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Thinking of total career change and buying a franchise- any advice? Am I mad?

(11 Posts)
ilikeyoursleeves Mon 12-Jan-09 17:53:45

Hi, I currently work P/T 3 days a week in a relatively well paid job in the NHS. It took a degree and a doctorate to qualify to work in my position and I've been working now for 7 years. I returned to work in November 2008 after a years M/L and I am now PG again, expecting #2 in July. Ever since I left to go on mat leave though I was so glad to see the back of my job and never missed it for one second. I dreaded going back and I've now been there for 2 months and still don't like it- I have no drive for my career anymore and long to do something else. But i know it pays well for the hours I do, provides stability and I get to have time with DS for 4 days a week.

I recently saw the opportunity to buy a franchise for a jewellery company that make those baby fingerprint necklaces and charms etc and i'm starting to think seriously about this. I know it would be hard work and I need to figure out the sums etc but I can't stop thinking about it. I need to think if I could do it with 2 young kids in tow though.... I have contacted the company for further info and plan on doing LOTS of research.

I was just wondering if anyone out there has had experience of something similar, a career change, working for themselves with young children and within a franchise. Any advice?

Many thanks!

SheherazadetheGoat Mon 12-Jan-09 17:57:37

i think you would be mad in the current climate unless you can survive completely without your salary.

i think every woman has a child and spends a few months thinking up cutsie baby related business ideas. in reality most such businesses don't work esp not at the minute.

ilikeyoursleeves Mon 12-Jan-09 20:31:27

any other opinions?

tumtumtetum Mon 12-Jan-09 20:36:36

I know nothing about having your own business at all, and am a naturally cautious person, and I think it sounds like a bad idea, especailly at the moment.

If you are seriously considering it you need to think very carefully about all the usual stuff - who is going to buy them, how are you going to access customers, is there a demand for this jewellery (especially at the moment when money is tight), if the fingerprints have to be taken it would have to be a local thing you couldn't do mail order presumably - would you travel to client's homes? Or try to get into shops/hosps/post-natal leaflets etc.

That's just off the top of my head! However if you think you have the means to find the custmomers, that there is enough demand etc etc then why not.

Is there any way you could start out doing it in your spare time and carry on working to see if it's a goer?

ChairmumMiaow Mon 12-Jan-09 20:44:42

If you really hate your job, try to find something else, but in the current climate I wouldn't do anything that involves selling what are most definitely luxury items.

This is speaking as someone who a)isn't really enjoying being back at her job even though its part time and a business I started 3.5yrs ago and b)has recently - since having a baby - started a business selling slings.

Difference is that I'm starting very low-key on the slings and although I hope that one day I'll make a reasonable amount of money on it, I know I can't make a living out of it without some serious work (and financial investment).

Anyway, can you compromise? If you can get by without your wage, then find something new to do that you can love, even if you might not make any money to start with. If you can't, can you get a part time job to plug the gap?

Whatever you do, in the current economic climate I would a)ensure you can survive without income from the new business for a significant period of time and b)find something that people will need anyway. (I figured that many people will buy a sling anyway - I try to get them to buy one of mine instead of one from mothercare!)

Good luck!

Squiffy Mon 12-Jan-09 23:02:58

Sorry, but yes, you are mad.

The market timing is wrong.
You will have 2 children and no support mechanism in place. If your DC's are ill, you cannot just take a sickie - you lose the ability to pay bills.
You have a doctorate and are presumably pretty clever. You will probably despise what you are selling within a month and then have to 'pretend' to like it whilst flogging it to people who you won't respect (on account that if they had taste they wouldn;t buy it)
You will have to doorstep tired, stressed-out mums who are hormonal and may (a) tell you to fuck off (I did that when one of these salespeople came to my room in hospital on account of fact that DD was in SCBU at the time) or (b) cry, because they love what you are selling but have no money.
when you tell people what you are doing, they will politely change the conversation and constantly assume that you are earning 'pin money' whilst your DH brings home the real bacon, evewn though you will be working twice as hard as him. This will apply even if your franchise is a raging success.
My SIL bought a franchise, after attending some franchise exhibition thing. Cost her £5,000 plus about £2,000 outlay and her turnover to date (after 2 years and lots of effort) is £300. Your franchise may be more successful, but can you afford the lost salary and the lost franchise costs if it is not?

Mad, I tell ya.

Lauriefairycake Mon 12-Jan-09 23:11:30

There were some threads on here last week about certain things that do well in a recession and this was not one of them.

I would research that and see if there's a niche for things that do well in recessions and not available to your area- like Poundland for example grin (not a franchise)

I also think there's a period of adjustment going on here - the reality is that you have lost the passion for your job but it pays well, has good maternity leave and allows you to spend time with your ds. Priorities naturally shift - maybe if you shift the passion even more to your children you will be able to cope with not liking work so much. I think that 'shift' takes longer than people think (took me 2 years)

ayeayesir Mon 12-Jan-09 23:48:08

I agree with the others, especially Squiffy about the realities of selling stuff like that once the novelty has worn off.

The current climate makes it risky in two ways (unless your other half has the ultimately secure job and it really would just be pin money) - firstly your customer base is shrinking day by day for luxury things like that, and secondly a guaranteed well-paid part-time job is not something to be given up lightly, for your own financial security. I've got a job like that and I am trying to prepare myself for us all having to live off it if dh gets made redundant.

Life with two is also a lot more hectic than life with one - you've got all the sibling stuff and so on to sort out as well as the normal practical babycare things to do. It's intense. Taking a great deal of work home (which is what you'll be doing by working from home) will be VERY difficult. I've done a lot of work from home with two young children, even with one at school, and it's mostly impossible except when I've got childcare, or in the evenings.

Sadly this is an awful time to start up any kind of new business selling luxuries, but it could be a great time to batten down the hatches and PLAN for later on. You'll probably change more than you realise over the next few years and when you come out from the years of your children's babyhood you might want to do something completely different. Older children are fascinating too and you may even find there are other self-employment opportunities you'll be more interested in for the long term, things that catch your interest as your children get older and you come across them, things that you don't even know about now. Even things that are related to your doctorate AND to children and can somehow grab your mind as well as just your hard work and restlessness. Are there any OU courses or other training things you could do over the next year or two that could help to get you ready to launch something when things get better?

Personally I'd treat this recession as a forced opportunity to plan - OK it's annoying not to be able to go for the first opportunity you like the sound of, but it may actually work out better in the long run when it comes to choosing what you do (and it's definitely a better bet financially)!

Good luck!

twoplease Tue 13-Jan-09 17:24:37

hi - i'm sorry, i'm not going to be very positive either.

my hubby and i have our own home furnishings and accessories shop and website. i am also a teacher. i gave up my p-t job in a great school once the business was doing well so that i could spend more time with my dd. i'm now regretting it for all sorts of reasons but having a stable income is great especially as things are soooo tough in the retail sector at the moment. i have had to take a temp job somewhere to get some money coming in.

working for ourselves is good and we are really proud of what we have achieved but we don't get much time off and as someone earlier mentioned, if one of us is sick, we are out of pocket.

how about waiting until this time next year and see what the economy does?

Helium Tue 13-Jan-09 19:43:34

How about starting doing something like this in your spare time first. See how it goes - whether you are suited to selling in this way, what the workload is like and find out about being self employed before you give up your job.
Good luck

ilikeyoursleeves Tue 13-Jan-09 20:13:35

Hi all,

Thanks for the feedback. I think I am still going through the inevitable adjustment period that most of us probably have when we return to work. I just love spending time with my DS and think I got used to being off on M/L that I'm finding it difficult to settle back into work. My career partly involves staying on top of the latest research etc and I feel I have no drive or interest in all that plus don't have the time to read things because it feels like I am squashing too much clinical work into P/T hours. Then I feel inadequate because I feel I don't know enough and I think my way of coping is to avoid ie, think of other jobs!

I felt a bit better at work today and now think my franchise idea really is mad. I would like to do it if, in an ideal world, I had tons of money, loads of time and if there was a decent economic climate!

I am going to stay at work until mat leave in summer and then see how I feel. I could retrain in another area within my career so that might be an option I guess. Ultimately I just wish I could be a SAHM for a while while my babies are still small, I feel DS is growing up way too fast! But I realise that taking on a franchise would probably mean less quality time with my children.

I'll just need to keep playing the lottery!

Thanks again for helping me see a bit clearer x

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