Franchising for flexibility
Claire Pearson spent 14 years working in marketing communications for a number of finance, technology and education clients, organising events as far afield as Cape Town in South Africa. But earlier this year she was facing redundancy at the marketing agency she worked for.
She had worked from home for the last six years and as a single mum of a seven year old knew it would be hard to find that flexibility in a new job. However, she needed to find a way to be able to support her son Blaise financially but also be around for him. So she decided to do something completely different and go into franchising.
She says: “I decided to opt for the ‘franchise’ route as although I felt I had the necessary enthusiasm and mindset to work for myself, I didn’t necessarily have all the skills and therefore lacked confidence in making it happen by myself. I felt that by buying into a franchise I would benefit from a tried and trusted method.”
Claire, 38, found Bright & Beautiful, an ethical cleaning franchise, on Workingmums.co.uk and has just launched the business in Towcester, Northants, where she has lived since Dec 2010. She says she was attracted to the franchise by its ethos and friendly approach. She states: “The company not only cares about helping it’s franchisees build a rewarding business, it also cares about the environment, its team members, the clients and providing an excellent service, as well as helping charitable causes.”
Her says her typical working day includes an element of marketing, administration, checking in with the team, sales, recruitment and planning. She runs the business during the day while her son is at school, making only a few calls during the evening. That means she can drop off and pick up her son every day. She also has friends and her mother around who can help out.
She says Bright & Beautiful offer “a fantastic level of support” and that she can ring them at any time with any question.
Claire says she has built up her confidence gradually through achievements from her first quote to training team members. But her greatest achievement has been building the business whilst caring for her son.
Another mum who came to Bright & Beautiful through Workingmums.co.uk is 45-year-old Nicola Bailey [pictured top right], an electrical engineer with years of experience in the telecoms industry who retrained as an accountant when her children were born and worked as a freelance book-keeper. She had been looking for something to bring in extra income which would be flexible around her two children, aged 15 and 12.
She says: “The beauty of a cleaning franchise is that it is a service-based company with minimal overheads and it can be run from home. A lot of franchise opportunities I looked at involved long hours. Although my children are older they still need time and attention, for instance, taking to drama or swimming club in the evenings, plus I have a lot of my own activities in the evenings such as choir, helping with voluntary organisations and so on. So the flexible day-time hours which fit around other things was a big attraction to me.”
Nicola, from Rossendale, Lancashire, says since launching her franchise in October 2011, her confidence has really grown. She says: “I’ve grown in confidence - in my business and in me as a person – looking back, things that I found hard initially like doing my first quote, interviewing new staff, taking on my first job/client, I now find easy and enjoy.”