Franchise v own business

I can only write this from my own experience of starting a tutoring business back in 2012 and the lessons I have learned since then.

Apparently, most people start their own business because they are doing the same job working for someone else and can see the perks and privileges of doing it yourself.

Deciding on starting a tutoring franchise v your own business? These are my own personal findings

I started tutoring because a friend suggested it and the way she described it, she had me hooked!

However, apart from previously owning a childminding business, my knowledge about running a business could be written on the back of a postage stamp.

Early in the business, I decided it would be beneficial to have my own website. I had been advertising on national tutoring site, but people resented paying them for my details. By having my own website people could find me directly.

Don’t charge people to access your details.

If your thinking of starting your own business rather than a franchise, don't charge people to access your details

If you create your own website be careful. There are many companies who will hunt you down and offer you a listing in their directory or on the first page of Google.

One morning, I was watching the TV whilst doing my ironing, which was my routine on my day off. The phone rang and I answered it. A really nice chap spoke to me about my business, my dreams and aspirations. I poured my heart out.

He told be about his business specialised in helping small businesses, just like mine, get found on the internet. Because he was so impressed with what I was trying to do, for the first six months of working with them, he could offer me a discount so I would only have to pay something like £450!

I wanted to grow the business and he had just been telling me what a great thing I was doing. How, so many children were struggling at school and needed more individual support. I signed up but I neglected to read the very small print…

6 months later I had a call from the company. I hadn’t cancelled the contract. So, I now had to pay several thousand pounds that day.

Newly separated and new to business, I didn’t have that sort of money. I apologised and said I could pay £500 that day and the rest in instalments.

He told me if I didn’t pay it all, they would send the bailiffs around that evening.

I was terrified!


I had one lesson after that evening, but it would mean Angel would be in the house by herself for about half an hour. Although she was probably 14 at the time, I couldn’t cope with the idea of her been alone when they turned up.

I phoned mum and asked her to come over. In the end the man on the phone accepted the £500 upfront payment and to take instalments thereafter. He took the details for the deposit from my credit card and said he would call back with the details for the ongoing payments.

As he hung up, I was phoned by my credit card company. Had I authorised a payment for £500 out of my account. I agreed that I had authorised one payment for that amount.

Un beknown to me, the company then took multiple payments from the card to a value of £13,000!

Because I had authorised that first payment, the bank gave them access to keep going.

I went to the Citizens Advice and they talked me through making a claim at the small claims court.

When they went to retrieve the money that company had moved on and there was nothing more they could do.

I went back to the credit card company and in the end they relented as they acknowledged that this scammers had told me they would build me a website (that I didn’t need). Because they hadn’t fulfilled their contract, the credit card company would give me back the money.

It took nearly 18 months to sort out. Hours of heartache and tears and hundreds of pounds in interest and “overspending on my card” fees.

If you decide to create your own business, rather than join a franchise, please, please, please read any small print.

Don’t be caught by the many scammers that stalk new businesses.

Although at the time I had 12 years of experience working in childcare and education, my degree and many years of training /reading reflected this, I didn’t have any business knowledge.

Over the past 8 years, since starting the company I have spent roughly £6k/year on business training and mentors.

Some of this has been invaluable. I honestly believe that in order to improve our business, we need to grow ourselves. This training has taught me a lot and I know the business wouldn’t be where it is today without it.

However, there are many people out there offering you training which will move your business forward, with money back guarantees. I signed up for a social media training course. The basic principle of the course was get talking in Facebook groups so that people learn about what you do and what you can offer. That cost be over a thousand pounds.

Consider the training you will get if you go down the franchise route. Would the support from them out-weigh the cost of purchasing your own training?

If you decide to do your own training independently, what would it cost you as opposed to doing it as part of the introduction to a franchise?

One of the other ways to grow is by making mistakes. I suspect every successful business owner has made mistakes in the past. But they will use these mistakes as learning opportunities. I’ve told you about one of my biggest mistakes. Now I do most of my marketing through Google Ads or Facebook Ads directly rather than a third party. When I started, I didn’t know about such things. I definitely didn’t know how to create such ads cost effectively.

If you join a franchise, the founder of that business will have many mistakes in getting the business to the point where it is now.

They may not speak openly about it, but anyone who says they have never made a decision which they possibly regret is probably not being entirely honest. The founder’s knowledge and systems will take you on a journey which will save you from making many of the same mistakes. You can learn from theirs. That is probably one of the reasons more new franchises are successful in their early years than independent start-ups.

Franchise v own business: be considerate to the fact that either way you will still be required to put in a lot of work.

Whether you decide to start a tutoring franchise rather than your own tutoring business, it will involve a lot of hard work

Starting your own business, even with the support you will receive is hard work. It’s not a hobby, it is a huge commitment if you want it to work.

I have always been a fan of “Undercover Boss” I love that program, but so many people on that complain that they are not listened to. Make sure that if you join a franchise that they are open to a two-way conversation and even if they can’t follow through on your ideas that they are at least willing to listen and take them into account.

Franchise v own business: does the franchise have the same values as your own?

Make sure the principles of the franchise you are buying a line with yours. You will need to promote this discipline for several years, so make sure you are alined

You need to be passionate about the brand or people won’t believe you when you speak about how it can support them. You will find it far harder to commit and grow it if you aren’t enthusiastic about it yourself.

If I haven’t scared you off the idea of becoming a franchisee and you want to find out more about the Clara James Tutoring Franchise opportunity, CLICK HERE and I can send you some more information and we can arrange a time to talk.

If you think at this time you need support but a franchise is a leap too far, have a look at the Clara James Brand Associates.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE . You can also use this approach to build up to owning a full franchise should you choose to in the future.

Which ever road you choose to take, I wish you well in your future as a tutor.

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