1. A long term commitment. Surprisingly, I like that being franchisee is long-term, as when you buy a territory you buy it for a period of time and are committed for that time; you set up your own business and you know that you are in it for the medium to long-term. This is very different to being at a job where at any point you can usually just give a month’s notice and leave. I think it makes you form relationships differently, so, obviously, I’m getting to know Lisa and the other franchisees and it’s a very different feeling knowing that you’re in it for a few years- you are building something for the longer term. It’s actually really nice, particularly at my stage of life with children that are a bit older, taking something on where I know there’s going to be consistency; there’s so much change with the children’s lives as during the time I’m with the franchise my eldest will go off to university. It’s nice to think I’m getting stuck into something that will grow, but it means that I know what I’m doing for the next few years.
2. Training, mentoring and set up. The training and being given resources such as the website and people’s tips and tricks have been amazing. I feel like I’ve benefited so much from other people’s experiences and mistakes, as I have learned things that other people may take 2 or 3 years to learn, so I have hit the ground running and am producing good results quite quickly. The training also gave me so much confidence through business coaching, stylists and professional photos, and networking training. The training also gave me lots of systems and structure, so even when I come across tricky situations with clients, I have a structure to work within and so I know that as long as I follow it, things will progress and my time won’t get eaten up. It’s just a very comforting feeling.
3. We collaberate. I like that we learn together in a collaborative environment, especially during franchise development days. The fact that I can collaborate with, and learn from, other female architects is unique, as you never come across that in practices as they tend to have a hierarchical structure. I really like that we are all working for the same goal; although we have our own business, we are there to help each other, so you feel like you’re part of something bigger.
4. Accountability. I think I work well when I have somebody to tell what I have done, and having a sounding board, particularly in creative industries, is really useful. It’s great to chat things over with somebody, and to bounce ideas of them as designs and business ideas develop better that way. So, by being a franchisee you always have accountability back to your franchisor. Some people might find this restrictive, but I actually find it comforting, and it also challenges me.
5. Day to day support. Being a franchisee means you have support as I know that I can call up my franchisor at any time, and we skype regularly. Additionally, activities such as monthly business coaching sessions are put in place, so I feel like I have invested in myself, my learning and my career. I’m not sure I would have had these if I had set up on my own, so I think I would have reached a crisis point before realising that I should have invested in some training. Through Pride Road, support systems and a mentoring structure has been created ahead of time and is continually contributing to my career, so I can feel supported all the time.
6. Money. Potentially a downside of franchising is that you belong to the franchise and pay a monthly fee, which pays for all those benefits I have talked about. But that means you have a long-term financial commitment. The way I’m thinking about it is that it’s almost like doing a master’s degree as you are paying money for developing your career, so I think it’s money well spent.