One year on: How one man gained the freedom of being his own boss after redundancy
The pandemic has prompted a career change for many, with one Broxburn man’s newly-minted specialist travel business already taking off significantly, finds Emma Newlands.
David Wallace explains that after being laid off again, he is now a home-working travel consultant with Not Just Travel, helping to plan holidays for the deaf and hearing impaired.
“After being made redundant twice in six years, I knew I needed a total career change,” he said.
"I wanted something different from life – something that I was in control of. You can’t be made redundant when you’re your own boss.”
Mr Wallace is already racking up bookings after starting his travel firm just three weeks ago.
It comes after he in February spent £15,000 on buying a travel franchise. The purchase, through The Travel Franchise, gave him “everything” he needed to set up his own travel consultancy from home – training, booking systems, a website head office support, ABTA and ATOL protections, and a personal business mentor.
After completing his training, Mr Wallace has since been carrying out Facebook live sessions, with his wife doing sign language in the background.
He adds: “I had two holiday enquiries arrive in my inbox the moment I finished the Facebook live, it was great. My wife works with a deaf charity in Scotland and the plan is that my new travel business will help plan dream holidays for deaf people, to help this often-overlooked community.
"Hotel chains are not doing as much as they should be and I want to be a part of this drive for change. My first booking was from a friend. She was looking to take her family to Orlando. That first-ever booking feeling was incredible.”
Since then, Mr Wallace has helped organise a honeymoon and various trips in the UK and abroad, with social media helping the business extend its reach.
He believes that now “is the perfect time to be a travel consultant as people are desperate to get away”. The businessman has already booked his own holiday, travelling to Jamaica in July. He will also participate in familiarisation trips offered by holiday companies so he can experience resorts himself.
His time before starting the business includes having joined the army straight from school, then working as a driver for security company G4S, as well as delivering luxury cars and working in various management roles – “worlds apart from owning my own business or working in travel”.
A survey published earlier this year by accountancy software firm FreeAgent revealed that Scotland was home to the highest proportion in the UK of budding entrepreneurs as a result of Covid-19.
Just over a tenth of respondents said they hadn’t previously planned on starting a business, but the impact of the pandemic had them want to go freelance or launch their own venture.
Additionally, Small Business Prices, which provides information for owners of such firms, said it found that it costs £1,680 to set up a remote business, including everything from registering your business, buying a new laptop and a web domain, to invoicing software and business phone numbers.