Meet the successful businesses that start at home and stay there

We’ve probably all heard stories of businesses which start in a spare bedroom and become multi-million pound concerns.

But what about the businesses that stay – and thrive – in that spare room?

For some, work can be done wherever there is a good internet connection and a phone service – even when it involves hiring and managing other people.

Sam Acton started Domestic Angels, a domestic cleaning and home help service, in her home at Southbourne in 2002. Not only has it expanded and won a national award, but she has recently turned it into a franchising opportunity.

“I started with an ad in the Daily Echo on April 11, 2002. At 11.10am, a woman phoned up. She was my first client and stayed with me for 11 years,” she says.

“I quite quickly had four staff, then stayed at that level for a few years. I learned to be an employer.”

She now has around 20 staff looking after around 1,000 client hours a month. Although the business has moved to a home office in the garden, she has found no need to find separate premises.

The agency started in the days of home produced flyers rather than websites and social media, and the advance of technology has been vital to keeping a sizeable business going from home.

“The business would never have got as bit as it has if it wasn’t for technology,” she says.

“Email is very speedy and I can email and communicate with our clients whilst they’re at work. You can email for a reference and get it back straight away, which makes the business scalable anyway.”

She chose to franchise as a way of expanding the business while keeping her own operation a manageable size. Franchisees buy into a way of running the businesses and the processes it has evolved.

“Our reputation is the most precious thing we have because we’re in a service industry. It’s a really big deal. Franchisees are buying into the reputation and the culture,” she says.

Kate Shaw runs her own public relations business, KTPR, from home in Westbourne. Having been involved in politics and the private school sector, she launched the business in an area that has no shortage of PR agencies.

“It was my husband who had the belief that I could make it work. I started totally cold and I did have many doubts and kept my eye on the job market for quite some time but I gradually picked up and it’s gone from strength to strength,” she says.

The business has moved a couple of times within the house and is now in a spare bedroom.

“I found when I was in the back room it was starting to take over my life. My office is confined to one room in the house,” she says.

Both women have learned about finding boundaries between work and personal life. Sam Acton says she had to make it clear early on that working from home was still working.

“I was making myself too accessible. I had to say ‘I’m working at the moment, can I get back to you?’” she said.

But both say they benefit from flexibility in their working days.

“I like the fact that when [son] Jack comes in the door, we can have a chat. It’s being able to do those kinds of things and enjoying life and not feel like anything’s getting out of hand,” says Sam.

“When you get to the end of the day you’ve got the chance to sit at the table and have a chinwag.”

Kate Shaw added: “Quite often when I’ve got a press release to write, I’ll go down to the beach and take my laptop and be inspired by the surroundings. I’ve been quite flexible about where I might go during the day.”

There is little danger of feeling isolated from not being in a busy office, she says.

“The nature of my job is quite social anyway and it’s not just me sitting in my office,” she adds.

For Sam Acton, the success of the business outstripped her expectations. She took the title for home based business at the Venus National Awards for women in business in 2013-2014 after winning the local award. The confidence boost from that success has helped her expand the business, go into franchising and meanwhile organise annual Parliament Week events locally.

“In 2013, when I won the Venus, I struggled to take it on board that I was a business person. I was Sam who did Domestic Angels,” she says.

“When I won the national award, that’s when the penny really dropped.”

Lights on at The Factory – supporting emerging start-ups


Domestic Angels were invited to take part in this ground-breaking event targeting emerging start-up businesses and budding entrepreneurs. Several local businesses determined to support and service the audience had exhibition stands warmly welcoming the delegates, openly sharing knowledge, business experience and plenty of encouragement.

The event was peppered with seminars to enrich the delegate day including ‘From clueless to entrepreneur’ delivered by the Domestic Angels leadership team. We wanted to convey to the next generation of business owners that they really can take an idea with a blank piece of paper and create a fully-fledged company of their own. It was a privilege to meet and interact with our seminar delegates who courageously shared their business visions.

Delegate Sue contacted us post-event to say “The way you all spoke was testament to the brilliant working relationship you have as people with different skills and all working together for the good of the clients and the business. A truly novel way to talk that could only be done by a genuine team” We hope to stay in touch with emerging business delegates and watch them blossom.

As a business, we recognise that we have been fortuitous in our development and success which is directly attributable to a lot of hard work but also to the talents and knowledge inside and outside of the business which have directly and indirectly impacted on the evolution of Domestic Angels over the years. We have built strong partnerships providing us with a firm and lasting framework of support and supporters, all part of our success criteria. In turn, we take our turn to support emerging businesses through seminars, connectivity and mentoring.

Sam attends Franchise Conference

Sam Acton, Director at Domestic Angels, attended the Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIF) 2016 Annual Conference on Thursday this week in Stratford upon Avon. The objective of EWIF is threefold: to encourage women to consider buying a franchise, to encourage business women to franchise their existing operations and to help franchisors attract more women to their networks. “As a business new to the franchise sector and with a personal passion to support women in business, this conference and our membership of EWIF is very significant. A recent NatWest Entrepreneurship Monitor clearly shows that women tend to see more barriers to starting a new business than men. Franchising provides the perfect reduced risk option instantly breaking down both perceived and real barriers.”

The conference was hosted by Sarah Carlisle founder of Coconut Creatives, a business that helps franchisors find their perfect franchisees. Delegates enjoyed ‘state of the franchise nation’ opening speech from EWIF CEO Clive Sawyer, a compact networking masterclass delivered by Clare Davis from Nova Associates and a keynote speech and song from Celia Delaney.

Sam interviewed on The Successful Women Podcast Show

Sam from Domestic Angels was recently interviewed by Venus National Award Winner Gill Donnel on her Successful Women Podcast Show.

Visit The Successful Women Podcast Show Website

Meet Samantha Acton, award-winning Director Domestic Angels.

“I have the best job in the world! Helping people in their homes, really making a positive difference to the lives of individuals, families and home owners is a real joy.

Customer service and focus is everything. By thinking about the priorities and needs of others I can deliver services and solutions with minimal fuss and maximum impact.

A busy family is completely different to a housebound client, a holiday home is nothing like an annual spring clean, I know this and so do all of the Angels. My goal is to focus on your needs and the needs of your home, this is how I have developed the business since 2002. Consequently the Angels and I still look after clients who have been with us from our very first year in business and staff who joined Domestic Angels in 2002 still work for me.

The Angels visit family homes most often whilst customers are at work and school. By the time customers return home, the kitchens and bathrooms are clean and tidy, the living room is ready for a relaxing evening, the bedrooms are dust free and calm.

Our elderly and housebound clients build solid, long term relationships with their Angels. This service is far more than housework, this is companionship and more often friendship. We support people through all that life has to offer and still ensure that their home is clean and safe and that their fridge is full.”


The Successful Women Podcast Show
Listen to Sam Acton, award-winning director of Domestic Angels talk about her business and the amazing franchise opportunities available now!

Domestic Angels interviewed by the Franchise Specialist

Domestic Angels was founded in 2002, what made you initially start the business and what do you attribute the growth of the company to?

I had returned to work post maternity leave which found me out of the house, and away from my baby, 12 hours per day and sometimes for days on end. The knock on effect to home life, social life or even just seeing my own Mum was overwhelming and unacceptable. I left my ‘career’ and founded Domestic Angels to solve a mate’s need for help at home, the rest, as they say is history. The company has grown, and more specifically evolved, because Domestic Angels is a great product offering domestic clients the service and relationship they seek as well as providing our staff with the dignity they deserve by being employed and looked after, they are our customers too. These points together with the fact that I thoroughly enjoy business, providing solutions and in particular breaking new ground has resulted in a dynamic business energy which demands growth and evolution.

When did you begin franchising the business and why did you decide to take this route?
The Domestic Angels franchise is brand new to the market although we have spent the last 2 years preparing our offering ourselves in-house so that we can be sure that our franchisees enjoy the very best of our processes and that it totally reflects our corporate moral framework rather than paying a consultant to make us fit an associations preferred formula. Deciding to take the franchise route was no small decision, we considered the franchise arena to be full of sharks and didn’t want to join the herd. In true Angels style we realised we could create our offering in our own style reflecting our standards, ethics and spirit to guarantee that our offering is successful just as Domestic Angels already is. It’s still compliant where it needs to be but more importantly our long established formula is not compromised by external preferences.

What do you think are the real perks/benefits in running a Domestic Angels Franchise?

Franchisees will be operating their own business in accordance with our tried and tested processes supported by our specialist management team. Between us we have seen and heard it all before and we expect to work very closely with our franchisees, their success is our success, this is important to us just after happiness.

A large part of the Domestic Angels success is that it is a home based business run on a part time basis and we expect our franchisees to do the same. Being at the school gates is important to us as is helping with homework, we don’t mind an early start to enable focus to family breakfast or odd evening hours to be able to honour daytime commitments to elderly relatives, our franchisees will feel the same about life and enjoy the same flexibility to prioritise to achieve work life balance in the best possible way.

What type of person is most likely to flourish as a Domestic Angels franchisee?

Somebody who excels at customer service, communicating sales and marketing. We’re going to be providing substantial support in all other business disciplines which means franchisees need to either follow procedures specifically or we’ll be doing the work for them ie book keeping. We know we can’t all be brilliant at everything so we want our franchisees to use their energies to focus on their strengths and enjoy growing their own management franchise.

Can you tell us more about the start-up costs, ongoing management fees and training that is provided?

The first few franchisees will enjoy a start-up cost just short of £10K, we know we are new to the game so offering this discount is reasonable to us plus these lucky people will be totally spoilt as we over indulge in making sure they are happy and successful. Once we are underway this cost will be £12,997. Management fees are 10% of profit, so we have a stake in ensuring franchisees are profitable, plus some minimal costs to cover on-going social media, PR, software and bookkeeping. As our figures are based on a real business which has been running for years we are confident that these costs are vital for success and a hindrance.

Once signed up we will get our franchisees underway with preparations at home before attending a 3 day residential course at no additional cost which they will leave armed with a full marketing/PR strategy, full understanding of how to operate our processes within the company intranet, total engagement with our culture and good relationships with all of our experts who are keen to ensure their business adventure is supercharged to success.

Find out more about the Domestic Angels franchise opportunity by visiting: http://www.domestic-angels.com/franchise.html

Domestic Angels Franchise Talk at Dorset Women in Business

On Wednesday 6th July Domestic Angels Franchising sponsored the first Dorset Women in Business Lunch Networking event at the Chocolate Hotel in Bournemouth centre.

Sam Acton & our Angels Management Team spoke about their business story to date and the exciting future for the franchising of Domestic Angels!

We were also treated to an entertaining talk and truffle sampling by Gerry Wilton, owner of the Chocolate hotel – there was even a chocolate fountain!

So if you, or anyone you know, might be interested in starting your own business? Take a look at the Domestic Angels Franchise Opportunity here; http://domestic-angels.com/franchise.html

You can view all the photos from the event, on our Facebook page here;
Domestic Angels Networking Lunch Photographs

Domestic Angels to Sponsor Dorset Women in Business Event

Domestic Angels & Domestic Angels Franchising will be sponsoring the July lunch for the Dorset Women in Business on the 6th at the Chocolate Boutique Hotel in Bournemouth.

Dorset Women in Business (DWIB) is a fun & friendly female-only networking group covering most of Dorset through meetings in venues such as Wimborne, Bournemouth & Christchurch.

The Domestic Angels Team have been regular attendees at the Christchurch & Boscombe meetings for the past several years.

We are very excited about this one as Sam Acton and team from Domestic Angels will be speaking about our Franchise offering. The Angels are offering their business as a franchise to select local people who have great customer service skills and great corporate values. They will be telling you their story to date and about the franchise future. We have an enviable reputation in the industry and wider business community.

 

Domestic Angels become EWIF members

Domestic Angels are very proud to announce we are now members of EWIF – Encouraging Women into Franchising

EWIF’s primary focus is to support women who are looking for a route into the franchise industry. Their franchise operations are keen to welcome more female franchisees to their networks

” Established in 2002, Domestic Angels helps people in their homes with housework, home help and holiday home changeovers. I founded the business as a lifestyle solution to generate income whilst allowing me to have the time I very much wanted for my family and myself. I am very happy to be able to offer the same solution and work-life balance to you via the Domestic Angels franchise.

As a management franchisee you will be able to share in the success of a very well established and award winning brand and business formula with the figures to back it up. Our tried and tested processes for client management, recruitment and employment will be available to you via our company intranet with our management experts on the end of the phone to support you at all times. Distance and residential training during induction will ensure you are familiar with these processes and systems. We will also be guiding you to develop your very own social media and PR strategy for a supercharged start in your very own business. Our social media and PR experts are keen to work with you to make you successful as is our customer service champion to help you be totally at ease with the Domestic Angels culture.

Being able to offer you the Domestic Angels franchise is a great honour and one that myself and my team are committed to delivering successfully in line with the cultural values we hold so very dearly.

I look forward to the opportunity of discussing your business and life plans and how Domestic Angels can make them a reality.

All the best, Samantha Acton
Founding Director at Domestic Angels (UK) Ltd and Domestic Angels Franchising Ltd”

The Benefits of a Franchise Business

New entrepreneurs have many important decisions to make, but one of the biggest is whether to start a business of their own creation as a sole proprietor or to purchase a franchise.
A franchise offers many advantages over a typical sole proprietorship that you may not have thought about.

A franchise business has higher likelihood of success because a proven business formula is in place, the products, services, and business operations have already been established. It also offers the independence of business ownership, but is supported by the benefits of a business network.

High Street Banks typically see franchise owners as having a lower risk of repayment default and are more likely to loan money.

The extensive training, education and support that a franchise offers are designed to bring franchisees up to speed on the most successful business methods for their business.

As you can see, doing business as a franchise gives the entrepreneur many advantages over the sole proprietorship approach to starting a business; thereby avoiding costly mistakes such as spending too much for equipment or developing an ineffective marketing campaign.

How I’m turning my award-winning business into a franchise

A HOME business started by an award-winning Bournemouth woman is to become a franchise.

Samantha Acton set up domestic cleaning service Domestic Angels in 2002, when she was at home with a baby after being made redundant.

It now has around 20 staff and 138 clients, and provides around 1,000 hours of services a month.

Samantha became prominent in Dorset’s business world, winning the prize for Home Based Business at the Dorset Venus Awards in 2013 and chairing Southbourne On Sea Business Association.

She said: “As the founder of the company, I did exactly what new franchisees might be doing – setting up a business around my family, working from home and putting in the hours to suit me and my changing needs as my family grew.

“The franchise will allow others to grow their own business without the pain of establishing a brand or comprehensive processes required to run an effective business in the 21st century.”

The company offers services from regular housework to intensive spring cleans, as well as an element of home help for elderly clients needing more support.

Samantha has worked with advisers including Richard Holden, head of franchising at the Lloyds Banking Group; Dormen business mentor Martin Spooner; and Kim Rawson, a high performance mentor and company chairman.

Samantha said: “Our vision is to make Domestic Angels the number one regional franchise for domestic cleaning. We have worked really hard to create an incredibly attractive and affordable franchise package which we are confident will have significant appeal to potential business owners.”

She anticipates that potential franchisees at the launch stage could be in areas surrounding the Bournemouth-Poole conurbation, including Purbeck, Wimborne or the New Forest.

“We are looking for potential franchisees whose work ethic, vision and values match those of Domestic Angels – values that are based on family, community, trust and professionalism,” she said.

http://domestic-angels.com/franchise.html

Get in touch
Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a franchisee and exploring the business and earnings potential, opportunities and support available is asked to contact Samantha Acton at Domestic Angels
e: franchise@domestic-angels.com

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/business/news/14279650._How_I_m_turning_my_award_winning_business_into_a_franchise_/?ref=mac