Is Franchise Ownership a Death-Defying Leap?: 5 Reasons to Jump

Posted by Pete Gilfillan on Nov 20, 2022 9:48:18 AM
Pete Gilfillan

Thirteen years ago, I made a total career change, stepping away from a highly-compensated executive role at a worldwide corporation to buy a master franchise in a new-to-me industry. It’s fair to say I didn’t put my toe into the world of franchising to check the temperature. Nope. I hurled myself off the high dive. After that, it was sink or swim, with nothing less than the financial health of my family and the future shape of my career at stake. 

I’m happy to report that taking the plunge worked out for me. I truly love the life I’ve been able to create as a franchisee and as a franchise consultant. I control my own professional destiny; I’ve found consistent and long-term success; and I’ve been able to be present and engaged with my family, friends, and pursuits that matter to me.  

That’s just about everything I wanted; and none of it would have happened if I’d continued to grind away in the corporate world, endlessly having to choose between work and family, between work and sleep, between work and my health.  

Here’s the thing: Not everyone is feeling quite as crushed by their corporate job as I did back then. Not everyone feels the need to escape at any cost. Those were different economic times. In 2009 when I was making my leap, the world was in the midst of its worst economic stretch since the Great Depression. Millions of people were being laid off or forced into retirement. Morale was low, and pressure was high even for those who still had jobs. 

Today, as we look at record-low unemployment, this is a workforce that’s been fundamentally changed to be more worker-friendly by the great resignation, by a shift towards work-at-home, and by a new tolerance towards side hustles that would have been unthinkable in 2009. Because of those shifts, many people don’t feel the need to leap off the high dive to make great franchise investments. They’re looking for another, gentler way. 

Top 5 Reasons You Will Survive Franchise Ownership

I can guess what you’re thinking: If the jobs are good and the economy is better, why does franchise investment still have such a persistent appeal at all? There are countless compelling reasons, but let’s look at a Top 5: 

  1. Because in order to truly control your own financial and professional fate, you can’t be entirely dependent on a salary. Tony Robbins, one of the leadership gurus I most admire, once said, “You have to make the shift from being a consumer in the economy to an owner—and you do it by becoming an investor.” 

  2. Because good times and hard times come in cycles, and there’s a strong argument to be made that the best time to plan your exit strategy from the corporate world is while your job is secure. The strategy of using days of plenty to prepare for lean ones ahead is as old as time because it’s smart and it’s effective. 

  3. Because even in a period of low unemployment and high wages, workers of a certain age are uniquely vulnerable to being pushed from their jobs before they’re ready to exit. Study after study tells us that more than half of U.S. workers in their 50s and older are forced out of their jobs or into retirement earlier than they want. Those of us in the over-50 crowd need to be proactive in ensuring we are insulated from the fallout of corporate layoffs or “voluntary” retirement programs that are not so much options, as ultimatums. 

  4. Because whether you are 25 or 50 or 75, you are living in a gig economy now. What does it mean for you if you’ve got a corporate job in hand? It means it’s never been easier to start a business, and it means corporations are marching further and further from the employee-loyalty model that once helped them keep their best people. 
  5. Because perhaps you are one of the majority of American workers who shares the same dream I had all those years ago—a dream that was just as much about a yearning to be an entrepreneur as it was about escaping the corporate rat race. The desire to be self-employed is one millions of people share. And I can tell you from experience that, yes, it is just as good as I once hoped it could be. 

With this list in mind, every day I speak with franchisee candidates who are eager to take control of their professional fates and to become entrepreneurs, but who are decidedly not eager to give up their corporate salaries. And I’m lucky enough to be the guy who gets to explain to them exactly why they don’t have to and what steps to take next. 

Right now, there are thousands of franchise concepts (more every year) that recognize actively-employed corporate execs as terrific potential business partners. They know you have the business acumen, leadership skills, and work ethic to take their concepts and run with them. And they know you’re not quite ready to give up the right-now security you get from your job. That’s why they’re actively seeking and encouraging semi-absentee investors—franchisees who manage the big-picture side of their businesses but hire employee managers to oversee day-to-day operations.  

Execs who invest in businesses with this model aren’t entirely hands-off. In the first years, they can expect to spend 10-20 hours a week engaged with the business. Many of those hours can be done remotely and in small increments. You might touch base with your manager at lunchtime, spend an hour on your laptop in the evening, or work in half an hour on the phone during your commute. If you do your corporate job remotely, you can likely squeeze these hours into your regular workday at home.  

What happens when executives choose this kind of investment (effectively wading gently into the world of franchising instead of taking a terrifying plunge) is that they keep their jobs, keep their income, and start their own businesses on the side.  

The best part of this proposition is that execs who run their businesses wisely, who hire good people, deliver on quality, and scale up over time, are eventually able to equal or exceed their corporate income. At that point, they have the resources to walk away from the corporate world—without giving up the income that once kept them tied to the job. The cherry on top? Over time the business itself becomes a significantly valuable investment. 

This is a slow-build, smart growth strategy designed with investors who want nothing to do with the high dive in mind. I’ve seen it work for countless execs who worked towards income replacement and financial freedom in measured, effective steps. 

The bottom line is this: If you’re smart in your investment choices and provide the leadership and oversight (but not the day-to-day labor!) to get your franchising investments up and running, in just a few years, you’ll have grown your business into your ticket to financial and career independence.


Want to learn more? Browse my library of free resources and subscribe to my blog and podcast at HIREYOURSELF.COM. 

Got questions? Good! Contact me at pgilfillan@hireyourself.com (email), 630-904-7900 (call), 630-345-4400 (text), or use the following link: https://go.hireyourself.com/meetings/pgilfillan to schedule a quick consultation call and learn about my complimentary service that helps potential investors explore and better understand franchise opportunities.

Pete Gilfillan is a leading franchise consultant, entrepreneur, and author of the best-selling book HIRE YOURSELF: Control Your Own Destiny through Franchise Ownership.

Topics: Mindset, Franchise, entrepreneurship, becoming a franchisee

Subscribe Here!

  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

Podcast Episodes

Recent Post