We often hear stories of how some of our franchisees struggled to find their niche prior to joining Extra Help. Nicola Eden, the new owner of Extra Help Bexley, is an example of a franchisee who experienced a run of bad luck in her career and personal life, leading to her decision to become a business owner and mistress of her own destiny.
Nicola is a lovely, single mum to three daughters from Bexleyheath. Prior to launching her new franchise on 1st March this year, she worked in several, different jobs within Payroll departments. After being made redundant for the third time, her marriage collapsed, leading to her opening a children’s pottery studio with her mother.
Everything was going well until the recession hit, forcing Nicola and her mum to close the business. Nicola then took a break to be a full-time mum to her daughter, until she started nursery. At that point, Nicola began to take on a few cleaning jobs, which she found she really enjoyed, and word of mouth spread.
However, the subsequent breakdown of Nicola’s second marriage forced her to re-evaluate her finances and options.
“I started thinking about how I could expand what I was currently doing,” she says, “Some of my clients were asking me to do more and more, and I could see there was a market for a home-help service that includes more than just cleaning, so I started researching ideas online, just to see what was already available.”
Nicola admits that, at this point, she wasn’t even looking for a franchise, as she didn’t know much about franchising and mistakenly believed that only huge, expensive franchises, such as McDonalds, were available. However, once she’d learned more about franchising, Nicola could see it was a sensible option for her, due to the added security it offered.
“There are so many legalities surrounding setting up your own business and this made me really nervous, she says, “With franchising, you have a network of people around you who have already done what you’re doing, using the same tried-and-tested formula.”
When Nicola found Extra Help online, she says it instantly felt like the perfect fit for her. She initially enquired over the Christmas break and, once she’d had a chat with Claire and read through the subsequent information that was sent to her, she made the decision to sign up as a franchisee almost immediately.
Nicola has since been trained via Zoom and assigned a mentor, fellow franchisee Denise Cooper. She describes Denise as ‘absolutely brilliant’, saying she can pick up the phone to her anytime, and is also in regular contact with Sarah Canny, owner of Extra Help South Hams, West Devon and Bude.
Nicola is so excited by the flexible range of services she is able to offer as an Extra Help franchisee that she plans to promote them all, right from the start. She is particularly enthusiastic about the idea of providing companionship to people who are elderly, vulnerable or even just lonely.
She says, “I already found my first client before I was properly up and running – she’s only 47 but has serious medical issues. This lady is stuck at home and desperately needs help; she is totally alone and it’s absolutely heart breaking! I went round there today and just sat with her for an hour – that’s all she wanted. She just needs a friend, more than anything else. It seems that lots of people are desperate for companionship and I’m so happy to have found the opportunity to help people in this way.”
Currently, Nicola is focusing on raising her online profile via social media by building and promoting her new Facebook page and posting on local groups. She has also signed up to several, online directories and review platforms, and has recently placed an advert and editorial feature in ‘Bexley Life’, a local, bi-monthly magazine that is circulated to 35,000 homes. At the moment, she feels quietly confident that her new business will be a success.
She says, “It’s taken such a long time to build my confidence back up after everything that’s happened in the past. Initially, I was so nervous about even asking questions but everyone has been so lovely and friendly. I now feel I can pick up the phone and talk to anyone! I believe I have the right knowledge and support to make this work and urge anyone thinking about becoming an Extra Help franchise owner to go for it. If I can do it, anyone can!”
With her strong work ethic and genuinely caring disposition, we’re sure Nicola has got exactly what it takes to make her business fly!
If you’d like to run a home-help and domestic cleaning business, offering a flexible range of services to your local community, give us a call on 01752 905790 to find out if your area is available. You can also visit the Extra Help website for more information.