Today’s guest is coming with a wealth of knowledge and experience all the way from Australia. We are joined by Steph Myers, who is a travel agent, business owner, course creator, and the host of the popular podcast Unplug in Paradise. It’s a great podcast that’s focused on teaching travel agents how to niche down, step out of their comfort zone and really show up as their true, authentic selves online. And I can’t think of a better person than Steph to help guide travel agents on how to do just that. She’s such a great example of how to stand out as a travel agent.
Steph has an incredible journey, which she shares on this episode. We talk about how she got her start over 10 years ago, working in various agencies, then becoming an agency owner herself, and eventually deciding to turn her focus more towards teaching other aspiring travel agents how to succeed in the industry. And she does that with her course and also through her podcast.
This is a great episode to listen to if you’ve ever struggled with self-doubt or imposter syndrome, or just some of the challenges that come with being a solopreneur and having to stay self-motivated and focused. Steph is super relatable, down-to-earth, and completely transparent in some of the challenges she’s faced in her business and how she’s overcome them.
Steph also reveals what she’s learned over the years now that she’s had the experience of being both a travel agent and someone who teaches travel agents and speaks to other agents on her podcast and just in the industry. She’s got a lot of interesting perspectives to bring to the table, so enjoy this episode!
Becoming a travel agent
Steph’s story is not a traditional one in the travel industry. She used to work in a surf shop in her town, and as they lived close to Byron Bay, her family never traveled because they were already living in a paradise that lots of people would come to visit. Steph never thought she would work in the travel industry until a customer in the surf shop planted the seed by telling her she should consider working in tourism.
So when the surf store no longer needed her, Steph decided to do something different. She went to get a diploma in tourism operations management, even though she says she had “never, ever set foot on an airplane, ever before I even did my course. I’d never traveled. I’d never done anything.”
But then once she had the opportunity, she made up for it tenfold. Her first trip out of the country was to Japan, then New Zealand for an entire month, and eventually she fell in love with cruise travel when she started working for a cruise agency.
At one point in her career, she was taking groups of moms away cruising, and it suited her because she was a single mom at that point. That’s when she felt like it was something she could start doing on her own, so she left and started her own travel agency.
How to stand out as a travel agent
The franchise that her travel agency is under has a good brand, but Steph felt a disconnect between herself and their brand. “I just promised myself that I wouldn’t be known for their brand. I’ll just be known for me. Because you know, generally when you are dealing with people and you’re selling travel, you’re very close to your clients. And I know that I’m quite passionate about mine and they know me.”
She was really looking for something to do that was quite different, and that’s when she landed on the idea of starting a podcast. She had lots of ideas, but no direction. So she started the podcast, and although it was exciting, it was also really hard. She really enjoyed sharing stories and talking to guests, but she was struggling with imposter syndrome and self-discipline, plus podcasting is just a lot of work in general. So at some point, she stopped her first podcast.
When she went to a conference with other travel agents working for the same franchise, people recognized Steph as the girl with the podcast. People kept telling her how much they loved her podcast. “By the end of the weekend, I was the podcast girl. And I’m thinking to myself, if only they knew the struggle,” Steph says. “But I think that was a huge compliment for me at that point in time.”
She didn’t know of any other travel agents with a podcast back in 2019, so she still liked the idea of having a podcast. But she didn’t know how to fit it into her marketing strategy until she did a podcasting course in 2020. That’s when she decided to start a new podcast and do it right this time around. She had a podcasting mentor and created all the assets, did a launch period, had interviews lined up in advance, and batch recorded the podcast. With all of this in place, podcasting felt so much better, and Steph has even been able to hit the charts with her podcast.
The importance of a personal brand
Steph shares that there is often a strong feeling of competitiveness between travel agents. It really feels like they’re in competition, they’re not collaborative with each other. “The best thing that you could possibly do in regards to your business is just be yourself. Please don’t try and be anyone else because there’s no one else out there that’s exactly like you.”
Everyone has their own unique background and different experience, so if you think about it that way, you can approach this with a very different mindset. Your clients will love your personality, and as Steph says it well, “I just think if you can just be yourself, that is the most unique asset that you could bring to your business, for sure.”
More from this episode
- Learn more about Steph’s approach to podcasting.
- We discuss how travel agents could adapt to the changing world of travel, and how Steph’s own business has pivoted since Covid.
- Steph shares about her online course program that helps other travel agents see success with their businesses while being part of a collaborative community.
- What’s the thing that Steph has seen to be most valuable or effective for a successful business?
Learn more about Steph
Steph’s career as a travel agent started almost 15 years ago where she fell into the industry quite unexpectedly while working in a surf shop in Australia, while jumping at the opportunity Steph was totally unaware of where the world of travel would take her. Fast forward to now, Steph is a prime example of an un-traditional travel agent, now turned podcaster and online course creator of the industry exclusive program ‘Travel Agent Runway’, we dive in with Steph to see how she has navigated this transition and continued to be of service in an industry hit hard by the pandemic.
Steph’s free masterclass: Steal my Travel Agent Runway Framework + Stand Out In The Digital World