travel junkie. She lives in North Houston with her hubby and two daughters.