Readers’ Lives: Amy Stevens

Readers’ Lives: Amy Stevens

Amy worked as a sales assistant at a bakery for 10 years before becoming a homeworker selling Disney holidays for MagicBreaks just over a year ago. Within 12 months she was the agency’s fourth biggest seller. Juliet Dennis reports.

Q: Why did you leave the job you’d had since the age of 20 to become a travel agent?
A:
It was a job I enjoyed and it fitted around my son’s nursery times but I wanted to have a career. I wanted a complete change. I socialised with someone who worked for MagicBreaks in administration. Being a travel agent had never crossed my mind, but my friend really sold it to me; she was
really positive about the job.

Q: How did you prepare for the job?
A:
I did four months training with the company while I was still working part-time at the bakery. I went on a Disneyland Paris fam trip before I started working on my own so that was a great insight. You learn so much by being there. We are now planning a trip to Villages Nature Paris [a joint venture between Disney and Pierre et Vacances] near Disneyland as a family. I feel very passionate about Disney and there are so many updates of rides and characters so I like to keep up with it all.

Q: How was the transition from selling bread to selling holidays?
A:
The bakery was like home. I knew it like the back of my hand. Going into a totally different career where you haven’t got someone there to help you was very daunting. I didn’t want to give [my new job] up if it didn’t work so I knew I had to throw everything into it. I work pretty much the same number of hours as I did before, about 37, although sometimes I do two or three hours more. We can choose our own rotas and I try to do it around my 12-year-old son as much as I can. I like split shifts; doing the morning and then the evening. I work in the back of my living room and I don’t miss the bakery because I am constantly on the phone talking to clients and they end up treating you like a friend.

Q: Has it proved financially worthwhile?
A:
I am earning about three times what I used to earn at the bakery. I tend to sell Disneyland Paris, but we have got the ability to sell anything. Once I have more experience I can branch out into selilng other types of holidays. If you have not earned what you want to it inspires you to put more hours in or upsell more Disney trips. You feel you are chasing your wage and making that work for you.

Q: Have you made any memorable bookings so far?
A:
I did a booking for the Saudi Arabian royal family to Disneyland Paris. The original booking was for eight princes and princesses but it ended up being 14 or 15 spread over about eight or nine rooms. They stayed at the four-star Hotel New York for a couple of nights. I don’t think it was my biggest booking, but at the back of my mind I was thinking I must get everything right!

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