Dave Rodrigues

Escaping the Corporate Grind

How a Love of Travel Became a Lucrative Second Career

Dave Rodrigues dreamed of owning his own business one day. However, as he became more entrenched in the corporate world with each passing year, the reality of living that dream seemed unattainable.

“The corporate world just has a way of sucking you into it, and you’re just focused on that day-to-day job,” Rodrigues says.

Rodrigues, who served as a director at American Express, lived a comfortable life. Then, after 22 years of the corporate grind, he realized it was time to revive his old dream of business ownership.

“I just needed more fulfillment in my life,” he says.

Searching for More Fulfillment

Rodrigues started researching a wide range of franchise opportunities, including popular restaurant chains. As he searched, he kept coming back to one central question: “What am I passionate about?”

“My major passion was for travel,” Rodrigues says. “I could have gone out and bought a restaurant franchise, but when I thought about it, I wasn’t excited about whatever those products were, but I am excited about travel.”

Rodrigues eventually discovered Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative and was immediately intrigued. He decided to call existing Cruise Planners franchise owners to learn more. What he heard repeatedly was Cruise Planners provides the best technology, tools, and support. At just $10,995 to begin, Cruise Planners also had a far lower cost than other franchise options. What cemented Rodrigues’ decision, though, was Cruise Planners’ affiliation with American Express Travel.

“The American Express brand is associated with trust, with a commitment to clients, and it’s recognized globally,” says Rodrigues. “Customers immediately trust you when they see the American Express brand.”

Dave Rodrigues left his corporate job in search of something more fulfilling. He found that fulfillment as a Cruise Planners franchise owner.

Starting his Cruise Planners Travel Franchise

In 2012, despite not having any travel sales experience, Rodrigues dove in and purchased his Cruise Planners franchise. He initially began working his home-based travel advisor business part-time while maintaining his full-time corporate position. Eventually, though, Rodrigues reached a tipping point.

“My Cruise Planners job started getting more and more fulfilling to me, to the point where I was enjoying it far more than my day job,” he says.

And so, in 2015, Rodrigues left his corporate job to focus on his Cruise Planners business full time. With more time and an unbridled passion for travel, Rodrigues’ sales took off, and he ascended into the Millionaire’s Club, a group of travel advisors who sell more than $1 million in travel annually. 

“Not having any previous industry experience, when I heard about what it took to join the Millionaires Club, I wasn’t even thinking that was a possibility,” he says. “But the franchise model makes it so easy to get off the ground. I was able to go from not having any experience selling travel to tapping into technology, marketing, and business development support from my Cruise Planners coach. They provide excellent resources—you just have to have the entrepreneurial spirit to make it happen.” 

Living his Dream

Rodrigues appreciates the financial success, but what he loves most is working every day in a job he is genuinely passionate about.

“It’s really important when you’re starting a small business to be passionate about what it is the business is about,” he says. “And I truly love what I do.”

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