Sara Carnduff feels she has finally got her work life balance right. It’s not that she didn’t enjoy working in large organisations, but running her own franchise has given her the freedom to work around her children and to make an impact. She spoke to Workingmums.co.uk.
Sara Carnduff feels she has finally got her work life balance right. It’s not that she didn’t enjoy working in large organisations, but running her own franchise has given her the freedom to work around her children and to make an impact.
She is now celebrating five years as a franchisee and continuing to develop the business.
Mum-of-three Sara [pictured with two of her children and a local farmer] used to work in marketing and product development, most recently at Barclay’s. After she got married she transferred her job to Kenilworth and two years later had her son Jack. She returned to work part time with Barclay’s. Jack was 21 months old when she had twin girls. She was worried, though, about the girls being shortchanged and missing out on nursery since Jack had had such a good time so she wanted to keep working, even if it didn’t make much financial sense.
She went back to work doing three school days, but she was made redundant after surviving several restructures. She got another job almost immediately managing a fertility clinic. She did the job for a year, but decided it was not for her. She loved the patients and the work, but felt she was doing longer and longer days and that she couldn’t have much of an impact because there was too much red tape.
So she decided to set up her own business. She had bought bits of jewellery in France, knowing her friends would like them. It sold well. She then branched out and found more jewellery in Spain and Belgium as well as suppliers in Australia. She ran the business for a year until, she says, “everyone started selling cheap jewellery”. “I got in at the right time and left at the right time,” she states, saying she found she was doing more and more events at the weekends and during the evening. “The balance was wrong,” she said.
The fact that she had had some experience of setting up her own business probably gave her the confidence, she says, to take up a franchise. “I had always worked in very large organisations before so it was a huge step to set up a business,” she says.
A friend introduced her to Raring2Go,
a magazine franchise. The original idea for the business came from two ladies who had set up an events magazine in Wolverhampton. The formula had been tried and tested. Sara could see a gap in the market for a what’s on guide directed at parents of children at primary school and younger. She was one of the first to buy into the franchise. “I could see the importance of it. I had moved just before my son was born and did not know what there was for young children. On lots of levels the magazine has helped me find out what there was and find friends,” she says.
Five years later she is still running the magazine. “It was a perfect fit for me,” she says. “I had the marketing background and I really felt it could use my skills. I love talking to people and it fit around my family.”
The franchise provided the framework for how the magazine looks, although Sara has had a say when it was relaunched last year. Apart from that she can be quite creative about what she puts in the magazine, such as features about events or giving parents advice and support.
Sara says that her children have shown an interest in what she is doing and both her twins want to start their own business. She works school hours and the occasional evening before a deadline, but admits in her first year it was hard not to work in the holidays and she ended up only having the odd day off. Now that the business has developed she plans it so she can have most of the holidays off and just keep up with emails.
Work life balance
She paid a flat rate on joining and pays £750 per quarter per area that her magazine covers. She has extended from South Warwickshire and Kenilworth and now has a magazine covering Solihull too. In return for the franchise, she gets a website, an IT account manager and hands on support from the franchisors, plus the magazine name and framework. The magazine is printed via the franchisors. Sara doesn’t want to say how much she earns, but states that her aim was to earn more than her Barclay’s part-time salary “and I have done that”. It’s not just about that, though.
The magazine gives her the ability to “be here for the children”. She says: “I feel I have got the balance right. I have one established and growing business and one that is developing. I am making friends and the magazine helps people. People appreciate it.”