"I saw an opportunity to pursue a better work/life balance"

Richard Rutty, Wiltshire Farm Foods, North London

As a Wiltshire Farm Foods franchisee my work/life balance and earning potential have improved dramatically. Now I work five days a week, instead of seven and am able to enjoy the odd holiday with my family. Since taking over the North London territory in November 2007, I have doubled the existing turnover and have taken on two more delivery drivers.

Before becoming a franchisee I was a self-employed agent for Esso Garages. Running a 24-hour garage was incredibly time consuming and for over 10 years I did not have the opportunity to take a holiday. When Esso made me redundant I saw it as an opportunity to pursue a new business venture that enabled me to have a better work/life balance.

Franchising was the best way forward for me because I wanted the back up of a strong, professional brand identity and to feel part of a large network. It took 18 months of research to find Wiltshire Farm Foods online. The brand caught my attention because it came across as a genuine investment opportunity, I liked the fact I would be working in an office organising deliveries within my designated territory and would be providing the elderly with nutritious, frozen meals direct to their doors.

Wiltshire Farm Foods offer franchisees a two-week initial training course to learn the ropes of the business. As I had experience of running a business before I used my training time to learn the brand's computer system, and now benefit from ongoing support. Head office is always on the end of the phone and will send out IT technicians or visit in person to help with any queries. My aim is to continue building up the business and providing an excellent service to the loyal customers within my territory.