‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life’ – words of wisdom from Confucius himself, but it’s surprising how few people follow this enlightened advice.
If you are thinking of a career change, or getting back to work after having kids, a good place to start is looking at what you like to do in your spare time.
There are hundreds of franchises available to potential investors, and many of them offer services that incorporate popular leisure activities. Whether it’s karate or cooking, dog-walking or photography – there’s likely to be a franchise that sounds like fun to you.
If you’re an artistic type, why not consider starting a franchise where you can make the most of your creative flair on a daily basis?
The Creation Station franchise for example, started when its founder, Sarah Cressal, felt that parents needed an alternative space in which to get arty with their kids.
"I know just how hard it can be to do hands on creative stuff at home, especially when they are little - they would have finished before I had set everything up! Painted finger marks down the hall for the 6th time made me think there must be a way of enjoying doing this stuff with them…and now thankfully there is” says Cressal, who took her passion for creativity and previous experience as an artist and business owner and developed what is now an extensive franchise network offering creative sessions in public spaces all over the UK.
"I know just how hard it can be to do hands on creative stuff at home, especially when they are little - they would have finished before I had set everything up! Painted finger marks down the hall for the 6th time made me think there must be a way of enjoying doing this stuff with them…and now thankfully there is”
Her website is packed with testimonials from delighted franchisees who have finally achieved that all important work/life balance and who are doing something they love.
After paying an initial fee, attending the ‘discovery day’ and receiving training, franchisees can start to market their new business and begin running classes. Ongoing support and subsidised materials are part of the package, as is the security of working under the umbrella of a tried and tested brand.
This is the deal with most franchises and makes the leap from uncertainty to ‘living the dream’ a lot less daunting.
Take dog-walking. How many cooped up office-workers have gazed longingly at the beautiful day outside, wishing they were tripping through the park with their pooch?
Quite a few probably. But have they considered a pet-care franchise? Paw Pals is one of a number of franchises that offer dog-walking and pet-sitting. Loyal franchisees wax lyrical about the joys of leaving stifling jobs to indulge their passion for animals and the outdoor life.
The package includes an exclusive territory, extensive training including pet-sitting and first aid qualifications, tailored marketing plans, a personalised website, online accountancy support, uniforms and stationary and fully branded sign-writing for your vehicle.
This particular franchise is a passionate advocate of animal welfare and the importance of individual care – dog walkers don’t take their charges out in packs, which makes for a more pleasant experience all round.
‘I am a big lover of the great outdoors and after sitting behind a desk for the last 25 years (despite having had some great jobs), I think I am ready to fulfil my dream and make my own success as well as doing something I love - not many people can say that!’ says Paw-Pals franchisee, Caroline Newbury.
‘I am a big lover of the great outdoors and after sitting behind a desk for the last 25 years (despite having had some great jobs), I think I am ready to fulfil my dream and make my own success as well as doing something I love - not many people can say that!’
However, if your idea of heaven is more messing about in the kitchen than picking up dog-mess in the park – a cookery franchise might be the thing for you.
Offering courses in cookery basics, classy entertaining, all range of global cuisine as well as kids parties, classes and holiday clubs – the business is a hit with locals and has fine-tuned its practices to offer an attractive franchise package and replicate business model.
Fitness fanatics can indulge their fantasy of a life centred around promoting the body-beautiful, by purchasing one of numerous gym franchises that are on the market.
Energie are one of the world’s leading fitness franchises, with over 100 clubs operating across the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
Prospective franchisees can choose from a range of niche opportunities which range from standard gyms to those targeting the youth market or an exclusively female clientele. There is even a franchise which focuses on ‘budget’ gyms (Fit4Less) which offer membership for £14.99 a month, as oppose to the standard £60-£70 – an idea which is sure to catch on!
Another pastime that can be blended into franchise ownership is photography. Albeit generally centred around portraits, there is scope for creative flair in this sector.
Photography for Little People (photographyforlittlepeoplefranchise.com) offers home based franchises which provide children’s photography along with taking clay imprints of their hands and feet.
Their website is chock-full of stunningly creative shots and promotes an obviously rewarding career opportunity.
"This is my dream job. I have always loved taking snaps, but just as a hobby not professionally, so now doing this and working with children, but being able to fit it around being a mum, is perfect" says franchisee, Sian Kenyon.
"This is my dream job. I have always loved taking snaps, but just as a hobby not professionally, so now doing this and working with children, but being able to fit it around being a mum, is perfect"
If you’d rather get out and about, DE Photo is the largest sports and events franchise in the UK and offers the opportunity to run a business that combines professional photography in varied locations.
You’ll travel to sports, social and corporate events within your own exclusive territory and enjoy mastering good digital photography as well as building firm client relationships.
DEphoto claim, ‘Whether you're a budding photographer or not - with our expert guidance and advice, you'll be a 'professional' in no time.’
If ancient Chinese wisdom can’t get you out of a rut, then hopefully one of these business opportunities can. What are you waiting for?