Owning a failing franchise was the most stressful, gut-wrenching, soul-destroying experience I have ever been through.
I spent many a sleepless night trying to work out how I was going to get myself out of this mess. I had a huge rent payment due and no money. I was on the verge of bankruptcy and I was about to take my husband and parents with me, as investors in my franchise.
I should have left my ego at the door, as my previous business experience and success didn’t mean jack s*%t at this point.
Every single thing I tried to turn the business around failed to work.
Hitting Rock Bottom
At two in the morning on one of those sleepless nights I thought, “I have life insurance for $150,000. It will pay back the business loan and leave enough for my funeral. I’ve had it longer than 13 months, so it will pay in the event of a suicide. I can make this mess go away if I kill myself.”
I lay there on the couch with my dogs and planned it all out. My husband was asleep in our bedroom and knew nothing of this. I thought about how I would leave instructions to pay out the business loan, sell the business and pay back Mum & Dad.
I honestly thought suicide was the only way I could get all of us out of the mess that I had made. I was so exhausted that I was emotionless. Except for a feeling of relief that I was finally going to be able to do something that would work. All the things I had tried failed to change anything and all I could do was panic.
I was at peace with the decision I had made – I truly felt it was the only way forward.
This is how I felt after buying my SECOND business, a juice bar franchise. You’d think that if I was going to suck at running a business, it would be my first because I didn’t know what I was doing.
WRONG! It was because my FIRST was so successful, that my ego had gotten out of control.
I bought a bad business the second time around, thinking I had the midas touch when it came to business. Of course I could buy a franchise that wasn’t even breaking even, and turn it into a winner!
12 months into owning that business, I had spent all the profits I had made from selling my first. I was working 7 days a week, mostly on my own, as I couldn’t afford to pay staff and I was speaking with my lawyer about bankruptcy.
That night, when I felt that suicide was the only way out, I just could not expand my mind to try and think of other options. I was so tired, so scared, so mad at myself for putting myself in this position, that I could not see a way out.
Suck It Up & Fix It
Luckily, 2 hours or so after I decided suicide was my only option, and I was planning out how I would do it, a vision of my Mum’s face came to me. She was crying, as she had found out I had killed myself to get insurance money. I knew it would relieve the pressure for me, it would absolutely crush her, my Dad and my husband. I couldn’t be so selfish.
I made this mess – I had to suck it up and fix it.
2 ½ years later, I sold the business for $55,000 more than I paid for it. The best day ever was when I gave back my Mum & Dad their initial investment, and $20,000 profit.
I was proud, relieved and absolutely, down to the bone, exhausted.
Fast forward 10 years later and I am now still a franchisee. I am married to the same amazing man and we have 3 kidlets. I still have one of those dogs who lay on that couch with me that awful night (my other gorgeous girl, Zoe, left us a while ago.)
Lessons Learned The Hard Way
I am WAY more careful and cautious about buying businesses (we have had 2 since).
Yet I still believe in franchises, business and being my own boss.
What I am passionate about now is making sure no other parent, who wants to be their own boss and buy a franchise, gets themselves into the same mess I did.
I think about my kids and what its like to be a Mum, and I overlay those feelings over that situation and it is MY WORST NIGHTMARE.
I CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE how scared I would be, or how much I’d hate myself, if I EVER put my kids in that situation. All because I’d been too full of myself to stop and really look.
Our family wouldn’t have survived. I worked almost every day for 3 ½ years to turn that around and my kids wouldn’t have known their Mum. My husband would virtually be a single parent.
Yet, as a franchise trainer, I saw families setting themselves up for the same situation. They were offered a franchise by the franchisor that was losing money, and sold the ‘possibility’ of how they could buy it cheap, build it up and make a lot of money.
That is a BIG risk. It may work for some, or it could turn out like mine did. The worst possible case that could cost you your family.
I am not trying to be doom and gloom. I am trying to be real.
How We Can Help
Buying a business for the first time is like having your first baby.
You can have babysitting experience, you can be a childcare worker, you can read every book out there, and read every blog. Yet, until you are “in”, you won’t know if your baby sleeps only during the day, is lactose intolerant, or is colicky.
So will your franchise be a 24/7 monster that takes over your life, or a slow starter in growing sales and profits, or the equivalent of the angel baby that sleeps through the night and eats absolutely anything you put in front of it?
The ‘angel baby’ version of a franchise is one that gives you the money that you need to support your family, lets you be flexible in your time so that you can be at that school concert or football game, and builds you an asset for your future.
My husband and I, as The Franchise Parentpreneur, want you to make sure that you buy your franchise WITH YOUR EYES WIDE OPEN. We’ll tell you, straight up, if you are looking at an angel baby or an all night screamer!
Ego, ‘possibility’ and excitement are put to the side for a moment, and numbers and truth are looked at.
Family discussions about ‘what it is really like’ are had, to make sure everyone is on board, and aware of what it can take to Be Your Own Boss.
True business owners are successful before they even begin, because they get help. They are smart and will never put themselves in a position like I did and that is what I now live for.
I will always have your backs, all you Mums & Dads out there. Download our free ____________ and go through it with your family before YOU EVEN THINK about researching which franchise to buy.
At the end of the day, whether you go ahead and become a franchisee, or you decide as a family it is not the best move for you, we are here to be a REAL filter through which to assess your choice.