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Making the Move from Corporate CFO to Club Pilates Multi-Unit Franchisee


Remember when we interviewed Bri Boos, Club Pilates franchisee? This week we chatted with Emily Hammett, the woman who inspired Bree’s franchise journey. 

Listen to hear about Emily’s transition from CFO of a financial services company to the owner of 4 Club Pilates franchises, plus a brand new business that you definitely want to hear about if you’re into pilates!

Episode Transcription

Erin: Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of the Franchise Rising podcast! For those of you who stuck around with me all this time, or have even just tapped in to some of our beginning episodes, we are interviewing another franchisee from Club Pilates.

On episode number two, we interviewed Bri Boos, a franchisee of Club Pilates. In her episode she spoke about someone who inspired her to begin her journey with Club Pilates. Her name is Emily Hammett. Bri raved about her, and so I said, “I have to get her on the show!” And thankfully, months and months later, here she is.

We have Emily Hammett, the owner of four Club Pilates, on the show. Welcome, Emily.

Emily: Thank you so much. Bri’s too kind.

Erin: All right, well thank you for being here. I’m sure I didn’t even do it justice there, but it’s great to have you.

Emily: Oh, of course. Thanks for having me.

Erin: So Emily, tell us, tell us a little bit about the locations that you own yourself, and just give us a little brief background before we dive into it.

Emily: Yeah, of course. So, I own four Club Pilates locations in Orange County. At the time when we were opening the first studio, I was actually still living in San Diego. I had this idea in my head that I could spend a lot of time driving upfront, getting things open, and then once it’s open I’d be living remotely and managing remotely. We found out pretty quickly through the opening process that it wasn’t going to be that easy.

So, when we were in construction for the first studio, we actually moved up to Orange County. So, my first studio is in Villa Park, which is in the city of Orange. Then about a year later, we opened in Rancho Santa Margarita, and then about nine months later we opened in Tustin, California, and then just a few months after that opened in San Clemente, which is where I live.

Erin: Wow. You guys have been on a roll.

Emily: Oh yeah. It’s been crazy. We opened those four studios within three years.

Erin: That’s amazing.

Emily: It’s been a busy three years, but luckily I’m on the other side of it now.

Erin: And now it’s smooth sailing for her, as we’ve been joking before we hit the record button.

Emily: Everything’s running itself now, and I say that the most amount of sarcasm possible.

Erin: Emily’s proof that this can be done.

Emily: Thank you.

Erin: So Emily, who’s we?

Emily: My husband and I. When I opened the first location, it was just me kind of doing my dream, and when I opened the second location he started to get a little bit involved. Helped a little bit with the contractors and the build outs, but that second studio was still really learning process for him. And then once we got to the third studio, he started to get even more involved.

I’d say about that time is where we really learned how to divide and conquer. He kind of took over on that third studio, really all of the buildout, which was amazing.

That was hands down my least favorite part of the whole process, getting it open and dealing with contractors. It’s just like this whole industry of people who say that they’re going to get things done by a certain time, which of course, if you’ve ever done anything construction-wise, it never happens by that timeline.

Then with the fourth studio, again, he kind of completely managed, not only the buildout, but also the pre-sale and all that sort of stuff.

Now it’s interesting because this started as my dream, my passion, what I wanted to do. And he had his job that he was very passionate about, or I guess I should say he thought he was passionate about. But then he really saw me grow and shine and just fall in love with what I’m doing, and I think I’ve just kind of pulled him over. He’s actually now completely transitioning out of his job. So, it’s been a kind of funny couple of years with us doing it together.

Erin: I love that. I love to hear about the teamwork and the growth in both of you. I just want to go back to the very beginning. You said this was your dream. I also noted in your background information how you have a background in finance and accounting. You’re a CPA, is that correct?

Emily: Yes, I am.

Erin: Okay. So did this dream just come out of nowhere? Why Club Pilates? Is it the business? Is it pilates? I want to know more about that.

Emily: I think it’s an accumulation of a lot of things. Growing up, my grandfather was an entrepreneur and worked for himself and said all of those normal things that are almost a little bit trite these days – do something that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life, and all of those sorts of things. So I think those ideas were kind of dropping in for me really early on.

Then, kind of fast forwarding more into college, and you’re deciding what your major is and who you want to be when you grow up. I think I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Okay, cool, I know that, but what’s next? I didn’t have this amazing idea on how I want to change the world, so I chose the safe route really.

I started studying business in college and really found a niche in accounting. It really came naturally to me and they lay out kind of the career path and the salary opportunities and I see dollar signs. I was like, “Okay, cool. I’m good at this. It’s easy for me. There’s money here. Why not go down that route?” So I did.

I graduated with my undergrad in accounting and then continued on and got my masters in taxation and started my career in public accounting at Ernst and Young, one of the big four accounting firms, and found out pretty quickly that it wasn’t really what I wanted to be doing.

I graduated college in 2009, so right after everything kind of fell apart with the accounting world, to put it lightly. That meant that they laid off a ton of people, and they were doing essentially the same amount of work with even less people. This meant more hours for the people that were still there. So I was working 80 to 90 to 100 hour weeks.

It got so bad. I remember I had this one client where we would work until like 4:35 AM, and I drive home just to get a few hours of sleep, try not to kill myself on the drive home because I was so exhausted, and then turn around and come back to be at their office at 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning the next day.

There was this socially acceptable practice to take toilet paper from the office to take home with you, because this was before Amazon prime. You didn’t even have time to go get toilet paper, you know, we just kind of had to figure it out.

I figured out pretty quickly that that wasn’t for me but continued my career after that. I made a couple of moves. Luckily I had a lot of internship experience in college, so a lot of my previous bosses called on me and said, “Hey, we have this position, I think that you’re going to be a great fit.”

I was able to elevate my career really quickly with some of those connections. And each time I jumped ship, moved to a different office with a different group of people, I would get a little bit of a cut back on the hours that I was working and a little bit more freedom. Each time it got more and more, but it still just wasn’t enough.

My last position I was a CFO for Northwestern Mutual in San Diego. There’s a couple of offices within that group, and my boss really did everything he could to keep me there, and really gave me as much freedom and flexibility as that role would allow. I was of course super grateful for that, and again, each raise that I got made it a little bit easier for a period of a few months. It’s like, I get this big raise and I’m like, “Okay, I can continue to do this.” And then that just kind of wore off.

When my now husband and I got engaged, we really did a lot of soul searching. Like, okay, we’re going to build a life together. What do we want that life to look like?

The whole corporate America thing just was not my fit because I needed so much more flexibility than that could have ever provided. I feel so passionately that the days of working nine to five, Monday through Friday, it’s just so unrealistic.

Who actually works those hours? I know there’s plenty of people who show up to the office for those hours, but realistically that’s just not the way we’re designed. You don’t just show up and say, “Okay, well now it’s 8:00, so I’m going to sit down at my desk for the next eight hours and I’m going to work.”

I personally saw a lot of inefficiencies in corporate America. Bri and I didn’t meet at work, but eventually we ended up kind of working in the same office and, I hope that nobody that we worked with ever listens to this, but we would leave the office and like go on a “Starbucks” run and be gone for an hour and a half just walking around, both pretending like we’re in a meeting with someone somewhere, and then we’d come back up and just count down the minutes. Like, “Okay, when can we go take another break and walk around the building and get out of here?”

Erin: I think that’s not uncommon. It’s in so many work environments, and it’s unfortunate because so many are built on this archaic model of people have to be there for eight hours. For what? For what reason? And the measures of success are tied in all the wrong places. Why not talk about productivity or outcome, or base it on something else? It depends on the business, of course, like if you have to be there for support, that might be different.

I hear you, and I think that’s why there are a lot of women like you jumping out looking for something different. This whole wave of entrepreneurship and companies starting to have virtual infrastructures. That’s changing too. I agree with you that the nine to five is shifting.

Emily: Yeah. The nine to five is just so archaic. I understand back before the internet and email and even text message. You know, we’re doing a Zoom conference right now. Before all of that existed, I understand the purpose.

But I mean, it’s 2018. There’s got to be a better way to do this. I’m sure we’ll kind of get into this a little bit more, but I have a manager at each location and they do not have set hours at all, whatsoever. I give them unlimited paid vacation. It’s basically, you’ve got a job to do and you’re an adult, you’re responsible and you can figure out how to do the job that I pay you for. I’m not paying you for a certain number of hours every day. I’m paying you for a job.

It’s a little bit scary as a business owner to do that. In order for that to be successful, you absolutely have to hire the right people because I’m sure that there’s plenty of people out there that would take advantage of it, hanging out at the beach all day and saying, “Oh yeah, I was working all day.”

Erin: But then they’re not going to get the job done!

Emily: Exactly.

Erin: They’re not going to achieve the results, so they won’t make it anyway.

Emily: Yeah. What I tell my managers is: if you’re getting the entire job done in 30 hours a week, then great. Take that extra 10 hours and go live your life. Do what you want to do. I really encourage them to be fulfilled in their own personal life, and if they’re happy and fulfilled and all that sort of stuff, they’re going to bring that to work. You better believe that.

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Erin: I love that. That makes me even more curious and I want to definitely dive into that regarding Club Pilates, your relationship, and how much liberty you have as a franchisee as well.

Emily: That’s going to be a tough question for me to answer, but I’ll do my best.

Erin: Okay. Well, you can go as far as you’d like. So, I hear that you wanted to do something more fulfilling. How did you come across Club Pilates?

Emily: So, back to that conversation that my husband and I were having on, okay, we were building this life together, what do we want it to look like and feel like? You know, and all that sort of thing. I really took a year, maybe a year and a half, of some serious soul searching and getting very specific and very clear on what are the things that I’m looking for and in my perfect dream world, what does that look like? Not necessarily what position or role on my end, just more some of the intangibles, you know.

I kind of touched on this already. The freedom and flexibility was the biggest thing that I was looking for, and I didn’t want to be in that box of nine to five.

I had a few days in that last corporate role that I had where I could work from home, and I noticed that when I was working from home, completely uninterrupted by other people in the office, I could bang out all eight hours of work in like three hours. Sometimes less, sometimes a little bit more. But, I didn’t need the whole eight hours because I didn’t have all of these mindless interruptions.

The other big thing was the compensation part. It’s kind of an interesting thing because on one hand, with what I was doing in corporate America, I was definitely fairly compensated for my role in the job that I was doing. But at the same time, if I completely killed it and banged the job out of the park, or if I fully slacked off and spent a lot of time with Bri walking around the building with our Starbucks, my paycheck remained the same no matter what.

For me personally, it was really hard to stay motivated and to show up every day and give it my all and kill it and feel like, “Yeah, I did this,” which is something I want to feel. I wanted something where I’m offered an income potential that was greater than just clicking away, each year you get your annual raise, and then you get your annual raise after that. I wanted something that had greater potential than that.

I looked into all sorts of different things. I toyed with the idea of going back to law school. I thought about doing CFO for hire type of work for other small businesses. It’s funny, it’s just such, such a simple question that I feel like everybody’s asked themselves, but for whatever reason, when my husband asked me on that day, on that time, “If you could do anything in the world, what would you do?”

And this thing just came out of my mouth. It was almost like word vomit before I even knew what I was saying. I said, “Well, I would own my own pilates studio.” And then as soon as I said it out loud, I was like, “That was stupid. How could I even do that? Here I am, an accountant, a CPA.”

I was a client actually at a Club Pilates. I’d been doing pilates before Club even. And I loved it on my own little, like at home time. But, at that point in time, I never really thought that there could be really sustainable income from pilates. So, it’s like, what, am I going to be a pilates instructor? That’s not going to be fulfilling for me. I kind of laughed it off.

And then, honestly within a few days, I found out about the franchising opportunity with Club Pilates and reached out to Allison Beardsley, who was the original founder. She’s been so inspirational for me, even though she’s not really in the Club Pilates realm anymore. I reached out to her and kind of got going right away with Club Pilates.

It’s funny, I had this long exploration period initially. It was like a year, year and a half where I was doing that soul searching in that work. I was very clear on what I was looking for, which is definitely my recommendation for others who are kind of following in that path, is get crystal clear on what it is that you’re looking for. And then once you are crystal clear on what that is, when the opportunity presents itself, it’s a no brainer.

Emily Hammett Quote 1 (1)

For me, I learned about the opportunity and then basically two weeks later I had a signed franchise agreement, I was signed up for teacher training, and literally started teacher training that weekend. It happened so fast. Then here we are now, and there’s been all sorts of fun things in between then and now. I’m sure we’ll touch on those as well.

Erin: Did you have any apprehensions before signing? I mean, it did move quickly, there wasn’t a lot of time and maybe that was a good thing. It didn’t give you a lot of chances to question and doubt, but you had to have had some concerns.

Emily: Yes and no. I mean anytime you make a drastic change like that. The big thing for me was walking away from a very good, stable paycheck. I got paid every two weeks, just money came into my bank account and that was that. Once I decided to make the shift, my husband and I really started focusing on saving, which was nice. I knew that I wanted to transition out, and then especially once I knew that I was going to make that transition with Club Pilates, that happened in October.

Then I ended up staying in my CFO position through the end of January. It was kind of doing this like side hustle thing where I was writing my business plan, I want to say at night, but a lot of times it also fell during that nine to five time. But, I was kind of working on that on the side.

There’s no doubt that that’s scary. You’re saving up all this money and again, walking away from that stable paycheck where you know that money is going to get deposited in your bank account. That’s absolutely a scary thing. But I think for me, because I got so clear on what it was that I was looking for, and then when I found this, it literally checked every single box, so, you know, there were those moments, and I think that’s always going to exist there.

You’re always gonna have that moment of second guessing yourself, but I think what really helped me was just getting super crystal clear on what am I looking for? Where am I now and how do I get to where I’m going to be that? Yeah, some of that normal apprehension existed, but honestly, I looked ahead and I never once looked back.

It’s funny to even talk about because I don’t even know that person that I was when I was in that whole corporate world. I literally don’t even know that Emily anymore. I would never change a thing about anything that I’ve done, that training for me was excellent, and I really learned a lot of skill sets and all that sort of stuff that I am using today. I’m happy that I spent that time there, but it’s so funny because it’s just so not me.

I think I’ve really been able to step into my true self where I am now, and I don’t even know that person anymore. I don’t. The thought of having to go back to that world; there’s no turning back now, don’t get me wrong, but if everything collapsed and I had to go get a corporate job, I couldn’t do it, there’s just no way.

Erin: So it sounds like the freedom has been pretty incredible for you.

Emily: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I still work long, crazy hours. This last weekend I went out to Bhakti Fest, so I took three days off. Of course, I’m still checking in and checking emails and responding to a text message or just saying, “Hey, can this wait until Monday?”

I don’t really take a day off. A day off to me isn’t what a day off means to somebody that’s in that corporate America, because when you work for yourself, you don’t have that ability to clock out, hang up your hat, and say, “Okay, I’m done. There’s nothing I need to worry about.”

Something that was a really difficult transition for me was this idea of this huge laundry list of things that need to get done. My hardest transition in this is realizing that there will never be a day from now until the rest of forever where I get to everything on the to do list.

Emily Hammett Quote 2
You know, I have that personality where I want to check everything off and when I’m done say, “Okay, I’m done, I’m going to go hang up my hat and now I’m done.” The shift now is: what are the most important things that I need to do to move the ship forward ,and what are the things that I’m not going to get to? And I just have to be okay with not getting to those things.

Hopefully there’s a day where I do get to those things. but sometimes there’s never a day. And then I realize, “Okay, this thing has been on the list for awhile. I haven’t gotten to it. I need to offload this to somebody else on my team and have them take care of it.”

Erin: That’s a good lesson for all of us. Prioritizing, time management. That’s fantastic. So, Emily, you have four locations open. You opened them all within three years of each other, and you have this background in finance. So you must’ve been projecting a little bit into the future about the revenue numbers and what you needed to do in order to hit those.

Emily: Yeah.

Erin: At what point did you know that you wanted to go beyond one location?

Emily: When I signed my original contract with Alison, I signed what’s called a MUDS, it’s a multi-unit development agreement, so I had originally signed on for three. Usually when you sign a multi-unit agreement, there was a little bit of a discount in that initial upfront fee back at that time. This has changed now, but I think it would have been $75,000 for three, but it ended up being $65,000. There’s a little bit of a break there.

Around about the time that I opened my first studio is when Allison sold the franchise company to somebody else. And the new owner had a lot of ideas on where things were going to go into the future. There were a number of franchisees who opted out of that change.

I guess I’ll back up a little bit. Allison grew everything very organically. So her first set of franchisees were her own instructors. And then the next layer beyond that, which is what I fall into, started to reach out into people who were clients, and now fast forward to where it is. It’s just gone so mainstream. You have all of these investor-type people who don’t know anything about pilates and, very sadly, don’t care about pilates at all. They just see the ROI on a piece of paper and say, “Sure, sign me up. Let’s do this.”

So, there were a number of franchisees that opted out of kind of transitioning into this new kind of wave of the future with Club Pilates. One of them was in San Clemente, which is our hometown. It’s now our forever home. When that territory became available and they debranded, we jumped on it right away. We were like, look, somebody is going to own a Club Pilates here in San Clemente. We don’t want to be living here and having some other person running it.

Not all franchises are created equal. It’s not like you go into every Subway and have an amazing experience at every Subway. Sometimes it’s dirty and the service is terrible or whatever it is.

And so, living in this town and making connections in the community, we wanted to make sure if there was going to be a Club Pilates in town that it was going to be ours and not one that’s run by somebody who doesn’t have that natural passion that I do for what it is that we’re doing and what we’re offering.

Erin: Yeah. I mean, it sounds like you really do have a passion for what you’re offering and that’s not always the case. We’ve talked to other franchisees who had a different passion. It may not be in the nature of the business, but it might be owning a business. Might be the other set that you’re describing. So how important has that passion that you have for pilates itself, how important has that been for you in owning and growing this set of franchises?

Emily: For me personally, that’s everything. That’s at the heart and soul, at the center of what we’re doing. I really do believe in pilates, and the power that it has to heal people’s bodies and for the longevity of the rest of their life. I believe in that.

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It’s funny because now that we have these studios and they’re up and running and they’re doing their thing, my husband and I have spent a lot of time thinking about what’s next for us. It’s not just going to be these four locations and now we’re just going to sit back and that’s going to be the end of my career. We want to do more things.

I’ve had a really hard time working with our franchisor. Again, this does not include Allison. Working with Allison is like, I would do that for the rest of my life. Anything that she did, I’d follow her. But you know, I’ve had a hard time. It’s a little bit of a double-edged sword because on one hand, the revenue and the income nowadays isn’t even comparable to what it used to be. But at the same time it’s losing a little bit of that heart and soul.

The culture that Allison founded Club Pilates on gets a little bit diluted when you get a bunch of people who are just looking at the numbers and trying to hit different metrics so that they could be the biggest and the best and the fastest growing, all that sort of stuff. I think when that happens, it’s natural that the integrity of what’s going on gets a little bit diluted.

That’s something that I’m super passionate about and that I really bring to our studios. I do my absolute best every single day to keep that culture alive. how can I help, how can I serve, how do I uplift others? That’s really what it was all founded on, and I really want to do my best to keep that alive.

Like I said, I have a manager at each location and I really run this like they’re my family. I don’t want it to just be this big thing where I’m sitting back in my ivory tower saying, you do this, you do that. I do my best to really groom my managers, and who knows what the future holds for them. My job is to prepare them the best of my ability. If they want to go open up a pilates studio, I’m basically teaching them how to do it and I’m empowering them to do that.

The passion side of things, you know, I don’t think it’s necessary. No disrespect to anything that I’m about to mention, but it’s like if I were to go open up a Papa John’s, am I super passionate about Papa John’s pizza? No. Could I open up one of those and be successful? Absolutely. But, for me, especially going back to my reason why I even made the shift and what I was really looking for, I wanted something that was more fulfilling.

I know this isn’t the case for everybody, but I’ve got to be passionate about what it is I’m doing. Otherwise, again, it just becomes another job, and that’s just not what I was looking for. So I think for me personally, that’s the most important thing. There will be other things after Club Pilates for me, and I haven’t exactly identified what those things are yet, but you better believe it’s not just going to be like flying in pizzas, whatever it is.

Erin: Right, right.

Emily: Something I actually believe in, you know?

Erin: I think that’s really admirable and the passion that you’ve put into your business and also the compassion you’ve shown with your managers and how you’re grooming them, that probably shines through to the customers, too. They probably feel it. I’m sure they feel it and that makes a difference. I’m all on board with that.

Emily: You know, that side of things was also a little tricky for me to navigate at first. When I opened the very first studio, I was working in that studio seven days a week. I had one instructor who taught Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings, and I was the only other instructor that I had, so I was doing all of it – teaching all the classes and then on top of that, running all of the operations and sales and customer service. Literally everything.

So if somebody had a question, comment, concern, they were getting direct access to me when I opened. And then over time, I started to hire a few more instructors, and then front desk staff, sales staff. And then when I opened the second studio, I really had to kind of shift my focus to that second studio. It was I think probably harder on me than any of our clients.

But, people missed seeing me and having that connection to me. And, you know I am so passionate about this, and it got them excited and passionate about what pilates could do for them.

Of course it tied them to me personally and they loves having female entrepreneur. They wanted to support me and all of those sorts of things. I still to this day have very close relationships with clients that I had literally from day one.

A lot of our clients are brought into our pre-sale opening packages. A lot of those clients are still with us and I don’t see them all nearly as much as I used to, but when I do, it’s kind of like no time has passed, which is nice.

Erin: Wow. That’s amazing. Now,when you talk about not knowing what’s next after Club Pilates, is there a possibility you’d open some complimentary franchise? I know that’s something that happens.

Emily: I mean, I think the possibilities are endless really. it’s so funny to think about. Rewinding a little bit to something that I had mentioned earlier. I always knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t have an idea and didn’t know how to get started.
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I’m now I’m finding I have so many ideas. There’s a billion different things that I want to do and different concepts that I want to open, either within franchising or outside of that. I don’t have the capacity to say yes to everything that comes across my desk now, so there’s absolutely going to be other things.

One of the other things is kind of already gotten started. My husband and I just recently launched new business. It’s called Salt & Honey. Basically, a lot of my clients would take a bath towel into the studio and lay it down on the reformer and do pilates on the bath towel. If you’re a pilates instructor, that’s the most annoying thing that you could see happen because you’re losing so much of the beautiful benefits of pilates by doing.

I’m going to get a little technical right now, but when you’re laying down on the reformer, you’re decompressing your spine and elongating your spine and then working out in that correct posture, and that correct form will help to stabilize your spine for the rest of your life.

When you throw a towel down, I understand the purpose. They’re sweating and they don’t want to lay in their pool of sweat, and they’ve got the previous person that was sweating over the reformer, too. But, you’re losing that decompression of the spine when you’re doing that.

Something that I do a lot of outside of pilates is yoga. I don’t really do hot yoga anymore, but I did, and when you’re doing hot yoga, you’ve got your yoga towel and then your yoga mat, and your towel that you lay on top of that.

I basically took that yoga towel and cut it to be a specific shape and size for the reformer and the headrest. We’re selling them on the internet and doing a couple of wholesale orders in studios across the country now. I’s just launching now.

Erin: Awesome! Hey, if you’ll let us know, we’ll put a link in the show notes to it so anyone listening to can check it out and hop online and order some.

Emily: I would love that!

Erin: It’s amazing what happens when you have that abundance mindset and you jump into something and you open your eyes to the possibilities of what else you can grow. So it’s no surprise to me that all these ideas are flooding in. And though you can’t say yes to everything, thank you for saying yes to this podcast interview.

Emily: Of course.

Erin: Three questions real quick that I like to end our interviews with, Emily. What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

Emily: Yeah, that one’s a super easy question for me to answer. When I was first looking into the Club Pilates idea, I had a mentor, I still do at this time. He’s been a mentor of mine throughout my entire career. He’s an entrepreneur. I recommend everybody goes out and gets a mentor.

Erin: So when I first showed him my business plan for Club Pilates, I remember being so excited to show it to him. I just assumed he was going to look at the business plan, read through it, just be so blown out of the water, and give me all of this praise. And he kind of looked at it and read through it and came back to me and was like, “You’re going to do all this work just for that amount of money? That’s it? That’s what’s going on?”

Emily: And for me at the time, again coming from my corporate America background, the financial side of it, I thought it was big. I thought it was huge. And, the advice that he gave to me was think bigger, dream bigger.

I think that a lot of times when you’re looking into different opportunities and deciding and evaluating – do I move forward with this, do I move forward with that? We all get a little bit stuck in kind of our perception of reality, whatever that reality is. You think, “Okay, the opportunity is this,” when really you should think bigger. You know, everything can be so much bigger than what you’re thinking now.

You really have to kind of let go of your perception of what the reality is. Just think so much bigger than that because the whole purpose behind being an entrepreneur is, you’re not showing up just to do what everybody did before you. You should be thinking bigger. That’s going to make you successful.

Erin: I love it. Great. Don’t put limits on your potential.

Emily: Yeah, exactly.

Erin: Think bigger. That’s great. So, is there any specific advice pertaining to franchising that you would give to prospective female franchisees?

Emily: Yeah. Well one, I absolutely recommend it, especially for somebody who, you know, if you heard my story about how I wanted to work for myself, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and how to get there.

For somebody in that position, I absolutely recommend franchising because it’s basically an opportunity to own your own business and work for yourself, but also have training wheels on. For me it was just such a great training ground for the things that are going to come next, and it’s such a great way to get my feet wet.

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Erin: There’s a couple of different pieces of pieces of advice. One, if you want that passion side of things. Again, I like to use the pizza as an example just because it’s an easy one. If you just want to own a business and you’re fine with selling pizza, then the passion I think probably isn’t all that necessary.

Emily: But, if it is something that you want to show up every day and truly love the work that you’re doing and love the environment that you’re in, you’ve got to get in there and learn it all from the ground up. So, you know, I started as a client with Club Pilates and then I went through the teacher training program, and I got certified, and now I can teach pilates. Again, many owners aren’t even bothering with that because they’re kind of like, “Well, what’s the purpose? I’m just going to hire an instructor. I’m not going to be teaching the classes.”

I don’t really teach anymore, but I think it was important for me to again start with my humble beginnings within the franchise. I can jump in and I can do anybody’s job in our whole network of what we’re doing, from the instructors to the sales associates, to our managers. I have the ability myself to do all of that.

I think the hardest part about being an entrepreneur, and this I think is true across all industries, is hiring good people, and motivating those people, and keeping those people engaged. And also not hiring the wrong people, which, you know, I’ve done. I’ve learned all sorts of lessons on the hiring front, but I think it really helps when you know what you’re talking about. Like, how are you supposed to hire a good pilates instructor if you don’t know anything about pilates, you know?

Erin: Yeah. And it probably helps with the morale.

Emily: Oh, absolutely. On your team.

Erin: I mean I remember when I used to wait tables and we were slammed at the restaurant. It made a big statement when the manager hopped on the line and helped out.

Emily: Yeah, absolutely.

Erin: Rolled up his or her sleeves and helped, versus the ones that stood by the door, just shouting orders and keeping an eye on things. It just makes a different statement. I completely understand that. That’s great. I feel like we could do a whole other episode on some of the lessons learned that you have, like not hiring the wrong people. So last but not least, what other female franchisees do you know who are rocking it?

Emily: Yeah. You know, I know a couple. One of them is Amy Stong. She actually started as one of my instructors in Villa Park, our first location, and now has since opened up her own studio and that studio has been just blowing it out of the park from day one.

I really admire a lot of the stuff that she’s doing. She is probably the hardest working person that I know, period. She’s another one who’s super passionate about what it is that we’re doing and why we’re here. Again, I think that she really resonates with the bigger picture beyond just the bottom line. She has been really amazing to work alongside of, as well. So I would absolutely recommend reaching out to her.

Erin: Thank you. Thank you so much. Yeah. Well, wow. Emily, thank you so much for providing us with so much great information. Just so much that we can take away. I really appreciate it.

Emily: Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Erin: So Emily, if our listeners would like to find you and ask any questions, how can they reach you?

Emily: Probably email is the best. Social media is fine, too.

Erin: Yeah, we’ll put it in the show notes. Absolutely. Perfect. Thanks so much, Emily. You have a great day.

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