Emma McCalla-John invested her twenty years of expertise in teaching music, into her dream of being her own boss, running her own creative business and supporting children to learn and develop through fun creative art and crafts activities.
We asked Emma to share her story as to why she decided to move on from teaching, what she was looking for, why she decided to run her own award-winning Creation Station Franchise. providing classes, clubs, parties and events in and around Harborne and Bartley Green and how she feels now.
I trained as a Music teacher but quite early in my career, I started to work with special needs children. Throughout my twenty-year career, I have worked with children and young adults with lots of differing abilities, those on the autistic spectrum, those with physical disabilities and other complex needs.
I love working with children, especially on creative projects and expressive arts.
As time wore on I wasn’t able to have as much say in what I was teaching and it all seemed about passing exams, meeting the grade and trying to teach all children the same thing and in the same way. We don’t all learn the same way though!
With an almost grown up family, it seemed the ideal time to take a calculated risk and challenge myself to achieve what I could of only of dreamt of a few years previous – to run my own creative business. It was a now or never moment.
Over a few years I have been looking at franchises but not really seriously, I think I always liked the idea but nothing really jumped out, until I came across The Creation Station.
I looked at the list of franchises that were going to be at the NEC franchise exhibition and thought, ‘That looks interesting!’. Prior to the exhibition (only about a week), I did as much research as possible on The Creation Station; I downloaded the franchise information pack from the website, read about it, watched Youtube clips and got a list of questions prepared ready for when I went to the franchise exhibition.
I think I knew before I got there that this was going to the right fit for me. But seeing the bright and colourful stand and the lovely ladies from the network just re-enforced my gut feeling that I had to be part of this success and value driven company
I just knew!
It wasn’t a rash decision, I’m quite risk averse really but it really did tick all the boxes.
I could of only have dreamt of running my own business, but I mean where do you start?!
Investing in my own Creation Station franchise means investing into a whole network of support, that’s really important to me. I know that I can always ask for help, advice, and support at any time from our Creative Hub Head Office or from other franchisees.
I decided to get a loan. It was quite straightforward. Because The Creation Station is established this means the bank rate this as a much lower risk bank loan than if I had to start on my own.
My nerves, but my family were supportive, I was worried about the change of career and I knew it would be difficult especially at first but I was determined. So in the summer of 2017 I completed my training and started running my business pretty much straight away.
We had the best time at training, I have met lifelong friends, I laughed more than I’d laughed in years and oh yeah, we learnt loads. The support is invaluable and someone can always help you. I like the way head office just phones for a chat sometimes too.
Going into schools for Create Clubs and workshops knowing that I’m doing something I love and giving 100% because I’m happy.
It’s the same but different. I like the organisation of planning and preparing classes and events, but with Creation Station, all the session planning is already done for you – yay! I love seeing the children being creative and building relationships with them.
I don’t miss the commute to work or the endless hours marking or doing paperwork!.
Really positive, I’ve had a steady first year where I’ve learnt a lot. I feel confident and whilst not everything has gone to plan I think it’s good to have challenges because it motivates me to try even harder to be the very best I can.
I smile every day.
The parents are fab, they love the sessions, the babies and toddlers are so cute too.
I love being my own boss, being able to have time to sing in a choir and play saxophone in a band without worrying about getting everything done.
Sometimes I even go out on a school night!
I’ve achieved some important personal goals. I have a flexible work-life balance; that doesn’t mean less work, it means work that you want to do when you want to do it. To be honest, sometimes I work harder and longer… but it’s my choice, the work is valuable and I reap the benefits – and that’s great.
I’m proud of taking the risk, taking a chance and doing something that to be honest not everyone has the guts to do.
Think carefully about why you chose to teach.
Does your career meet your expectations?
Are you doing everything you always wanted to do?
Are you and your family happy?
If the answer is yes, then congratulations you’re doing a great job.
If the answer is no…what are you going to do about it?
Claire Darnley runs 5* award-winning creative art and craft classes in Halesowen, Birmingham.
Jo runs award-winning, fun, creative art and craft classes, after-school clubs, parties and events for all ages in Lancaster and Kendal.
Jen runs award-winning, fun, creative art and craft classes, after-school clubs, parties and events for all ages in Hove, East Sussex.
Abby Newall runs award-winning, fun, creative art and craft classes, after-school clubs, parties and events for all ages in Chichester and Arundel.
Louise was looking for a new challenge and the freedom that flexibility could bring to her working life.
Sarah is inspiring the children and adults of Bury North with classes, parties, events, and more!
Sharon Keirle runs award-winning, fun, creative art and craft classes, after-school clubs, parties and events for all ages in Cranbrook, Dawlish, Topsham and Exminster areas.
Jann Thorpe runs award-winning, fun, creative art and craft classes, after-school clubs, parties and events for all ages in the Macclesfield area.
Chantal Craig runs her Creation Station franchise providing creative workshops for adults, kids classes, parties and events to Hitchin, Letchworth and Stotfold.
Claire Lyon is making Doncaster super sparkly with her award winning creative workshops.
Vanessa Whitehouse is making a difference with award winning Creation Station workshops.
Kate Knubley is running award-winning Creation Station art and craft classes in Wimborne, Verwood and Broadstone.
Emma Winterbourne now runs her own award-winning Creation Station franchise in Thame & West Aylesbury.
Vicky Whitwell is running award-winning, fun, creative art and craft classes, after-school clubs, parties and events in the Coventry West area.
Lisa Hagg tells us about her six years with her Creation Station franchise and her highlights from 2016 so far.
Find out how Cathy Huston changed career and now runs her own Creation Station business in Preston.
Sarah Cressall talks about the opportunities that The Creation Station has to offer.
Sara le Roux gives 10 insider tips that you need to know about running a franchise!
Shobhana Sankar inspires imaginations with The Creation Station in Surrey.
Ruth Morris, owner of The Creation Station Aberdeen and winner of the Best New Franchisee 2014, shares her story of her first year running her own successful business.
Tracy Hull who runs her Creation Station business in Basingstoke says "I live being a role model to my children.....".
Kirsty Hickson says that running her own successful Creation Station business has been the making of her.
Sarah Finan has taken control of her working life and now inspires children's imaginations with her own Creation Station business.
Lois Naylor runs The Creation Station Wakefield.
Liz Cairns passes on her reasons for joing the The Creation Station.
Karen Carnsen says that The Creation Station has given her the confidence to be her own boss and she is very positive about the future.
I wanted to have the freedom of choosing my work hours to fit around family life. I knew I wanted to work with children and be my own boss.
Running my own franchise with a nationwide brand that shared my family and personal values was the obvious choice for me.
Jackie wanted to ensure she had time with her pre-school children but wanted to steadily build a rewarding business that could grow further when they started school.
Lavinia decided she didn’t want to work for someone else but didn’t want to start a business from scratch.
Lucy wanted to give something back to her community and found the values of The Creation Station could help her achieve a fulfilling and rewarding business opportunity.
Following the birth of her twins, Hayley Sugden wanted to go back to work and The Creation Station franchise provided everything she wanted.
I have been running my Creation Station franchise since March 2013 and I can honestly say they have been the most fun filled happy months in employment I have ever had.Kirsty Hickson
Who wouldn't love the flexibility of this business! I have been running my franchise for just over four years now and I can honestly say it has ticked all of the boxes I had set down from the beginning with making sure the work/life balance fit in around my family.Penny Gilbert
I've bought my franchise from a lady, who has been running it for 18 month at the time and I am now in my 3rd year and am LOVING it!Alexia Ispani
You can run your own flexible business and help inspire children's imaginations with the UK’s leading art & crafts activity company, Us!
Perfectly designed for a Mum who wants a family friendly financially rewarding future.