Career opportunities for all ages
If you are thinking of making a career change in midlife, then you are definitely not alone. While a career change at any age can be scary, it can also be exhilarating if the move is what you really want. We meet Theresa Ross, franchisee at Jiggy Wrigglers North and South Ayrshire, a mum of three and grandparent of four who successfully took on a new venture at the age of fifty.
I have three grown-up children and four grandchildren. I started my career as a professional singer and then moved into nursing. Both my daughter and daughter-in-law were pregnant at the same time so I decided to give up nursing so I could have time to help them both.
Why start a franchise business
I loved nursing but I did miss the freedom of being my own boss and the flexibility that it offers. I did a dissertation in music therapy and my original plan was to launch a business in music therapy in nursing homes. I visited a Jiggy Vintage class, a music and movement programme designed to entertain elderly people living in residential accommodation. I absolutely loved it and when I found out that the Ayrshire Jiggy Wrigglers franchise was up for sale after ten years, I jumped at it. Working with babies, young children and their families has been so rewarding and it is really the best part of running the business.
How to manage the work / life balance
I still look after the grandchildren a couple of times a week and when they were babies I just took them along to the Jiggy’s sessions. My husband absolutely loves everything about Jiggy’s and he often comes to the classes to help run the sessions, which the families love. The main thing is that we can work the business around our schedules, which is perfect for us. Of course, managing the work life balance will always be a bit of a juggle. Before lockdown, I had five leaders starting so there is a lot to manage. Lots of families know Jiggy Wrigglers in Ayrshire so as soon as lockdown is fully lifted, we are gearing up to be very busy again and looking to take on more leaders.
The joys of working with children
The most rewarding aspect of being a Jiggy Wrigglers franchisee is being part of the families’ journeys. It is such a privilege to be a part of their lives. It’s wonderful when you meet them as babies and watch them progress to the older groups and I feel that new parents have really missed this interaction in lockdown. It is really important for babies and young children to be able to socialise and I can’t wait to watch them flourish again. Plus, you can never go to work at Jiggy Wrigglers and not have fun.
Advice to anyone considering a franchise
Just go for it. If you have fully researched the franchise then it is a wonderful opportunity. Being part of a successful franchise means that you are never in business by yourself and you always have a network to support you. When I originally looked at setting up my own business, I didn’t fully realise all of the legal implications and all the ‘behind the scenes’ elements that would need to set up. Being part of Jiggy Wrigglers means you are spoon-fed all of the information you need. It can be scary setting up a business but being part of a franchise gives you all of the support that you need. We get help and structure in every element of the business from the approved music through to advertising. Katie, our managing director, is always just a text or phone call away and is so supportive and helpful and I also get lots of advice from other franchisees in the network.
Key learnings from starting a business
I’ve been going for a year and a half and in that time I’ve become more confident on various aspects of running a business. Thanks to the training we receive at Jiggy Wrigglers, I’m really getting to grips with Facebook marketing, IT and practical elements of running a business. I’ve also become more confident in managing people’s expectations and giving advice to parents and babies. Families come to us for the community that we create, not just the classes.
How to stay motivated
I love the classes and the interaction with the babies, children and families and that is all I need to stay motivated. Over lockdown, families have been sending in photos and videos of the children singing and dancing and it really lifts the spirits. I think what we offer is such an important part of the community and I’m really proud of what we have achieved.
We are looking to the spring and summer with lots of hope. We have recently moved home and have a nearby park that can offer us a fantastic area for outside classes. Last summer, these were really popular and with more people opting for staycations this year, we think we will be busier than ever. We are also looking for more leaders to take on some of the sessions; perhaps parents who are looking to get back into work. We have really good links with local colleges and can provide employment opportunities for students studying within the Early Years setting. We have lots of exciting opportunities and can’t wait to start meeting all the new babies and families.
Join Jiggy Wrigglers North and South Ayrshire
Join the Jiggy Wrigglers franchise
Katie will be running a number of virtual Discovery Den sessions where you can find out more about joining the Jiggy Wrigglers network.