Franchising enables entrepreneurs to take control of their careers by allowing them to own a business, with many added benefits someone starting on their own would not enjoy. Benefits include a proven successful business model to follow as well as extensive support in multiple areas including training, marketing, and technology. In addition, you have access to the franchisor’s and fellow franchisees’ expertise.
"The franchise model attracts entrepreneurs seeking financial security and schedule flexibility, which is often challenging to find in corporate America." ~Michelle Rowan, Franchise Business Review
So how long will it take you to be able to leave work to coach your kids’ sports team, enjoy long lunches, work half days, and take vacations several times a year if you become a franchisee? Well, it will depend on your goals and the type of franchise you select.
“The franchise model attracts entrepreneurs seeking financial security and schedule flexibility, which is often challenging to find in corporate America,” says Michelle Rowan, President of Franchise Business Review. “It’s important, however to understand that although franchisees enjoy a tremendous amount of support from their franchisor and fellow franchisees, their success as a franchisee will be based on how they work their business and flexibility will depend largely on the business model they select.”
Every franchise model will require you to invest time and money to establish your business. Most necessitate building a team of employees you can rely on before you can start removing yourself from doing the day-to-day operations to working on your business. Those that have designated store hours will have less schedule flexibility, at least initially, than those that do not require a storefront.
"I work from home, which means if my son has a sporting event, doctor appointment, or another activity I want to attend, I can schedule my hours around it.” ~Andrea Joyce, Dream Vacations
Be sure to understand how many hours franchisees work in general at franchises you’re interested in as well as what days they typically work. This information can be obtained by speaking with franchisees and by reading the full franchisee satisfaction survey of the franchise brand you are interested in within the Franchise Reviews section of FranchiseBusinessReview.com. Even if running your franchise is time intensive, you’ll likely be able to structure your time around your own needs.
“I work from home, which means if my son has a sporting event, doctor appointment, or another activity I want to attend, I can schedule my hours around it,” says Andrea Joyce, who owns a Dream Vacations franchise in Somers, New York. “On weekends when I have plans, I try not to do any work, but I always find time to field some emails and let clients know when I will be available. Balance is difficult but important.”
Some franchises offer a tremendous amount of flexibility from day one.
"Kona Ice is a mobile shaved ice truck so it allows franchisees to set their own hours. A franchisee can be as busy as they want,” says Tony Lamb, CEO of Kona Ice. “The seasonality of the business also helps franchisees catch their breath after the busy summer months. The winter months give our franchisees time to regroup, plan the year ahead, make new contacts, and spend time with family and friends."
“Women desire quality of life and relationships, while still pursuing their professional dreams,” says Rhea Lana, Founder and CEO of Rhea Lana’s. “Rhea Lana’s is a community event based business with each of our franchisees holding two children’s consignment events per year. Our franchisees work part time on their own schedule with more focused time spent leading up to their community events.”
It’s easy to get pulled into working too much and living too little. Below are some tips to keep help you maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Set work/life objectives. Outline your vision of the ideal work-life balance. Is it working a set number of hours, not working weekends, only working until a certain time each night, taking several vacations each year, or something else?
Make a plan. Once you know what your work/life objectives are, figure out what you need to do to achieve them. This might include setting hours for yourself if you do not have a store front with set hours, hiring staff, prioritizing, planning ahead, or doing things to reduce the amount of money you have to make such as budgeting better, staying in a home office vs. renting office space if this is an option, etc. “I make a lot of lists and prioritize my day,” says Michelle Spitzer, who owns four MaidPro franchises in Florida. “Also, delegating things to my team allows me to get more things accomplished.” “I plan my weekly schedule on Sunday evenings for the week including meals, errands, meetings, and appointments. This allows me to concentrate on the daily tasks more effectively,” says Jenny Muller, who owns two Painting with a Twist franchises, one in Florida and the other in Alabama, and is a 50% investor in another. “At work, I keep a master schedule for the month, quarter, and year for goals, meetings, advertising and a basic budget.”
Stay focused. You need to keep your work/life balance goals in mind in order to make sure that you don’t ruin your chance of achieving them. For example, if you said you wouldn’t work on a Sunday and then get a call from a potential client, postpone the meeting until the work week if you are not desperate for the work. “What makes me successful both at home and with my business is not procrastinating,” says Joyce of Dream Vacations. “I live by a few sayings my dad would say when I was growing up — ‘Do what you have to do.’ and ‘Don’t make things more difficult than they need to be.’”
Tap into your network. Pouring hours into trying to solve a business challenge by yourself takes away from other things you could be doing (i.e. spending time with your family, a hobby). Instead, contact a fellow franchisee or the franchisor depending on the issue you are addressing. They may have already faced the same issue and found a solution to it. Also, if you have more work than you can handle or want to go on vacation, it’s possible that a fellow franchisee who isn’t too far away can assist you. “I had the opportunity to cover a big sporting event, but was going to be away on vacation,” says Victoria Schafer who owns a TSS Photography franchise with Southern Ohio as her territory. “I reached out to a fellow franchisee who is about an hour and a half away. He covered the job for me and everything worked out great. “
Value happiness - yours and others. Work should be an aspect of your life, not your whole life. If you are working when you said you wouldn’t, are you upsetting a loved one who was hoping to spend time with you or missing out on something you were looking forward to? If you start valuing your happiness and that of those you care about most, you’ll be more likely to take the steps outlined above.
A smart way to jumpstart your search for a franchise that provides good work/life balance is Franchise Business Review’s Top 50 Franchises for Women. It was compiled based on candid feedback from female franchisees who participated in a franchisee satisfaction survey that invited them to share their thoughts about their franchise in a variety of areas including leadership, training, and financial opportunity as well as work/life balance.