Jaclyn Townsend - Lingotot Gravesend
Name: Jaclyn Townshend
Company: Lingotot Gravesend
First started franchise: Oct 2017
I studied languages and always had a passion for them and have had family living in Spain for many years before my parents retired out there 14 years ago. I used to work in London as a Facilities Manager looking after, maintaining and refurbishing buildings for a digital brand & design agency.
How They First Heard About Franchising and Their Due Diligence
My father first introduced me to franchising many years ago when he bought into a franchise to save his failing family run estate agency business.
I came across my franchise (Lingotot) when I was looking for language classes for my son and couldn't find anything in my area. I'd wanted to do something after leaving my job in London to have my son and wanted to use my language skills. plus was struggling to find a job that would fit in with when my son went to school and being there for term time only and drop offs & pick ups. Lingotot & franchising was the perfect answer - it was my own business but with the expertise and support from a big business, and I could literally 'open a box' and start working. I looked at other franchised language companies, and whether I could do it on my own without being part of a franchise, looked at the financing options (which Lingotot helped with), looked at the potential earnings and costs and what I would get for my franchise fee to ensure this was a viable option.
Support & Training
My initial training involved 3 days at our Head office where we were trained by the CEO Angela Sterling & her Operations Manager & Marketing Manager. It was in-depth, clear & concise in small groups, and gave us all the tools we needed to be able to go off and set up and run our franchise. I then completely my tutor training online which took a few weeks but could be done as and when I had time. We also have access to weekly webinars, online help desk with Head Office, advice through our private group Facebook page, can book mentoring slots, view common help topics and have been provided with a wealth of documents on our central system ready to use for our business
Support from other franchisees and head office are invaluable. It may be my business and I'm my own boss but I feel part of a great family with all of them and never on my own.
Impact on Life
Setting up your business does take time and effort but you get out what you put in. So initially it took some time to learn our lesson plans, songs, get together our kit and learn about how to manage a business, but with a bit of experience, I have cut prep time for classes massively, have come up with systems and measures to speed up my business management and break it down into bite size chunks.
It means I am able to have 3.5 days off per week (inc. weekends) and have time with my son. My earnings have enabled me to send my son to nursery which I felt he needed after 18 months at home with just me. This then allows me to teach more classes and earn more.
I do have to stop myself from working in the evenings/weekends but that's just because I am passionate about what I do and want to do it rather than have to do it.
Challenges and Highlights So Far
Challenges would probably be: doing something completely new - aside from my languages, I've not run a business before or worked as a teacher so that took some getting used to.
Highlights - making money in my first year, winning & being nominated for awards and doing something I love - plus being able to take time off whenever I want to.
Advice to Others Looking For a Franchise
Do your homework with competitors, make sure you choose a good locality to work in, don't underestimate how much time you will need to invest at the beginning and make sure you look wholly at the franchise - it's not just about how much you get for your money or what it will cost, it's the support from the Head Office and other franchisees. Speak to other franchisees for their advice and experience.
To be able to buy another area and make that a success, be the known person in my area by schools and nurseries for what I do and build a fantastic customer base who can sell for me.