“Don’t hire introverts!” the workshop leader said to a group of travel agents at a conference I attended in 2002. I had just left a 21-year career as a software engineer to enter the field of travel. The prospects of me succeeding in this new venture seemed slim as I am by nature a quiet person. But I decided early on I wasn’t going to be a “pretend extrovert” in my new business as a travel agent. Instead, I tailored my business around what I was good at.
For instance, I like to write. Once I became a travel agent, I started taking more trips, and after each journey, I posted a detailed report on my agency’s website. I would use these reports later to help sell prospective clients on vacations and also to refresh my memory on the places I had visited.
I liked one-on-one conversations. I attended a number of conferences each year, but where I really found value was in the trade shows. There, I had a chance to talk to suppliers one-on-one. I made a number of good contacts with tour operators, whom I later used for clients’ vacations.
Today I run a successful agency with my wife Anne, also an introvert. And I’m the Colorado director and Southwest Region director for the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA). I guess an introvert can succeed in this business!