How Meredith Hill brought the travel agency back to relevancy

I thought that once online travel booking became a thing that needing to hire a travel advisor or travel agent would just be a thing of the past, but it’s not.

Today’s guest discovered that not only are people still doing this but that they’re often independent contractors. And they were struggling with a problem. Well, today’s guest realized what that problem was, and she created a company that solved it.

Meredith Hill is the founder whose company we’re going to find out about today. The company is called Gifted Travel Network. They are a travel host agency created to support travel advisors and their brands. So why would travel advisors need someone like her? We’ll find out.

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Meredith Hill

Meredith Hill

Gifted Travel Network

Meredith Hill is the founder of Gifted Travel Network, a travel host agency created to support travel advisors and their brands.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses, and I do it for an audience of real entrepreneurs. I actually thought that once online travel booking became a thing that needing to hire . . . She’s smiling because she knows where I’m going with this. I thought that needing to hire a travel advisor, a travel agent, a travel anyone would just be a thing of the past, but it’s not.

Apparently, today’s guest has discovered not only that it’s not a thing of the past, there are people who are doing this. They’re often independent contractors who’ve decided that this is going to be basically there . . . Maybe a side hustle or their full-time entrepreneurial activity. But there’s a problem that they have when they go off to do this. And she realized what that problem is, and she created a company that solved it.

Meredith Hill is the founder whose company we’re going to find out about today. The company is called Gifted Travel Network. What they do is they are a travel host agency created to support travel advisors and their brands. So why would travel advisors need someone like her? We’ll find out. I didn’t know that either. We’ll find out why and how her business works, where the revenue is coming from and where she’s taking it in the future, thanks to two phenomenal sponsors. The first, if you’re looking to hire developers, really, by now you got to know, Toptal is a place to get the best of the best developers. And second, if you want to do email marketing right, keep it simple, get all the features you need, and make them all work properly by using ActiveCampaign. I’ll tell you about those later. Meredith, good to have you here.

Meredith: Thank you so much. Great to be here. Very excited.

Andrew: Meredith, what does it mean that there’s a travel host company? You started to tell me a little bit about the history of the business, and I think that gave me an understanding of why someone would need a host agency.

Meredith: Yeah. If we were to rewind 30 years, you would find a travel agency, a brick and mortar agency on a lot of main streets throughout the United States. And the model back then as a travel agency owner was to open a brick and mortar, employ about 5 to 10 desk agents. And their marketing was a really good location and a good placement in the Yellow Pages. That’s all they really had to do to market their business because guess what? Back then you needed to actually pick up the phone and call a travel agent to book travel unless you wanted to call the airline directly. But then you’d have to call every single airline because you had no idea what the schedules were, what the flight schedules were and the prices.

So things have changed tremendously. Two major things caused this changes. Number one, the emergence of the worldwide web and thus, online booking engines. And also at the very same time, the airlines decided to eliminate commissions. And there were tons and tons of travel agencies that were more than 50% dependent on airline commissions for their sources of revenue. So there’s a lot of airlines that went out of . . . I mean, agencies that went out of business. And the desk agents that they employed found themselves on their couch in front of a TV at home getting phone calls from their past clients saying, “Hey, I want to book my next year’s trip in my spring break.” And ultimately, what happened is these at-home agents without a job emerged, but the only way they could get paid commission was to find an agency that would let them use their credentials. That was the connection with the supplier so the suppliers . . .

Andrew: Why?

Meredith: . . . recognize them as an agency or an agent.

Andrew: Why? What would happen if they didn’t have any of this agency?

Meredith: The supplier would not pay commission to just anybody. The supplier . . .

Andrew: Meaning a hotel wouldn’t give somebody on their couch a commission for booking somebody there because then it might as well be me booking my wife’s hotel room for a trip and asking for a cut of the cost.

Meredith: Exactly.

Andrew: Got it. So they needed some host agency and that’s what you discovered and you said, “All right. I’ll be that host agency, and they could work as contractors for me.” Got it. What I’m still trying to understand, though, is . . .

Meredith: To be fair, I didn’t discover it because there are thousands and thousands of host agencies. I’m a little bit, quite honestly, late to the game. But entering a super competitive market, late to the game, you have to have something. So we have something unique relative to the other hosts, but we can talk about that later.

Andrew: What’s the unique thing that you have?

Meredith: We teach them how to run a business selling travel. Most of the other hosts train them on selling travel, train them on the different suppliers that they will be selling and booking, but they don’t train them on how to actually run a business, build a business, client attraction, branding. They don’t teach them how to do any of that. And most of these people, they have a passion for travel, they have an entrepreneurial spirit, they want to start a business, maybe they hate their 9:00 to 5:00. And they go and do that, but they’ve been an employee and they have no idea how to run a business and they get stuck very quickly in a very time-consuming expensive hobby, not a business.

Andrew: But Meredith, what I’m still trying to understand, though, is why does anybody even need a travel agent? Can’t they just go online to any number of websites, find what they’re looking for?

Meredith: I love that question. So, when this all happened when the emergence of the online booking engines came about and the airlines reduced commissions, that really was the death of the travel agent because at the time a travel agent was a booker, but you don’t need a booker now. You have the online booking engines. And actually, I believe they serve an unbelievably good purpose. I think you can get a lot of value. If you use the booking engines, you can get a lot of deals. So, if that’s what you’re looking for is cheap, last-minute deals, or last-minute flights, the booking engines are great. But if you’re looking for wisdom, expertise, connections, people who can pull strings for you, and you’re looking to invest 7, 8, 10, $20,000 in a family vacation with a lot of moving parts and maybe even a lot of people, you definitely need a trusted advisor.

Andrew: Seven to $20,000. That’s what people are spending on a family vacation.

Meredith: Oh, yes. Yes.

Andrew: Got it.

Meredith: For sure.

Andrew: And so the advice that they need at that point is, “Where do I go? How do I find the right house, the right stuff for the kids to do?” that kind of thing.

Meredith: Exactly.

Andrew: It’s harder to do on your own.

Meredith: Even something as simple as a cruise. If you’re putting over four people, that’s a family, on a cruise together, you need to know, “What is the best cruise line for us? We have kids aged 4 to 18. What itinerary do we want? What kind of cabin do we want to book? What kind of amenities can we get that we wouldn’t be able to get if we just went straight to the cruise line?” I mean, just something as simple as a family cruise. A family travel advisor is going to be tremendous value add.

Andrew: And they don’t have to . . . The client doesn’t have to pay the advisor. It’s the same price as the client would pay anyway to book the cruise or the rest of the trips, but the advisor gets a commission, got it, from the cruise company. Am I right? Got it.

Meredith: You are correct. However, I will say that we recommend our advisor’s charge fees.

Andrew: Really?

Meredith: Yes.

Andrew: Because?

Meredith: Because they’re doing a lot of research, they’re doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work. And they’re using their connections. And especially with our host agency we’re a member of a consortia. And what that means is this consortia has gone to all the different suppliers and negotiated on our behalf and our agents that have all kinds of special amenities. So, if you book with our advisors, you’ll get an upgrade upon arrival, $100 resort credit, maybe even a spa credit, breakfast for two daily. Those kind of things.

Andrew: Got it. So the advisors are both doing more work and they’re giving me more than I would get if I was on my own so they should charge. Got it. Let’s talk about your revenue. How much are you bringing in annually?

Meredith: So great question. We are going to be ending the year at about $30 million in sales, that’s travel booked through our credentials amongst our 311 travel advisors and our network. And . . .

Andrew: And the travel advisors pay you or give you a commission to be able to use you as a . . . What is it called? Let me see if I get the word here.

Meredith: It’s really called IATA number.

Andrew: As a host agency. Got it.

Meredith: Yeah. Their credential that they use with the suppliers. Let’s say someone’s going to book an all-inclusive vacation at a Sandals Resort in Jamaica. The only way Sandals is going to pay commission on that is if it comes through, the booking comes through associated with an IATA number. And so Sandals will then pay us the host agency and then we will look at that booking and say, “Oh, this belongs to so and so.”

Andrew: And give it to them.

Meredith: And give it to them and then we do share.

Andrew: What are your portion of that? How much do you get for this?

Meredith: So we have an option. We have multiple options. So they can choose the 70% . . .

Andrew: I mean, overall annual.

Meredith: Oh, overall.

Andrew: If it’s 30 booked, how much is yours?

Meredith: Well, right now our revenues are running about 1 million for the year, but that’s also delayed because you don’t get paid a commission until travel has happened, travel is completed. So you might be booking something now for 8 months from now, 10 months from now, 12 months from now, sometimes even 14 months from now. We don’t get paid commission . . . So there’s a bit of a lag in our revenue. So, as we grow the agency, our revenue probably will outpace the sales growth.

Andrew: Let me get to know you and how you got here. You are someone who was . . . You were in finance. What did you do in finance?

Meredith: Yes. I was an analyst, a bond analyst on Wall Street. I once worked for Merrill Lynch, and then I moved to Bank of America and covered a sector called asset-backed securities. So, yeah, very [inaudible 00:10:28].

Andrew: What type of asset-backed securities did you analyze? We’re talking about like mortgage-backed securities? That type of thing.

Meredith: That was my sister sector because of asset-backed. I analyzed anything but a mortgage. So anything secure ties . . .

Andrew: Like car loans.

Meredith: Auto loans, home improvement loans.

Andrew: Basically, the way it works is that . . .

Meredith: Mobile home loans.

Andrew: Yeah, right. So somebody will get, let’s say, a car loan and then a whole bunch of other people will get car loans. The person who gave them or the company that gave them a car loan will take all that debt and say, “Okay. I’ll collect it, but you don’t owe it to me anymore. It’s actually to Wall Street.” And what your job was, was to look at that and say, “Are all these auto loans actually going to get paid off or is that somebody just pushing it and will never going to get . . . ” And what’s the likelihood. Got it. Oh, so that’s your thing. That’s actually a pretty impressive job. And then you went on maternity leave. And while you were on maternity leave, you had this realization. What was your realization?

Meredith: I didn’t want to go back to work.

Andrew: Because?

Meredith: I was dreading going back to work because I was dreading having zero interest and passion in what I did. I was really good and that’s one of the reasons why I was able to get to where I got to pretty quickly. And so I was really good at it, it paid incredibly well. It was stimulating intellectually, for sure. It was very cool being surrounded by lots of very intellectually stimulating people as well. But I just I was so bored by my subject matter. It was just so boring to me. And . . .

Andrew: Because you would do what? How would you even analyze whether debt was going to get paid?

Meredith: And it wasn’t even that I was analyzing. So my job was really, as an analyst for the investors who were considering investing in those bonds, but giving them almost an independent advice as to, “This is a good bond to buy. It has good value versus another one.” But most of the bonds that we were selling in the asset-backed securities market are triple-A, so there’s not a lot of risk there. It doesn’t even matter if the loans that get paid because the way that the triple-A got to be triple-A was that there was so much other supporting it that they’d be the first to be paid out. So there was not a whole lot of challenge to the analysis.

Andrew: Got it. Okay. And so you said, “You know what? I’m not going to go back to that.” And instead, you decided to basically become an intern. What did you do?

Meredith: So I decided . . . Yes. I did go back after my maternity leave ended. And what I realized is that I liked working. I really enjoyed having a career, but I just wanted to do something that I was passionate about. And I’m divorced now, but my husband at the time is from Zimbabwe and I knew a lot about travel to Africa and travel was my passion, so I just made this decision that I’m going to start a business. Hills of Africa Travel is the name. And it’s still in business, by the way. If anyone is interested in traveling to Africa, go ahead and check them out, hillsofafrica.com.

So what I did is, in order to get the right kind of education and training on how to sell travel, there was a travel agency in the mall where I worked. So I worked in this big, massive corporate building and in the ground level every single day people would go by the travel agency on their way to find lunch in the mall. And I went in there and said, “Hey, I really want to start a business selling travel. Can I have a desk here, and can I learn from the people in the office?” And she struck me a very not so good deal on my part, but she said yes. And that’s how I got into the travel industry.

Andrew: You just sat there, listened in.

Meredith: Yes.

Andrew: Did you do any work?

Meredith: Yeah. I mean, I had some clients. I hit the ground running. I went to all the traders at the bank that I was working at and they were walking by me every day when they were going to lunch and I just said, “Hey, if you want to book travel, I’m right here.”

Andrew: And they started becoming your first clients and you were doing this.

Meredith: Yes.

Andrew: And then . . .

Meredith: But at least I had someone, two people in the office sitting next to me when I got a request for something to kind of guide me through it and show me the ropes.

Andrew: So this was the year 2000 when you create Hills of Africa Travel.

Meredith: Correct.

Andrew: And then the following year was 9/11, September 11, planes hit buildings in America, people decided that they weren’t going to travel, they were afraid to even get on airplanes for work.

Meredith: Exactly.

Andrew: How did it impact your business?

Meredith: Terribly. It really was . . . And I wasn’t the only one. Everyone in the travel industry that was in the industry back then will tell you as an advisor, it was one of the worst 18 months. We just crept and crept and crept. It was . . . Sure, people travelled but people didn’t want to get on a plane. So you were really booking things that were within driving distance for the most part.

Andrew: Got it. And you actually were booking things like that?

Meredith: Yeah. I know. It was not very exciting. And there’s not a lot of money in it at all.

Andrew: I saw your face when I said it. How long did you go along without making much money?

Meredith: Between September 11th and having zero tools for growing a travel business as an entrepreneur, I actually crept along for five or six years without making any money and losing money. It was a big expensive hobby for me.

Andrew: Wow. How was it on your family? How did your husband at the time take it?

Meredith: Yeah. I mean, he wanted me to give it up. So, at about year five he had a little bit of a come to Jesus moment with me, like, “It’s been five years. This is either going to start making money or it’s time to quit.” And I did. I thought about quitting. And really what kept me from quitting was, I didn’t want to . . . I had two kids at the time. I now have three. But at the time, I was like, I want my kids to know that they can follow their passion and actually be successful at it. So it made me very, very determined to figure this out.

And I had taken my analyst hat off when I left the bank, and I shouldn’t have. So I decided to put it back on and look at my business through the eyes of my former analyst self. And what I realized is there’s definitely a demand for what I . . . By this time it had recovered, right? We’re talking about 2006 probably now. So the demand . . . And I knew that flights from U.S. to South Africa were growing substantially, so there was definitely a demand because people were traveling to Africa and it was only growing. And I had a great line of expertise. All I had to figure out was how to get in front of the right people.

And so I spent the next three or four years just diving deep into marketing for the solo entrepreneur. And that’s really what led me to starting my first new business which is the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs. And what I realized is there’s very, very few advisors out there getting any kind of business and success mindset education for selling travel.

Andrew: Meredith, let me ask you this. This is not coming from a bad place. It’s coming from a place curiosity. But if you weren’t making money with this, how did you suddenly become an advisor to other entrepreneurs, helping them make money with their businesses?

Meredith: Well, in the course of those three or four years when I threw myself into the whole marketing and client attraction education, I did, I turned it around.

Andrew: You did.

Meredith: Yeah. We turned the business around substantially. We went from booking the budget weekend getaway to Myrtle Beach to booking millionaires and billionaires on . . .

Andrew: What was the thing that . . . You know what? Let me hold that. We’re going to come back and find out what you did to turn around and getting the bigger clients. I’m going to talk about my first sponsor. It’s a company called ActiveCampaign. Guys, if you’re listening to us, before we got started, Meredith and I were both talking about email marketing companies and we were both . . . I won’t mention who we were talking about. Talking about the frustrations of being with the wrong email marketing software. It’s very easy to look at the people you admire who are online who are doing great with their email marketing, with their online marketing automation in general and say, “You know what? That’s a tool they’re using. I’m going to use it too.”

I will absolutely recommend that before you copy what someone else is using, talk to them for a minute. What you’ll find is that a lot of marketers are using software they absolutely hate, but for one reason or another, they are locked into it either because they’ve got a long-term contract or because it’s really tough with their complicated marketing automation to switch. But they hate it. And if you ask them for a moment, they will tell you openly the frustration. We can’t be open about all the companies we work with because frankly, in some cases, we’re really super connected to them and it could damage our business. We’re even sometimes even asking them for favors. And once you start talking negatively about a company, you can’t ask them for favors that will help you smooth out the problems with their software.

Anyway, all that is to say, pick the wrong email marketing software, you’re in such pain and the pain doesn’t get any better, it just gets worse and worse as your company grows dependent on them. If you’re getting started right now or if you’re in the early days, we’re talking about less than 30,000, fewer than 50,000 people on your email list, it is still possible to change, it is still recommended that you pick the right email marketing software, and I highly recommend you go with ActiveCampaign.

This is not just me talking, but I’ve interviewed people here who create software that plugs into email marketing software. I’ve interviewed people whose whole agencies do nothing but manage marketing automation software and they keep recommending ActiveCampaign because of this.

ActiveCampaign has all the features you want, like you would tag people based on what they’ve done, you could move them into sequences of messages that you’ve pre-written easily based on what they’re doing on your site or what they’ve done in your email, what they bought from you. You get to do all of that and keep it super simple. They don’t have like tons of forms that they forced you to use on your site. They don’t have their own payment processing thing that they want you to use or else you can’t use something else like Stripe. And believe me, many of their competitors won’t let you work with Stripe unless you go through backflips to make it work.

ActiveCampaign just said, “You know what? We’re going to focus on marketing automation, email and more like SMS, etc. and we’re going to make it super easy for people to actually use it so even the boss can use it, even the virtual assistant can use it and they don’t have to hire tons of consultants to undo what the software does.” I promise you, this is going to be one of the best . . . You can move hosting companies for your website easily, fairly easily. Email is way tougher. Pick the right company. If you don’t love your company, don’t let it get worse. Switch over.

If you go to activecampaign.com/mixergy they will even migrate you for free. They will let you try their software for free. If you decide to sign up with them, they will give your second month for free. If you work with them, they will give you two free consultations with their experts who will make sure you’re using all the features that you want to actually grow your sales. I promise you, if you’re with them, you’re going to be happy with them, but don’t take my word for it. Just file this way in the back of your head. Ask people. If you don’t sign up for them now, go ask people who are in this space. Ask them what they would use. And I’m telling you ActiveCampaign comes up at the top all the time. Unless you’re enterprise or brand new and you’re never going to make money with your site. Forget it. ActiveCampaign is the one that’s going to keep coming up. activecampaign.com/mixergy.

Meredith, I’m like on a whole like, almost religious fight with this. This is the . . . This is one of the decisions that an entrepreneur has to make right from the start.

Meredith: I totally agree.

Andrew: Yeah. I’ve had people actually bad mouth their email marketing software in the past and I didn’t understand why. And why would they bring it up in interview? Now I understand. Okay. Let’s talk about what you did to turn around. So you recognized . . . What was the problem? And then what was the solution that turned your business around?

Meredith: The problem was I didn’t know how to market or attract clients. And so I really figured it out, and it comes down to first having a really good core compelling message which then you turn into a proper brand visually. And then having list building systems and relationship building systems in place that all work as one giant machine funnel, basically, sales for all.

Andrew: Meaning, you started to become an email mark . . . or a digital marketer.

Meredith: Yeah.

Andrew: You did.

Meredith: Really I had to do. Yeah.

Andrew: So I’m looking at your hillsofafrica.com website. It looks like it’s on a blog. It looks like . . . It’s got everything that you would expect a business at the time that you launched it would have. What am I missing from here that looking at global in . . . I guess it’s travelbusinessu.com?

Meredith: travelbusinessu.com.

Andrew: Okay. So Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs. What did you do differently with that? Is that . . . What did you . . . Well, no. This is actually . . . This is not where you were starting to change your advisor business and getting millionaire clients. Where did you actually . . . ?

Meredith: So what happened is when I was still building and growing Hills of Africa and we really were seeing it turn around and we were attracting millionaires, billionaire clients mostly by referral. It wasn’t like an SEO thing at all. That’s not where they’re looking. It was mostly through relationships. But as I was doing that, I started to sell our services not only direct to the consumer, but also to the travel agent community. And so I was out there educating the travel agent community on Africa and our services, Hills of Africa, and they were way more curious about how I built my business and how I attracted millionaires and billionaires. And what I realized . . .

Andrew: But how did you start attracting millionaires and billionaires? Before we get into how you taught other people how to do what you did, how did you do it?

Meredith: It was a combination of putting in the right marketing systems which begins with the right message and brand, knowing where to build your list and where to be to build it, knowing what systems to put in place to stay in touch with that list, and really working over [inaudible 00:24:57]. But also we opened up the door to a whole new world when we decided to go, what’s called wholesale by going to the travel agent community, so now we got access to the travel agents’ clients, not just our own direct potential clients. And that is really what worked. It worked tremendously well.

Andrew: You’re saying Hills of Africa, instead of looking for people to come to your website and sign up for travel for themselves, you started educating other agents about what you were doing, other advisors, and they then became your customers and they were booking through you.

Meredith: Yeah. A combination of both. We would get travelers coming direct to us mostly through referrals of people that we’d already thought before. Especially when you start working with the affluent market, the referral businesses very, very key when you want to be going into true luxury.

Andrew: Got it. And then what did you do to actually . . .

Meredith: True luxury [inaudible 00:25:54] more in travel book.

Andrew: And what did you do to get clients directly to you?

Meredith: That started with my own referral network of the trading floor, and then their friends, and their friends.

Andrew: So you started actively . . . So before you did go after the trading floor right from the beginning. The change was going after their friends and . . .

Meredith: Yep.

Andrew: Okay. And then how . . .

Meredith: Well, and also just redefining the brand and having the systems in place to stay in touch with even the past clients. We . . .

Andrew: What was the system that you used to keep in touch with past clients of Hills of Africa?

Meredith: You’re not going to believe this. It’s going to sound very old school, but that good old fashioned weekly newsletter, email newsletter. It’s unbelievably effective, and in fact, I still teach that as one of the most effective marketing systems you can put in place to build, know, like and trust amongst your prospects and past clients.

Andrew: Got it. You know what? I’m looking on your site right now. I do see that Hills of Africa newsletter. I get it. As someone who’s now I’m looking into going to Africa to run my marathon, my goal is seven marathons on seven continents in one year. And so I . . .

Meredith: Which one . . .

Andrew: Sorry?

Meredith: Which one are you running?

Andrew: I do self-guided marathons because I don’t want to work myself into other people’s schedules. And I think I’m either going to do it in Kenya or I’m going to do it in South Africa. Almost definitely going to South Africa because as I do all this, my goal is to do interviews in person with entrepreneurs all over the world. And so that’s the big goal and so I’ve been looking at it. And it is a type of thing that I’ve been wanting to do since January, but I just keep looking at different things about it, keep considering different places. I wonder if my wife is coming with me. And if she is, what does she want to do? She wants to go on safari. I don’t care about safaris. I care more about like going and talking to people. But I get it. And so I get why somebody would go and subscribe to your newsletter because they’re not necessarily ready right now.

Meredith: Right.

Andrew: They’re thinking about it. I saw that you were also pretty active on YouTube for a while there. That, I imagine, helped people get to know what you were doing.

Meredith: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay. So you started turning the business around. And you also decided, “I’m going after richer, wealthier clients who are spending more.” You and Brian Benson, our producer, talked about that. Tell me why. Why is that such a big decision?

Meredith: Because one year we were looking at our numbers at the end of the year and we saw that we had done a lot of transactions and we were really busy, but the transaction size was pretty small. And in the travel agent and travel advisor business, most of your revenue is coming from commission. So we were like, “Well, we need to increase our transaction sizes, the average transaction size. Let’s go after the uber wealthy. They’re going to Africa, anybody.”

So, through shifting your mindset too, we started to believe that we were worthy of this, we were capable of this kind of service. Just because we were booking honeymoons that were $20,000 didn’t mean we weren’t capable of booking $100,000 for six of a millionaire or a billionaire.

So that’s what we did. We started with shifting the mindset. We started with shifting the goals and followed our instincts and followed . . . Whenever we had an inspired idea of what to do marketing-wise, we definitely put . . . We definitely put like really good marketing systems in place. That was super important. One of which is just simply a newsletter. But we put other marketing systems in place where we were exhibiting every single quarter at certain shows and building the list that way and other networking type of things to make sure that you’re consistently adding to the list, and then you have to make sure that you’re consistently building that relationship with that list that you’re building.

Andrew: So then travel agents started to ask you, “How did you do this? How are you turning things around?”

Meredith: “How did you grow this business?” Yes.

Andrew: “How you building your business?” And then what was your next step based on that?

Meredith: I just knew that there . . . I’m an entrepreneur at heart and I just saw a massive opportunity, a massive demand. And for someone to step into the space of business education for the travel advisor, especially the work from home travel advisor. So I started the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs. The acronym is GIFT. Website is travelbusinessu. It’s what I like to call mostly now like the Netflix of travel business education. So, once you become a member, you get access to a lot of different benefits of which are all recorded and you can go in and look at any kind of subject and just search different things and you’ll find a webinar or a how-to video or some kind of a Q&A session on that topic. And that is what we do at GIFT.

Andrew: Did it start off as a coaching program?

Meredith: Yeah.

Andrew: It did.

Meredith: Correct.

Andrew: It was you one on one getting paid by the hour to help somebody?

Meredith: Yes. I offered like a home study system. Remember the days of those? That’s really how it started is I created a home study system.

Andrew: Okay.

Meredith: And that was when I was still with Hills of Africa and I was like, “Well, let’s just see. Let’s just test the market. I’ll create this home study system.” It came with the CDs and the binder back in the day. And the worksheets. And it took off like wildfire. And that’s when I decided I really need to start a whole separate company here. And I did and I led with the home study system, called it something else. But then I came up with different program options. So, from the bottom, it’s the basic membership to the home study system, and then coaching programs upwards from there. So I’ve been coaching travel advisors for about 10, 11 years now.

Andrew: Okay. And I’m looking at one of the first versions of the site from 2011.

Meredith: Oh, dear.

Andrew: The reason for people to sign up to your email newsletter was to get a free gift which is three insider secrets to collecting bigger commission checks. And there’s an image of a CD cover to illustrate “This is an audio product that you’re going to get right now. Enter your email address and you’ll get it.” How did you . . . ?

Meredith: Things change quickly.

Andrew: How did you get people to come in to sign up for this?

Meredith: That was pretty easy. Believe it or not, I found a provider who had a list of travel agents and he just . . . That’s all he did was send emails and you just had to pay for it.

Andrew: Wow.

Meredith: That is really where it began. I started purchasing his email distributions for which I would advertise a free webinar for something just like that and that free offer that you saw. And on the free webinar, I would then offer a product or a coaching program, and that’s how it all began.

Andrew: And then you realized, “You know what? The revenue, the business opportunity here, a lot of things are just capped.”

Meredith: You know what?

Andrew: “I need to find something else”?

Meredith: Not necessarily because we’re still very committed to GIFT. It’s a business that’s succeeding very, very . . .

Andrew: How much revenue is coming from that?

Meredith: We’re doing about $500,000 a year in revenue.

Andrew: Okay. And people paying to learn and get mentorship and all the stuff that . . .

Meredith: Yep. We have coaching programs that are $10,000 a year and our basic membership is $200 a year and we have about 1,000 members in the membership, but then we have this product “The Make Money Selling Travel Blueprint,” which is an online module system. And then we have a group coaching program, we have . . .

Andrew: And this is separate from what? From the other business.

Meredith: This is all separate.

Andrew: Its own business. Got it. All right. And so that I imagine is profitable. Am I right?

Meredith: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Very profitable. And I see . . . I actually see lots of opportunity for it to grow. I don’t think it’s capped.

Andrew: Okay. But you did decide, “I’ve got to go to something else.” And you saw a problem with host agencies. How did you discover that problem?

Meredith: So what happened is as people were getting success from the advice they were getting at GIFT, they were trying to implement them and their host agency wouldn’t let them do a lot of other things, include . . .

Andrew: Like what?

Meredith: Establishing their own brand. A lot of host agencies and even especially the franchises didn’t want them marketing a different brand. They wanted them to market the brand of the host.

Andrew: Even if they were basically working for themselves from home, they still wanted . . . Got it. Really?

Meredith: Yeah.

Andrew: The analogy you gave me earlier before we started, you said, this is a lot like real estate where you know your real estate broker, but they may be promoting Keller Williams or some other company. And the reason they’re doing that is because they’re getting permission through that to be a real estate broker. Got it. And they can’t start saying, “This is Bob’s,” whatever real estate company. They’re Keller Williams. I don’t mean to single out Keller Williams. I don’t know anything about how his business works, but I do know that I keep seeing brands like that all the time. Okay. And so they said, “I can’t do what you’re selling me because of this,” and you said, “I think I’ve got an opportunity here.”

Meredith: Yeah, we decided . . . And the other . . . There are a couple of reasons why we decided to start the host. So a host . . . So one of the reasons was that we had time after time after time advisor coming to me, “Who do you recommend as a host that actually supports the philosophies you’re teaching?” And we didn’t have a good answer at all.

One other reason was, here, we are coaching them on how to be a successful advisor, but we’re not in the game anymore. So we’re losing our sense of relevancy. You know what I mean? So how do I continue to be a good coach if I don’t even know what’s working now? It’s been a while since I’ve been a travel advisor. So we wanted to get back into the game, so to say. Here we are on the sidelines as the coach. Starting the host agency is a way for us to get back on the field and be part of the team.

And last but not least, the suppliers. GIFT has only always been funded by the memberships and the coaching program, so the advisors themselves are generating the revenue for GIFT, not suppliers, but the suppliers are the ones who have all the money, quite frankly, in the industry. So we would go to the supplier for a workshop and say, “Sponsor our workshop so we can hold this workshop and give them great content.” And the supplier would be like, “But who are you? Who is GIFT? We don’t know that what you’re teaching is successful.” There is no way to track our success.

Andrew: Okay.

Meredith: So that’s a huge reason why we started the host agency is because now we can take these philosophies, we’re on the field with them, and make sure that they are following through on these philosophies and then track that success in real sales.

Andrew: What’s involved in being host agency?

Meredith: Oh, that’s a loaded question.

Andrew: Really? I just assumed I pay somebody . . .

Meredith: I know.

Andrew: . . . and I get a certificate and I’m done. No?

Meredith: No. So, yes, we have to file all the right things. We have . . . Every single . . . A lot of different states have seller of travel laws and you have to go through all the right paperwork for that. But beyond that, that’s just a small piece of it. I would say best parts of being a host agency, running host agency is developing the relationships with the suppliers so that your advisors have their . . . Someone has their back.

Andrew: It’s not about that getting that certificate that you mentioned earlier? No?

Meredith: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: You do need a certificate. What else do . . .

Meredith: You do.

Andrew: How much does the certificate cost?

Meredith: It doesn’t . . . Well, you have to put up a bond. It’s not terribly expensive. It’s just hard to get. You need at least five years’ experience in the travel industry. So, if you’re brand new, you have no luck, but you’re . . . I don’t know where you go. I guess you have to go and become an employee of a travel agency which is a very rare thing these days. So you need to demonstrate five years’ experience selling travel and that you have been collecting commissions for that long.

Andrew: And you were able to do all that because of Hills of Africa.

Meredith: Yes.

Andrew: Okay. And then in addition to that, you need to do what with local laws?

Meredith: Seller travel laws. It’s very boring. But you do have to file and get . . . Certain states require that you have a license for a seller travel.

Andrew: Got it. And so you have to go do all that, and then you also have to have relationships with a lot of the big travel companies. Oh, I see your eyes actually do something as I’m bringing this up. This is not an easy process. I thought it would just if you have enough money, you can do it. No. So you did all of that. It took you how much money, how much time would you estimate?

Meredith: You know, it’s interesting that you ask. We did get a loan. We actually got $100,000 loan to start . . .

Andrew: From?

Meredith: . . . the host agency. From a bank. It was ultimately a personal loan, I suppose.

Andrew: Okay.

Meredith: Or I co-signed it.

Andrew: Okay.

Meredith: And I’d say that’s about what . . . The thing is, it’s hard to say because we built it a lot on the revenue or income, quite frankly, from GIFT instead of paying ourselves more or paying ourselves some kind of increase in salary or even bonuses at the end of the year, we put a lot of that into building the host agency and growing the host agency for funding it, funding both of it.

But, yeah. So going back to the suppliers as a host agency, here we are entering like a crazy competitive market with zero sales. And what do we have to say, “Hey, advisors, come host with us. I know you really liked your existing host agency, but we’ll support you too.” And we didn’t even have competitive commissions. So not only is there a commission split that you have to think about as an advisor, what host agency is going to give me a higher commission split, there’s all the different suppliers will give different commissions. So, for example, cruise lines, those, everyone starts at 10%. But if you’re their top seller, you can get up to 17, 18% [inaudible 00:40:43].

Andrew: And you didn’t get any of that.

Meredith: We weren’t getting any of that because we had zero.

Andrew: Got it.

Meredith: So that was a huge part of our work. The first year and a half was just hitting the ground, pounding the pavement, pounding doors and saying, “Please, please, please trust. Please give us more, a higher percentage commission even though we have zero sales. Just trust us.”

Andrew: Okay.

Meredith: That was not an easy sell.

Andrew: And so this is what you are doing for a while to get . . . And then how did you get the . . . How did you get the advisors?

Meredith: So, through GIFT. We put it out to the GIFT network or membership and we had a lot of people that just loved us and trusted us and signed up right away. So I would say the first 30 came from . . . We’re at about 311 to be exact today and that’s over the course of five years. And yeah, the first 30 or so which signed up over the course of probably eight months came from our following at GIFT. And then we found Host Agency Reviews, which is a website. And the woman who runs it has figured out how to get all the organic searches on become a travel agent. That’s really what they looked at because that’s probably the most common keyword phrase

Andrew: Because she is so . . . Let’s talk about her in a moment and I’ll come back and continue with the story. I’m looking her up on Ahrefs, our research partner, to get a sense of how she’s doing it. But I’ll talk about them in a moment. First, I’ve got to tell everybody about a company called Toptal. Meredith, whenever you’re ready to start hiring developers, I mean, the best of the best developers, not the cheapest, not the ones you’re going to brag to everybody about how you got some guy in some country you never even heard of for $2 an hour to build some . . . No. The best of the best like Google level, the people who are going to solve problems that you didn’t even realize could be solved using software. That’s when you want to go to Toptal.

When you go to toptal.com/mixergy, they’ll give you 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours in addition to a no-risk trial period. These guys really are phenomenal. Nobody is doing this type of . . . this model where you go to them you say, “Here’s what I’m looking for,” and they’ll find you somebody who’s done it before. All right. So it’s top as in top of your head, tal as in talent, toptal.com/mixergy to get that offer.

So, for a while there, it was just you going back to your network. And how did you get so many people in your network? How did you get so many people who actually knew about you before at GIFT, at travelbusinessu.com?

Meredith: Well, that was easy. I mean, building that list was, like, easy because . . .

Andrew: Through webinars. Were you doing paid advertising?

Meredith: Through the webinars. Yeah. Well, not paid advertising, purchasing lists. I mean, it was as simple as that. I just purchased email distributions from the different companies that have really good lists of travel agents. And I was building my list that way. I built the list, probably. In the first year of travelbusinessu or GIFT, I think I built my list from zero to about 5,000. And we’re now at, I don’t know, 25,000, 30,000. So that’s . . . And doing the webinars and just being on a consistent system of giving out really good free content. That’s how I developed that following.

Andrew: Okay. And then you discovered Host Agency Reviews.

Meredith: Reviews.

Andrew: You know what? I was looking you up on Ahrefs. This is a site that I use to understand what people are doing for search engine traffic, what they’re doing for referrals. And I saw that there are a couple of big sites that are linking to you. The first is miaonthego.com. Do you know that site? It’s just a WordPress site? No.

Meredith: I don’t. It could be one of our advisors.

Andrew: Okay. And then the other one is hostagencyreviews.com and they’re just really credible and they’re sending you a bunch of people. You discovered that by being listed on that directory of host agencies helped get you credibility, and then you became a sponsor, which means that you show up higher in the results above . . .

Meredith: Exactly.

Andrew: . . . organic. Got it. Okay.

Meredith: And it is literally a pipeline. I mean, we get inquiries daily, multiple inquiries daily from people coming straight from there.

Andrew: Yeah. I see like she’s going after . . . She’s got “host agency reviews” is a term that sending her, host agency, starting a travel agency from home, understanding airline fare types. She’s just gotten really good at being . . .

Meredith: Really good.

Andrew: . . . the person, the site that people go to when they’re looking for that and she’s gotten links based on that. Got it. And so buying ads on that more so even than social . . . Have you tried social media?

Meredith: Oh, yes. Yeah. We are diving deep these days into Facebook ads and kind of a similar strategy with the email distributions offering some kind of a free webinar. In fact, we have one coming up next week called Travel Agent Success Seminar.

Andrew: You teach people how to do this. I’m looking at, again, on Ahrefs I’m seeing what she’s doing since you told me before we got started that she’s really good at this at getting traffic. So one of . . . Her top blog posts as far as I can see on Ahrefs is “How Do Travel Agents Make Money?”

Meredith: Make Money.

Andrew: Yeah. And so that’s sending her a bunch of traffic. It’s a really valuable page. Another blog post is “How Much Do Travel Agents Make?”

Meredith: Yeah.

Andrew: And then another one “Starting a Travel Agency from Home.” So would you now since you’re getting into content marketing, are you saying, “Andrew just gave me these ideas. I’m going to go and create my own versions of those”?

Meredith: It’s funny. That is next week’s webinar that we’re offering, a free webinar and we’re putting out Facebook ads for that webinar which is . . .

Andrew: Based on that.

Meredith: . . . “How Travel Agents Make Money.”

Andrew: But would you consider making like a page on your site “How Do Travel Agents Make Money?” based on a webinar like a blog post that you can then . . .

Meredith: Absolutely.

Andrew: That’s the thing that you’re doing.

Meredith: Yeah.

Andrew: Do you want me to get you, like, this screenshot of the Ahrefs page about the different blog posts that’s working?

Meredith: Sure. Yes.

Andrew: Like here, I’ll read it to you right now “How Do Travel Agents Make Money?” “How Much Do Travel Agents Make?” Another one is “Starting a Travel Agents from Home.” I talked about that. “What is GDS?” I don’t know why, but GDS is being searched for a lot. And then finally, “Travel Agent Training Education.” That’s doing big for.

Meredith: Okay. Awesome.

Andrew: All right. But that’s your thing. You’re not in content marketing yet. You’re just in the directory and getting traffic and then you’re doing webinars to get people to come in.

Meredith: The truth of the matter is we have been wanting to get into content marketing for a very long time especially on the host agency side to drive leads to us. We have not . . . We just don’t have the bandwidth. This is working right now, and so this is phase one, using Host Agency Reviews. Phase two and three is not just content marketing, but also getting outside of the travel industry and marketing to entrepreneurial prospect.

Andrew: Right. Right. Like, she’s going after people who are explicitly looking for this, but many people don’t even know it exists.

Meredith: Exactly.

Andrew: They’re into travel, they want to make some kind of money on the side with this, it’s expensive to them.

Meredith: Exactly. They have an entrepreneurial spirit, they know they need 9:00 to 5:00, they don’t know what to do with themselves, they don’t even realize that they have a lot of the expertise already to become a travel agent. So, yes, we would love to start getting the word out to just the interested in entrepreneurial opportunities community.

Andrew: You know what I would want? I want . . . There are two things that I would like. Number one, like if I was in your shoes, I’d see all these different topics, my people are looking for them, they clearly do well. I want a writer who I can feel confident in who will just take a recording that I’ve done like this with you where I answer those questions, and I’m sure for you it might be, it’s in the webinar. I just need a writer to go through the webinar and transcript and turn that into the blog post. I need that.

And I’ve had people give me referrals to writers like that, but their stuff is just junkie SEO stuff. I don’t want that. I want stuff we could be proud of. And I’m sure you do too. Like, if you see “How Do Travel Agents Make Money?” is a question people are asking about, they’re searching for it, they’re going to pages like that, and then they’re coming to you. I’m sure you’ve answered it. You want to just take that little clip and say, “Hey, writer, turn it into something I could be proud of. I want that.” That’s number one.

And number two what I want is, I’m using like Ahrefs like a monkey, like, just going in like, “What if I click here? What if I . . . ” Like the thing that you just said makes perfect sense. You’re looking for someone who’s into travel and into entrepreneurship and they’re searching for something. How do you find the keywords? How do you find the topics? That’s the part that I’ve always been dismissive of and I’m not looking to be dismissive of it anymore. I just want to know, tell me, “Give me the tool. I’ve got the tool here. Just tell me how to use it so that I know what 10, 20 different blog posts I should be creating. I’m talking anyway, just tell me what it is.”

Meredith: Right. Exactly.

Andrew: You too, right?

Meredith: Yes, for sure. I agree wholeheartedly.

Andrew: Because you’re putting in the effort. I heard you and Brian, our producer, talked about how you do an in-person thing in Charlotte. What’s your in-person workshop called?

Meredith: It’s called The Book More Travel Workshop. It’s actually hosted by GIFT, so the education side of the company. But it is an awesome, awesome event. And it is open to anybody. You don’t have to be a travel advisor yet, you could just be considering doing that. It’s February 5th through the 8th at . . . We hold it at a beautiful resort in the Charlotte area called The Ballantyne Hotel. And what we do is we spend two days of content. It’s an immersion event, basically, where we teach them how to make money selling travel, how to build a business, how to attract the right kind of clients, how to set goals for yourself to focus on the right things and ignore the wrong things. But there’s a very, very . . .

Andrew: It’s like a conference.

Meredith: It’s a conference. Yeah.

Andrew: And then some number of people who are coming in to learn at this conference end up signing up under you.

Meredith: Yes. Correct.

Andrew: You mentioned the word “consortia” earlier that you’re part of it. I’ve heard you switch one. What do you mean?

Meredith: So a consortia is a middleman in the travel industry. The travel industry is massive. I don’t know if people even realize how big the travel industry is. I want to say it represents something like 3% of our GDP in the U.S. alone. So what happens with the consortia is they are the middleman between travel agencies, hosts like ourselves, but also good old-fashioned travel agencies, and the supplier network, all of the different suppliers. And what they do is they say, “If you become a member of the . . . ” To the supplier, “If you become a member,” and they have to pay a lot to become a member of the consortia, “we will drive sales to you because we will go tell the agencies to use you instead of your competitor.

Andrew: Okay.

Meredith: And the way that they drive the sales is the supplier has to offer benefits, value-add to the advisor that sells them or books them.

Andrew: And so you changed it and what was that like?

Meredith: Yeah. We just went with a much better consortia that’s a much better fit for what we’re . . . We’re trying to get our advisors to focus on luxury travel for the most part. We think that’s where the profitability is. And the consortia that we switched to is the absolute premier, luxury travel consortia, so that’s their focus, which is also our focus. So it’s just a much better match for us.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s another thing that I took away from Brian’s notes on your conversation with him, which is that it’s like there’s a barbell effect which is happening in every fricking industry, right? Clothing is either going super expensive or super cheap like H&M. Everything in between is getting damaged, right? Banana Republic, I guess, is kind of in between. They’re getting damaged. And you’re saying the same thing is happening for travel. Either people want this super cheap stuff, and it’s like get on Expedia, I guess, find your cheapest airline, maybe it’s a little bit more than that involved in when we’re talking about big travel, or they want the high-end, 7,000 to 20,000 even more dollars for a family trip. Got it.

Meredith: And where we’re seeing that growth is from two different places. We’re seeing it from the millennials, believe it or not, that’s kind of the biggest surprise within our industry, is the millennials don’t want to do it themselves.

Andrew: Really?

Meredith: They want someone to do it for them. And they far prefer to spend their money on an experience that they talk about, that’s going to bring them memories so that they can Instagram than an actual good. So the millennials, there’s a massive amount of growth and demand for luxury travel as well as the baby boomers. The baby boomers makes more sense because in . . . What was it? 2011, the oldest baby boomers entered retirement. They turned 65. So we are in this 20-year window of time right now where more and more boomers are entering the age of retirement and . . .

Andrew: They are all in retirement then. If the oldest is already made it in . . .

Meredith: [Twenty-eight 00:54:09] or . . . So 2011.

Andrew: No. Right. Oldest. We’re looking at the youngest still hasn’t made it. Got it. And so all these people have money to spend on travel and . . .

Meredith: And the baby boomers I think they control something like 70% of U.S. savings.

Andrew: Wow.

Meredith: So they have a lot of disposable income. They have the most disposable income. And what are they going to do with their money now that they’re retired and they don’t have kids at home anymore? They want to travel and they want to travel well? They might have done the whole backpacking through Europe when they graduated from college, but now they’re ready to do it right.

Andrew: I know. My dad doesn’t even like using Airbnb. I said, “Why not?” He said, “I was at a place you can’t flush the toilet paper. I don’t even want to risk that anymore.” All right. I get it.

Meredith: Yeah. So and the travel suppliers are . . . They are meeting the demand with such amazing innovations in what you can do.

Andrew: Like what? What can I do that I’m not aware of?

Meredith: Well, there’s a lot of . . . First of all, it’s just getting to certain places. Iceland is definitely developing, Patagonia, Antarctica. Oh my gosh, the around the world cruises. There are so many different options nowadays. And I just saw a cruise line called SeaDream Cruise Line where instead of the typical around the world cruise that goes east to west and west to east, they have now developed . . . And by the way, they call it yachting, not cruising because their ship is a yacht.

Andrew: Okay.

Meredith: It’s much smaller than a typical massive cruise ship. Instead of going east to west, they’re going north to south, pole to pole around the world.

Andrew: That’s really tough because you’re getting really cold . . . You’re getting dramatic weather changes.

Meredith: Oh, they’re stopping along the way.

Andrew: No, I get it, but you’re not just saying, “I’m going to travel and have the sun throughout and keep following the warm.” No. I wish I’d known that this existed. You should have seen how long it took me to find a way to get to Antarctica. My goal is to run a marathon on there. It was really . . . I think I finally nailed it. I’ve got to make sure the payment has gone to this company. I think I got it. And then this . . . And then my wife actually threw a monkey wrench in it.

I think I nailed a plan where I’m getting on a chartered plane to Antarctica. I’m getting dropped off there with a few adventurers. While they do their thing, I’m going to be sleeping in a tent, and then I get up whenever I want to and I go and run a marathon, 26.2 miles. I got the whole thing set up, including waiting in Chile for the weather to be clear enough for the airplane to take off and land in Antarctica and then waiting again for the airplane to let me come back to Chile. I’m spending money on hotel rooms that I may never use just in case I could come back early or come back . . . . Who knows? Come back later, I need a place, and then airplane tickets back to the U.S.

And my wife just sent them a message the other day. She said to the person who runs this whole thing, “I hate to miss my husband for Thanksgiving. Is there anything we could do to move him?” And I’m okay with moving, but like, “Lady, you’re really causing trouble with this.” You should have seen how much trouble it was to even put this together. And to their credit, the woman who runs the charter said, “Let me check and see if he’ll be allowed to run at different times because there are all these restrictions on Antarctica.” But by the end, I will have run a marathon on every continent, I’ll have interviewed entrepreneurs all over the world, Mixergy will be better for it, and I personally will be the better for it. And I don’t know if the rest of the world will feel the impact, but we’ll see.

Meredith: You could have just done a cruise to Antarctica.

Andrew: I tried. You can’t do it with last minute. And then also they can’t guarantee that they’ll let you off to go run. They could only let you off for a couple of hours. There are rules on whether you can even run on Antarctica. I said, “Okay.” I got desperate one time I said, “Can I just do on a treadmill on your boat?” Actually, no, I said, “A treadmill would be weird. Can I run around your boat in circles?” They said, “Do you know how icy it is on the boat? We’re going to get in trouble. No, you can’t. You literally cannot do that. We’re not allowing it.” Can’t do that.

All right. Meredith, so if anyone now decides, “I’m kind of into this. I like traveling. I think I could book people to pay me to go book travel for them.” I’m sure there’s software involved so that they don’t have to do it all themselves. Maybe they get off on the research involved in finding perfect travel. If they go and sign up with you, what’s the deal? Where do they go and then what happens to them if they decide to do this.

Meredith: We have the best new to the industry training program, it’s called The Travel MBA program. And I highly recommend if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you love, love travel, you have a passion for it and this is really interesting to you that you invest in the right training program because there is an enormous amount to learn when you first start. And that’s what our training program does it just kind of holds your hand through an entire 12 months of doing that with some mentor with all kinds of amazing content. So, if you’re interested in learning about our travel MBA program, just go to www.getyourtravelmba.com and that’s where you start.

Andrew: And if they decide that they want . . .

Meredith: Or you can go to the . . .

Andrew: If they decided they want to be an advisor, you have a plan where they either pay $500 a month and then they get to keep 100% commissions. I’m looking at your pricing sheet, there’s also an option where they don’t pay you a monthly fee, they just give you . . . Is it . . .

Meredith: Annual fees.

Andrew: . . . 70% for you or 30% for you?

Meredith: Yeah. They keep 70%, we . . .

Andrew: They keep 70% of the commissions that they earn . . .

Meredith: Correct.

Andrew: . . . and they kick back 30% to you in return for being able to sell travel. All right. All that stuff is available on the website you said or on giftedtravelnetwork.com.

Meredith: Correct.

Andrew: All right. I want to thank the two sponsors made this interview happen. The first . . . Who did we talk about here? We talked about email marketing done right. It’s called ActiveCampaign. Check them out at activecampaign.com/mixergy. And the second, if you’re hiring developers, you really owe it to yourself to go check out toptal.com/mixergy.

And look at this, my team put together the spreadsheet now with the little checklist. I love that they even have checkboxes and spreadsheet and said, “Andrew, make sure that you talk about /more.” Here is what /more is. If you’re curious about how we sell advertising over here, we’ve got this course by Sachit where he walks you through how he sells ads for Mixergy and other podcasts, the whole process, and you can use it to sell advertising anywhere. That is part of this whole collection of courses that we offer.

If you’re curious about what that looks like, go to mixergy.com/more and you’ll see the rest of Mixergy where you may not be aware of but we’re doing master classes with entrepreneurs and also with Sachit, who is also an entrepreneur, about how to build your business. And I’m really proud that all the people who have interviewed have been open to doing courses with us. Meredith, thanks so much for being in here and thank you all for listening.

Meredith: Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew: Thank you.

Meredith: All right. Thank you.

Andrew: By the way, I like the design of your . . . Like, you got nice lighting, you got good, beautiful background, the whole thing, even the seat is thought out. I think I need to change my look here. I like the simplicity of what we both have going on, but the green behind me does not look nearly as good as that bright blue behind you. The green just happen to be here because I’m in a Regus office, and they just threw that up there, but I should pick something out.

Meredith: Yeah. No. We are very big on our brand colors. These are my colors.

Andrew: Yeah. It looks good. It’s thought out.

Meredith: Thank you.

Andrew: All right. Thanks, Meredith. Thanks.

Meredith: All right. Thank you.

Andrew: Bye, everyone.

Meredith: Bye.

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