When Marisa Salas decided that she wanted to explore the possibility of a career change, she wasn’t quite sure where to start. Looking for job opportunities in 2008 and 2009 wasn’t the easiest task—companies were hardly hiring. That’s when she decided to look into franchising.
After researching different brands and learning more about the industry, Salas decided to invest with Showhomes, the nation’s largest home staging franchise. Since she opened her doors for business, she’s successfully expanded throughout the Coral Gables, Florida market.
1851 Franchise recently caught up with Salas to learn more about her initial decision to become a franchisee, as well as why she believes entrepreneurs should pursue an opportunity within the industry.
What was your perspective of franchising prior to joining Showhomes’ system?
I actually had a solid understanding of the franchising industry—one of my friends ran a different franchise in the health care industry, and was quite successful. That’s how I first became curious about opening up my own business. I had seen firsthand how the franchising business model provided a strong support system and independence at the same time.
What is the top thing you think people don’t understand about franchising?
I don’t think people understand exactly how much support you get. Starting with Showhomes was a complete career change for me—before this I was working in the retail industry. So when I first entered the system, I knew that I would need a lot of help. As a Showhomes franchisee, I was given all of the tools, training, contracts and support that I needed in order to get my business off the ground. And even though there’s a lot of structure in Showhomes’ system, I still have the flexibility to run my franchise how I see fit now that I have a few years of experience under my belt.
How has being a franchisee changed your life?
Ultimately, I have a lot more flexibility than I did before now that I’m a franchisee. I have small children, and running my own business has allowed me to be more present in their lives and be a better parent. There are some days you work more and others that you work less depending on what you have going on in your life. But being your own boss gives you a chance to make your own hours, and you really get out of it what you put into it.
Why did you decide to franchise with Showhomes?
When I first joined Showhomes, the brand was strictly home manager staging. That business model was really attractive to me and my husband because it didn’t require a big investment upfront. Showhomes also stood out to us because it has a unique and interesting concept that we knew we’d be able to grow as time went on.
Why should other entrepreneurs buy a Showhomes franchise?
It’s a great opportunity for people who are both creative and business minded. If you have a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Showhomes provides a successful way to get a business going. The structure and model it has in place makes it perfect for people wanting to try something new.
What advice would you have for someone looking to become a franchisee?
Being a franchisee requires a lot of hard work and determination. It’s important to make the most of your training, be good at delegating and be willing to invest your money in a little bit of inventory upfront. There should be strategy behind everything that you do—when you make an investment in something like inventory, you should have a vision of how you’re going to use it in multiple projects going forward. That foresight and planning is what’s going to help you be successful in the end.