‘I always felt like there was something missing. Something more I could be doing with my time’
I worked in finance all my career. I trained as accountant, worked in banking and then at a real estate investment company. My jobs were always really challenging, and I really enjoyed them… but I always felt like there was something missing. Something more I could be doing with my time.
I started looking for opportunities to work out where to take that next step. I found Mathnasium and learned about its methods and the way they approached maths, and felt like it aligned with the skills I already had. I thought it was something I’d really love to be able to do.
I was lucky, I always enjoyed working with numbers and I was good at it from school. But I know that that’s not the case for everybody. Maths is one of those subjects can be really scary, but actually, once you understand numbers, it can become really interesting and fun.
And it can unlock a lot of doors, and I think that’s really important. Mathnasium helps unlock those doors for more children.
Has your business helped you fill that gap you were feeling in corporate life?
Definitely. I think actually it’s exceeded those expectations. I think you go into it thinking that you can make a difference, but you don’t really realise how much of a difference you’re going to make.
Even within a year of opening, having had kids walk through the door who are low in confidence and scared of maths completely transform their approach, just to see the changes in such a short space of time has been heart-warming.
How was moving from corporate to self-employed?
It was quite exciting to come out and do something independently, but I think the fact that you’ve got a franchise behind you with the systems, the support network and so on was one of the reasons I chose this. You’ve got really good marketing, the Centre set-up, all those things that maybe you wouldn’t know how to approach.
Having had the skills of working in a corporate environment – the high pressure, having to be organised and deliver things in short periods of time, working with a lot of different people – has been an immensely useful skill set. I think having the support that the franchise brings on top of that makes the transition out of corporate easier.
John [the UK franchisor and a franchisee himself] having been through what we’ve been through too is definitely inspiring. He’s been on that journey, he started his own franchise, he’s already grown very successfully and gone through the challenges you’re facing to reach your next level of growth. It’s been immensely valuable to have those real-life experiences to call on.
Did the education training and support from Zoe equip you well for your business?
Definitely, and I think Zoe’s amazing. The passion that she has what she does just shines through. She’s always available for the support. Doesn’t matter how small the challenges are that you’re faced with, and she’s always got the answers.
I think she’s a fountain of knowledge and I think she’s been immensely useful all the way through as my Centre’s grown, all the way through different stages and different levels of input.
How is your business going as you approach the end of your first year?
We’ve done really well. Opening just before Christmas is always going to be a challenge, going into a holiday period where people aren’t necessarily as focused on education, but we did really well and that set us up for a strong start to the year.
We began to get some really good momentum and already we were getting referrals from parents who are happy with the results they were seeing in that short period of time, which was amazing for us, really exciting.
Clearly with the lockdown happening, that changed things. But we worked really hard, and we’re really lucky with the franchise creating an online system that we could roll out immediately and help us deliver what we do in the Centre online. That was amazing.
Since lockdown ended, we’ve seen a lot of people come back, and we’re starting to rebuild that momentum which we lost on the way in. I’m very positive about where we’re going, there are so many children out there that have not had that learning opportunity over a few months and that’s something that we can really help parents with.
What’s your proudest moment so far?
That’s a really tough question to answer, there have been so many. We’ve got a parent who was looking to relocate temporarily for a job and one of their key thoughts on moving was whether or not we’re able to continue to support their children online, because they’ve seen the results that we’ve already delivered to their children. To make a life decision based on whether or not we’re able to support them, just shows how we important what we do is. That took even me back a little bit!
But there’s honestly been so many highlights. We’ve had children who just hated maths and now they love coming, telling their parents that they want to be here. There are so many positive experiences with this business.