As the holiday season comes to a close, it’s about that time of year when most of us are already thinking ahead to next year. If you’re anything like me, you probably get stressed even at the thought of planning a holiday that suits everyone and would much rather someone else organise it for you. Lucky for us, long time banker turned travel consultant Ann Mercer recognised that need and has opened up her own bespoke travel business.

Mercer Travel offers fully protected long and short haul holidays, trips and cruises, and the best bit about it is that it’s all based around what you, your partner, friends or family want!

Ann told The Women’s Organisation: ‘After over 25 years in banking, I wanted the freedom and opportunity of doing things my way, be my own boss and do something different.’

Global Travel presented Ann with the opportunity she was looking for. They offered her the chance to buy a franchise and provided all training prior to the business launching, culminating in an intense certified two week training course.

‘This was an exciting prospect as I had wanted to leave the Bank for a while and was just looking for the right opportunity and timing. I started progressing the purchase of the travel franchise before I left, so because I already knew about the role and work of The Women’s Organisation through local networking, I decided to arrange an appointment to get the ball rolling.’

As part of their business start-up programme, through the Big Enterprise in Communities (BEiC) initiative funded by European Regional Development Fund, Ann was paired up with a business advisor who she met with regularly. She also accessed free business workshops including Basic Bookkeeping, Tax and National Insurance, Building a Social Media Strategy and a 2 day business planning workshop, Planning For Success.

‘The business courses were invaluable and certainly helped to put the business on the right track. I received help with my business plan, which was really useful, and supported with a small grant package.’

Now further down the line, Mercer Travel is in full flight. Ann has quickly increased her client base through networking and referrals, and is providing regular quotes, recommendations and bookings for customers.

‘I have recently partnered with The Wirral Wedding House to provide overseas weddings and honeymoons. In fact I have just booked a honeymoon for one of my colleagues who attended the same courses as me with The Women’s Organisation!’

After changing direction from Retail Banking and Wealth Management to travel, there is no looking back for the travel consultant who is enjoying the flexibility, freedom and challenge of working for herself.

Thinking about her journey, Ann commented: ‘I feel proud, accomplished, invigorated and ready to look forward to the regular monthly income again.’

Ann’s advice to those considering a change of career would be: ‘Do something you love, with me it was travel. Your passion will shine through and you will want it to work. Get advice from the right places and people, networking and persevere!’

So, if you’re ready to plan that dream holiday and would like the support of an expert, contact Ann on 0151 722 2286 or 07446 943838 or e-mail – and you can also search ‘Mercer Travel’ on Facebook to keep up to date with what’s on offer.

If you feel you’re ready to start your journey to self-employment, call The Women’s Organisation for a chat about how they can support you 0151 706 8111 / 

By Beckie Kinsella

Portrait photo by Magical Moments Photography