Giving Careers a Standing Ovation

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Reaching retirement age is inevitable, but the age at which workers are ready to punch the clock for the last time is not so uniform. Many employees, especially those of the Baby Boomer generation, are tuning in to the latest employment trend—encore careers. Brigitte Betser, owner of Caledonia's FranNet, said while those in their mid to late fifties may not be ready to retire, they are looking for a change. "Career pains," as Brigitte calls them, induce a search for more flexibility, control, and independence. If this is the case, business ownership, particularly becoming a franchisor, may be the answer. 

FranNet is focused on franchise match making, Brigitte said. Her job is to explore the skill set of her client and pair it with his or her passion. The result is a company with which retirees continue to contribute to the working world, increase equity and wealth for when they are ready to retire, and, most importantly, encore careers give individuals a chance to reinvent themselves. 

Brigitte works with nearly one hundred thirty franchise companies nationwide. Most recently, she matched a retired engineer to the hearing aid clinic he now owns, based on his passion for the health care industry and coupled with his knowledge in technology. She has worked with those who've gone into the staffing, massage, residential cleaning, and handyman industries, among others. There are ninety franchising industries represented by three thousand companies in the United States, Brigitte said. 

Creating a business model and investing time in long- and short-term planning is the foundation upon which Brigitte helps her clients build their second careers. She helps them to establish personal, professional, and budgetary goals, and to balance their business with their family life. With the semi-absentee business model, franchise owners are only required to work ten to twenty hours per week, which could be ideal for those who want to work but have other things on their bucket lists, such as travel and spending time with family. "It creates a great amount of flexibility for individuals … and is a great way to get into business while still seeing financial results," Brigitte said. 

As a wife and mother, Brigitte has learned the benefits of owning her business. She encourages women to explore the options business ownership provides to those who have young children on the go, especially. "What I love about being a business owner is that I am the keeper of my own schedule," she said. "I have a couple of very busy kids, and just one benefit of being a business owner is being able to have the flexibility to do what I need to do with my kids." 

Brigitte's website, FranNet.com, provides those interested with resources for exploring business ownership. She makes it easy to connect individuals to potential franchises in their areas, and scheduling a franchise consultation will connect potential franchisors directly with Brigitte. 

West Michigan Expo's "Meet the Franchisors" event, hosting five franchisors from around the country, could also be a wealth of knowledge for interested parties. The event takes place Tuesday, October 8, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Northwood University's Grand Rapids Campus. Learn about creating business models, investment levels, and available franchises in the West Michigan community. Click here to view the event flyer.

Written by: Erika Rose is West Michigan Woman magazine's staff writer. E-mail her at [email protected]

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