When considering a franchise opportunity, you may want to think outside the box.  Often people looking at business opportunities search inside their current skill set or trade.

Carpenters look at construction related franchises, electrician looks at franchises in the electrical field, etc.  Consider the other experience you  have and think of how you could utilize that in almost any field.  You may have sales experience, marketing experience, management experience, etc. and none of these skills are “field” specific.

Grady Barnard began to look for opportunities outside his field and shares his experience of getting into the franchise arena below.

“Hi, my name is Grady Barnard.  I am in the Technology field with a great company, but wanted to diversify my income, so after looking at several opportunities decided to go with the Squad. In the end I feel as if this opportunity will give me financial freedom and a better quality of life for my family.

After looking at several opportunities, I decided on Mosquito Squad for several reasons:

  1. Initial Investment
  2. A true need in our area, plus the ability to help others enjoy the outdoors as I do – Mosquito Free
  3. A company (OLB) that has been around for a while with other successful franchise opportunities

So far the company has been a great help getting us started – I think what closed it was the fact they do not take everyone who has money to spend. You go through an evaluation process to determine:

1. if the opportunity is right for you

2. if you are a good fit with the company.

That was big in my mind.  I am looking forward to a big season in 2010.”

As you have read, Grady decided to think outside the box and consider utilizing his skills in an unrelated field to reach his goals.  With the right mind set, the sky is the limit with franchising.


The franchising industry is the doorway to a world of opportunity. Thousands of franchises offer countless concepts, all with varying startup costs. And while many require a storefront and overhead expenses, a large number of them – ranging from pest control to dance fitness lessons to deck and lighting companies and repair services – can be operated right from home. Home-based franchises are becoming viable options for business ownership, enabling many new franchisors to grow their businesses more effectively Franchise Finder Find the right franchise for you! Explore our directory of over 800 franchise opportunties.

The popularity of home-based businesses has been growing for a while now. Home-based entrepreneurship has become so common, in fact, that those running businesses from home have earned their own title, “homepreneurs,” and have become significant pillars in the economy. According to a recent survey conducted by Small Business Success Index and analyzed by Emergent Research, there are currently about 6.6 million home businesses nationwide that generate at least 50 percent of the owner’s household income. These businesses employ over 13 million people; 35 percent of them generate more than $125,000 in revenue, and 8 percent generate more than $500,000.

So what’s driving this trend? There are many factors, one of which is the struggling economy. “Home-based franchising is alive and well and, in this down economy, thriving,” explains Harold Kestenbaum, a franchise attorney who has worked with more than 100 franchise concepts. “More franchise companies have gone to the home-based model, when possible, since the tightness of the credit market has made selling the big-box franchises very difficult. The home-based model opens up the opportunities for prospects with lower budgets, which is a good thing.”

Additionally, as technology becomes more sophisticated, it’s easier than ever to operate a business from home and still portray a professional image. “As technology continues to offer more and more communications abilities, such as Web conferencing and seamless communication systems, home-based franchising will continue to be a viable option for many companies looking for qualified buyers and for buyers who wish to have the flexibility of working at a home base,” says Alisa Harrison, Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the International Franchise Association.

Finally, the once somewhat negative stigma associated with working from home is dissipating as the entire image of the traditional workplace is undergoing a metamorphosis. According to data released in January from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people who worked at home increased from about 9.5 million in 1999 to about 11.3 million in 2005. Furthermore, nearly half of these home-based workers had college degrees, and nearly half of them earned $75,000 a year or more. As the whole concept of working from home becomes more common, so does the idea of running a franchise from home.

The flexibility and freedom of running a business from home helps franchisees realize their dream of starting a business, but it also enables franchisors to introduce new concepts and grow their businesses. With home-based franchising becoming more widespread, those searching for a franchise may not have to roam too far from home to find – and start – a business of their own. (Sara Wilson)

Mary and Rich Crawford are the owners of the Mosquito Squad in Norfolk-Chesapeake VA. They are in their first season right now and we asked Mary “Why did you go with us?”

Mosquito Squad was the answer for me for many reasons.  First and foremost, I have three young children who are so important to me so I was looking for a great balance between being a Mom and having a career.  Mosquito Squad allows me to be my own boss and set my own schedule so I can be at home when my children get home from school.  I love the challenge and thrill of starting up my own business and trying to get as many customers as I can.  When I need help, I simply call “the mother ship” and they are always responsive and helpful.  It is comforting to know you have excellent support behind you!  I can’t say enough good things about everyone associated with Mosquito Squad.  We ( all the franchise owners)  have a great time together but more importantly, we are there for each other and actually do call each other for suggestions and help.  It is a great organization to be a part of,  Couldn’t be happier.

Mary Crawford

Mary’s Blog

Remember the time when your goal was to land a job working for a large corporation?  You would be set for life, retire young, and have awesome benefits.  Do you still believe that is the correct goal or path?  Are you confident your job is secure and the corporation is “solidy and healthy”?

Each day I spend a good deal of time interviewing potential business owners as a Franchise Recruiter for Outdoor Living Brands.  I hear many stories of how people feel they were mislead or mistreated by Corporate America.  Promises made were not kept, they were swept up in the “downsizing” or even some ethically questionable behavior has been experienced. 

Many clients come to me scorned and bitter.  “Had I have known” is a common phrase.  Is this the time for you step back, take a long look in the mirror and ask the question – “Do I really know what is happening on the corporate level?”  Perhaps the time is right for you to start making the decisions.  What decisions you may ask – the ones that will impact your future and your business.  Ultimately, you are one responsible for your and your family’s destiny.

I am currently working with a client who told me “I have always been making these same types of decisions, been held accountable for them, but haven’t really reaped the rewards for my great track record.”  This is one of the reasons he has turned to franchising as an option.  There are many franchise opportunities out there, and finding the right option for you will require some due diligence on your part.  Utilize your talents and strengths and put them to work for you.  If you are considering leaving Corporate America behind and taking control of your own destiny, consider franchising as an option.


Home and garden shows showcase a wide array of products and services for consumers.  Frequently scheduled in the spring and summer, local home and garden shows can be significant in helping you build a strong list of prospective clients. 

Outdoor Living Brands works with Franchisees to understand how important these events can be to the overall marketing strategy of their business.  Taking time to properly prepare for these events is crucial.  Consider the audience you are trying to reach and design your area accordingly.

A nice presentation will draw attention to your products or services, and having the right person representing your business is extremely important.  Work with and coach these individuals to make sure they are knowledgeable about your business, and have the professional demeanor you want to portray to potential clients.  You only have one chance to make a first impression.

When utilized properly, your efforts at home and garden shows may result in a number of new leads.  Remember, you have made that first impression, and now the follow-up on those leads must be just as impressive.  If you find yourself overwhelmed with clients, it is a good problem to have.  Reach out to those clients as quickly as possible to let them know how important their business is to you.

Home and garden shows are a great way to promote your business, and with the proper execution and follow up, you will find the marketing investment well spent.  Research the events in your area, and you may find multiple opportunities in the outdoor living arena.

Recently, I was interviewed by Tom Franz, the Franchise Mentor, on his “Be Your Own Boss” radio show.  We discussed franchising as a vehicle for to be your own boss.  Franchising can be a great way for individuals to pursue a transition in their careers, to take control of their own destiny, and to pursue their business, career and lifestyle objectives through franchise ownership. 

As president of Outdoor Living Brands, I have literally seen dozens and dozens of examples of our franchisees – Archadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, and Modquito Squad – turn to franchising as the way to take control of their careers and financial futures by investing in a franchise in pursuit of their personal wealth, income and lifestyle goals. 

According to research sponsored by the International Franchise Association,  franchise businesses are up to three times more likely to be successful compared to similar independent businesses.  Over the last twenty year, the franchise industry has experienced exponential growth.  A tremendous number of new franchise businesses have been launched in the last five years alone and there are now over three quarters of a million franchise units driving tremendous job creation across our economy.

If you are thinking about a change in your career and you want to play a part in this growth, consider franchising and consider one of our franchise brands.  While you do, take a look at part of the taping of my recent radio interview on YouTube!

Recently, I filmed several videos to post on YouTube and my company’s website about Outdoor Living Brands and our franchise modelsArchadeck, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Mosquito Squad.   These videos help to describe franchising (hopefully with one of our brands!) as a vehicle for individuals seeking to become their own boss and pursue various personal, lifestyle, business and career goals. 

As researched by the International Franchise Association, franchise businesses enjoy success rates up to three times those of independent businesses.  So, if you are considering getting into business for yourself or if you are tired of the corporate rat race, then consider franchising as a way to take control of your own destiny and increase your chances of success!