Kari Hingst always had plans to become a business owner, but like many of us, she needed to find the right opportunity. With the help of a strong partner, she’s been able to launch her first Zoup! location and stay employed full time.
Why did you consider franchising?
Each year, I write down my goals, and for several years, I had included “start my own business.” I had tried to start my own business several times before I connected with Charlie and discovered Zoup!
I attended Charlie’s Summit. I’d never considered a franchise before, and I was quite skeptical at the beginning. As I sat through the seminar, I was blown away by the sheer number of franchises available – the variety, business segments, and models. The franchise types ranged from business to consumer, to bricks and mortar, to at-home models. I thought there MUST be something for me. I also really liked that the Summit, as it also showcased other business experts, such as legal and financial; this gave me an overview so I could get a snapshot of the possibilities.
Taking the assessment was easy, and low commitment, yet I was still taking a step forward to discovery.
Charlie was helpful in our process – he’s got a high level of EQ and genuinely wants people to be successful.
What advice would you give someone considering running their own business?
I realized you don’t have to be a top executive or millionaire to take this path. If I can do it, others can too!
Know your financial boundaries, but also realize there is a vast array of opportunity. Because I’ve tried starting my own business before, and explored so many ideas, I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted to do when I started the process, yet I kept an open mind. Charlie suggested options, which I spent a few months investigating. It quickly became obvious what I wanted.
If owning your own business is the path you want to follow, attend a seminar and start exploring. But don’t sit back and think about it for 20 years – take action! I’m not afraid to fail and I don’t have all the answers – don’t let this hold you back. If I hadn’t taken a step, none of this would have happened.
You have to work to make the business a success, so be ready to put in what it takes. The systems (within the franchise) helps make it easier, but it’s not going make it a surefire success.
Be sure to consider whether the support, the idea and infrastructure (of the franchise) are enough for you. When I did my initial discussion with Zoup!, it was the only franchise who had an actual member of their corporate team talk to me (rather than a consultant). This was important to me because it reflected a family friendly experience – I had a direct line of communication with Zoup!.
How did you decide on the semi absentee model?
I’ve continued working full time as I start this business. I’m fiscally conservative, and when I considered the financial outlook and Zoup!, I decided to continue working.
To start this business (Zoup!) you absolutely need a strong partner. If you decide to go the route I have, surround yourself with a strong community and partner – your own tribe can help you along the way because it’s a big undertaking.
Was the intent to research semi absentee ownership?
My mom helped explore the business options with me. We met together with Charlie; she was on all exploratory calls with franchisors, and we discussed potential challenges, likes/dislikes throughout the process because I wanted and needed her to be invested in the concept. Especially given she was going to be heavily involved in the day to day, no matter which Franchise I selected.
Have you encountered any surprises?
I know myself well. But I’ve really learned so much more while running the business. I made the right choice – but it’s so much harder than I thought. I’m ramping up on not only the fast-casual space, but also the business itself, and I’m operating with a different labor and workforce than I’m used to leading. Every day is something new! But this is my own business, and with it comes all the good, bad, easy, and difficult.
Franchising is such a great option because running your own business is already challenging. Franchising helps eliminate some of the basics, but not all the difficulty you’d have starting any business. Franchising enables you to pay for some initial infrastructure, which can be invaluable.