One year ago, Staffordshire mum-of-two Ami Wood pledged that she was going to start a side hustle as a bit of a hobby, working one day a week.
She had already laid the groundwork, after training as a home working travel agent with The Travel Franchise.
That week-long intensive course ended on January 3 last year and Ami wasted no time in getting down to business, but was astonished by the results.
She made a staggering £51,000 of sales in her first week, including £17,000 worth of bookings in just one day.
Ami could not believe how quickly she started to generate real money. Her original plan was bring in a little extra cash by doing a part-time job on top of her work managing the accounts for her husband Chris, who runs a uPVC window installation business.
The couple have two daughters, Freya, 18, and Poppi, 13. “The kids were of an age where they were becoming more independent and it was time for me to do something for me.
“Travel has always been a passion and a career that I have dreamed of, so it was time to bite the bullet.”
Ami set out thinking that being a home travel agent would be more of a hobby, which would take up a day or so a week alongside her work at the uPVC business. “I realised it was going to be more full on when my initial week’s sales exceeded £50k.”
She was amazed and also excited to see how the rest of the year was going to pan out. That surpassed expectations, too.
Ami came across about The Travel Franchise website while researching home working opportunities, and was intrigued by its promise to pay back initial set-up franchise for hitting new sales targets.
It offers a choice of three start-up packages: the Lite Package which charges £2,995 plus VAT and £299 a month; its Elite Package charges £14,995 plus £99 a month; and its Entrepreneur Package charges £29,995 plus £99 per user.
Ami chose the Lite Package and said: “Being honest, I was sceptical that the money-back challenge may not be “doable” but I did it and won my franchise fee back, when means I started my business for free.”
She never expected to bank £1m worth of bookings. “Hopefully this will continue, as I have been building a really strong rapport with clients.”
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Ami said she made her impressive sales tally without being pushy. “My motto is to give the customer an amazing stress-free experience from start to finish and that sells itself 10 times over.”
Hitting sales targets means she has also gone on lots of free or discounted holidays including a ski trip to Colorado, a cruise on the world’s newest liner and a holiday to Turkey.
The work fits around working for her husband’s business, as well as family life, household chores and overseas trips. “I am currently on holiday in Jamaica, sat on my sun lounger sipping a cocktail while I make peoples bookings. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Her advice for others considering a side hustle is go ahead and do it. “If you have a passion and have been thinking about making the leap for a long time as I did, just go for it else you will never know.
“If things don’t work out at least you can say you tried.”
Ami added: “You never know, it might just be the best thing you ever did which is what happened to me.”