This week, our blog focuses on Michaela Nowick, who owns Extra Help Milton Keynes.
Michaela lives in Milton Keynes with her husband, Rod, and her two children, who are eight and ten years old. She has been the owner of Extra Help Milton Keynes since June 2018 and covers the entire Milton Keynes area, along with the surrounding villages.
Hailing from a corporate insurance background, Michaela gained a degree in Mathematics and went on to enjoy a twenty-year career, working for organisations such as NHBC and Lane and Clark & Peacock, gaining management experience that would later prove invaluable to her as an Extra Help franchise owner.
However, last year, Michaela reached a stage in her life when she felt she needed to change paths. She wanted to work within an environment where she felt she could truly make a difference and escape the 9-5 routine of being an employee.
“I needed to start a business that I could grow whilst still working in my full-time job initially, and also needed the flexibility to work around my children’s school hours,” she says. “I decided to go for a franchise as I believed it would be easier to start straight away, as it’s usually an easy business model and you’re provided with all the marketing materials and everything you need.”
Michaela discovered Extra Help when she met Claire Robinson, founder of Extra Help, at a networking meeting. She says Claire gave her immediate confidence in the franchise opportunity, particularly as she had run her own, successful franchise in Plymouth.
Once she had chosen Extra Help, Michaela says the process of becoming a franchisee was extremely speedy. She attended a two-day training course, which she describes as being ‘very practical and useful’, and started trading the following week, when she found her first client.
Since then, Michaela’s business has flourished rapidly. She now has fourteen home-helpers, most of whom have backgrounds in the care industry, working with children or domestic cleaning. The main service she focuses on is Extra Help for the Elderly, which she is particularly passionate about, providing meal preparation, cleaning, shopping and companionship. However, she has found there is also a huge demand for domestic cleaning, as well as help for parents.
“Milton Keynes is a well-known commuter town, so there are many parents in the area who commute and need help with school runs and also filling the gap between school finishing and returning from work,” she says.
Michaela does all of her home visits herself and is amazed by the number of clients who say they have had negative experiences with home-helpers in the past. Therefore, she aims to set herself apart from her competitors by constantly striving to provide a high-quality service.
The support Michaela receives from Extra Help is second to none, and she enjoys the balance of being her own boss, yet still having the assistance there for her if she needs it.
“Our Franchise Manager, Nealem is always on hand, and Claire and Denise are both really helpful,” she says, “You’re left to your own devices but you know there’s somebody there for you if you need them, so it’s the perfect combination. I never feel as though I’m being ‘managed’. It’s all good!”
As an Extra Help franchise owner, Michaela also has access to a support group on Facebook, where franchisees are encouraged to interact, provide each other with guidance and arrange informal meet-ups. She also recently attended the Extra Help Annual Conference, which she says was ‘really beneficial’.
Michaela says the best thing about being involved in the home-help industry is when you receive positive feedback from clients and know you have made a tangible difference to their lives. She thoroughly enjoys managing her home-helpers, who are all highly personable, and she says her clients are lovely too. She has now grown the business to such an extent that she was able to leave her job just before Christmas to concentrate on Extra Help full-time.
She currently advertises regularly on social media, as well as in magazines and via leaflet drops. Michaela’s plans for the future include exhibiting at more events and further expansion of the business.
“Milton Keynes is growing at an enormous rate, with new housing estates being built all the time, so there is huge potential,” she says, “The surrounding villages are fairly affluent as well, and there are many elderly people and parents who need assistance, so there’s lots of room for growth.”
For more information on how Extra Help Milton Keynes can offer you the helping hand you need, please visit https://www.extra-help.co.uk/local_offices/milton-keynes/.