I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, but I couldn’t see myself joining the ranks of a HVAC contracting business. Like most 18-year-olds in this type of family, if you don’t want to join the family business the “right” step is ….
Go to college and make sure you get a degree in something prestigious and high-paying.
For my dad, that “right” step was to go to pharmacy school, just like his father wanted to do before opening the family business. It was sold to me as a great career, where you graduated with not only a guaranteed job, but a salary that was probably 90% higher than anyone else graduating college and getting their first job. Like so many people, I followed my father’s dream path for me, not mine.
Six years later I had a doctorate in a field that never really interested me. I knew, no matter what, I was not going to work as retail pharmacist, but what options did I have, and more importantly how could I focus on the business side of pharmacy?
So, I took my first job in a hospital, but right away, I was planning my next move: back to school to get my MBA. Maybe hospital leadership was where I was going to satisfy my entrepreneurial spirit.
After graduating with my MBA from Johns Hopkins University, I was successfully joined the hamster wheel and started moving up the hospital leadership ladder. I threw my name and effort into anything that I could put my stamp on and add to my repertoire of skills and abilities.
All I did was burn myself out, so I decided maybe hospital pharmacy was not for me and maybe drug strategy work at a large health plan insurer was what I needed to make me happy.
Back on that hamster wheel again…
Yes, more money and a higher title… but more work…less staff…higher performance goals… less time with my daughters and my husband… and the list goes on…
As that wheel kept spinning, my husband read the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki. The book’s narrative on financial independence and passive income resonated deeply, mirroring the entrepreneurial spirit of my family’s business that I had overlooked earlier. Now in our early 30s, with a newborn, and with 16 collective years of college education, we were at a crossroads.
Starting a business from scratch seemed not only daunting, but we didn’t have any good ideas. That’s where franchising emerged as a viable middle ground—offering a proven business model while allowing us to take control of our fate.
That’s when we bought our first franchise. It was a residential cleaning franchise in Charleston, SC. Although a residential cleaning business was far from what we had envisioned, it was a match for our investment capacity and financial goals. The franchise had a robust support system, great marketing tools and the franchisees were doing well in the system. We grow the business to over 500 clients and had a staff of 35 with a million plus in revenue after 4 ½ years. By that time, we had a dependable management team at the helm of day-to-day operations and our focus had shifted to scaling operations and elevating sales.
The success fueled our ambition…prompting us to sell the cleaning franchise to fund our next franchise venture back home in Boston. This time, we opted for a high-end men’s salon and barbershop, seeking a model with a quicker pathway to semi-absentee ownership. The salon, stationed at a bustling retail locale and operating seven days a week, scaled swiftly. With a skilled manager taking charge, our involvement reduced to a mere 2-3 hours per week, propelling us to true passive income.
Now, as I reflect on the past, it’s astonishing to think that I dedicated so many years to a career in Corporate America, feeling obligated to pursue it because I earned two advanced degrees to make it happen. I probably let a job, making someone else money, take years off my life.
The journey from feeling trapped in corporate America to the freedom of franchising has been transformative, not just for me, but for my family as well. At the end of the day, franchising has granted me control over not only my own schedule but also my success, aligning with my aspirations for the future.
Now after a decade of franchise ownership and establishing two thriving ventures, I now channel my experience as a franchise consultant, guiding others on the path of business ownership through franchising. In my interactions with clients, I often reflect on how franchising has been a catalyst for my growth, and I am devoted to helping them find a path that resonates with their ambitions too.