A lot of mid-career folks find that they’re interested in franchising, but the idea of owning a fast food restaurant just isn’t that appealing. It can be hard to go from working with experienced adult colleagues to working with teenagers and other adults who come from completely different backgrounds. Many business owners find it terribly lonely, especially if they filled many of their social needs through co-worker interaction. It can also give you a feeling of guilt if you’re not ready for it. It’s hard to own a business and see your employees having trouble making ends meet.
For those types of would-be franchisees, I like to recommend looking into professional services franchises. There are a number of franchises in marketing, business coaching, and tax preparation that offer opportunities to interact with either co-workers or other business owners. Instead of dealing with teenagers who can’t be bothered to put their smartphones down, you can enjoy interaction with other intelligent adults with whom you may have more in common.
Although many professional services franchises are home-based, they don’t always have to be. Even if you do opt for a home-based franchise, you’ll find that you form close relationships with many of your customers or clients. That’s especially true with something like a business coaching franchise where you become intimately familiar with other business owners like yourself, and you help them figure out the issues and trouble spots that are holding them back. Depending on the kind of challenge you’re looking for with your franchise, this may be more satisfying mentally, too (as opposed to figuring out how many styrofoam cups you need to order for the next two weeks, or how to handle burrito refunds).
I certainly don’t mean to talk down about food service franchises, retail franchises, or any other kind of franchise. They can make wonderful businesses, especially for franchisees with multiple units (or multi-unit expansion plans). However, I do think it’s important for each potential franchisee to envision what a typical day would be like. What challenges would you face in the course of your workday? Is that something you can handle over and over, year after year? Think carefully before you invest a large portion of your life savings. It’s important to build a business that fits who you are and where you’re going.