Be your own man 
Picture: Image Bank
Simon Cooper is 36, married, and lives in Bury St Edmunds. He is his own boss, and he has been for the past nine years. He is a homeworker for Travel Counsellors and works an average of 10 hours a day.

His travel career began in 1986 with Kuoni, then he moved to Quest Worldwide where he travelled extensively before becoming shop floor manager.

Now, his client base ranges from best-selling authors, high-profile sportspeople, top DJs, and celebrities to investment banks, friends and family.

His regular clients rely on him to arrange private aircraft to drop them at their yachts, with the chef and the captain waiting, flying out personal trainers, make-up artists, and even call him from the other side of the world to request a wake-up call.

“I just like to succeed on my own terms. It’s about being independent. I will never go back to working in an agency,” he said.

Simon is one of Travel Counsellors’ premium earners and is one of a growing number of male agents who have turned to a career as a homeworker.

Future Travel group recruitment manager Karen Mugridge said working from home is fast becoming an option for men, too.

“I think it has always been seen as the kind of job that’s best suited to woman who are juggling child care because of the flexibility of the hours, but it certainly doesn’t need to be just for women,” she said.

“We are finding now that about 25% of our homeworkers are male and they are very competitive. Often they are the sole breadwinner and they’re looking to earn an awful lot of money, not just as an extra income.”

Mike Russell, former director of Future Travel and now managing director of a new homeworking company Holiday Experts, said a successful homeworker will often earn more than they would if they worked in a shop.

“Homeworking is not a poor substitute for working in a branch or a call centre. It’s for people who are top of the tree in the industry, real experts. It’s not people who are doing it for a laugh.”

He said homeworking appeals to men because they are generally looking for more flexibility and freedom.

“They are tired of being treated as a number,” he said. “It is an opportunity for them to be their own boss. They are generally self-starters and self-motivators.”

Travel Counsellors head of recruitment Christine Power said some men, particularly those who are the main bread winners, are nervous about making the switch to homeworking.

“If you are the breadwinner it can be a big decision,” she said. “We get some men that say they have taken a while to get to the point of approaching us, but once they enjoy the new flexibility, they don’t go back.”

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