Common wisdom says that the best way to go into business for yourself is to either create something or offer a service. These products and services, this wisdom says, should be based upon your existing knowledge, passions and/or talents. But what if you want to keep your hobbies as hobbies? Is it even possible to build a business around something about which you know very little…or even nothing at all?
The short version of this question is: yes! It’s done all the time. Someone sees a hole in his or her local market place and decides to fill it by employing the talent, knowledge and passions of others or by investing in a company that promises it can do exactly that. It’s a formula that has been working for large corporations for years.
But you, of course, are not a large corporation (at least, not yet). So how do you start a business for yourself if you want to keep your personal pet projects separate from your income earning potential?
There are a lot of people who are in exactly your situation. They have the drive to start something of their own. They know that they can be good leaders and good motivators but when it comes to the nitty gritty details, they feel like they fall short. How else do you think MLM opportunities have become so prolific?
Before you buy into something shady online that promises you the ability to run a six figure business out of your basement, know that there are plenty of real world products and services that you can literally buy into that will help you create a viable business that is, at least partly, your own.
Enter: The Franchise
Franchising opportunities exist all over the place and they are often presented as a golden opportunity for would-be entrepreneurs who aren’t sure what kind of company they want to create for themselves.
For most of you, when you read the word “franchise” you thought of your local Chipotle or Krispy Kreme. That’s fine. The fast food industry is one of the most vocal about its franchise opportunities. It is not, however, the only industry in which franchise opportunities exist.
Would it surprise you, for example, to learn that the UPS store is a franchise-based operation? Or how about your weekly massage? Massage Envy is a franchise too!
The Pros and Cons of Franchising
Franchises are often presented as businesses that are usable right out of the box. For example, let’s say you want to start a cleaning business in the $100 billion dollar commercial cleaning industry. You, the hopeful business owner, pay your down payment to get started (this amount of money is almost always in the five figure range, regardless of which industry you choose to enter) and then JaniKing takes over and builds a business that you, technically, own. You use the company’s products, marketing materials and existing brand recognition to get customers in the door while retaining the right to hire the best employees in your area and run your business as hands-on or as hands-off as you like.
You need to remember, though, says CBS New York, that franchises aren’t perfect. You pay a portion of your profits to the parent company. Sometimes, depending upon the opportunity, you don’t have as much freedom as you’d like. Some companies aren’t great about communicating with their franchise owners.
Becoming an Expert, Whether You Like it Or Not
One of the side effects of opening a franchise or investing in an opportunity that seems promising is that, eventually, that lack of expertise you lamented at the beginning of this article is going to go away. As you work and build your business (or keep tabs on your investment), you are going to learn things. You’re going to learn about how businesses are run. You’re going to learn about the product or service you are selling. Eventually you will become an expert. It’s a side effect of the business.