We had the good fortune of connecting with Megan Ryan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Megan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Five years ago, I was just a teacher with a dream to get back into the travel business (I am a former flight attendant) and make a little more money to support my family, while helping others. My family had been to Walt Disney World quite a few times and friends and family knew that if they wanted help, good advice and real recommendations for planning their Disney trips, I was the girl to go to.
Summer Break of 2017, I had quite a few people ask for my help in planning Walt Disney World trips. While researching, offering suggestions and putting together plans for these friends and family members, I realized that I really enjoyed handling all the different parts and details of their vacations. My friends and family would return and tell me how wonderful their vacation was and it made me really happy to know I had a small role in them having a truly magical vacation. It was then that I had a crazy idea – What if I could help support my family, by researching and planning other people’s vacations? Could I get paid to do this? Are there people out there that do this already? A quick google search of “Disney” and “Travel Planner” led me to The Enchanted Traveler’s website. I read through the information and had this a-ha moment, as it was describing everything that I loved to do. Luckily for me, they were hiring! I applied and went through a very fun and engaging interview process that had me creating travel itineraries with different travel scenarios. I was creatively challenged and able to share my knowledge of Walt Disney World and other Disney destinations and once hired, began learning through Disney’s College of Knowledge – yes, that’s a real thing!
Once I was officially an Independent Agent w/ The Enchanted Traveler, it was clear in my mind that helping other people have stress free, magical and well planned vacations was an untapped passion of mine. I chose to start with Disney destinations, Universal Studios and a few other tropical destinations, because it was important for me to stick to places I was very familiar and experienced with. By summer 2018, I was doing exactly what I had dreamed for myself the previous year. I was content with the success I had so far but as more people reached out and asked for help with vacation plans, beyond what I was currently offering, my thoughts started to change on what I wanted from this small business of mine. By 2019, my dreams were bigger, the comfort zone was smaller and I began to take steps to branch out with the support of my family, friends and the agency I am a part of. I like to think of this as starting my travel business version 2.0. Since then, I have put a lot of time, effort and money into learning everything I can about different destinations such Mexico, Hawaii, Jamaica and beyond. Whether I am learning online, in person or physically traveling to and experiencing these places first hand, it is important to me to keep learning, to ensure that I create the best experience for my clients.
When I look back at where I started and compare it to where I am now, it makes me so excited for this ever evolving adventure of mine. I started with a small idea to help others and to help my family get by. This dream turned out to be so much more. What I have created and continue to grow is far beyond my wildest dreams. It brings me great joy that I am able to connect with people, help them enjoy and get the most value from their vacations, help them create memories that will life a lifetime, and provide them with perfectly planned stress free vacations. This dream also taps into my creative side, challenges me, and allows me to continue to support my family.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
What would I like people to know about me? I’d want them to know how I put the same level of care, time and passion into other peoples hard earned vacations, that I’d put into my own – because everyone deserves it. While there are certain areas of travel that I am more experienced in, I’m always up to learn more!
It has taken a LOT of training, traveling, research, time and dedication to get where I am today. None of it has been as easy as you’d think, especially since 2020. One of the things that I am most proud of is making it through COVID travel times. By January of 2020, I was on track to have my very best year since I started as a travel agent. By March the world stopped, people canceled plans, money was refunded and all the work I had done up until that point was gone in an instant. A lot of people don’t realize that we aren’t paid until AFTER you travel, sometimes months after, so many people including myself took a huge financial hit. There were some times when I was really hopeless about the future of my travel business. Luckily for me, I belonged to a wonderful and supportive team of travel agents, had friends and family that offered encouragement and previous clients that promised to return as soon as things went back to normal. I am happy to say that TRAVEL IS BACK AND BIGGER THAN EVER. With that, I truly feel people have a deeper appreciation of how using a professional and experienced travel planner can enhance the entire vacation experience. This renewed interest by travelers, lead me to having the most amazing and successful 2021 and 2022, with things looking even brighter for 2023!
If I could share advice with anyone looking to travel, it would be to take the vacation YOU want to take, not someone else’s idea of a perfect vacation. It’s really easy to do, once you realize that there are people out there like me, that will not require you to know everything about your dream vacation, but will ask the right questions to help you discover it. Your dream vacation is waiting for you. Let me help you find it!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When friends and family come to town, it is so hard to decide where to take them to eat and be entertained, because there are so many options within driving distance!
For dining: I’ve taken out of town friends and family to Hutchins BBQ (in Frisco) and LSA Burger Co (in Denton), and it’s always suggested by them when they visit again! If it’s summertime, I know for sure there will be at least one stop at Frisco Snow Cone Lady!
For entertainment I’d suggest Free Play Denton – actually we love to adventure and visit many places on and off The Square, The Dallas World Aquarium, The Perot Museum, Klyde Warren Park, Grandscape in The Colony – there are so many options to have a great time!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When I think about who has contributed the most to my success in this adventure, it is without a doubt my wildly supportive family and the amazing group of travel agents I work with at The Enchanted Traveler.
Truthfully, I’d like to thank my family for unconditionally loving all the sides of me they get at home – the wife, the mom and the small business owner. It’s not easy living with a small business owner that can conduct business anywhere she has a phone or internet connection. They’ve had TONS of dinners, car rides, Saturdays, family vacations and more interrupted by 3+ hour phone calls with me on hold – blasting the music on speaker phone, me stepping away to handle a travel situation or send a quote or answer an urgent question. They are understanding when work takes me somewhere I can’t bring them and only give me a tiny guilt trip, not a large one, when I return. They could complain about the time and money I spend to continue to grow this dream, but instead they fuel the fire, encourage me to dream bigger and are the heart and soul of my “why”.
Second, I couldn’t ask for a better agency to work for. The Enchanted Traveler is composed of the most excellent, caring, dedicated, educated, friendly, experienced and passionate travel experts from all over the United States. We even have awards to prove it! It has been said by many of us on the team, that when you work with any one of us for your vacation, you’re actually getting the entire team on your side. It’s so true. The agency owner leads the way with a variety of education, training, travel opportunities and professionalism. I wouldn’t have been inspired to dream beyond my original idea or even take steps towards or have the tools for what I have become now, if it weren’t for her and the team.