Interview with Laura Stich, Mom Corps Austin Franchise Owner
Tell us a little bit about Mom Corps and how you got involved with them.
Mom Corps is a national staffing & recruiting company that provides businesses unique access to a previously untapped pool of exceptional talent and provides professionals with flexible career opportunities. I had read about Mom Corps several years ago in the Wall Street Journal and immediately thought it was an innovative business idea that resonated with me. However, after having both of my sons, I continued to work full-time with a horrific commute and periodic travel which over time really took a toll on both me and my relationship with my family. So after I was laid off from my last corporate high-tech position due to budget constraints even though I was the only one bringing in business, I did some soul-searching, determined that I didn’t want to go back into that environment and knew it was time to have my own business.
At that point, a friend of mine, who happens to be a Mom Corps client, reminded me about Mom Corps and suggested that it could help me find an opportunity that could at least keep me working until I figured out my next big opportunity. From there, I found out Mom Corps was franchising, and Austin did not currently have a franchise. So my husband and I went down the due diligence path to explore the franchise opportunity and ultimately decided to move forward with the move to Austin to open the business.
What did you do before Mom Corps?
After graduating from Harvard College with a degree in Computer Science, I served seven years in the U.S. Air Force as a communications officer. After leaving the Air Force and getting a MBA from Boston College, I spent over 15 years building a career in the high tech industry, working for a number of different telecommunications and Internet companies in a variety of Product Management, Product Marketing and Business Development leadership roles.
What are the costs involved in starting and operating a Mom Corps Franchise?
The costs will depend on a number of factors, but primarily the size of the market being acquired in terms of the number of qualified businesses. The initial franchise fee is $25,000 per 10,000 businesses with a minimum of five employees, but not less than $25,000. If the market area has more than 10,000 such businesses, there is an additional fee of $2,500 for every block of 1,000 businesses.
There are also a number of on-going operating costs related to the technology and services that Mom Corps provides to franchisees as well as whatever sales and marketing and operating costs a franchisee may budget for the business in its local market.
Can owning a Mom Corps Franchise be done successfully part-time?
Building a successful, sustainable franchise, will require a lot of time just as any start-up business would; however, the beauty of owning a Mom Corps franchise is that while it may still require “full-time” hours, just in terms of number of hours, those hours can be quite flexible. Franchisees can generally set their own schedule to work around other commitments they may have while still putting in the hours necessary to build and grow the business.
How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent is your home office?
Right now I am easily working 45 – 55 hours a week or more, because I’m laying the groundwork for developing and maintaining the relationships that will help to ensure my success going forward. I’ve gotten involved in a number of community business organizations and charities, and I’m taking the time to consistently get involved in what is going on in Austin. I’m doing this not only because I know it ultimately be good for business but also because I firmly believe in giving back to the community in whatever way I can. It’s been a great way for me to meet new people and make new friends in my adopted home town.
How did you fund your business?
The Austin franchise was funded both with cash from our investment portfolio and with financing through the Mom Corps corporate office as one of the initial twelve franchisees. I believe Mom Corps may now be offering similar financing to any new franchisee coming on board.
How would you rate your success from 0 – 10?
Given that we moved from Boston to Austin to launch this franchise and are basically starting from scratch, I would rate our success at this point as a 7. We are right where we expected to be by this point, and it will take some time to build up our network of relationships and business. I am extremely confident that we will be successful and will be growing the business in the near future.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
Scheduling and accountability for managing my time is critical. I map out my schedule on a daily basis to identify time to be spent working and time for personal activities, and then stick to that schedule as much as possible. Recognizing that schedule changes or emergencies may come up, I allow for some element of flexibility, but being accountable for what I say I’m going to do is extremely important for meeting both my personal and professional goals. Communication with my husband and my kids is also critical so that everyone knows what is going on and what to expect. That way nobody is surprised by something and for the most part, nothing gets dropped on the floor.
My house isn’t as clean as I’d like it to be, but for the time-being I can live with that. Once I start making more from the business, one of the first things I’ll do is hire a house-cleaner!
What advice would you give to a prospective franchise seeker?
I would advise a prospective franchisee to do their homework not only on the Mom Corps opportunity but also on their individual market, and explore whether the opportunity lifestyle is one with which the person can be comfortable. For example, are you the type of person that can be successful working from home or do you really need to be in an office environment with other people?
The prospective franchisee also needs to understand that this is not a business that can be done on the side-line or in your spare time just to earn a few extra dollars. At least here in Austin, it’s an extremely competitive environment, and it really requires putting yourself out there in front of people to build strong relationships in the business community. With all the operational support that the Mom Corps Corporate office provides, being a franchisee is all about sales and marketing, and one needs to be comfortable in those roles. She needs to understand that up front and be willing to take on those roles to build a successful business.
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