Edinburgh time for you franchisee Catherine Fitch explains how becoming her own boss changed her life for the better
This morning I sat at the table and ate breakfast with my three-year-old son. Then we built a train track together. I didn’t have to rush to work for a certain time, so we had time to chat and spend quality time together. At this point residual income is coming into my business account and the tasks I needed to complete for the day are flexible and planned throughout the morning. Both my son and I have big smiles on our faces. We are very, very happy.
I lead a very different life today compared to a few months ago, when I had to get up at 4.30am twice a week to fly to London, not returning home until 8pm. I felt so shattered at the weekends that just the thought of doing family activities was exhausting. I regularly felt guilty because I couldn’t give my son the time he deserved. On top of this, I wasn’t doing as good a job at work as I could have.
I knew I needed to make a change, but with a mortgage and bills to pay, I had to be confident in what change that would be. I also worked for good people. I loved my job before I had my son and the company I worked for were supportive and generous.
Another factor in making a change was financial. I couldn’t carry on working 70 hours a week, but what could I do that would earn me more money for less hours? The solution was to work for myself and run my own business - a very daunting prospect. I had developed business skills from my previous role as a recruitment consultant - I was confident dealing with people and bringing in sales - but to write a business plan, set up a website and put together robust procedures and processes? No thanks.
It was my mum who spotted the franchise opportunity with Time For You in our local Duddingston community magazine. I always had cleaners, so I know how important it is to have a good one. A single phone call wouldn’t hurt, I thought.
This call led to a meeting with Time For You founders Freddie and Ruth Rayner. I also spoke with several Time For You franchisees across the UK to see how their businesses were performing. The feedback was honest and positive. When I met with Freddie and Ruth I knew investing in a Time For You franchise was the right move to make. They are so passionate about helping you to achieve your goals. They don’t interfere, but are there if you need them. They also run a ‘success track’ programme, which has been invaluable in keeping me focused and on track.
The initial training is great and geared up to the individual franchisee. Everyone coming into the franchise has different skills to bring to the business, as well as different things to learn. The website is set up for you - you just add the content, guided by Time For You, which advises you on what works well online. There are different leaflet deigns to choose from and the marketing materials provided make you look professional and competent in front of clients.
Freddie and Ruth have vast industry experience, which they share with you. They have learnt through the mistakes they have made while building their business, enabling them to provide you with real life examples of what to expect. The training is ongoing and you can reach out to other franchisees and learn from them.
Freddie and Ruth also put on a dinner dance after the company’s AGM, which is a lovely chance to meet other franchisees in the network. The good thing about Time For You is that the proven business template is written out for you. As a business owner, how you choose to run things is left up to you, so you can grow the business as big as you want.
I started my business on February 4, 2013. By July 5, 2013 I had 153 clients. I am earning enough to pay the bills and will be going on two holidays this year. It is up to you how big or small you want your business to be.
My business partner is my mum, Jennie. She does all the admin, while I do the marketing. I plan my client visits and cleaner interviews around my personal commitments, not the other way around. So when my son goes to school in a couple of years I will be able to see his school plays and sports day - all the important things that make life worthwhile. My mum and I want to take my son to lots of different countries so he can see the world. This is possible as I can run the business from my laptop and phone. When I take a holiday, income still comes in.
Investing in the Time For You franchise has been the best decision I have made. I am happier, more relaxed and less stressed. On top of that, I’m earning more than in my previous job. I have control over my future and a chance to give my son a good start in life. He is so much happier as I am around more and, of course, I don’t have that awful wrench when I go to work. He knows that if I have to see a client I am only going to be away half an hour.
If you follow the business plan and processes set out by Freddie and Ruth, you can make this business work for you. I would recommend it to anyone.