From planning weddings to organizing dream vacations for others, these women have turned their memory-making business into serious cash. Read on to learn their secrets so you can start earning too!
Karen Riley-Love from Anna Maria Island, Florida, tells us: "I take home nearly 6 figures helping couples get married. My town is a popular spot for destination weddings. A few years ago, I became a board member of the chamber of commerce. For years, the organization hosted a wedding show for local vendors, but when they stopped running it, I decided to take over. After two years, I realized there was a need for a company to plan destination weddings here, so I launched Anna Maria Island Beach Weddings.
I didn't know much about running this type of business, so I interviewed photographers, florists, bakers, and other wedding vendors in the area to get tips about how to grow my business. I created a website and became a marketing partner with Visit Florida, the state's tourism association. I also reached out to a local tourism agency, media, and other tourism organizations to spread the word.
For each wedding, I book the photographer, videographer, music, and officiant, and I order flowers, chairs, and anything else the couple needs. I also help set up receptions. I even became an officiant and took photography classes as a backup in case any vendors don't show up!
I love this business because I get to be part of a couple's special day. It's an honor helping them make memories, and the money I earn from my business allows me to travel with my family and make our own memories!"
Disney Vacation Planning
Patricia Scott from Concord, Ohio, tells us: "I make full-time money working part-time planning vacations. When the Disney store I worked at closed, I didn't know what to do next. A friend suggested I become a Disney travel agent, so I read up on it. My family and I had been to Disneyland so many times, it seemed like a no-brainer. That's when I teamed up with my sister-in-law to launch Visit Mickey Vacations.
First, we applied with Disney to become authorized Disney vacation planners, a designation that you're an expert in all things Disney. We made a website, contacted the free local paper, created a Facebook page, and asked friends to spread the word. Within two weeks, we had our first bookings!
Our clients turn to us because we're experts, plus we get exclusive updates and offers, and we make it easy for them to plan the perfect vacation. When we start working with a family, we interview them to find out what they want to do in Disney, their kids' favorite characters, and their budget. Then we recommend hotels and restaurants that fit their preferences and help them plan park visits and activities. We also work with families who have ill or special-needs children.
To market the business, we use Instagram, our blog, and email. I love taking the time to learn about our families, and I become invested in them and help them make unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. The business has grown, and today, we have 15 travel planners who work for us as independent contractors.
The money I make goes back into the business and is donated to Duplication Cares, a nonprofit organization for kids with the genetic disorder my daughter has."
Organizing Family Travel
Suzette Mack from San Jose, California, tells us: "I earn $100,000 a year organizing family travel. Twenty years ago, I had so much fun planning a trip to Alaska that friends suggested I become a travel advisor. When I was laid off from my job as an engineer, I knew a home-based business would allow me to make money and raise a family, so I took the leap. I realized there was a need for people who wanted to travel with young kids, so I decided to focus my business on family adventure travel and reunions. Last year, I rebranded as Suzette Mack Travel.
To get started, I did a lot of research and joined a professional organization or home-based travel businesses so I could learn how to grow mine. I also became an affiliate of a host agency, who carries the proper credentials and licensing to help me grow my business.
Today I help plan vacations for families with kids of all ages and their grandparents. I also plan trips for family reunions. I help my clients figure out the best options and help them pitch their ideas to the rest of their family. I also set up their accommodations, dining, concierge, and group activities. To market my business, I blog, use social media, and send out an email newsletter, but many of my clients are word-of-mouth referrals.
With this work, every day is different, and I love it. The best part of the job is when my clients tell me how great their trip was. Last year, I surpassed $1 million in sales, and I take nearly six figures as a salary — money that helps pay for business trips, family vacations, and my kids' college tuitions."
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.