“I Didn’t Have Any Experience As A Travel Agent, But I Jumped In And Never Looked Back.”

Ashley Metesh-McCoy is the owner of Kinship Vacations. Kinship Vacations is a network of military spouses that helps people plan unique travel experiences.

NextGen MilSpouse is going beyond traditional career tips and tricks for military spouses! We are sharing the real stories of working military spouses (just like you!) and their professional success stories on Wednesdays.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy is the owner of Kinship Vacations. Kinship Vacations is a network of military spouses that helps people plan unique travel experiences.

Name: Ashley Metesh-McCoy

Years as a military spouse:

10

Tell us your profession:

I am the owner and Head Experience Curator of Kinship Vacations. Kinship Vacations is a travel design firm that serves three very important needs:

  1. We are a network of military spouses and veterans that helps people plan unique travel experiences that create new memories and deepen connections
  2. We also provide fun, fulfilling, and long-term career opportunities to military spouses and veterans that provide them unlimited income potential in a portable business model that can go wherever life (or, the military) takes them
  3. We are a social enterprise, pledging 10% of our profits to the Fisher House Foundation to help military families stay together in their greatest time of need.

If you know someone that needs help getting away on vacation to reconnect with their loved-ones, or a military spouse or veteran that loves travel and has an entrepreneurial spirit, please send them our way!

Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?

Full-time

How long have you been working in this career field?

4 years

Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?

Home

Tell us one thing you love about your job.

I get to be my own boss and teach other milspouses how to do the same!

How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.

I worked in the travel industry as a Corporate Competitive Intelligence Manager with Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise conglomerate where I was exposed to the opportunity of being a travel agent.

I learned that the career (of a travel agent) is not dead like many thought, but alive and if done right, thriving.

I recognized that it would be difficult, if not impossible to maintain a career at the level I sought with my husband’s military career; therefore, decided to open my own business.

I didn’t have any experience as a travel agent, but I jumped in to get educated. I surrounded myself with a supportive community and I never looked back.

What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?

Network. The only way to get jobs is to know someone to get your resume and cover letter in front of the eyes of the hiring manager. It doesn’t matter how many jobs you apply for – if no one ever sees your resume, it’s all for naught.

How do you feel about failure?

Failure is scary, but regret is scarier.

I look at failure nowadays more as a learning opportunity than I had in the past.

As an entrepreneur you really must change your mindset around mistakes and failure as you will inevitably face these in your business and professional journey, but if you let them stop you from pursuing your dream or vision, then you will probably face regret and that is more scary than “failure” to me.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?

I am an Army veteran – former military intelligence officer. After I got out, I got a Master of Business Administration from a prestigious school. I have had a hard time maintaining a career equal to that of my business school peers due to constant moves, which leads to periods of unemployment, underemployment, and inconsistent career opportunities at my level of skill and education.

Ashley Metesh-McCoy is the owner of Kinship Vacations. Kinship Vacations is a network of military spouses that helps people plan unique travel experiences.

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.

The best piece of career advice I ever received (as a woman) is to do it like a man. A man wouldn’t hesitate to ask for a raise, toot his horn, ask for a promotion, or say he deserves all these things.

Therefore, why should a woman do any different?

Though it is harder for us to do these things (and there are a million reasons why), we really should change the game by playing by the boys’ rules, not society’s rules for women.

The worst career advice I received was anytime someone told me to change who I am to conform to an organization’s culture. If you don’t fit, you don’t fit. Don’t waste another minute of your time in a place that doesn’t work for you.

Who is in your support squad?

My spouse and my mother are really supportive.

But, I am part of a great community of other travel entrepreneurs (online with occasional in-person business retreats, etc) and we really have each other’s backs. I can’t say enough about how valuable this has been to me. I couldn’t do anything without them.

Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?

Yes. It ebbs and flows. Sometimes he’s traveling for work, sometimes I am. So, it all lies on the individual at home to get everything done.

We have a four-year-old daughter, so that adds to the challenge. We coordinate our annual calendar together to deconflict travel dates.

We split the household chores when we’re both home.

Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.

I hired a bi-weekly housekeeper.

I outsource some of the aspects of my business.

I time-block when possible.

Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone.

My Customer Relationship Management system – Traveljoy.com

Favorite app for making the most of your day?

Trello

What’s your must-have song on your productivity playlist?

Anything David Bowie

If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?

Paint or make art!

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?

To influence people’s thoughts and moods.

Are you a working military spouse? Do you want to share your career tips and tricks? Fill out the MilSpouses Who Work It Q&A today. Click here to complete our questionnaire.

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