Dave Rodrigues dreamed of owning his own business one day. However, as he became more entrenched in the corporate world with each passing year, the reality of living that dream seemed unattainable.
"The corporate world just has a way of sucking you into it, and you're just focused on that day-to-day job," Rodrigues says.
Rodrigues, who served as a director at American Express, lived a comfortable life. Then, after 22 years of the corporate grind, he realized it was time to revive his old dream of business ownership.
"I just needed more fulfillment in my life," he says.
Rodrigues started researching a wide range of franchise opportunities, including popular restaurant chains. As he searched, he kept coming back to one central question: "What am I passionate about?"
"My major passion was for travel," Rodrigues says. "I could have gone out and bought a restaurant franchise, but when I thought about it, I wasn't excited about whatever those products were, but I am excited about travel."
Rodrigues eventually discovered Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative. Cruise Planners is the nation's largest home-based travel advisor franchise network in which independent operators help clients customize and plan remarkable vacations. The trips range from cruises to guided land tours to all-inclusive resort vacations across the globe.
Rodrigues was immediately intrigued, but still exercised his due diligence and called existing Cruise Planners franchise owners. What he heard repeatedly was Cruise Planners provides the best technology, tools, and support. At just $10,995 to begin, Cruise Planners also had a far lower cost than other franchise options. What cemented Rodrigues' decision, though, was Cruise Planners' affiliation with American Express Travel.
"The American Express brand is associated with trust, with a commitment to clients, and it's recognized globally," says Rodrigues. "Customers immediately trust you when they see the American Express brand."
In 2012, despite not having any travel sales experience, Rodrigues dove in and purchased his Cruise Planners franchise. He initially began working his home-based travel advisor business part-time while maintaining his full-time corporate position. Eventually, though, Rodrigues reached a tipping point.
"My Cruise Planners career started getting more and more fulfilling to me, to the point where I was enjoying it far more than my day career," he says.
And so, in 2015, Rodrigues left his corporate job to focus on his Cruise Planners business full time. With more time and an unbridled passion for travel, Rodrigues' sales took off, and he ascended into the Millionaire's Club, a group of travel advisors who sell more than $1 million in travel annually.
"Not having any previous industry experience, when I heard about what it took to achieve the Millionaire's Club, I wasn't even thinking that was a possibility," he says. "But the Cruise Planners franchise model and their training, technology and marketing support system make it so easy to get off the ground. I was able to go from not having any experience selling travel to selling over $1 million dollars in travel. They provide excellent resources--you just have to have the entrepreneurial spirit to make it happen."
Cruise Planners provides a personalized website, industry leading and award-winning proprietary booking technology and turnkey marketing programs.
Rodrigues appreciates the financial success, but what he loves most is working every day doing something he is genuinely passionate about.
"It's really important when you're starting a small business to be passionate about what it is the business is about," he says. "And I truly love what I do."
To learn more about Cruise Planners and how you can start your own travel advisor franchise, visit www.cruiseplannersfranchise.com.