True Confessions

Hats For Every Occasion

For most, being a franchisee means rolling up your sleeves and getting down to business. It means setting that alarm for 5 a.m. to get the store ready for the morning rush, cracking open the phone book and making cold calls for five hours straight, and skipping dinner with your family to pull together a last-minute proposal for a crucial client.

"Probably the most important characteristic of a franchisee is a [strong] work ethic," says Calvin Haskell Jr., president of Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based franchise advisory company Franchise Solutions. "It's the ability to get up and, day after day, work harder than you've ever worked before."

As a franchisee, you'll need to put your entrepreneurial drive to work to grow your business. And at no time will a franchisee work harder than during start-up. It's not unusual for new franchisees to pull 16-hour days, including weekends. Often, new franchisees handle sales, marketing, accounting, hiring and much more all by themselves. And for those who mistakenly think buying a franchise means customers will just roll in with little to no effort on their part, the harsh reality often kicks in-quickly.

After working in an office job for just over one year, 25-year-old computer science graduate John Brown was yearning to be out on his own. So in 1994, he purchased a franchise from Union, New Jersey-based Oil Butler. Today, Brown's Charleston, West Virginia, homebased mobile oil-changing business services about 70 accounts with the help of one part-time and two full-time employees as well as three family members who provide part-time assistance. While changing oil and checking tire pressure isn't something he relishes, Brown says he knows that's what it takes to succeed-and he plans to continue the grueling routine.

"It's really tough some days," Brown admits. "You're on call 24 hours a day, and sometimes you wake up early in the morning, it's pouring rain, and you really wonder why you're doing this. But I know that in the end, it will all pay off."

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the January 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: True Confessions.

Loading the player ...

The Good & Bad Habits of Smart People

Ads by Google

Share Your Thoughts