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 include: I Run a Resume Business, I Help Businesses Create Online Campaigns, and I’m a Creative Web Entrepreneur.
I’m a frequent flyer mile redemption specialist. I offer assistance to people to redeem their miles for flights to destinations such as Paris, Thailand.
Most of my clients are either time deprived to research possible options or don’t know what’s possible with their bank of frequent flyer miles. That’s where my service, iflywithmiles.com comes into the picture.
How did you get started with your side hustle?
I started by acquiring a domain name, but when I registered the domain name, I had no intentions of starting a frequent flyer mile redemption service. I was compelled to register a domain name because a frequent flyer mile program was running a lucrative promotion where you earn miles for certain activities and one of them was registering a domain name through an internet service provider.
Without giving much thought to the name, I simply came up with the first thing that came to mind related to frequent flyer miles.
Months later, one of my colleagues and I were chatting at work and he expressed a desire to learn HTML and CSS. My mind was thinking about utilizing him to make a web site that would serve a purpose. I asked him if he would be interested in making a site for a service that I would like to offer. He offered to do it for free despite offering to pay him.
What got you interested in this job?
I’m knowledgeable and passionate about miles/points. With the combination of this passion and my engineering like mindset, the thought process of putting together an itinerary is something that doesn’t discourage me like it would to most folks.
I figured I could offer this service for those that are time deprived or don’t want to tackle it on their own. In addition, there’s always some little nugget of information about the frequent flyer mile world that I learn had I not started this service.
Tell me more about your services?
I typically get a request from a client stating their frequent flyer mile account balances, desired travel dates, and destination. With this information in-hand, I can determine if their trip is possible and what they can expect in terms of connections, cabin, and the number of miles required.
Once they understand what’s involved, I start piecing together an itinerary and run it by them. Once they agree, I go about booking the itinerary. After they’re all booked that’s when I expect payment for my services.
What sets you apart from your competition?
I have a passion for travel and often times have traveled to the destinations my clients wish to go. In some cases, I have first-hand experience on the destination and have a realistic idea on connection times based on my own personal experience.
What has surprised you most about owning a business?
I’m surprised how fast word spreads based on referrals from clients. I’m also surprised about the willingness of past clients to provide testimonials.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a small business owner?
Just own it and do a stellar job with each client based on their needs and the dividend pays off from past clients referring your service to other friends and family members. I’ve also learned not to rely on SEO to drive traffic to your site. Google’s SEO algorithms change constantly and overnight certain key words could lead to different results.
What are the start-up costs?
My start-up costs are low. I think I paid $10-$20 for the domain registration. I already had a hosting plan from my travel blog. The web design cost me nothing thanks to a colleague at work.
What’s the most positive thing about your side job?
The most positive aspect is the self-rewarding feeling that you’ve made a trip possible for someone where the memories and experiences will last a lifetime. I also love reading the kind words that past clients write about my service when a new client asks for a reference.
What are your business goals for the upcoming year?
My goal for the upcoming year to is maintain a positive client relationship while gaining new clients through referrals. I also have big travel plans for 2014. One of which, has me driving a car from London to Mongolia.