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.

While serving in Ramadi, Iraq, Charles Fisher, a former Naval Officer, was heading back to the U.S. on a civilian flight. Picking up a copy of Entrepreneur magazine, he stumbled upon an article about Massage Envy Spa. Fisher was immediately intrigued. Upon returning home, he and his wife Nubia, another retired Naval Officer, called the franchise's regional developer in Northern Virginia.

The Fishers have now been with the brand for seven years and are planning to open a total of seven units. Here's what they've learned.

charles-fisher
Charles Fisher
Image credit: Charles Fisher

Name: Charles Fisher

Franchise-owned: Massage Envy in Fredericksburg, Va., Massage Envy in Stafford, Va., and Massage Envy Dumfries, Va.

How long have you owned a franchise?

Seven years.

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Why franchising?  

The ability to begin our business career operating with proven business systems.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Nubia and I are military veterans of 23 years (Nubia) and 14 years (Charles).

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

While serving in Ramadi, Iraq, I was fortunate to be heading home on a civilian flight through Kuwait. I purchased the latest edition of Entrepreneur magazine and inside there was an article on the latest franchises and a full-spread article on Massage Envy. Immediately upon reading the article, I felt strongly that this was the franchise for me and my wife. We prayed on it, and we called the regional developer upon my return...the rest is history. 

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

At the time approximately $385,000, including working capital.

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

While we were researching the franchise opportunity, we spoke a lot with the franchisor and different franchisees within the network. We also looked at online resources.

Related: Franchise Players: The Military Taught Me to Think On My Feet

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

Learning to communicate and motivate a civilian workforce. As veterans, our experience largely focused on developing and motivating military personnel. Franchising is wonderful, however, your business is only as successful as your people. We quickly had to adjust to understanding our new staff.

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

Hire soon, hire wisely, and take care of your team.

What’s next for you and your business?

Continue to develop within the Massage Envy Franchise system, via new starts, acquisitions and hopefully international efforts. We also are looking to add smart brands to our franchise portfolio of Massage Envy, European Wax Center, The Joint and Bach To Rock. 

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