When Nicole Gallop first learned about College Pro through her older brother’s involvement with the company, she had no idea that same company would help fund her trip around the world.
But after a representative came to her classroom to talk about opportunities with College Pro, she realized that being a Franchise Manager was right up her alley.
“I knew that I wanted to do something like that. It was exciting – the leadership involved, the risks in setting up your own business. I’m the kind of person who gravitates to that sort of thing.”
Nicole, a University of Alberta student majoring in International Studies, threw her name down on the sign-up sheet and began her own journey with College Pro then and there. She became an official College Pro Franchise Manager soon after, and with that, a new business owner. She’s now in her second year with College Pro and has been inducted into their President’s Club, which is reserved for the top 10% of performers.
So, what keeps her coming back to College Pro each summer?
The freedom of running your own business
College Pro Franchise Managers are essentially the CEOs of their own painting businesses and manage their own teams, gather their own clients and set their own goals. While this level of responsibility can be daunting, it also allows for the type of autonomy not found in your typical student job. You’re not bound by a predetermined schedule and aren’t answering to a superior – because you’re the boss!
“The company is there for what you need: you speak with your General Manager as needed, but you can have as free of an experience as you want. They’re not watching you or checking in on you,” Nicole says. “There is a weekly review of performance and your progress towards success along with quality calls to the customer once the job is finished. Other than that, you are left to your own devices.”
This freedom extends to your pocket – you can drum up as much business as you want. “One of the best things about this job is that it isn’t capped. You choose your own hours and can get as many clients as time and effort allows, if you want. You’re in control of your own development and how much you get out of the job.”
The challenges of being a Franchise Manager
As any business owner will tell you, being in charge also means feeling the pressure of the business as a whole. But if you thrive when faced with a challenge, that pressure can provide an exhilaration and drive to succeed. Nicole says one of the toughest parts of the job is the fact that you know you can always be doing more.
“You’re so invested because it’s your own business. You don’t sign off at the end of the day like you would in a typical job, and then go home and not think about work. You’re always thinking about what you can do to develop your business.”
The College Pro community
Every new Franchise Manager undergoes the College Pro Business Training Camp as they set off on their entrepreneurial endeavours. This is a four-phase program that teaches skills in small business management, employee management, marketing, selling, financial management and more.
Nicole says the training camp was very helpful in teaching her how to run a business, but the most important thing she got out of it was the sense of community displayed by College Pro and its recruits. And that one’s level of involvement in that community was a surprising indicator of how well they’d do as a Franchise Manager.
“You’re taught what you need to know about running a business, but the biggest thing was that you’re brought into this community of people who are doing the same thing you are. The people who disconnect themselves from the community tend to do worse because they don’t have that camaraderie and resource to help them along.”
The Franchise Manager experience
“It’s not Monopoly money you’re working with,” says Nicole. “You have real clients, students are depending on you, your staff needs you – you’re truly running a business. It’s an opportunity for young people to have more responsibility than they could get out of a typical summer job. And that experience will definitely help them later in their careers.”
You’d be hard-pressed to get that type of cash out of a summer job as well. Her first year with College Pro paid for a year of travelling, and she says her second year will likely pay for grad school.
As for students who are interested in College Pro but might be nervous about running their own business, Nicole has one piece of advice: “Don’t let fear guide your decisions.”