Kate Thorne - Lingotot Southend
Name: Kate Thorne
Company: Lingotot Southend
First started franchise: May 2018
My background was in the finance industry valuing corporate pensions, and I left my last role as a supervisor of a team of 8 people. I studied my languages degree with the OU whilst working full time and when I had my 2nd child, I wanted to be able to use my language skills whilst finding something more flexible for my family.
How They First Heard About Franchising and Their Due Diligence
When I started looking into businesses that were family flexible and where I could use my languages, I came across various franchises on the internet. I then started looking into it more and attended the International Franchise Show in London hoping to find out more information. It felt like the right direction for me to go in as I didn’t have a background in education and wanted to ensure I could gain training and a good reputation in order for customers to want to buy from me. I spoke to an EWIF rep there who suggested two language franchises to look at - Lingotot was one of these. I requested information from both companies but ended up selecting Lingotot after speaking to Angela as it felt a better fit for me and more scope to expand in the future with the number of different languages available to offer.
Support & Training
The support available at Lingotot has been amazing. Even though this is my business, I love being part of a bigger network where everyone is there to lift you up and share best practice. It doesn’t feel as lonely. The training I received when I first joined was an intense 2 day course with Angela, but so informative. Other training was completed online via webinars and reading written materials, an in-person first aid course and ongoing support and training webinars on a number of different areas including monthly marketing ideas.
Impact on Life
Joining Lingotot has had a positive impact on my work-life balance. I’m able to do the morning school run every day and take my youngest to my community classes. I can work flexibly around my children which is something I didn’t have previously...and I get an immense about of job satisfaction. I love languages and I love teaching and the sheer joy when the children I teach just “get it” is incredible.
Challenges and Highlights So Far
The challenges for me have probably been more on the business management side of things, being able to take that leap from being an employee for my whole career thus far, to a business owner...it’s trying to get into that mindset and believing I’m worthy of success. I think there are so many highlights, small wins, but I think the first assembly that I gave was probably the one that sticks out most for me at the moment, purely because it was so far outside of my comfort zone! I hate public speaking! But once I’d done it, I knew that if I could come out of that successfully then I could keep pushing myself and doing more things that felt uncomfortable so that I could grow my business.
Advice to Others Looking For a Franchise
I think it would depend on your reasons for going into business but it was definitely the right decision for me and I would highly recommend being part of a franchise. Lingotot franchisees aren’t just a support network, we’re a family, all helping each other reach the same business goal and increasing brand awareness all over the country, which is beneficial to everyone.
To grow the Lingotot brand through networking events and and employ at least one tutor in the very near future in order to grow my own business. I’d also like to develop a home office/classroom so I can increase profit margins on some of my community classes.