Hey everyone. Today I bring to you the next edition of my “Extra Income” series. If you would like to be featured, please send me an e-mail. Other hustles in this series can be found here.
My side hustle is selling group cruises. I plan cruises for organizations, weddings and private groups. Family reunions, scrapbooking clubs, photography clubs, spring break – you name it.
I didn’t make any money from the first cruise I planned, but in the year since I’ve been a group cruise planner, my side hustle income has almost exceeded my full-time income.
How did you get started with your side hustle?
I got started with my side hustle by accident. I had never intended to get into the travel business, I simply loved to travel to new tropical destinations. I planned a group cruise for a few friends, and while the planning was stressful and hard work, everyone had a great time.
After planning that trip, I decided that I wanted to break into cruise travel sales.
What got you interested in this job?
Since I love to take cruises, making money for selling dream vacations to other people was a natural extension. I never knew how complex the cruise industry was or how far they go to train their sales agents. While selling is hard work, seeing the enjoyment of my group members is well worth the effort.
Tell me more about what it is that you do.
I plan group cruises. I put together custom itineraries for groups, set up their amenities, plan their onboard and land-based activities and keep everyone excited throughout the process.
I manage the hard parts of the process so that my group members can just have fun and enjoy themselves. Because I handle everything, group leaders don’t have to worry about collecting payments, selecting activities or planning meals. I do everything.
What has surprised you most about owning a business?
Owning a business is hard work. I often get up before dawn to start working and don’t stop until well after midnight.
I am the marketing department, the billing department and the sales department. While it can be tough at times, the rewards make it worth the effort.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a small business owner?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a small business owner is not to try to do everything. If you pick one thing that you’re good at and specialize in that, you’ll make more of an impact. I’ve also learned not to believe in scarcity. Even if there are 1,000 other people out there who do what I do, there are enough customers who want my service.
What are the start-up costs?
My start-up costs were $75 for business cards, a website and a domain name. I partnered with a host agency to become a travel seller, so I received free training and certification.
What’s the most positive thing about your side job?
The most positive thing about my job is the opportunity to continually learn and grow. I love hearing about new ships, touring cruise ships and attending cruise trade show events. I also enjoy the free and reduced price travel.
What are your business goals for the upcoming year?
My business goals are to grow and expand my business. I hope to take on another agent to help with business growth and sales. I also hope to increase my marketing efforts and capture more niches in the cruise travel industry.
My Bio: Alison Moxley is a professional writer and group cruise planner from Brooklyn, New York. In her free time, she enjoys non-fiction writing, photography and of course—travel. She also serves as a workshop presenter in New York City and a non-profit consultant. Her side hustles have included cake decorating, blogging and grantwriting. Alison Moxley is in the process of publishing her first book where she details her clever plans to pay off her student loans.
Would you like a side job in the travel industry? What do you want to do?
Dave @ The New York Budget says
Very cool! Anything that makes you money AND has the perk of saving you money on travel is great.
This sounds like a cool job but I bet it is hard to get everyone on a trip accommodated and happy with everything. Do you noramlly charge a flat fee per person or how do you get compensated for your work?
Wendy (@BlushandBarbell) says
What a great side hustle! I would love to combine travel and making money, and helping people have a wonderful vacation sounds like a very satisfying day at work.
It is a challenge because sometimes I’m working with groups of 30-50 people and they’re all calling at once and everyone has different preferences( don’t sit me next to Uncle Bob at dinner) so it’s a challenge. I work as an agent for the cruise line so they pay me a commission on each ticket. I don’t charge a fee to the guests. The cool thing is if I get enough people, I can get them free goodies from the cruise line like parties, gift baskets and credits to use on the ship.
Yes Wendy, it’s very satisfying work…I love it!
It’s amazing using creativity and thinking outside the box online and how it can make anyone a future side hustle millionaire.