New mum, Helen, explains how she became a Photography For Little People franchise owner and what it is like operating the photography franchise.
“So here I am, running my own business and wondering when did my life get so hectic? I realise that I have always had a busy working life, but in recent years never with the beaming smile I have now!
“My life before Photography For Little People was within the work base learning industry. This had been my career for 20 years and was all I knew, I started as a Trainer/Assessor and worked my way up to Area Programme Manager, working with Blue Chip companies and running a successful team of staff. I guess you may be wondering, ‘well if I had it all why change?’. For years I had always dreamed of being my own boss, I think we all do if we are honest, but life becomes comfortable and sometimes the opportunities are not around. But for me it was the birth of my son Max that changed my thought process. Again, I think I am part of the vast majority of mums that have a successful career and then all of a sudden the balance changes.
“When Max was around six months old, I started looking at other options and when the time came for me to return to my job I felt so torn. I had this fantastic Managers position that needed my full attention and then I had this adorable little boy that filled my heart with more love than I ever expected. Because I like giving 100 per cent in all I do, I felt after going back to work that my heart and mind were elsewhere and I was just counting down the hours until I finished my day. So after months of research and lots of late night chats, I decided I needed a change. I wanted the work/life balance and for my son to grow up knowing his mummy was around.
“Photography had also been an interest to me so I started looking at several options, including setting up on my own. I came across many photography franchises but immediately was struck with Photography For Little People. This was mainly because all reviews I read were positive, and the products that are available stand out far more than the rest that I had seen. Also the professionalism and quality seemed to shine through. After more research I made the call that has changed my life forever. Jan came to my home and after a couple of hours of friendly chatting, she had given me the full low down of the franchise. No hard sell, just facts, the rest was up to me.
“So after more very excited chats with my family I knew that if I didn’t join Photography For Little People it would be the biggest mistake I had made. I could see immediately that I could work my hours around my family and that the pictures and impressions were so beautiful that I would never have to do the hard sell. They speak volumes and you instantly fall in love with them, that memory that you can never re-capture. But most of all, and I know starting a business in this current climate is very risky, I also knew I had the fire in the belly and the passion in my heart to make this succeed.
“My training was all organised and when I met Mel I knew we would instantly click. I had an intense but amazing training schedule planned and I learnt so much and not just the technical side, but the confidence to believe. I came away brimming with ideas and enthusiasm and what I really liked was that I was listened to. I had a few ideas myself of where I wanted to take my business and Mel was there with the advice and help on how to make it succeed. I felt very in control of my own destiny.
“My launch was amazing and what I learnt from Jan on the day was immense. From setting up and seeing all of my products beautifully displayed, I had to take a second glance and realise what I saw in front of me was my own work, and one I am so proud of. The day itself went so quickly, watching Jan with her years of experience and talking to people passing by who stopped to admire what they saw. The biggest thing I learnt from the day was it once again wasn’t about hard selling, it was allowing the products to speak for themselves. I came away with so many follow up calls and excited about attending other shows.
“Moving forward I already have six other shows booked, showcased my products at my local fair, made several alliances, from soft play areas, local children’s companies, sure start centres, gift shops and even a florist. All of these are displaying my products and posters and I have even got involved with a charity event for 2013. I have a fantastic area to promote my business and the opportunities are endless.
“From a franchise point of view the ongoing mentoring and support you get is amazing. Not only from head office, but from all the other franchise owners. It truly is like being part of a family. Since joining I have attended additional training, sales and marketing course and even had Mel at the end of the phone while on a photo shot on a Sunday. They really do support their franchise owners and always have the time. I am already looking forward to an award ceremony that Photography For Little People has arranged later in the year. To me this is what Photography For Little People stands for, to be the best, treat you and your skills as individuals and allow you the freedom to make your business a success. They really are an extension of your family.”