- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Military Couple Share Insights into Franchising

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Article Sponsored by: CruiseOne/Dream Vacations

Return to September/October 2016 Issue

Franchising is a popular career opportunity for military veterans. In fact, one in seven franchises are owned and operated by military veterans, according to a recent study conducted for the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation based on U.S. Census data. Military veterans often become successful franchise owners because of the similarities between franchising and the military. In addition to the strong support system and working toward a common goal, in both they make tough decisions in difficult situations, follow set procedures and complete continuous training. Here is a Q&A with Dream Vacations’ military franchise owners - married couple Cory Shackelton and Shellee Morris:

Names and Ranks:
Cory Shackelton, Marine Corps Veteran and Shellee Morris, Active Duty Navy


Virginia Beach, Va.

How long have you been a franchise owner?

“We bought a CruiseOne franchise 2 years ago. In April 2016 we rebranded our business as Dream Vacations.”

Where did you hear about Dream Vacations?
“I (Cory) booked a cruise on the Norwegian Epic. In the process of researching vacation details including ports and excursions, I stumbled upon this travel franchise opportunity. Next thing I knew, I was attending a webinar and applying to win a free franchise through the company’s annual Operation Vetrepreneur contest for military veterans. I was named a finalist and decided to purchase a franchise. My wife Shellee joined a year later.”

How would you describe your job?
“We help our clients find vacations that meet their needs, desires, interests, schedules and budgets. We remove the stress of trying to research and plan a vacation.”

What is your advice for those in the military who are transitioning into the civilian workforce?
“Be patient. Civilians think differently than we do, regardless if you spent four years or 30 years in the military. As an example, the civilian workplace isn’t as concerned about being on time (if you’re on time, you’re late) in the military. We often arrive 10-15 minutes early and are always among the first to arrive. Time is more ‘fluid’ on the civilian side. That was the biggest adjustment for us. Also, be patient when discussing your military experience. Civilians have no idea what MRE, TBS, MIDRATS, HESCO, Phrog, GQ, or any of the countless terms or acronyms mean.”

How did your military training and experience prepare you for your civilian job?
“The single most important thing learned was time management. Both in the military and in franchising, it’s not uncommon to be given a task when you least expect it, and at the worst possible time, and have to accomplish it. You must have the ability to switch gears, which those of us in the military are very accustomed to. One minute, I’m getting ready to go to bed and the next minute a client who I previously quoted a cruise is ready to book - and he’s working the swing shift at a hospital and the website is going through upgrades. What do you do? Get out of bed, answer his call, and make sure you keep him a client for the long haul.”

Would you recommend owning travel franchise to other veterans?
“Absolutely! You don’t realize where you’ve been and what you’ve seen until you get out. This is immensely helpful when recommending vacations to your clients Ð you may have actually been where they want to go!”

What is on your bucket list?
“Our bucket list is huge. Fiji/Tahiti, the Great Wall, Vietnam, a River Cruise, Italy, Cuba - the list is never ending, especially since we constantly add to it based on the dream vacations we book.” There are many resources available for military veterans transitioning back to civilian life. Veterans with an entrepreneurial spirit who want to be in business for themselves but not by themselves should consult with the International Franchise Association’s VetFran initiative, consisting of companies offering financial incentives, training and mentoring to veterans interested in small business ownership and/or franchising. When researching for home-based franchise opportunities, ask the franchise development team about their veteran incentives, programs and support systems.

For more information on owning a CruiseOne/Dream Vacations travel franchise, please visit or call 888-249-8235.

Return to September/October 2016 Issue