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The Start of an Entrepreneur
Michelle Cartwright – Travel Agent 00:16
I am Michelle Cartwright, and I just celebrated my sixth year selling travel.
Michelle Ferrand – Interviewer 00:20
Why did you take the leap of faith into the industry?
Michelle Cartwright – Travel Agent 00:25
Because my parents and husband believed in me. I had this passion to share my knowledge with friends and family, especially in regards to cruising.
Effie Walthall – Travel Agent 00:36
I saw this ad in the newspaper that said, ‘Do you like to travel? Do you like to make money?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes!I like all those things.’ And I was only in my 20s. So I love that, you know.
Valerie Gosset – Travel Agent 00:45
I always had a love for travel, and helping people have the very best experience. And what I love to do is take care of people.
Kirsten Brown – Travel Agent 00:54
I’ve been a lot of places, and I wanted to have the opportunity to take other people where I’ve been.
Penny Leichner – Travel Agent 01:00
We love to travel.
Steve Leichner – Travel Agent 01:01
We travel all the time, we travel all over and we love talking about travel.
Theresa Chu Bermudez – Travel Agent 01:05
It seemed like the perfect time for me to just dive in and do what I loved.
Mark Burgess – Travel Agent 01:09
Complement to the business which I was already in, which was DJing weddings. So my job was to help people have fun there, and it just seemed like a natural extension to plan the honeymoon.
Taheera Jones – Travel Agent 01:17
Because I was already planning travel for friends and family anyway, and so I decided to start making money at it.
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Gerald Ash – Travel Agent 01:22
A change in life allowed me to get into something different, and I had time to build slowly, so it worked out for me.
Tony Gagliano, Sr. – Founder & Owner 01:33
Look what happened.
Michelle Ferrand – Interviewer 01:35
A lot. A lot has happened. What’s been the most challenging obstacle you’ve had in business?
Tony Gagliano, Sr. – Founder & Owner 01:43
Money. Financial situations. When you start out as an entrepreneur, the banks don’t believe you. I’ll go back, way back, when I had an interview with one of our biggest suppliers. I went to him and try to present the idea of putting what I had is what a host agency might be looking to be. He told me I was crazy, it would never work.
Joe Abels. He was the chief editor of the Florida Travel Agent Magazine, I believe it was at the time. And I guess the he and the magazine was the bibles of the industry, and when he told me it was not possible, and I look back and I’m saying to myself, ‘If the if the insurance industry is doing what I want to do, this will work as well.’ But he told me it was impossible.
When somebody tells me it’s impossible, then, then, you know, the challenge then comes to ‘How do I make it happen, and without money?’ Thanks to my wife and her her ability stand behind me, we went to the banks, and convinced them that I had a great idea. And for a period of time, they loaned us money. And fortunately we were able to pay it back. And from month-to-month we’ve moved forward and gained a position in the industry and started see competitors come into the industry. And then we started to up our game and put the competitors out of business.
Marietta Gagliano – Founder & Owner 03:44
You gotta be willing to work weekends. Saturday, Sunday, ’til late at night. And just keep chugging along. You have to do it and go, ‘You vacuum the offices, and you pick up the garbage.’ And you do all that stuff, too, and you don’t hire anyone yet until you you can hire people to do that kind of stuff.
Michelle Ferrand – Interviewer 04:07
What advice do you have to agents that are starting their own business?
Tony Gagliano, Sr. – Founder & Owner 04:17
Be steadfast. Have confidence in yourself. Be professional. Don’t quit. It’s, it’s easy to quit. It’s so easy to walk away. Walking away is the easiest thing to do. It’s like burying your head in sand. Just walking away, say ‘I give up.’
There’s many nights Marietta and I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Egg salad sandwiches. Many of times we said ‘Another week. Another week. Another week. We’ll make it.’ And on it went. So you know, those challenges were tough because I had to put it out personally, but, but my wife stood right by me because she owned part of that.
Tony Gagliano, Jr. – COO/Executive VP 05:25
As all of you know so very well, starting something new is not for the weak or the shy. You have to commit and go for it without fear or hesitation. Mom and Dad, thank you for taking that leap of faith and building something we can all be proud to serve.