Being a franchise consultant can be both lucrative and rewarding. It’s a profession where you earn a living by helping people buy a suitable franchise where they can live the life of their dreams. Meg Schmitz has been a franchise expert and professional career coach with more than 25 years experience as a business consultant, mentor, and entrepreneur. We spoke to her about her journey as a franchise consultant.
Here’s what she had to say.
When did you start coaching? And why?
To get to the heart of the question, I think EVERYONE should watch the TED Talk by Simon Sinek on WHY.
My WHY is that I believe I was born to coach people.
My parents are highly successful in medicine (surgeon and hospice nurse).
I grew up with two people who have care, compassion, and concern for the human condition, so you can see that I am the apple that fell from the tree. Those transitions from life to death, and the transition from having cancer to being well again. Those are big deals.
I graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Counseling/Psychology, so I am a student of humanity.
People, as individuals, are fascinating, and I love asking open-ended questions that get people to talk. I can hear the internal workings as they process their hopes, goals, and feelings out loud.
By listening and repeating what they say, I continue asking more questions that let my candidates know I care, and I want to help.
I’m self-motivated to achieve results, and I enjoy helping others do the same. I know the benefits of self-improvement, healthy ego strength, and working hard to gain that sense of accomplishment.
Coaching for business success is FUN!
How did you choose your niche?
I entered franchising around 1992 as a franchisee with Great Clips. The systems and support were phenomenal; it was hard not to be successful.
During those 11 years as a young, fresh business owner, I was able to work with the corporate office to advise individuals considering ownership with that system. It isn’t a good fit for everyone, and I was able to help people discern whether or not they should invest.
Once I sold my five salons in 2003, I jumped to the consulting side of the franchise business development. As a consultant, I help top-tier franchises in many different industries find the right owners, and I find investors who want help determining which industry segment, and which franchise, is a suitable business ownership option.
What was your biggest challenge as a coach?
There are two challenges.
About seven years ago, I decided to work with personal referrals, period. The hardest part was shutting off the perceived security of purchased leads. Those were expensive to buy, and the leads weren’t qualified buyers.
I didn’t like the “tire kicker” mentality of people who “asked for help” but didn’t understand, or appreciate, how to utilize my expertise. That’s the second biggest challenge.
People say they want guidance, but they don’t let their guard down and accept my leadership. I am a great matchmaker, coach, and navigator in business. I only take qualified referrals from trusted business partners.
It took a while to network and find those referral sources, but those who refer the best candidates understand the benefit of my consultative coaching approach.
How did you land your first client?
What a great question. My first clients were referrals from my cousin. They were young executives on the fast track with a big name company. They realized rather young that Corporate America is a stifling place, and they wanted to partner in business and buy a franchise.
Referrals start with family and friends!
I have realized over the years that certain people are very coachable and do well in franchising. So I enjoy working with corporate refugees, retired military, former professional athletes, and women. They all understand team work.
How do you acquire clients?
My primary strategy is word of mouth via networking groups. Also, social media can be beneficial.
LinkedIn and Facebook are two great sources for me.
I have developed a few key referral sources who I’ve met through business think-tanks and networking over the years.
Outplacement offices tend to work with highly educated, discerning executives who want to explore the world outside of Corporate America. Those executives, who are just as likely to be female as male, want to call the shots while having a safety net.
Franchise ownership is a great vehicle for success-minded drivers who want to have a high level of impact.
What is your pricing methodology?
Like an executive recruiter, my fees are paid by a franchise company for a successful placement. Since there is a lot of coaching on the journey to discovering what the best fit is, I have to balance the learning curve between the individual and the company. There is a lot of coaching back and forth, before seeing a single penny.
People wonder how all this expertise can be free, but the process benefits both sides of the equation.
What tools do you use to manage your coaching business?
Calendly is a scheduling app, and it revolutionized how I use my time.
People can schedule the appropriate amount of time, and do it at their convenience.
I used to book my time in hour increments, but some people only need 15 minutes to cover their immediate questions. Time is money!
What advice do you have for someone who wants to become a coach?
When I started, I attended a lot of business development courses and joined three entrepreneur think-tank groups.
Those opened my eyes to the challenges we all face being self-employed, building a book of business, and appropriately pricing/monetizing the value proposition.
As I listened to others discuss their obstacles, I realized that some of those business people weren’t going to succeed. I was picking up a lot of advice that didn’t ring true for my style.
Confidence in my process is my takeaway. I work the way I want to work, and I live the life I want to live. I have a ton of flexibility and freedom, and I am working with people I enjoy. When things aren’t clicking, I step away and do something rejuvenating. If my energy is low, it is NOT a good day to be coaching! When I am on my game, I can brainstorm better to find creative and impactful ways to be more successful.
Believe in your ability to coach and guide. Use your life experiences to offer, and gain perspective.
Meg Schmitz is a high-energy, solution-oriented franchise expert and professional career coach with more than 25 years experience as a business consultant, mentor, and entrepreneur. Her free services guide individuals along a path to professional independence while developing a plan to achieve personal lifestyle goals, through franchise investment.