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developed herself is notifying customers when to expect their tickets. “It frees up your time as you get fewer phonecalls,” she says.


MANAGINGINTERRUPTIONS. Many homeworkers discover friends and


relatives think “working at home” means “open house”. Parry-Thorpe says: “My mother lives locally. She did used to pop in from time to time and I had to say: ‘If you do that, I’ll have to work in the evening, when Robin [my son] has gone to bed.’” Munro avoids distractions by not answering her home phone in office hours: “If I was in a nine to five job, I wouldn’t take personal calls.”


PLANNING AHEAD. Mindful of the seasonal nature of travel,


Sarah plans for quiet times. She is currently having flyers delivered locally, advertising her services for winter bookings. “I’m just looking ahead,” she says. “Come the winter, I will do something again reminding people.” She also paves the way for 2011 bookings by indexing the shopping-around customers she was unable to help in the summer: “I put them in my contacts book and jot down what they were looking for and extra things, such as whether they have children. When I call, it makes the customer think: ‘She really listened to me.’ It takes a few minutes to write the note and I could get a new customer for life.”


USE OF DOWNTIME. Munro has a business page on Facebook and uses her downtime to update the content. She has also been calling suppliers for material to use on her stand at the upcoming Sussex County Show.


CONSTRUCTIVE.


In quiet periods, Parry-Thorpe checks which customers booked at the same time last year and offers her services again. She also sends customers an e-shot asking for feedback to update her web page, which helps “build a rapport.”


Case study


EMMA PARRY-THORPE Gold Travel Counsellor “Working for yourself is a culture shock. You don’t realise the paperwork involved. As a regional manager, I was used to time management, but it’s a different kind of time management because you can’t delegate to anyone.” Emma has become adept at multi-tasking. “I know for a flight-only quote I need to go to one website, so I might


do that while on hold to Thomson for a group booking,” she says. She also saves time by phoning clients rather than replying to their email requests for multiple quotes.


knowledge


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