"Hi, my name is Sara Harrison, I'm 31 and a franchisee.
I own the Southwark and Greenwich franchises. It's been hard work, stressful at times but so rewarding, I love my job and would strongly recommend this to anyone looking to become their own boss within a business that has a proven track record and can provide support and advice when needed.
My first introduction to Angela's Swim School was in May 2014 when I took on an admin position for an existing franchisee covering the Dartford area; coincidentally this was the same franchisee who taught my son to swim a few years earlier. In October 2014 I was approached by Angela Wilson, CEO of the swim school with regard to taking on my own area. I then took and successfully passed my ASA level 1 and 2 to become a fully qualified instructor. I decided to jump in (please excuse the pun) and took on two areas, Southwark and Greenwich.
I hadn't got a clue about running my own business. Accountants, legal contracts, public liability insurance, business accounts and payroll, it might as well have been in another language. I'm of average intelligence but have never had the need to deal with these sort of things. That's the benefit of a franchise model, they steered me in the right direction, gave help and advice…oh, and a very large manual. I provided the hard work and determination to make it happen.
We agreed a start date of January 2015, this gave about three months to market my one pool, a small private spa pool in Catford. I wore the heels down on my favourite shoes dropping leaflets off to schools, doctors, playgroups. I'd even pull my car over when I saw a mum with a young child. I took stalls at Christmas fairs and any event that was likely to attract children and I was there promoting the benefits of fitness and safety in teaching children to swim.
I started in the January with four instructors and 55 children, this steadily grew to a second pool, then the third and fourth, all the time with continued marketing through leaflets, stands at Charlton Football Club and even a two-day event at the Excel Centre. We also use social media and are proud of the reviews we have received, especially those on Facebook and Kallikids.
I get up at 6.30am and start replying to emails whilst drinking my first coffee, often the day ends about 8pm and although the office is open Monday to Friday, I will register new clients and deal with emails seven days a week. Despite the long hours, I've still taken time to add a few more training courses to my portfolio including 'reach and rescue' course, 'child protection' course, 'life guard and first aid' courses and ASA 'parent and teacher' course.
I believe a successful franchisee needs to be driven, self-motivated and willing to work hard, the rewards are there if you believe in your product. Could you go out and do it on your own? Possibly, but on your own you will make more mistakes, it will definitely take you longer and you will miss out on the collective marketing and buying power that a franchise can offer. Ideas can be shared, advice offered and the security of having your own area to market using a proven and tested setup.
It was a no-brainer for me, and it's working well."
When the opportunity came up to take on the Croydon area Sara jumped at the chance. With the help of Head Office she marketed the area over the summer and built her client base ready for her first term in September 2017.
"The phone is ringing off the hook, I am inundated with enquiries and am considering opening up more pool time to accommodate all the clients".
Clearly Sara’s reputation has followed her to her new area. Sara continues to stick to the Angela’s Swim School proven methods for teaching and running the business and is going from strength to strength.
Darryl Burroughs bought an Angela's Swim School franchise in East Sussex and he opened his first business in January 2016.
Jenna McMullen became one of the first Angela's Swim School franchisees and bought her first franchise area in January 2014, in Sevenoaks, Kent.
I enjoy owning my own business and also being part of a bigger picture. We are part of an ever growing network and benefit from the support that Angela's Swim School gives us.
I started running my franchise in November 2014 and from day one there was a lot of support from Angela's Swim School head office. Any time I need help, advice or support I know it is there.
Angela's Swim School is a company that empowers a franchisee as a business person.
We teach people to be swimmers and not just to swim
The franchise is owned by a former Team GB swimmer
We teach skills to succeed in life not just swimming