Jennifer Dugan: Success in the Travel Business

| October 13, 2010 | 1 Comment

In June 1996, I got the news that would change my purpose in life forever. I was pregnant with my first child. Going to work each day at my full time job, I soon realized there was no way I wanted to work and have my child in daycare. This began my journey to find out how I could be at home with my baby. I began reading every thing I could get my hands on about working at home. This was before the Internet took off so resources were limited on the subject.


I tried Mary Kay Cosmetics and although I learned a lot from the experience, I realized it was not my calling. Before long, it was February and I had my son. Due to our financial resources, my husband and I knew I had to go back to work. I went back part time and was miserable. Finally we made the decision to sell our house and go to as bare bones as we could in our financial condition. It allowed me to start working from home doing what I was doing part time as a travel agent.

working mom holding kidsTo be honest for those first two years, I did very little. I did have clients and made some money but I wasn’t making enough to really help our family out. Then my second son was born and my husband said I needed to either do something with my business or go back to work. This was the motivation I needed. I began to seek out business. I started contacting everyone I knew to see if they needed a travel agent. I had the local paper do a story on me. I built my own website. I found every chance I could to get my name out there.

The Internet was starting to be a part of this by early 2000. I met other work at home moms. I began feeling like it really could be successful if I wanted it badly enough. I started mentoring others who wanted to become home travel agents like myself. I taught these other moms what I knew from my years experience as a travel agent as well as attending travel school. Word began to spread that I was willing to help moms become travel agents. We worked together as a team to build my agency into something that suppliers such as Carnival Cruise Lines would acknowledge.

It was a struggle to grow a business at the same time chasing a couple of toddlers. One story that I will never forget is one day I was working very hard in my office while the boys were playing with one another. I began to hear the boys laughing and running around the house. I came out to find my 4 year old chasing my 2 year old with a bottle of chocolate syrup squirting it all over the place. It was all over my off-white carpet. It was days like this I wondered how I could possibly build a business and still keep my house in order. There were many days like this. There were times when I had to work until 2am because the day was so hectic I couldn’t get everything done I needed to get done while the boys were awake.

Soon they started school and I began having more and more time to get thing accomplished. Now my sons are to the point where they don’t need me as much anymore. Dillon is 12 years old and Travis is 10 years old. They actually help me with the business often. It is a way of life for my family.

The agency has grown into a rather large agency. We have over 650 people working with us from their homes. We have people of all ages and are not just helping moms but also dads and retirees. I have help now with a manager, assistant manager, training coordinator, and a personal assistant. I can’t help but think back to how it all got started. I didn’t start out to be successful. I didn’t start out to have a career that would be a focus of my life for 12 years. I did it to raise my children and not have to be apart from them. I never gave up no matter how hard it got because I knew it was worth it.

About the Author:

Jennifer Dugan is the owner of Dugan’s Travels http://www.duganstravels.net  and http://www.travelathome.com

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