We had the good fortune of connecting with Anthony Cinquini and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anthony, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The idea of starting a business was appealing for many reasons: being accountable for my own success, creating a flexible lifestyle, the opportunity for creative independence over how the work was done, and the possibility of being more involved within the community. However, despite my desire to be my own boss, I decided that the best option for my entrepreneurial spirit was through a franchising opportunity, since I didn’t have the business background or education that I thought would be vital to success with a standalone business. I viewed franchising as the ideal middle ground in transitioning into business ownership: I’d still be able to make critical decisions on how to run my business and retain operational control, while utilizing the strategy of a proven business model and the resources and support that are provided for franchise owners. I was essentially going into business for myself, but not by myself. As a military veteran, I also felt well-suited to working as part of a franchise. Veterans are accustomed to working within a system without needing to reinvent the wheel. Qualities that define successful business practices such as discipline, integrity, time management, multi-tasking skills, organizational skills, commitment, strong work ethic, willingness to learn, stress management, and leadership are all synonymous with military service. In researching a franchise that would be a good fit for me, I primarily looked for affordability, whether it was a leader in its category, how passionate I was about the product or service, how likely franchisees would be to recommend the franchise to others, and to what extent the franchisor catered to military veterans. One franchise stood above all the others when I used these criteria for comparison, and that was Dream Vacations. I learned that it was the nation’s largest cruise agency and found it on multiple lists of the top military friendly franchises. That’s how I discovered that Dream Vacations holds an annual nationwide contest for veterans, called Operation Vetrepreneur, for the opportunity to win a free travel agency franchise. The idea of being able to turn my passion for travel, which up to that point had only been a hobby, into a profession seemed like an opportunity of a lifetime. Since it’s a home-based travel agency franchise, I also felt that I’d be able to achieve a work-life balance. My only concern was opening a travel agency franchise during a global pandemic but, ironically, cancellations, border restrictions, and testing requirements have made travel advisors more valuable. So, the more I assessed the risks involved, I realized that travel advisors were becoming more important than ever in planning and booking trips, cruises, and vacations. Clients want personalized service, expert consultation, and an advocate in case things go wrong for peace of mind and a deeper sense of security. While the pandemic will eventually pass, the public interest in utilizing travel advisors to save time and money will be here to stay. Therefore, as I’m positioning myself for long-term success, the short-term complications within the travel and tourism industry didn’t deter me from starting my journey in what I term the ‘fun’ business. As the underlying pent-up demand for travel is released, I look forward to crafting unforgettable experiences while managing the logistics of travel for my clients. Best of all, I can work from anywhere, so while I help others create unique and customized trips to make their lifetime travel dreams come true, I’m also able to journey the world and provide the same memorable experiences for my own family, and that is a reward in itself!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I attribute a large part of my professional growth to my military service in the Air Force and Army. The core values that I learned in the military positively influenced my behavior and transformed my mindset into raising my standards and continually striving for improvement. I started realizing that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing it to the best of my abilities. I received the discipline necessary to harness my skills, talents, and strengths into measurable goals and achievements. As a result, I was the first member of my family to earn a college degree and became a commissioned military officer. My ambition continued beyond the military and I enrolled in a graduate program. It is during that time that another critical component to my progress materialized when I learned about the importance of having a personal leadership philosophy. I created my own set of ideas, values, and principles that would shape my thinking and behavior in guiding my personal and professional development. In 2019, I was chosen to give the Graduate Address at my college Commencement ceremony, and in my speech I advocated that everyone should create their own leadership philosophy to chart life’s course for two reasons: we’re all leaders, and we all have unique perspectives and life purposes that require custom frameworks to achieve success.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When I first arrived in Phoenix in 2011, I was surprised at how spread out the city and surrounding suburbs were. As a result, Phoenix doesn’t feel like one of the biggest cities in the country because of all the land area, If I had a friend visiting the city, I’d want to show them different parts of the valley so that they’d have a better appreciation of each area. We have pro teams in every major sport, so watching a game would be one highlight of a visit. For outdoor recreation, I’d take a friend to see Lake Pleasant, hike up Camelback Mountain, or spend a day at the Phoenix Zoo. Playing golf in the desert is a must. My kids play at Encanto, but you can’t go wrong with the scenery of any golf course. Visiting a casino would also be another recommendation and I’d choose Talking Stick for the overall experience. Westgate would be my choice for dining and drinking options and live music. Some other places to eat and hang out that my family and I enjoy are Haus Murphy’s in Glendale, Joe’s Farm Grill in Gilbert, The Farm at South Mountain, Orange Sky in Scottsdale, and Mekong Market in Mesa.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to recognize my parents for instilling a strong work ethic and providing me with lifelong guidance. I would like to recognize my wife, Peache, for her love and support in helping me persevere and overcome any obstacles in achieving my full potential. And for my kids, Francesca, Anthony Jr., John, and Gerard for their inspiration in being a good role model for them.