We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle English and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Growing up, I had several family members that either traveled often or were entrepreneurs. Watching them made me want to get out there, be a business owner, and see all the beauty of the world. I wanted to see and experience different cultures beyond what was around me. As an adult, I started planning my own travel adventure’s then I started planning trips for friends and family. I never even thought about getting paid to help others travel until someone mentioned that I should become a travel agent. Looking back, I was doing all the work without getting paid. Today, I can honestly say I followed my passion, and I love my job. Even with the highs, lows and struggles we have had this year; I still love what I do.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am a travel specialist with two brands. On the Fly Vacations and Whiskey, Wine and Dine Tours. On the Fly Vacations, I specialize in Alaska and cruises. Alaska is one of the most beautiful and serene places. It can be the perfect destination for both active/adventure seekers and those looking for a peaceful location with beautiful scenery. Many cruise lines cater to different demographics. One cruise line might be perfect for one family, yet a terrible choice for another family. I help individuals/couples/families find their perfect cruise line and itinerary. Whiskey, Wine and Dine Tours is for the foodies who want to travel and really experience the different cultures along their journeys. One of the best ways to truly learn about a new culture is through food. Most of our fondest memories are centered around food combined with travel creates lasting memories. I create custom itineraries and include a cooking class food or a vineyard tour. Whiskey Wine and Dine Tours- a delicious way to travel! Although I am doing what I love, I wish I could say it was easy. Anything you do and want to be successful is not going to be easy. I try to keep learning about my business and make sure the brand is represented well. As a travel specialist, I am constantly learning about destinations and brands. There is always a hotel or cruise line that has made updates or policy changes that I need to be aware of. That helps me package vacations that my clients will love. I have learned that building relationships helps build your business and showing a genuine interest can result in great rewards!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a tough one, there are a lot of great options, I’ll name a few. I’d take them to the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Chateau Elan, Little Five Points, Marietta Square, Tallulah Falls Park. Dining and coffee shops we can go to Marietta Diner, Ray’s on the River, Montaluce Winery, Mary Mac’s Tea Room, Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint, Chef Rob’s and Kuumba Coffee. There are a ton of great things to do for entertainment including spoken word venues, axe throwing, escape rooms, museums and more. Atlanta is full of fun and interesting people and places to visit, one week will not be enough time.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have several friends, family members, and business mentors that hold me accountable in my businesses every day. They make sure that I stay focused on my goals, even during a difficult year like this one. I want to thank and shoutout all the small business owners who are trying their best to stay afloat. I want to especially thank my fellow ABWA-American Business Women’s Association (I’m the 2020-2021 Douglas County Charter Chapter President.) and PTANA- Professional Travel Agents of North America (I’m the current Vice-President of the Greater Atlanta Chapter.) members for staying strong and constantly pushing me to stay encouraged and on top of my business. This has been a difficult year for us all. Stay encouraged!
Other: Join my travel chat group and find out the destination of the month https://www.facebook.com/groups/travelchatgroup