From the Daily Mail to Jamie Oliver to Raring2go!
- Name: Gemma Campbell
- Location: Surrey
- Franchise: Raring2go!
- Date launched the franchise: September 2018
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to buying your Raring2go! franchise? Prior to buying the Raring2go! franchise in Guildford and Surrey Heath I worked in publishing, primarily national newspapers. I started my career in my early 20’s at the Daily Mail and went on to have various sales and marketing roles working with both newspaper and magazine publishers such as News UK, Reach Plc and Jamie Oliver’s Magazine. I found I was expecting my first baby at the end of 2017 and started to think about what jobs I may be able to do that didn’t entail the long days commuting to London. That’s when I discovered Raring2go!
Can you also tell us about the franchise you have bought? I purchased two Raring2go! areas; Guildford and Surrey Heath. Both the areas are next door to each other and the businesses that advertise tend to be the same, so it made sense to purchase both. The franchises were resales so were already established in both areas. For various reasons the previous owner hadn’t had much time to spend on the business so it needed a bit of a kick start but I could see there was a lot of potential for both magazines.
Why did you go down the franchise route? What made you choose the publishing industry? And why a Raring2go! franchise? I liked the idea of choosing my own hours and being my own boss. I really wanted to be around more for my family but equally I wanted to continue working in an industry which I love. Most publishing jobs would mean commuting to London still which I didn’t want to do so Raring2go! seemed the perfect fit for me. I could work as and when I wanted, make as much or as little of it as I want and it’s an industry which I had a lot of experience in.
How did you raise the finance? I released some equity from my house to purchase both areas.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing? I did two days training with our head office team before I got started with the magazine. This was really helpful, not just to understand the systems that were available to use but to hear how other people work. Despite having been in sales roles before I always think it’s good to have regular reminders of the sales basics which we all think we know but sometimes forget to use. The training was really helpful in doing that and still is today. I regularly catch up with our head office and use them as a sounding board for ideas. There is also the support of the wider network who are a great bunch of very talented people who have come from all walks of life. We have regular zoom catch ups which anyone is invited to join and there is also an annual conference where we all get to meet up and chat over a glass or two!
How would you describe your day-to-day role as a franchisee It varies. Sometimes I’m super busy and other days not so much but that is the beauty of being your own boss isn’t it. We publish 4 magazines a year so tend to work in 3-month cycles. I find the start and end of each cycle are very busy. At the start I’m busying contacting anyone and everyone about featuring in our upcoming issue and at the end I’m frantically pulling everything together to meet the print deadline. It’s manic at times but good fun!
Provide information on challenges overcome as well as your key successes to date. The biggest challenge to date would have been Covid! With schools shut we had no distribution network and with businesses closed there was nobody to advertise anyway. It was tough because the outgoings are still there but there is no income. The support we had was great though and it helped knowing we were all in the same boat. My biggest success to date is how the magazines are performing. I’m growing each year and have just finished 2023 with revenue up +11% vs 2022 and up +94% since taking in on in 2019.
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how? It’s given me more flexibility and allowed me to get a much better work life balance. I couldn’t imagine leaving home at 7am every morning and not getting home until 7pm every day like I used to. It’s allowed me to be around for my little girl but still have a successful career.
How do you achieve a work-life balance? It’s easy really because I’m my own boss so I can go to the Christmas plays and be there in the school holidays. I would struggle with that if I was working full time still.
If you are a multi-unit franchisee, can you tell us why your franchise is ideal for those looking for a scalable opportunity? I suppose you could say I’m a multi-unit franchise because I run two areas and of course if I wanted there is always the option to take on more. I haven’t done as of yet because I’ve wanted to focus my time on growing the two areas I have but never say never!
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to buy their first franchise? Don’t try to do it all at once. If you are taking on a franchise and won’t have staff you need to recognise you can’t do it all from day one, or you will go insane! Focus on what makes the money and do that fist.
In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee? You have to be resilient, especially with a franchise like Raring2go! Where some days it will feel like all you hear is the word no! You have to be able to motivate yourself too because as your own boss there isn’t anyone breathing down your neck to get the job done, you have to do that yourself. And lastly I do think you need to be commercially minded. This is a business not a hobby and you have to remember that.
What are your plans for the future? I would potentially like to look at expanding my Raring2go! franchise into other areas at some point in the next few years. At the moment one of my areas is doing really well but the other could be better so I want to focus on growing that next year and then might look at other areas after that.
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently? I’d have more confidence in myself at the start. I think for the 6 months I lacked in self-confidence which probably effected my performance. Looking back, I should have had more faith in myself that I did know what I was doing and I could make a success of it.
Interested and want to know more about Raring2go!?
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