Franchisee Story: MAD Academy

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
Lucy Curtis, I have 2 children, a daughter who is 12, a son who is 9 and 2 step sons 9 & 7 years.
I have been married to Dan (who works in the charity sector) for 2 years and we live in Surrey. We met doing one of our pastimes, amateur theatre.

What’s your business called?
I own the MAD Academy – Camberley franchisee

Can you describe it in one sentence?
Music and movement for pre school school children

When did you become a franchisee and what inspired you?
February 2014, I wanted a career change and with my divorce settlement, I decided to try something that inspired me. I have a background in music, dance and theatre and so it was an obvious choice!

How did you fund your start up?
I loaned myself 6 months of capital and then gradually paid myself a small wage as the business took off.

How do you manage working around your children?
My teaching hours are generally during school hours, but my admin is before and after school and some weekends. My children understand that to have a Mum who can work around them is a compromise. They accompany me during school holidays and help me with parties. Its a family concern and everyone has to make allowances. That said they would like me to sell the business so I’m not so tired!

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
School run, admin and preparing class plans for each class (they are all bespoke so I have to ensure they are relevant for each session as I teach a broad spectrum of abilities). Out teaching classes, generally x2 per morning. Lunch and maybe catching up on emails and then another session in the afternoon. Straight to the school run (learning lines whist waiting for the bell to ring) and then home. Normally more admin or prep, cook dinner and then on the sofa for around 7.30pm, although this will vary dependant on the workload. Tuck the children in bed around 8pm and then have dinner,

What challenges have you faced as a franchisee and how have you overcome them?
Building up form scratch – being as flexible as possible and patent. Understanding that its not personal and if someone doesn’t want to rebook then its probably circumstances not me!
Lack of finances initially – being patient and mindful of costs
Loneliness – working for myself on my own all day is lonely. There is no office banter or someone to chat to other than clients – trying to chat with family members or colleagues where I can.

What are your plans for the future?
To continue at the same level. I could potentially take on agents but I am mindful that this will actually raise the workload as I would nee to manage them and their workload.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Be patient and don’t take things too personally. Be as flexible as you can and go the extra mile for people. they won’t always appreciate it but many will!
MAD Academy – Camberley

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