Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

Paul Hornick was used to going 500 miles per hour as a pilot. When he became a Red Mango franchisee, however, things slowed down a little bit. Three years since he opened his first of four Red Mango frozen yogurt shop, he’s enjoying the flexible lifestyle he’s been able to carve out for himself in franchising. But he hasn’t gotten his head out of the clouds—he’s still doing airshows across the country in a WWII-inspired airplane. Here’s how he makes it all happen.

Name: Paul Hornick

Franchise owned (locations):

I have quickly built up my Red Mango investment to four locations. I own two Red Mango stores in Rockford, Ill., and stores in Machesney Park, Ill. and Portage, Mich. 

Franchise Players: From Piloting Planes to Fro-Yo Franchising
Paul Hornick
Image credit: Paul Hornick

How long you have owned the franchise?

I have been with Red Mango for three years.

Why franchising?

Franchising provides a proven system. It gives me a template for starting a business. It also comes with a recognized brand.

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What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

I was an airline pilot for DHL. And I still love to fly. When I am not overseeing my growing Red Mango franchise operation, I fly as the left wing teammate of Team Aerostars doing airshows across the country in a World War 2-inspired airplane.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

I believe in the product. Red Mango serves award-winning frozen yogurt, smoothies and parfaits. I like selling health and wellness. It also fits my lifestyle. I ran seven miles yesterday. The day before that, I had a daddy/daughter date with my little girl and took her snow skiing for the day.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

I estimate the total to be about $467,000, which includes the $30,000 franchise fee, roughly $200,000 for build out and about $237,000 for equipment.

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Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

Most of my research came from tasting Red Mango products, sampling other concepts and speaking with Red Mango franchisees.

 What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

As a pilot, I am used to thinking and working with a team going 500 miles per hour. I had to get used to working with people who don’t think and react that quickly.

 What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

There are so many franchise options out there today. Make sure you do your research. Then have a budget and a business plan that supports your goals.

What’s next for you and your business?

I'm not sure. The potential threat of raising the minimum wage will certainly provide a challenge for our company that already operates on thin margins. We are looking at developing our own concept outside the Red Mango brand for future investments. We are also looking at converting some of our existing Red Mango locations to the Red Mango Café concept, which offers an expanded menu that includes café meals under 500 calories.

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