More stimulating and better paid!

As a Cargocall franchise owner Donna Ralston has improved her work/life balance and is able to juggle the demands of motherhood with her ambition to develop her career

After 10 years as a senior manager Donna Ralston was keen to escape the corporate rat race and put an end to long working hours and a tiring daily commute. She decided to quit her job and went in search of a more fulfilling, flexible business venture. International freight forwarding franchise Cargocall ticked all the right boxes.

"In my previous line of work I was often away travelling for days at a time so I did not get see much of my family," she relates. "I wanted to run my own business from home - that way I would be able to manage my time better and fit work around my family commitments. However I did not want to risk starting up a business completely on my own so decided to explore franchising.

"I liked the thought of using a tried and tested business model and having access to ongoing support so I bought a copy of The Franchise Magazine. Cargocall stood out because not only did it have low overheads, it would also enable me to develop my interest in international trade."

Established in 1997 by Gary Clere, Cargocall began franchising in 2008. To date it has two franchise owners operating in its network and is on the look out for prospective franchise owners with a white collar background to invest in the franchise. The role of the franchise owner is to manage and arrange the safe transportation of goods by road, sea, rail and air to destinations around the world.

Following several discussions with Cargocall head office and its first franchise owner, Donna launched her Portsmouth-based franchise in 2008 and anticipates a healthy turnover by the end of her first year of trading. "Before the launch I was put on a one-week intensive training course at head office, which ensured I had a good understanding of how to run the business effectively," she explains. "I also have access to ongoing telephone support and - should I need it - a member of head office is more than happy to accompany me when visiting a client. Also, if I need to run errands and have to go out of the office, I can divert my calls through to head office so that I do not lose any business.

"Running my own business is a lot of hard work, however I already find it very rewarding as I now have more time to spend with my family and am able to put my skills and experience to good use. I could have got a part-time job to fit in with my childcare requirements, but with Cargocall the work is more intellectually stimulating and better paid."

Interview by Jess Sturman