Reasons to Make a Mid-Career Change to Franchising
An interesting thing about life is that while all of us consider ourselves and our journeys unique, the arc of the human odyssey is similar. In some senses only the names and faces change. I often reflect on the fact that my path to business ownership, and the milestones I passed, is broadly similar to that of many of my clients and perhaps you.
Most of my clients are doing well professionally and financially when they begin their franchise journey. In other words, they are exploring franchising from a position of strength. They have big incomes and impressive titles but are missing what is most important: fulfillment and satisfaction.
Some grow tired of bad bosses, others covet freedom, autonomy, and control. Still others seek to create multi-generational wealth.
The common thread, though, is that the current path is not sustainable. They all want something different. We wind up in the same place because the career arc is predictable.
The Lifespan of a Career
Careers begin with a motivation to learn, grow, and express our knowledge, competence, talents, skills, and abilities. We work long hours, play the political game, and take on challenges to achieve and climb corporate ladder, each rung metaphorically proof of our burgeoning talents. We are focused on increasing our income and wealth.
With time, achievement, and a higher net worth, our mindset and priorities evolve, and we pursue greater meaning and happiness in their lives. As we strive to self-actualize, changes in our values, motivations, and drivers transform us and often lead to dissatisfaction with our careers.
The “career ladder” connotes a linear progression, the inertial force of which is hard to exit, making it feel like a Sisyphean hell. It is natural, common, and wholly rational to question whether your career path at 22 is still right for you today.
Catalysts for Mid-Career Change
There are predictable catalysts for mid-career franchise exploration. From career dissatisfaction to losing out on a promotion or being laid off, the drivers are both internal and external. Regardless of the catalyst, inflection points represent a shift in perspective and motivation, and are predictably inevitable. Even so, most people are not well prepared for this shift. Personally, I was ill-prepared.
For me, the inflection point came when my father passed away. I had just turned fifty and was profoundly unhappy professionally, and my values were not aligned with my organization. Professional discontent and recognition of the finite nature of life were my catalysts for change. I swore never to do anything that did not make me happy again.
I literally leaped off the corporate ladder and embraced the unlimited opportunities that franchising presented. For me, it was a time of personal understanding, exploration, and tremendous energy and power. I permitted myself, for the first time in my career, to pursue entrepreneurial options on a full-time basis. I committed to never working for anyone ever again!
Leaving a Career
Reassessing what work, and indeed life, means is invigorating and challenging. If you are leaving a career, you are likely mourning the past as you explore the future. It is natural to grieve what you are leaving behind, since that path served you well previously.
During exploration the world is full of possibilities, as broadly as it was when you began your career. You now have several important advantages that you did not when you launched your career.
First, you probably have more significant resources, financial and otherwise, than when you started off. This allows for more options. Second, the breadth, depth, and quality of your experience are much deeper. You managed people, ran projects, and achieved challenging goals. You honed your communication, management, operations, and sales skills. You likely have a much more refined level of emotional intelligence and can manage the realities of work more effectively. In short, you possess a profoundly stronger skillset than earlier in your career.
Perhaps, most importantly, you know yourself much better. You know your strengths and weaknesses. You can be honest about your abilities, skills, or interests. Career transitioning, from a place of experience means you are coming at it from a place of power. Concepts like independence, autonomy, flexibility, and happiness – probably not considered earlier in your career – rise to the fore.
You are a much more complete version of yourself now than when you began your career.
I wish for you the same success that franchising has brought to me!
Mark Schnurman, founder of The Perfect Franchise, boasts over 30 years of franchising expertise, spanning diverse industries such as real estate and financial services. With degrees from Penn State and Ohio State, Mark's guidance, refined through career advice columns and teaching, has aided thousands in making well-informed franchise choices.