Leaving a Six Figure Salary and Moving Forward
FranchiseHelp.com interviews Right At Home franchisee Diane Fortner. While working as a commercial insurance broker with a six-figure salary, Fortner felt the entrepreneurial itch, and soon discovered her calling after underwriting a policy for a successful Right at Home franchisee.
Despite initially not having the support of her family and with limited prior knowledge of franchise opportunities, Fortner was confident that the Right at Home franchise system was right for her after seeing firsthand the kind of success others had attained by following the franchise's system.
In our discussion, Diane talks about her experience transitioning from a successful, traditional career in insurance (A SIX FIGURE JOB WORKING TWO DAYS A WEEK) to becoming her own boss by investing in a Right at Home In Home Care & Assistance franchise. Topics include how she almost started a non-franchise business before discovering Right at Home, her husband's reaction to her deciding to leave a high-paying job behind, and advice she has for other women who are thinking about going into a franchise.
What inspired you to become a Right At Home franchisee?
First and foremost, Right at Home is one of the best senior care franchises in the senior care industry. Seeing as we provide care to the elderly, I see this as an opportunity to support families. It's rewarding because you are actually making someone's life better.
What was your professional background before you became a franchisee?
The idea or inspiration of becoming a Right at Home franchisee actually began when I was working as a commercial insurance broker. I was underwriting for a woman who owned a Right at Home franchise. My professional background as a commercial insurance broker (and working in that profession for 27 years) provided me with the professional insight and skills to identify an opportunity for profit.
When I realized that this particular woman who is a Right at Home franchisee was reaching a level of success in three years that most people reach in ten years, I knew instantly I wanted to join the Right at Home franchise system. I called the Right at Home franchisee and asked her two simple questions: If you had to relive your start up, would you do it again? And would you franchise again?
Her response to me was that Right at Home tells you exactly what to do and they provide resources for networking. Right at Home tells you where to network, mingle and how to market yourself. She informed me that if you stick to the advice and steps provided by the Right at Home system you will be successful in this business.
What made you decide to go the franchising route as opposed to starting a business from scratch?
Well, initially, I was not thinking of going into a franchise business. My first idea was to open a flower shop, but my husband thought that, for a variety of reasons, it was not the best idea. Once I spoke to the woman I was underwriting an insurance policy for who owned a Right at Home franchise, I knew within ten minutes this was the best decision for me.
When I initially decided to franchise, my husband was not a supporter. Eventually, however, he did come to accept my choice. After all, my decision to go into a franchise came at the expense of a reliable six figure salary job in which I only had to work two days a week. My husband was very skeptical in the beginning, but since then he's joined me in our efforts and without him I would not be in the top ten percent of Right at Home franchisees. I could not have been this successful without him because he does most of the marketing. Once my husband observed the economy he joined me in my efforts and with his support we now have 120 employees.
When you decided to purchase a Right At Home franchise, what were your short-term expectations in making this decision?
Well, after speaking with the Right at Home franchisee for whom I was underwriting insurance, it was clear to me that the expectations for success were set pretty high from the beginning.
How is healthcare reform impacting you as a franchisee? In the state of California, healthcare reform has not had any impact on our franchise. It is affecting people who live in states where a majority of people are Medicaid clients.
What were some other challenges you faced as a first time franchisee? And what steps did you take to overcome them?
When starting Right at Home, there is a heavy investment in time, money and emotions. Those are the challenges. To overcome these challenges we had to get the business to a certain level and find that unique person who could keep it running. It's really about finding that person who gets it from a managerial and human resources perspective. It was approximately 2 years before I found that unique individual that could keep the franchise running. I was able to make that process easier in selecting that individual by using tools such as Prove-It.Com, which is a pre-hire testing and behavioral assessment tool we used to select the correct candidate.
What makes Right At Home a good selection for potential female entrepreneurs?
Most women are nurturing by nature and I think Right at Home is a great opportunity for women who are looking for a career that they are passionate about and where they are paid for building their business. I would also like to address women who may be intimidated by education: I, myself, am a high school graduate and many times I was begrudged by the fact that college graduates are more successful. But I discovered that with Right at Home, if I just put in the hard work, I could become successful. Ladies, don’t let artificial obstacles stand in your way.
What would you like to voice to our readers or any persons considering buying a franchise?
I would like to add that the founder of Right at Home, Allen Hanker, became a certified nurse assistant. Therefore, there may be many women in the medical profession, such as nurses, who should be aware of the opportunities that Right at Home has to offer.
For more about Right at Home, see the franchise's profile page at FranchiseHelp.com or browse the world's largest franchise directory!
This interview was conducted by FranchiseHelp.com contributor Christy Harvey. Christy earned her B.A. in Political Science from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, and recently completed her MBA studies. A world traveler and avid blogger always on the lookout for new experiences, Christy has worked for BET, as a contract federal investigator, as a social media consultant, and as a contributor for examiner.com, the triond network, and Demand Studios.
Walking the Line
So how do you walk that line of following the system while creating a marketing campaign that will have a local appeal to the customers that walk and drive past your door every day?
Choosing a Service Franchise or a Product Franchise
Most of the franchises offering Product oriented goods have very stringent rules. Since their brand is associated with a tangible good they must guarantee the desired quality from the consumer’s expectation. Franchisees must purchase the goods from a designated supplier and must keep items in their inventory as suggested by the franchisor. This can be company regulated policies or simply to help the franchisor launch some of their new products.