By Monique Widing
When it comes to taking the leap into franchising, I think the biggest thing you have to have is confidence in yourself. In fact, believing in yourself can be the biggest challenge you face.
That was certainly true in my experience. As a franchisee with Clancy’s Meat Co., a retailer of fresh and frozen food products, I’ll admit there have been times when I’ve been overwhelmed. However, by having confidence in my ability to get things done (even things I thought I might not be able to do), I’ve succeeded. With hard work and the support of your family and franchisor, you can do it, too.
Working with people
I was born in Kelowna, B.C., where I spent the first couple of years of my life before my family moved to nearby Winfield. I finished ninth grade there, and then moved to Vernon, B.C., where I attended Clarence Fulton Secondary School. I graduated in 1990.
Back then, I pictured myself pursuing a career in business, so I enrolled in a business administration program at Okanagan College in Vernon. To finish the program, I had to complete a two-week practicum, which I did at the B.C. Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB, now called WorkSafeBC). I turned out really liking the job, but I went back to school for a legal secretary’s program. After six months, and a two-week long practicum at a law firm, I was offered a job at WorkSafeBC and decided to take it.
It was a really nice job for me at the time. I started out in the Vernon office doing mostly secretarial tasks—typing and other steno work. When they started up an office in Kelowna, I transferred there. Over the years, I moved up the ranks, doing some front desk work before eventually making my way up to the role of team assistant, in which I helped the case manager who adjudicated workers’ claims.
One of the constants of my various roles at WorkSafeBC was that I was always interacting with people. Often, I was dealing with workers, many of whom were frustrated or not feeling very well. I really enjoyed helping these people and it taught me a lot about customer service. It’s a skill that would also serve me very well in my future life as a franchisee.
Starting a family
While I was still at WorkSafeBC, I met the love of my life, my husband, Mathew. We had actually gone to school together in Winfield when I was younger, before I had moved to Vernon; we met up again through some mutual friends when I was 25, and decided to go for a coffee to catch up. Two years later, we were married in a beautiful ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 2000, with about 30 of our friends and family. Just two years later, in 2002, our first son Markkus was born.
I went back to WorkSafeBC after my maternity leave with Markkus; in 2004, I left again to have our second son, Gabriel, and again in 2006 when I gave birth to our daughter, Ava. At that point, I decided to leave WorkSafeBC permanently to be a stay-at-home mom.