ON HIS OWN TERMS
Posted 15 May 2012
Roger Pemberton said goodbye to a corporate career and built his own business with the help of ActionCOACH
Organisational change at Premier Foods in 2007 meant Roger Pemberton lost his senior post as Factory General Manager, and he faced a critical decision. Aged 49 and after 27 years working in the food industry - the last 10 in senior roles - what should he do next?
“With two teenage kids still at school, I needed to work and couldn’t disrupt family life by moving us to a new location,” explains Roger. “There weren’t any major food companies on my doorstep looking for someone with my level of experience, so if I worked locally I’d have to take a lower paid job. If I wanted to continue my career with big food brands, I’d have to be prepared for a long commute.”
Go for it
Another option was to do something completely different and set up his own business. While this certainly seemed more daunting, Roger felt ready for a change and decided to go for it. He’d been paid a lump sum when he left Premier Foods and used this to buy an ActionCOACH franchise to operate in his local area of Norfolk and North Suffolk.
As he explains, business coaching was a natural business for him to move into: “My management style had always been focused on getting the most out of the teams in my plants, helping people develop. I had strong coaching instincts and lots of solid commercial experience to draw on and share.”
The flexibility also appealed. “It’s a business you can set up wherever you are,” says Roger. “Coaches can start operating from a home office and remain home-based if they want. Others move to office premises. It’s down to you to decide how you want to work.”
Although he wasn’t specifically looking to buy a franchise, Roger felt the ActionCOACH brand would accelerate his coaching business. He liked the support that ActionCOACH provides and the emphasis it places on each coach’s own development.
Says Roger: “You’re encouraged to keep learning and training, so you continue adding value to your clients. For someone like me, that’s really appealing.”
Going from the security of being an employee to self-employed was a big step, but cash flow forecasting tools supplied by ActionCOACH showed Roger what was achievable. To be on the safe side, he scaled back his own expectations and gave himself a buffer of several months before he needed to have his first paying client. This meant he wasn’t panicking about clients coming on board.
“If you learn the system and tools and trust them, it works,” says Roger. “Of course, you can’t sit back and expect things to just happen - you must be active and focused on selling and marketing - but it was fine putting in the effort once I understood what I was doing and where it was taking me.”
Roger won his first client, a tow bar fitting and trailer manufacture business, in his third month. From there he gradually built things up until he had eight clients at the end of the first year.
“By month four I could take money out of the business to pay myself and by month 18 I had a very secure, stable coaching business,” says Roger. “I was comfortably earning what I’d been earning at the height of my corporate career, and I was doing it on my terms with no major commute.”
According to Roger, while the financial rewards are fantastic, it’s the client work that has delivered the real highs. For instance, he has helped a client in IT support grow from £400,000 turnover to £1 million. The client has new premises and Roger is working with them on plans to reach £2 million in the next 12 months.
Along with his ActionCOACH business, Roger also has his own life plan in place. He plans to stay coaching for a further 10 years and also has the beginnings of a property portfolio. Thanks to the expansion of his coaching business over the past three years, he has been able to buy three properties - and he plans to buy another during the next 18 months.
So looking back, does he think the choice he made to join ActionCOACH was the right one? “Absolutely, it’s great to be doing my own thing,” says Roger. “I’m making a real difference to the businesses I coach, I’m in charge of my own future, I’m free, fulfilled and financially secure - not many people can say that.”
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