I hear a lot about running your business and how wonderful it is.
Yes it is great, in a way, allowing you to become master or mistress of your own destiny, being your own boss and making you self-accountable, it’s got to be awesome hasn’t it, or has it?
My wife Lizzie runs her own travel agency as a personal travel agent with Travel Counsellors and she has worked in the travel industry for over 16 years.
What I really mean is, she has been married to the travel industry for that time and as she has only been married to me for four years, I know my place as a house husband to my other mistress: Lizzie’s passion for her travel agency business.
I left my ‘proper’ job in 2005 as a Plant Operative in the nuclear industry in 2005 but knew it was too early for me, as I had loads of lucrative employment years left. I turned down a megabucks chance to work on decommissioning Russian subs in Murmansk to move to Cyprus with Lizzie to help in her role as wedding co-ordinator.
What this really meant, of course, I was throwing in my lot to help Lizzie in her passion to help others at their most important time of life, their wedding!
Fast forward to 2014 when Lizzie joined Travel Counsellors.
Now, with the backing of this amazing company Lizzie can truly immerse herself in the business of making her clients happy, which as it turns out is a drug to her!
She works all hours and even on downtime that blooming iPad is never out of her hand, while she answers clients’ emails at ungodly hours and wonders why they are expecting her to reply at midnight. She even takes the iPad to bed!
Her title is Personal Travel Counsellor and my does she not utilise that word personal to its utmost. She makes herself available to clients at all times including weekends which can impact on our time together and socialising with friends.
I’ve become a ‘partner’ in her business which helps her with some of the day to day running of her business, but also includes all the back office household tasks including making meals, washing, ironing and shopping etc. I think my testosterone levels are now non-existent.
I also have to be a counsellor myself when she becomes stressed by a potential client that has picked her brains for many hours, only to head online.
Every day is a business day to Lizzie. Even when we do manage to socialise, her business brain is only dormant; it will switch on fully when someone happens to mention the trigger word, ‘holidays’.
I help her out with breakfast networking because she says doesn’t like to 'sell' herself, as she puts it, but I think it’s because she has been up during the night doing an online check-in or other stuff for clients and has hardly slept.
Being married to a home based travel agent does come with its perks, even though she is the one who travels regularly to far flung places on Fam (familiarisation) trips, I do have the benefit of having in-house, up to the minute travel information and a wife that will always work to get us the best deal.
She has made some great contacts that can source us the best rates for our own personal holidays, so there is a major plus side to being married to a travel agent passionate about her work.
All in all we are a team that works well together and having a supportive HQ team always on hand in a crisis makes for a healthy balanced business.
So that’s it from me, the chief cook and bottle washer, marketing and social media expert, laundry specialist and stress counsellor.
Now, can anyone suggest a good HR advisor? I need advice on my working conditions!
Colin Brown, husband of Lizzie Adamson-Brown, Travel Counsellors