Some people dream about being their own boss and having the freedom to travel to far-away places. And other people make it happen.

"I didn't want to work to make others look good anymore," says Sue Palenik, after being laid off in 2010 after nearly a decade at her job. Palenik decided that it was time to take control of her future and strike out on her own instead of going to work for someone else again. "Owning my own business was about me creating my own personal identity."

At the time, Palenik was 50, with no prior experience in the travel industry. But, as she examined franchise opportunities, she decided that a Cruise Planners home-based travel advisor franchise was exactly the entrepreneurial adventure she sought. "I always had a passion for travel, so why not work in the industry that would bring me joy? Cruise Planners was the perfect fit for me." 

Pursuing a passion for travel 

Palenik had her share of reservations--the same concerns that hold many people back from striking out into their own franchise businesses. Current responsibilities, fear of failure, or a host of other reasons keep many from pursuing their dreams. However, ultimately, Palenik decided to take the leap and has never looked back. "Don't overthink it. Dreams can only come true if you implement the dream," she says.

Looking back, getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to Palenik. As a Cruise Planners franchise owner and full-service travel advisor based in the northeast, she customizes amazing travel experiences for her clients. She may plan cruises, guided land tours or all-inclusive resort vacations during her day, but still has time to make her family a priority and spend time with her new grandchild. 

Cruise Planners' comprehensive training and ongoing, personalized business development coaching helped Palenik overcome her lack of experience as a travel professional or business owner. Such support helped her franchise grow to well over $1 million in annual sales.

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Retiring was just the beginning 

Palenik is just one second-career success story. In 2011, Florida-based Cruise Planners franchise owner, Val Dorsey, also found herself at a crossroads. After retiring from a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, she wondered what to do next. 

"I thought about what I loved," she says as she considered her next chapter. "And I loved to travel." 

As she examined opportunities in the sector, Cruise Planners franchises stood apart. Dorsey liked the affiliation with American Express Travel and positive reputation as a leader in the industry.

Cruise Planners' home-based business model and award-winning technology are designed so franchise owners like Dorsey can work remotely, including when they're enjoying their favorite pastime--traveling. 

"I love the flexibility. The technology and tools let me work from anywhere," Dorsey says. "I've been to so many places in the world since starting this job, all while still taking care of my clients." 

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Don't wait to live your dream 

When Palenik and Dorsey look back on their journeys, they both admit they could not have imagined they would end up where they are now. And each is glad she took the leap and pursued her passions.

"Why wait?" Palenik asks. "Do it on your terms and start living your dream now."


See more of Sue's story and learn about becoming a Cruise Planners franchise owner at