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Road to Ambition

What's it really like to buy a franchise? Read part one of our ongoing series following one couple's exciting trek to entrepreneurial success.

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This story appears in the February 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

With all requisite apologies to songwriter John Mellencamp, this is a little ditty about Jack and Diane--two American kids growin' up in the Heartland. Jack wants to be a franchise star--Diane will keep her job so he can change oil in cars. Yes, there are millions of franchise stories in the naked city. This is just one. Reality TV has transcended its boundaries, and now we'll deliver the play-by-play of what it takes to investigate, purchase, open and run a franchised business. Step right up, folks, and feel their pain.

The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but the hopes and dreams of the franchisees we're following for this column, Jack and Diane, are no different from the hundreds of other franchisees I have worked with in my 14 years as a franchise attorney/consultant. Believe me, they're just like you: chasing the American dream of financial independence armed only with limited resources and the gumption to persevere. Indulge yourself as we unpeel the onion over the next few months and examine what happens to Jack and Diane--in franchise land. We don't know where this trip will go, but please put your chair in the full and upright position, because Jack and Diane are going to encounter a little turbulence.

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