Age is but a number. Just ask Jesus Rivas. He became a franchisee at 18. Now, two years later, he owns two franchise locations and has his sights set on the future. We spoke with Jesus recently and he shared his advice for aspiring young franchise business owners.
Q. What made you decide to own a franchise?
A. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to become a business owner, so I wrote down a detailed list of what I’d like my life to be like. I was looking for a business that fit my personality, I could learn in a short amount of time, and had leadership that would accept an 18-year-old who was eager to learn. I decided on a franchise because I had little experience and I knew that to be successful, I would need the guidance of a strong system.
Q. How did you finance your business at such a young age?
A. I just never gave up despite how unrealistic it seemed. I spoke with the owner of the store where I had previously worked. He offered to sit down with me and discuss selling me one of his stores. We decided on a sales price and the down payment. The only problem was coming up with the money for the down payment. I decided to try to get a loan. I made a business plan and went bank to bank, but nothing was going through. I refused to give in! I decided to sit down and renegotiate. As outrageous and unlikely as it sounds, we worked out a great deal for zero down.
Q. Did you go to college and if so, what was your major?
A. I went to college for a year or so and my major was Business Administration.
Q. What would you say to a high school senior who is thinking of following in your footsteps?
A. Don’t let the idea of what’s “realistic” be the driving factor of what you do with your life. Will Smith says, “Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.” Also, be confident in yourself, in your ventures, and in each and every one of your conversations.
Q. What were your biggest challenges within the first year of opening your first location?
A. My biggest challenges were not having any personal business experience and having to “borrow” wisdom from others to deal with certain situations. For example, I’d never led anything other than a high school science project before, so leading a team of employees was a challenge at first. I found myself relying on my area developer for leadership tips on dealing with different personalities.
Q. What advice would you give to a new franchisee starting out?
A. Follow the system and ask a lot of questions. Drive is also huge. The desire to grow as a person and learn things will take you a long way. Year one as a franchise owner is always a learning curve so get your infrastructure solid, create “Mini Me’s” and then just duplicate the process.
Q. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A. My passion is to inspire others to make positive changes in their lives. I see myself doing that, but on a bigger scale.
Jesus Rivas is a franchisee with Liberty Tax Service. He currently operates two locations in Pennsylvania.