|I just happened across this website today and as I read through it I felt I had to respond to the information provided and add my own Travelhost thoughts and experiences. |
As a former TH Associate Publisher my story is probably pretty typical of many former AP's, but just in case you wanted to know;
- My initial investment to TH was $40,000 ($20,000 for the "distribution" rights & $20,000 for the first two issues of the magazine.
- I published over 15 issues (every other month, was not told I could or should publish quarterly. Quarterly might have saved my business)
- I produced a variety ofTH maps during the course of my business.
- Total sales amounted to $268,500.My costs ran approx. $250,000.
- After 1 1/2 years publishing I had run out of money. I called TH in desperation to see if maybe they might be able to offer suggestions or any type of help to get the business on its feet.Up until that point I had heard from the business development folks only twice (one time they called me and one time I called them).I talked to a gentleman who promised me a world of help and would guide me "step by step" through this process of making my business a success.He said he would look over my ad count, expenses etc. and get back to me.I never heard back.After a week or so I called again and he said he had looked over everything and he was ready to talk about my business but was busy at that moment and asked if he could call me back.I agreed and never heard back.I called a couple more times each time leaving a message.I never heard back from him.
- I decided to keep the business going and robbed my 401K because the business was making money but not enough to live on, but felt the business was close to breaking through.I published eight more issues and burned through more than $60,000 of my retirement and all the savings of my family (more than $30,000 additional dollars).
- I called TH again a little over a year after the first set of calls and told them I was again out of money and done with the magazine. I talked to a new executive who listened and offered to lower my publishing costs, in half, and help me through this period.He said I had the ad base and count to succeed and just needed to keep trying a little while longer (it didn't matter, I was putting my family at too much risk). I said no that I was out of money and I asked to be released.They agreed.
- Total lost in opportunity costs and investment, easily over $300,000.
- We (my family) had to sell our house to get out from under most of the debt I had incurred.I ended up moving to another city to find work leaving my family behind.
- I found work similar to what I did prior to TH but have had to find a secondjob at night to help pay off credit card bills.
- We will never financially recover from the experience.
However, I readily acknowledge that I signed the contract, I paid the money and published the magazine. I am not bitter over the experience. My only goal is to prevent at least one other person to stop, think and realize the potential risks of investing in the Travelhost program. There are many different ways to start a business, I just wish I had looked harder at alternatives before investing so much time and money in this endeavor.