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Franchising Offers Millennials Alternate Career Path 24 year-old Kumon franchisee discusses the infinite opportunities franchising offers the Millennial generation


Hannah Turpin attended the University of Minnesota with the dream of becoming a veterinarian. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2014, but today at the age of 24 she celebrates two years as the owner and operator of a Kumon Math and Reading Center in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Turpin is just one of many Millennials working in a field unrelated to their college degree. In fact, according to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, only 27.3 percent of college graduates had a job related to their major.

Many graduates discover they aren't interested in pursuing their anticipated field or decide to take a different route altogether. Another factor determining Millennials' career path is the economy. While the national unemployment rate is at its lowest since 2008, Millennials continue to suffer making up 40 percent of the nation's unemployed. The job market is recovering, but Millennials aren't waiting around. Instead, they are creating their own jobs and venturing into opportunities like franchising.

Image credit: Kumon

Turpin talks about her own path into the franchise world and gives us insight into the growing popularity of franchising amongst Millennials.

Why did franchising make sense to you?

I liked the idea of being my own boss. I didn't have the experience needed to start my own business, so purchasing a franchise where the business model was already developed was a good option. There are 300,000 students enrolled at 1,500 Kumon Centers nationwide, so I liked the idea of capitalizing on a longstanding reputation of an established company. I'm a small business owner pursuing my passion, but supported by a larger infrastructure.

Why might graduates take a different career path?

Many college graduates feel like they don't fit the corporate mold and are looking for opportunities to be self-made and independent. Millennials are weary of the high level of uncertainty and longevity in the workplace and are discovering that the franchising model offers a unique opportunity for them to succeed with an established business structure. For me, I started working at my local Kumon Center at the age of 14 and discovered a real passion for helping children. When presented with the opportunity to buy the franchise, it just made sense for my future.

What are the benefits of owning a franchise at a young age?

Many millennials are deciding to take their careers into their own hands, but most people in their 20s don't have the experience to start a company from scratch. Buying a franchise eliminates a lot of the risk associated with starting a business, but still allows you to be your own boss, set priorities and determine the direction of your business. Owning a franchise allows flexibility in business strategies, but also provides stability because you are joining a larger network that offers support, resources and training.

What are the disadvantages?

While my expertise is working with students, I had no prior business experience. As an owner and operator, I wear many hats, which includes understanding finances, marketing, payroll and management. It takes patience to deal with day-to-day challenges, but Kumon has provided me with tools necessary to succeed. One of the biggest deterrents is a misconception about costs. I had no idea I would be able to afford it, but there are several financing options to explore. Kumon has the lowest franchise fee in the supplemental learning industry. I was able to purchase my learning center by obtaining loans from the Small Business Association and supportive family members.

Do you have any advice for recent graduates who may be interested in franchising?

The biggest piece of advice I can give future franchisees is to purchase a business you are passionate about. Owning a franchise requires a lot of hard work, but the reward you receive in being able to do something you're passionate about is truly remarkable. Take advantage of the training, resources and opportunity to network. Networking with other franchisees offers a great opportunity to make new connections and develop relationships that advance your business. By joining a franchise, you can capitalize on the industry knowledge, training, and marketing expertise of a time-tested reputable company.

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