According to research conducted by Glassdoor, more than one in two UK employees admit that their work regularly eats into their personal life1. So, what if you could become your own boss and gain a great work-life balance simultaneously? Many franchise opportunities have made this happen for franchisees across the UK.
Justin Nihiser, CEO of Code Ninjas, believes there are standout benefits of buying into a franchise, including its positive impact on the balance between business and family. With this week (10th-14th October) marking National Work Life Week, Justin speaks to franchisee Robin Theakston to discuss how he achieves an effective work-life balance whilst running his Code Ninjas location in Aylesbury.
Robin, together with his business partner and best friend Charlie, launched Code Ninjas Aylesbury in June 2022 after successfully running their High Wycombe location since 2021. After previously working on mathematics programmes in the US, Robin found he shared the same passion as Code Ninjas in encouraging kids to become problem solvers. “With their focus on instilling resilience, problem-solving and confidence in kids, Code Ninjas just ticked all the boxes for me,” says Robin.
However, with two young children to look after, the unique opportunity of becoming his own boss and the flexibility and freedom it provides was also an attractive prospect. “After having kids, I wanted a venture that enabled me to spend more time with my family, be more independent and have more control of my day-to-day life.” A significant advantage for Robin when investing in Code Ninjas was that the brand and operating system had already been established, alleviating a lot of the usual responsibilities and pressures that starting a business from scratch would entail.
Now with two Code Ninjas locations under his belt, Robin is well practiced in the running of his business and establishing a practical work-life balance. “I am fortunate to have my business partner Charlie, as he looks after the finance and admin side of the business,” says Robin. “This allows me to focus on marketing and day-to-day customer relations. The first thing I do each day is check for any new leads that many have come in and follow them up via call. I then spend much of the day managing social media as this is our biggest driver of new customers.”
But the most important everyday task, says Robin, is the maintenance of the Dojo and ensuring that their Ninjas always have the best experience possible. “I frequently check in on the performance of our locations and review the strategy and goals for the future. We’re regularly introducing new and exciting STEM equipment, and we’ve recently introduced a Cozmo Robot to encourage our Ninjas to have fun through activities that aren’t always behind a screen.”
When working and running classes at the Dojo, Robin has 10-12 hours of scheduled time where he has to be on location, and the rest of the work he does fits around his home life. “I used to work in a 9-5 job before Code Ninjas, but this didn’t offer the flexibility I needed when my two children arrived. Being my own boss has enabled me to work when is best for me and allow important time with my family whilst not compromising on the success of my business. We are now looking forward to recruiting a manager for our Aylesbury location for even more support.”
Whilst a franchise requires the same commitment as starting any new business, if you are looking for a business which will improve your work-life balance then you’ll be able to choose a franchise where that can be possible. Question the franchisor about how many franchisees have achieved a flexible balance and then ask to speak directly with those franchisees to understand what their days consist of – it could be exactly what you are looking for!
1 Glassdoor, 2021: Flexible Work, Autonomy, and Burnout: Exploring UK Work-Life Balance in 2021