1919 – Exploring Franchise Ownership with Liz Leonard

Leonard Wide

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to a Franchise Consultant, Author and Founder of Your Franchise Fast Pass, Liz Leonard.

Liz Leonard presents a realistic perspective and deep expertise to those interested in franchise ownership. She shares insights and lessons from her conversation with a journalist, offering potential game-changers for aspiring franchisees.

Liz's journey from education to franchise industry ownership is intriguing and informative. Her background in education uniquely prepared her for the complexities of business and franchise management. Liz discussed her experiences with franchise ownership, which sharpened her business skills and fueled her desire to mentor others navigating the intricate process of owning a franchise.

A significant focus of the conversation was Liz's book, “Your Franchise Fast Pass”. More than a mere publication, this book provides a comprehensive guide for prospective entrepreneurs to identify their ideal franchise venture. Liz emphasized the critical importance of detailed research and careful evaluation of franchise opportunities, underlining that such decisions should always be made with time. Her book is essential for those prepared to begin their franchising journey.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Liz Leonard's background in the franchise industry
  • Insights into the franchise industry and trends
  • Liz's approach to helping individuals explore franchise ownership
  • Liz's transition from education to the franchise world
  • The content and purpose of Liz's book, “Your Franchise Fast Pass”
  • Importance of thorough investigation and evaluation in franchise opportunities
  • Liz's engagement process and the support she provides
  • Real-life stories of successful and unsuccessful franchise ownership
  • Benefits of franchising, including risk mitigation and leveraging proven track records
  • Valuable information for anyone considering franchise ownership

About Liz Leonard:

Liz Leonard is a recognized expert in the franchising industry, having established herself as a Franchise Advisor after a successful stint in corporate America. She authored “Your Franchise Fast Pass: Your Guide to Finding Your Ideal Business,” drawing from her experiences in founding, operating, and selling her own business before venturing into franchise ownership. Since 2014, Liz has been guiding aspiring entrepreneurs through the complexities of finding and acquiring franchises that align with their personal goals and lifestyles.

Her commitment extends beyond mere business matching; Liz is focused on enabling individuals to build wealth and attain entrepreneurial success through tailored franchise opportunities. As a speaker, she shares her insights and strategies, influencing a broad audience that includes industry novices and seasoned entrepreneurs. Liz's approach is informed by her journey and achievements in the franchise world, making her a pivotal figure for those looking to navigate the path of entrepreneurship through franchising.

About Your Franchise Fast Pass:

“Your Franchise Fast Pass” is a comprehensive guide designed to simplify the complex world of franchising for aspiring entrepreneurs. Authored by seasoned Franchise Advisor Liz Leonard, this step-by-step guide offers a structured approach to finding and securing the ideal franchise opportunity. It is a crucial resource, providing free expert guidance, effective franchise matchmaking, and a unique FranchisEEE Education Portal. The book is tailored to help readers understand their options and navigate the often intimidating landscape of franchise investment and management.

Under Liz Leonard's expert direction, “Your Franchise Fast Pass” emphasizes education and empowerment in the franchise selection process. It provides diverse franchise options and assistance with franchise funding, ensuring entrepreneurs are well-equipped to make decisions that align with their personal and financial goals. Liz's extensive experience and individual success in the field add invaluable credibility and depth to the guidance offered, making this book an essential tool for anyone looking to enter the franchise industry and achieve entrepreneurial success.

Tweetable Moments:

13:30 – “Motivations drive success, and that's really what their stories are about.”

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Your Franchise Fast Pass’ website at

Check out Your Franchise Fast Pass on LinkedIn at

Check out Your Franchise Fast Pass on Facebook at

Check out Your Franchise Fast Pass on Twitter at

Check out Your Franchise Fast Pass on Instagram at

Check out Liz Leonard’s website at

Check out Liz Leonard on LinkedIn at

Check out Liz Leonard on Youtube at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Are you looking for introductions to partners, investors, influencers and clients? Well, I've had private conversations with over 2000 leaders asking them where their best business comes from. I've got a free video you can watch with no opt in required, where I'll share the exact steps necessary to be 100% inbound in your industry over the next 6 to 8 months, with no spam, no ads, and no sales. What I teach has worked for me for over 15 years, and has helped me create eight figures in revenue for my own companies. Just head to up my influence. Com and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for great guests. Go to up my influence. Com and click on podcast. I'd love to have you. With us right now. Liz. Leonard. Liz, you are a franchise consultant and you are the author of the book your Franchise Fast Pass. Now you are also the founder of the brand your your Franchise Fast Pass.

Josh (00:01:21) - Your website is franchise fast pass Liz, thank you so much for joining us.

Liz (00:01:27) - Thank you for having me. Pleasure to be here.

Josh (00:01:29) - I always love having a guest with great alliteration in there. Name Liz Leonard. Very memorable. Liz, tell us about your work and who you serve and and the work you do today.

Liz (00:01:39) - Yeah, absolutely. So I've been there's a couple terms franchise advisor, franchise consultant. So in the industry, just so people know, I've been doing this for ten years. my background is education. I'm a business owner. aside from being a franchise advisor, we actually own a franchise, which is how I ended up by default. Becoming an advisor. Didn't even know there was people out there to help you in the big ocean of looking at franchises. So, I became an advisor in 2014. I've helped hundreds of people explore franchise ownership. Of course, we all know running a business is difficult, right? It can be challenging. It can be rewarding. Lots of benefits.

Liz (00:02:17) - Pros and cons. but I love helping people explore, you know, we give them a skills assessment. We make sure that they're the ideal fit. we call them candidates. candidates is really the term that we use when we're coaching them through the process. And we introduced them to franchise owners. So. But my franchise fast Pass book is really an essential, guidebook for people. There's a lot to know. And it's a heavily regulated industry like many of the industries that we're in.

Josh (00:02:46) - Yeah. As someone who spends there, you know, your world is the franchise world. for someone that's not really been paying attention. Do you mind maybe sharing some like over the past year, some of the major trends that you've seen? and then certainly I'd love your perspective on, you know, things in your world to keep your eyes on. So kind of an executive summary for those of us who haven't really been paying attention, what's been going on?

Liz (00:03:10) - Absolutely. I think that if we go back to Covid, which, you know, we all don't want to even say that word, but Covid actually changed the world.

Liz (00:03:20) - And for franchising, the real estate industry was booming during Covid. Everybody couldn't travel. They wanted to spend money. So what did they do? They bought. Most people bought real estate. A lot of them moved to Maine, where I live from the city. But I bring up this point because there's the best kept secret in franchising, and it is home service brands. When people think of franchising, their mind naturally goes to food, because for years and years we think of McDonald's. You know, all of the big name brands and home service brands really are solution based franchise systems that provide a product and or service to, real estate. And that could be your home, that could be your business, which is a building. So from floor to ceiling, interior to exterior, there is a franchise for everything. There are hundreds of them. And guess what? They don't have to have a brick and mortar location. So bingo. Dollar signs, much, much lower investment than, let's say, a McDonald's, because that's again where people's minds naturally go to food.

Liz (00:04:30) - so home service brands exploded during after Covid and everybody needed everything done. So if you think about security, flooring, windows, roofing, painting, I mean, it goes on and on and design, we have coaching and training, but it's a lower investment. It's a lower risk. And one of the again, benefits to it is your margins are going to be stronger because you're not paying a big lease payment for a location, which we have done. My husband and I both have done, and it's a heavy lift to carry a lease. But I wanted to share that. That is really if we're looking at trends, home service, brands, people forget about their invisible. We see them on the road. I bet when we leave today, this meeting, if you're on the highway, you will see some vans and you'll think, oh, could that be a franchise system? And sure enough, it might be. I mean, a lot of mom and pops too out there, but I think that's really one of the best pieces I can share for, you know, trends is a home service brand.

Liz (00:05:33) - You don't have to know how to do it. They train you and they're an essential service category.

Josh (00:05:39) - Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And but you know, someone may be listening and they say, well, I have no interest in like I, I'm not good at remodeling. so therefore that is that opportunity is not open to me.

Liz (00:05:56) - Absolutely. And the answer that any franchise company is going to give you is we all know what it's like to teach an old dog new tricks. It's a joke, right? Humor me. But the company does not require you to be trained. So if you don't want to do the work, you will build a team. And it's an executive model. And many of the brands, the business model is built just like that. So you do have to go in. They do want you to go to training, but you can bring your manager with you. You could bring one of your lead people. Sometimes they're called technicians, they're installers, they're designers. There's a whole host of names for these people that are actually doing the work.

Liz (00:06:33) - But I would say majority of the franchise companies do not want the owners doing the work. They want you working on it. They do not want you working in it. Is it a choice? Absolutely. But you know, the best outcome and the model that they built would be for you to have your self insulated with a, a team that's well trained to protect you.

Josh (00:06:55) - Yeah. Liz, tell me a bit more about your background, how you got into the franchise world because you said you were an educator.

Liz (00:07:03) - Yes, I am a teacher. like many teachers, graduated from college, was shocked with the salary base, said, oh my God, what did I do? I got an introduction into healthcare. I spent my corporate career in senior healthcare very passionate about it. Love it. Very successful career for me. And then when our girls were little, they were probably four and seven. There was not an accredited learning center for us to put our children in. And I said, okay, what are we going to do about this? This is a problem.

Liz (00:07:33) - And I worked in health care. So I heard the the demands that people were looking for in our community. And so my husband and I sat down with our two girls. We had a family meeting on a chalkboard. No joke. I wrote about it in my book. We came up with a plan that we will open. We will buy the real estate. I will quit my job. I will go in and be the director of this childcare center. And we did. We opened at we opened in a recession. oh seven. So we all might remember those years I'm aging myself here. we did an SBA loan, which is a government backed loan for 1.2 million. We had a house guaranteed on the loan. Wow. I cashed in my retirement account. I will share. the business thrived because moms had to go to work. A lot of moms were working part time. Some moms were home single income earners. Right. And lo and behold, that market and that sector just exploded.

Liz (00:08:32) - And we had a waitlist to two years long. So who knew what to expect and what a what a very shocking experience for my first business. Yeah. so that's really how I segue from health care into the childcare industry, still kind of one of these purpose driven missions. That's kind of me. I like to help people like to coach, like to teach. and then we sold it, we bought a self-storage business after that, we had 132 units of a self-storage business, and that was great. That was run as a passive ownership model. It was two hours away from where we lived. And then I said, what are we going to do now? And we decided to look into franchising. So I made a coach just like myself. And one of the big dilemmas for me, and maybe many people listening to this podcast, I'm not good at managing people. We had 140 children at our school. We had 22 women underneath me. I had never managed people before. That's a whole nother podcast.

Liz (00:09:34) - Oh my.

Josh (00:09:35) - Gosh. Yeah. You, you learn a lot of things real quick hopefully I mean you'll, you'll, you'll yeah. It's funny you, I don't know if this was your experience, but sometimes I hear folks saying, well, in your case you went from educator to adult daycare.

Liz (00:09:50) - Yes, I did in a couple of different ways. But it's funny. Senior care and childcare have a lot of different parallels. They're very similar in terms of, you know, the the purpose Driven business. But I do want to share something with you when we launch this business. And my husband Paul and I sat down and looked at each other and said, okay, we've never done this before. We can't fail. This is a lot of money. Our house is on the line. I quit my job. We cashed in majority of my retirement. I'm a very obviously tolerant with risk. we hired a consultant from California who owned 14 schools and very similar to you. Think about a franchise system.

Liz (00:10:29) - She had already built them in the Silicon Valley. she sold me. I paid $65,000 for everything. All her training systems, her vendor relationships, her handbooks, safety protocols, state licensing regs. Now, granted, California is very different from Maine, and these are all licensed facilities, right? So there's a lot of rules to play. But I adopted and acquired and purchased all of her systems. And it gave me confidence. It endorsed my product and my service. And I felt like I can do this. And they were with me for the first year. Like phone call, Google spreadsheet, check this off list, get everything done. So they were my guiding light and without them I would not be as successful as I am today. Hence we looked into franchising. I didn't want employees the woman brought back, I don't know, 6 or 7 brands for me. And I said, those all have employees. This is health care. You're showing me and presenting me for ideas. You're showing me fitness, which was my hobby.

Liz (00:11:29) - I said, I don't want people, I'm sorry, I'm difficult. And she said, okay, I guess we're not going to be able to find a match for you. And she called me back a couple months later and said you would make an amazing franchise coach. And I said, oh, the light bulb went off. So here I am ten years later. And then we also acquired a franchise called Kitchen TuneUp. So we actually live, eat and breathe the franchise world as well. So I got I have the boots on the ground experience. I guess that's the best way to describe it.

Josh (00:12:01) - Yeah. All right. So Liz, talk about your book, the franchise, your franchise, fast past your step by step guide to finding your ideal business. who needs to read this book? And what would the transformation, what transformation may take place?

Liz (00:12:20) - If anybody has had the thought of owning a franchise, and that's many people that I meet on my introduction calls, that's their response. I've been thinking about it.

Liz (00:12:30) - Liz thought about it for ten years. Okay. Well let's talk about it. You may be an ideal fit. You might not be an ideal fit, but the franchise Fast Pass book was born because we wanted to educate more people on franchising. I built during Covid. I built an educational portal in the back of my website because again, the educator keeps coming out of me, but I wanted to walk people through a little bit of a process so that they make an informed decision. They do a thorough investigation on these companies. We want to turn over every rock and there are details to it. It takes six weeks to evaluate companies. So that's really the core of the book is really the step by step. Let's not miss anything here. And then let's work with an expert by your side. But the very best part in the book are their eight franchisee interviews. So these are people that I placed over several years and we interviewed them. They were gracious enough to give me their time, tell their story.

Liz (00:13:30) - Why did they even think about looking looking into a franchise system? Because motivations drive success, and that's really what their stories are about. We have veterans in the book. We have people that worked for Valvoline. We have people that worked for big box stores across the company C-suite positions. We have people that were laid off 4 or 5 times. So there's a great story in there about a gentleman that bought the wrong franchise didn't get any help. And. It was a problem. And then I found him. So he went back to work. He got laid off four times in the tech industry. So the stories are powerful. And for me, I just feel gratitude towards those people. I was able to change their lives for the better. Are they working hard? Absolutely. So were you. And I know they have something of their own. They're looking for control, they're looking for freedom, and they want to build their own wealth, not somebody else's.

Josh (00:14:25) - Yeah. and, Liz, tell me about what working with you looks like.

Josh (00:14:30) - How do you serve? Like, what is that engagement look like?

Liz (00:14:34) - The engagement is interesting. There is no cost to work with me. So I'm paying a finder's fee by the franchise companies. I'm with the international network. We have over 700 franchise brands, which is way too many. we have emerging brands. We have obviously the brands that are in the middle, and then we have the larger brands as well. So once I start with an engagement with the candidate, we give them a skills assessment. We want to identify and leverage all their core competencies. So we go over that, we also have them fill out a very high level financial questionnaire which is required by the companies. so everybody's very willing to fill that out. There's no proprietary information, but it gives us a snapshot of what their risk is and what they can afford. We also send people to get pre-qualified for funding. And we all know that in order to dream about a business, we may need to make sure that the reality is there that they can get either an SBA loan or we have another program that we refer people to, which is the rollover for business start up with retirement funds.

Liz (00:15:35) - So we're aiding and supporting and guiding and coaching in all those aspects. And then when they go through their franchise investigations, as I mentioned before, we have a learning management system that we developed, walks them through every step. We don't want to miss anything. We don't want to shortcut the process. When you're evaluating investments and I'm there with them, I meet with them every week and we introduce them to more than one company because we want them to compare and contrast different systems, different cultures. What's the founder story? What do they do for recruiting? How do they help me with my operations? So they have to dig into every one of those systems every week. That's why it takes 6 to 8 weeks. Then they narrow it from three to 2 to 1 usually, or they find out I'm I'm fear. I'm full of fearless. I cannot do this. This is not for me. I need to bow out. And we're both respectful about it. But I help a lot of people make the dream real, and I help a lot of people realize that it's not for me.

Josh (00:16:40) - Your website. Once again, Liz is franchise fast pass When you go there you can read chapter one for free. and again you just click on Sneak peek or again you'll see it directly on the front page there. anything else that you'd recommend for someone that's been listening to our conversation in terms of next steps and what you'd recommend?

Liz (00:17:01) - I think if you're dreaming about owning a business, franchising will mitigate the risk. It's got a proven track record. The history is there, you know, and it's good to give consideration to it. So if they want to have a conversation, just give me a call. I'm very easy to find and I'd love to talk to anybody and everybody.

Josh (00:17:21) - Liz Leonard again, you are the founder of your franchise Fast Pass book and of course your franchise Fast But again, the website franchise fast pass book. Com the book is on Amazon. It's everywhere. It's it's a bestseller and it's called your franchise fast pass your step by step guide to finding your ideal business Liz Leonard.

Josh (00:17:43) - It's been a joy and delight having you as a guest on the podcast. Thank you.

Liz (00:17:47) - Thank you so much.

Josh (00:17:54) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence. Com and click on podcast. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful leaders. And as I mentioned at the beginning of this program, if you're looking for introductions to partners, investors, influencers, and clients, I have had private conversations with over 2000 leaders asking them where their best business comes from. I've got a free video that you can watch right now with no opt in or email required, where I'm going to share the exact steps necessary to be 100% inbound in your industry over the next 6 to 8 months, with no spam, no ads, and no sales. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create eight figures in revenue for my own companies.

Josh (00:18:59) - Just head to up my influence. Com and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. Make sure to hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right, seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes every single day. Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.

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