Franchise opportunities

Interview with Jo O'Brien, Maggie Moo Music: "I could only dreamed of having such an amazing job!"

An Australian Franchisee Case Study

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Name: Jo O’Brien

Location: Shellharbour

Franchise: Maggie Moo Music

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose your franchise?

I chose to join Maggie Moo Music because it is so unique and unlike anything else I had seen before. I was instantly attracted to the brand and the concept of being my own boss doing something so amazing was too good to refuse. Being a franchise was ideal because it was an affordable outlay for a proven business model that had been very successful since it’s inception. I also really liked the idea of collaborating with other Franchisees and the support that comes with a franchise set up.

What did you do before taking up a franchise?

I have previously worked as an Executive Assistant across a few different industries, most recently in education. I also dabbled in musical theatre and was regularly singing in a band. Then my two little children came along and until Maggie Moo, I was completely devoted to them as a stay at home Mum.

How did you raise the finance?

We were fortunate to have some small savings and equity in our home that we could access.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

I was provided with a great starter pack, including brochures, some soft toys, CD’s all of the 120 plus Maggie Moo Music songs and a wonderful operations manual that gave advice on everything from Marketing, insurances, accounting to running your first session. I was also given access to a ‘Farmers Only’ online forum where I was able to ask questions, collaborate and access a number of files for running sessions, marketing etc. I feel I really benefitted from the knowledge and material passed on by established Farmers. We also have a great team at Head Office who are always trying to assist us in building our business and overcoming challenges.

What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?

I start my sessions around 9.30am so that I have time to drop off my children to care and usually run them for a couple of hours, which includes set up and pack up. Over time, I have learned to organise myself the night before where possible so that I have a nice stress free morning! This usually involves washing and packing props, confirming bookings, running off run sheets and any last minute prep. After sessions I catch up on emails and social media promotions so that I am essentially free to be a full time Mum again until I run my next sessions. (I currently run two days per week).

What challenges have you faced?

I have faced the expected challenges of a new business such as building brand awareness, running sessions with little or no attendees, having sickness in my family and having to cancel sessions. But I think the biggest challenge of all was doubting myself and my ability to make my business work. Doing something so unique and new meant that I felt like a fish out of water and worried that others would not enjoy my sessions. But through persistence, time and the support of my fellow Farmers and the Maggie Moo Music Headquarters, I have been able to push through those challenges and am starting to see some great results.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?

Absolutely. I could have only dreamed of having such an amazing job and owning my own business. 

What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?  

I have mostly promoted my business through social media. I have attended expos and Baby/Toddler marketplaces to build awareness and promote. I believe that word of mouth has been an excellent tool for growing my business and I encourage and value any feedback.

What differentiates your franchise from the competition?  

Maggie Moo Music is completely unique and the 120 plus songs are written exclusively for the business. They are educational, fun and very catchy. The theme/brand revolves around the six Farmyard characters which enable me to create and ongoing connection between the songs in the sessions and the participants.

"The franchise is also very flexible, although I am given the tools to work with, I am able to create my own unique sessions using the music and props of my choice."

In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?  

A positive outlook and a real passion for what you are doing. You need to really enjoy yourself because that is contagious and that is what parents and children want to see. I also think it’s important to be realistic about your goals and not to give up if things become challenging. Believe in yourself and your business!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?

Do your homework. Contact other franchisees and ask questions.

Make sure the brand resonates with you and that you are excited by the concept because that passion is what you will need.

What are your plans for the future?

I hope to expand my business by running regular sessions into pre-schools, which will complement the sessions that I already do. I would also like to increase my Birthday Party bookings and ultimately, consider hiring an employee to assist in this area. Over time, as my children grow, I will be available to work extra days and am really excited to see the growth in my business from this. 

Would you do it again?

Absolutely!

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