Owning your own business is not right for everyone. While buying an established franchise certainly gives you a head start in building success, the real work starts when you decide how you are going to make that brand your own. Being a successful franchise owner takes determination and drive, and a little creativity doesn't hurt either. At Snapology, we are lucky to have successful owners all over the world. We want to share their success stories with you through a series of franchise owner success spotlights. This month we are chatting with Shannon Russell. Shannon is the owner of Snapology of Monmouth County. She has consistently been recognized as a top performer and is a fantastic contributor to the advancement of the Snapology brand.
What did you do before starting Snapology?
I was a television producer working for companies like MTV, PopSugar, Yahoo, The Knot, E!, etc.
What made you decide to invest in a franchise?
I wanted to open a STEM-based company for kids, but even though I had management experience, I did not have experience building a business, so investing in a franchise that would give me the extra support was what I needed.
Why did you choose Snapology?
I researched quite a few companies, but once I found Snapology I just had a gut feeling it was for me. I felt comfortable speaking with the founders and corporate staff, and I loved all of the programs the company offered. It was truly a perfect fit.
What has been the biggest change in your life now that you own Snapology?
I'm my own boss, and I now have the flexibility to be a hands-on mom to my two young boys, while I run a business and provide for my family at the same time. My prior career had me working crazy long days and traveling quite a bit. Now, when my kids are off of school they are with me, I can participate in activities at school, and be there for them at all times. I feel my life is my own and I have the best of both worlds. I'm a full time business owner and a full time mom!
What steps did you take to launch your business?
I love my community and I decided to focus on hands-on marketing by volunteering at community events to get the word out about Snapology. I taught free classes at schools, and demonstrated our programs at recreation centers, libraries, and festivals in my area to start buzz about how amazing Snapology's STEM programs are for kids.
What has been your biggest challenge and biggest success?
My biggest challenge was building the business from the ground up in my community. Luckily, there were no other STEM-based programs like Snapology in my area, so once parents learned about us, the ball started rolling and interest in our classes, camps, and parties grew. My biggest success was definitely taking the leap to open a Snapology Discovery Center. It was a huge undertaking, but it has been the most wonderful addition to the business. Parents now can participate in our programs out in the community, but they also have a STEM Discovery Center to visit so their kids can learn and build with other kids, take classes and camps, and have unique LEGO® themed and Robotics birthday parties where my staff handles it all.
Any other successes to share?
I am very proud to have trained to become a certified LEGO® Serious Play® Facilitator. I have been working with corporate businesses to help improve relations through team building and corporate strategy using the LEGO® Serious Play® method. Adults love LEGO® building too, and through this method adults can work together to build and learn with each other as well.
Where do you see your business going in the future?
I want my Snapology business to continue to positively impact children and families in Monmouth County through our STEM-based classes and camps, while also giving families a Discovery Center where they can enjoy building, learning, and playing together. I hope we expand our community outreach to non-profits to help reach children who may not otherwise have access to our programs. I would love parents to use us as a resource when they are in need of a place for their children to come to feel comfortable playing while they learn through Robotics, Engineering, Science, and of course LEGO® building.
Do you have questions for Shannon or any of our owners? Be sure to add them in the comments and stay tuned for our next success story. We have plenty to choose from.