by Sara le Roux, Owner and Inspirer at The Creation Station Penistone and District
It’s hard to believe that it has been a whole year since I was awarded and invested in my ‘Creation Station’ franchise. Even with all the research that I did, I still couldn’t have imagined the journey that I would take over the last twelve months and the amazing changes that I would see in my life as a ‘Franchisee Mummy’.
I decided that I would reflect on my experience and put together a list of 10 things that I believe are important for any Franchisee Mummy to know – or someone even considering making the leap!
1. Always remember that you are buying a business framework and experienced support – not a new employer or someone to do all the work for you! If you are the sort of person who needs to be told what they should be doing every step of the way then owning your own business may not be the best way for you to really shine in life!
2. Whatever franchise you choose, always remember that this is your business – not just an expensive hobby!
3. It’s really (REALLY!) hard work!! I don’t believe any successful business was built on a few part time hours. Owning your own business is extremely rewarding though! You have an amazing opportunity to really challenge yourself and develop new skills. Another huge benefit is that it gives your family the flexibility to make it work to fit your schedule and needs. I chose to setup my classes to run in the mornings: my children have a blast spending either a few hours at pre-school or with our lovely childminder and then we get to play in the afternoons. I do all my emailing and other admin around nap times and in the evenings when they have gone to bed. It’s definitely a bit of a juggling act but whilst our little ones are so young this is what works for our family.
4. You aren’t going to earn big money overnight! Building a solid, successful business takes time – sometimes years! Make sure you factor some additional money into your initial start-up costs so that your bill are still going to be paid on time!
5. Know your limits! There are a lot of things about running your own business that you won’t know how to do when you first start out. Always view this as a positive thing and an opportunity to learn new skills but never be afraid to ask for help! There are only so many hours in the day and your time is precious – if there is someone else that could get the job done quicker for you (and maybe better?) then take advantage of that. Buy their services, get that stress off your shoulders and move your business forward. It’s all good and well spending days learning how to correctly submit your tax return but wouldn’t that time be better utilised bringing in new (PAID!) business? How much is your time worth V’s paying someone else to do the job for you – it’s sometimes a no-brainer situation!
6. Gather your cheerleaders! Surround yourself with an amazing support network. Things will be tough sometimes and you need people in your life who will build you up – not pull you down! The Creation Station franchisee network is amazing and has so many people to ask for advice and support – it all just helps you feel a little less isolated in this crazy world of being a business owner.
7. You can’t please everyone all of the time! No matter what they say, your business will always be ‘personal’ to you. Yes, it will hurt like crazy when someone criticises your business ‘baby’ but it’s important that you take the time to listen to their concerns, make any changes to your business that you feel are necessary and then just let it go!
8. Take time out every now and then to remember why you decided to do this. Family time? Flexibility? Personal growth? It’s all too easy to get side tracked and let your business slowly take over your life, so it’s worth taking a moment to check that the way you are operating your business still helps you to achieve this!
9. Remember to be kind to yourself! When you own a business, you are often you are wearing many ‘hats’ and multi-tasking like crazy all of the time. Every now and then just step back and catch your breath. The world will not stop turning if you don’t reply to an email immediately or take a few well-earned days off to recharge your batteries. You probably chose your business as a way to support your family financially, but that will mean nothing if you’re too burned out to enjoy it, and too busy to notice your home life passing you by.
10. Choose your business wisely – do your homework and speak to everyone that can help you to make a decision. Once you choose your franchise you are tied to it for quite some time so make your decision knowing that the business you are investing in is one that you truly love.
A little bit about me
Ever had one of ‘those’ moments where you just know that you could keep walking the same path and probably still be in exactly the same spot in another 5 years? That was me 12 months ago. As my second stint of maternity leave was creeping by I had that sinking feeling that I’m sure many people have had at some point or other. Don’t get me wrong – I worked for a fantastic employer, with great benefits but after 9 years I had done every job in the department and had well and truly hit the ceiling when it came to promotion. I needed more but had no idea what that ‘more’ was. In the space of three years I had gotten married, moved house and had two beautiful children. With so many lovely changes in my life I had no idea that after the dust settled I would be left feeling this way.
If you could have looked into a crystal ball back then and seen me now I’d understand how you’d think that I’d totally lost the plot! I’ve left my job in HR, invested in a ‘Creation Station’ franchise and now provide Art & Craft activities for children….
I LOVE IT!!!
Its hard work, my muscles ache and my days are now a lovely (if not sometimes odd) mix of random things – everything from testing out new session plans and learning how to achieve the ideal ‘gloop’ consistency (critical!) to balancing the accounts and researching how to effectively target my advertising on social media – no two days are ever the same and I would not change that for anything.
I come from a varied working background, mainly in Human Resources, but along the way I have also worked in I.T, been a soldier in the Army Reserve Forces and even worked one season as a horseback instructor at a Texan summer camp! What I’m getting at is that I don’t believe that you need to have one particular background to become a business owner. With advice, support and training becoming more accessible all the time, what is truly essential is that you love what you are doing and that it gives you a sense of achievement.
I won’t lie and say that I’ve never had moments where I wished for a fixed monthly salary again, but those moments were very (VERY!) short lived. I would never want to give up the flexibility that I have been able to achieve by owning my own business, nor the happiness that I get from seeing my customers excited faces each week.
I have been incredibly fortunate. I have an awesome husband who has supported me unwaveringly. I have been able to take that scary leap and ‘just see what happens’ and so far things are looking…..SHINY! 🙂
A massive Thank You to Sara for sharing some top tips from her Creation Station journey.
Does the Creation Station sound like it could be the right fit for you? Are you interested in finding out more about the franchise opportunities in your area?
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