A lot of people come to me:
- Tired of working countless hours to get barely ahead (if at all)
- Hating the thought of climbing the corporate ladder only to build someone else’s dream
- Realizing that life is short and there’s more to be experienced outside of the office walls
I think a lot of us can relate to those feelings, right?
In my early 20’s, I was living in Virginia Beach, and actually I was on my way to law school. During orientation I realized that law school just wasn’t for me, so instead I started a multi-billion dollar landscaping company called John Deere… No I’m kidding. I did start a landscaping company though, but I use the term “company” very liberally. It was me, a truck, a rake, and a shovel. And I didn’t make any money haha! Nevertheless I enjoyed it. I got to be my own boss, make my own schedule, call the shots – I was a free man. I watched my friends get sucked into the white collar rat race, and I decided that I didn’t want that for my life. I didn’t want to leave my success up to somebody else! I’m not trying to be cheesy, but I really just wanted to be in control of my own destiny. So running my own small business was good enough for me.
While I was running my landscaping business I decided to get my real estate license, figuring I should try to venture into something else so that I could start to actually make some money. Then one day, while working in a couple’s yard, they came outside to talk with me. As the conversation continued on longer and longer, I saw a unique opportunity to buy their investment condo. I go into detail about how this happened in the first episode of The Franchise Story Podcast, but in general I don’t recommend that any business owner ask if they can buy their customers’ property. To make a long story short, I did eventually buy their condo, and a few months later ended up making more money than I had made in my entire life!
But before that deal happened, a friend of mine roped me into joining him at a random event so that he could look at a franchise opportunity. I didn’t know any details about the event other than it had something vaguely to do with franchising, but I didn’t care. For me, the event meant:
- free food (which remember, I NEEDED since I wasn’t making any money with my landscaping “company”)
- and the chance to meet some people in a town that I was still new in.
Well it turns out this event was Liberty Tax’s annual convention, which, if you know anything about annual conventions, strangers are not typically invited to haha!
So I show up thinking it’s just kind of a meet-and-greet, and end up talking with a lot of franchisees and hearing their stories. The light bulbs started turning on for me. What I saw was an incredible opportunity to get into an early-stage company with a lot of growth ahead of it, and a good founder with experience in franchising.
I had never considered franchising up until this point. I thought maybe I’d be a real estate agent forever, or I’d keep starting my own businesses, or whatever – but I had never considered becoming a franchisee. That convention changed everything for me, and I knew I HAD to get in on this opportunity.
So at the age of 25, I bought my first franchise with Liberty Tax, and never looked back. I stayed with real estate for a bit, but just ended up using the money I made from real estate to invest in more franchises, instead of investing the money I made in franchising to buy more real estate!
Fast forward 20 years. I’m older, I’m starting to get some gray in my hair, but I am incredibly happy. I’ve got an amazing wife and three beautiful daughters. We basically live in a postcard!!! I have time to make memories with my family in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota – hiking, camping, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, snowmobiling, boating, etc. I just got back from a family trip to Disneyland with some friends, and my girls had the time of their lives. I don’t know that I’d have any of this if it weren’t for franchising. I like stocks, I still like real estate, I like mutual funds and bonds or whatever. But because of the freedom I’ve achieved, I would trade all of those investment tools for a franchise any day of the week.
I know that it’s not easy for everybody to make the decision to buy a franchise. And I don’t think anybody should make that kind of decision too quickly.
You have to consider:
- the initial cost of investment.
- the challenge of adding one more thing into your already busy life.
- the fear of what if everything goes wrong and you lose your money.
- the inevitability that you will encounter unfamiliar obstacles.
But what about:
- the cost of inaction?
- the opportunity to work less and make more?
- the chance to spend more time with your family and less time behind a desk?
- the possibility that you’ll regret not at least trying to improve your life?
- the probability that everything will be fine?
- the ability to take control of your destiny back into your own hands?
There will never be a point where all of your doubts and fears go away. Just the other day I talked to somebody on the phone who is ready to buy a franchise – she has the money, the timing is right, the desire is there – but she’s scared. I don’t fault her for that, because I was scared too. But for me at age 25, I couldn’t afford not to take advantage of franchising.
I’m not a life-coach or spiritual guru, but I want you to do something for me right now. I want you to take a minute and think about where you want to be in 5 years. Then I want you to ask yourself this question, and I want you to be honest with yourself when you answer…
Can the job you have now get you to where you want to be financially, emotionally, and relationally in 5 years?
If so, then great! Keep going. But if not… well I think it’s time to consider making some different decisions.