Each time a major supplier (read: airline) slashes agency income in
a single stroke and puts individuals in the difficult position of
making tough decisions that will affect employees and families, I
am left nearly speechless.
And so, you may ask, what kind of an editor am I that I should
have nothing to say to Travel Weekly's audience?
It is not that I have nothing to say, but I can tell you what
kind of editor I am: humbled.
This humility, not my most outstanding characteristic on most
days, is born of a single fact: I have never been an
By talking with agents over the years, I have surmised something
of the entrepreneurial life. I have seen that it can be a heady
experience to have business independence and see the fruits of
viable, even brilliant, decisions. But it can be risky, too, and
especially in a time of major reversals like the most recent
airline commission cuts.
It isn't enough to have known that more pay cuts would come. It
is the preparation for and response to such cuts that count.
But these have never been my challenges. I've made decisions
that affected others' careers, and I was forced to change mine when
a publication I edited was folded, but those are not of the same
order as stewardship of one's own firm.
So, now you have the measure of the source for the following
suggestions:Run your agency numbers dispassionately so you can define your
challenge correctly. If that useful attitude is hard to achieve,
take a walk and take lots of deep breaths. Indeed, take walks when
you want; they are good for you anyway.It may be rewarding to hire a consultant. But, certainly, don't
be too proud to talk over ideas with other agents. It could be that
working with colleagues, in order to take bolder steps than you
would take on your own, will provide important solutions.
Maybe you are way past emotional reactions to drastic pay cuts.
That doesn't mean you can, or should try to, work out all solutions
solo.Tell your employees what is up. You won't tell all, but with
some knowledge of what you are trying to do and why, staff will be
more supportive.Yes, maintaining a viable and blossoming business is serious,
but don't obsess over it. Take breaks from your thinking and
planning and reorganizing sessions. A rested mind works
better.Do all the fun things with family and friends that you would
have done otherwise. Don't ignore the many, nonbusiness sides of
Besides, I don't care what shrinks say, it is useful for short
periods simply to repress issues that may get you down. On this
last item, I speak from experience.