By Catherine Altman Morgan
When you became a franchisee you made a big commitment. You not only made a financial investment, but also an investment of time, and likely blood, sweat, and tears.
You had high hopes of success and believed that buying a proven business concept with the support of a parent company to guide your marketing and business development would help mitigate risk.
I hope it worked out well for you, but if it didn’t, and you’re evaluating options and potential next steps, please read on about your job prospects.
Even the best businesses have been impacted by the turmoil of the past three years. The pandemic’s effects, inflation, and supply chain issues – your business may be struggling or worse.
You might be wondering if you could get a corporate job after x years in your own business. I am pleased to share that you can.
Corporate Job Prospects For Former Franchisees: Embracing The Right Mindset
In the 12 years I have been working with professionals in career transition, I have come to believe that mindset is as important as strategy and tactics. When you think about exiting your business, you will experience feelings of anger and grief and every emotion on the spectrum.
This is inevitable, so I strongly recommend you plan for it and don’t fight it. Be gentle with yourself.
Can Former Franchisees Actually Get Corporate Jobs?
You did a lot of job functions and used diverse skills in your business. Pull apart all the different things you did and reassemble them as “buckets” of skills. Generally, I find business owners enjoyed some parts of their business and not other parts. Mostly, I find professionals self-select into operations, sales and business development, or marketing.
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If you liked being involved in all aspects of the business, you can call yourself a general manager, which can translate to different executive titles (CEO, COO, SVP, VP, director), depending on the size of the company.
Crafting Your Messaging
If you had a fight with your co-founder, or are divorcing them because you were in a personal relationship, it’s nobody’s business. Just say you and your partner had different visions for the future growth of the business and agreed to part ways.
If the business struggled because of COVID or supply chain issues or extended construction in front of your business, just say that.
You want to give just enough information for the interviewer to move on. Don’t dwell on why things didn’t work and make sure you end on a positive note that you are looking forward to taking your hard-won skills into your next role.
Owning Your Unique Value
Always be grateful for what you learned from your business, because I promise you that you have learned a TON. This knowledge is valuable!
We (you, me, everyone) tend to undervalue what we’ve done and things we are good at, assuming that everyone can do what we can as easily as we can. This is not true.
Even if you feel like you hemorrhaged money, which you likely did at points, you learned about the component functions of any business and how they work together. You learned new skills or grew knowledge about systems, processes, social media, websites, sales, marketing, management, and so much more.
You might feel like you have earned an MBA running your business.
Finding Your Fit In A Job
As a former business owner, you will want to carefully consider your right work fit. Do you want to work for a small company or a large company? Do you like working independently or do you want to manage a team? Do you want an executive position or do you not want that level of responsibility again?
You get to pick!
And what was right for you in the past, may not be right for you in the future. Evaluate your present circumstances and make your best decision.
I used to think corporate culture was nonsense, but it’s not. You will want to work with people you think are decent humans and for a company that does business in a way that is in alignment with your values.
I’ve had clients ignore this advice and quit after six months – or six weeks.
Your Job Prospects: Managing Your Search
You will need to do more than apply for jobs online if you want to make this career change. While your skills are valuable, you will not be what I call a “round peg, round hole” candidate.
You will need to reach out to former clients, vendors, and managers – people who already know, like, and trust you – to make introductions or possibly hire you.
You also will need to do cold outreach to companies you would like to work for and to people who work at companies that have interesting jobs posted.
You can absolutely make this career transition, but adopting the “spray and pray” approach from your laptop for your job search is unlikely to work.
If you find this process completely overwhelming, you might want to reach out to a professional to help you. I have mapped out the entire entrepreneur to employee transition here.
About The Author
(Catherine Altman Morgan is an award-winning career transition expert who has been coaching clients and colleagues through job and life transitions for more than 20 years. She is the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc. Catherine earned a B.A. in Psychology from Vassar College and is the author of This Isn’t Working! Evolving the Way We Work to Decrease Stress, Anxiety, and Depression.)