Jennifer Moseley was always traveling, without getting anywhere.
That’s not quite true. She was very good at her job, for instance, and was by all measures a success, but she traveled so much, the airport and hotels felt more like her home than her real house. Moseley saw the people at the Transportation Security Administration more than her friends.
“I would leave my home Sunday and get back Thursday,” Moseley recalls.
The money was good – she worked for a textbook company, selling nursing textbooks to colleges – but she had no time to spend it.
“I was just burned out,” Moseley says.
She isn’t over-hyping that. To relax and deal with the stresses of a high-pressure job where she was always in a new city, Moseley said she started hanging out at the airport and hotel bars more than she should have. Even after she moved into jobs that required fewer plane tickets, she continued the habits she had picked up mingling with flight attendants and hotel minibars. Seven years ago, she finished her last drink, brushed up her resume and began looking for a fresh start.
Finding Our Town America
Moseley found that much needed fresh start with Our Town America. But if there’s a typical way people become Our Town America franchise owners – and there really isn’t – this was as atypical as it gets. Moseley didn’t go looking to be a franchise owner, and at first, didn’t become one. She saw a salaried position for a corporate sales representative at the Our Town America headquarters. She liked what she saw. She would be working in an office. There seemed to be no, or minimal, traveling. And the more she read about it, she just had a good feeling about the company. She sent in her resume, was called in for an interview and got the job.
She was good at it. In fact, one day, after about a year on the job, her boss, the National Sales Director, Michael Murphy, told her that her sales were, on average, a little higher than the franchise owners. Murphy couldn’t help but be pretty pleased – he had, after all, trained Moseley – and so mentioned her success to the company’s CEO, Michael Plummer Jr., who was impressed (“Damn, that’s awesome” is reported to be his response). Moseley naturally asked for a raise and a higher commission, and Murphy and Plummer immediately said yes.
“They were wonderful to me,” Moseley says.
Fast forward to another year later, and Murphy mentioned to his star pupil that he was thinking of investing in a franchise, but he didn’t want to run it. Instead, he proposed that they become business partners. He would put up the money to invest in a franchise, and Moseley would put in the sweat equity.
Moseley liked the idea. She soon left the corporate headquarters and became the co-owner of Our Town America of Sarasota, Florida.
Moseley found the Sarasota location because the owner, Sondra Conk, Our Town America’s first franchise owner, was looking to sell after being a franchise owner for about 15 years. Conk wasn’t unhappy with her business, though, and she wasn’t looking to retire. She was interested in selling for another reason. She had, unfortunately, been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
“We had become friends, and she was a real mentor to me,” Moseley says.
Conk would pass away far too soon, and far too young, in 2016 at the age of 69.
Conk had been wary about selling her business, but Moseley would do well with her franchise, building the business up and hopefully making her mentor proud. In fact, Moseley seemed to be on track during her first year to quickly become an incredible success story and no doubt make Murphy very pleased with his decision to buy a franchise and make her a partner. But then Moseley was quickly reminded of her past with alcoholic drinks.
It isn’t what you think.
Don’t worry; she didn’t take up drinking again. Moseley started having serious health issues due to her past drinking – it had taken a toll on her pancreas. During her first year of business, she reluctantly missed five months of work.
Her second year as an Our Town America franchise owner wasn’t much better. She figures she lost four months due to her poor health.
The next two years, maybe a combined three months.
“I’m finally better now,” she says.
She is extremely appreciative of the people working at Our Town America.
“The opportunity that Michael Murphy and Michael Plummer provided to me was life-altering. I’ve truly never been happier – and I can now say, healthier. Those two Michaels changed my life.”
But she credits Our Town America, and the strength of its business model, for allowing her the freedom to be sick.
“The model is just so family-friendly. It’s just mind-boggling,” Moseley says. “I can’t think of any other franchise where I could have been sick – and still kept the business going. If you have a brick and mortar location, you have to worry about your lease, insurance, customers, etc. The support I got from corporate was just amazing. I don’t think with any other franchise; I could have been really sick and still had a good paycheck coming in.”
And she cringes to imagine how employers in Corporate America would have reacted to her being sick.
Granted, she had some existing clients from buying an existing franchise – and by the time her health issues crept up, she had landed plenty of new clients on her own and had built a revenue stream. It isn’t as if the model would have provided a paycheck had she not had any existing clients when she got sick.
But, still, the business model kept her in the game – and allowed her to focus on her health and recover.
“I also was able to take some time off to go take care of my mother in New Jersey,” Moseley says. “And I couldn’t have done that if this model wasn’t a great one. It works. It enables the franchise owner to have the life they want to have, and to work as hard as they want, or as little as they want.”
Or as little as they can get away with, which was Moseley’s case for a while. She wanted to work. But for a time, she just couldn’t.
But now that she can, Moseley says she is having the time of her life. “I really am happy. I love what I do,” she says, citing how she enjoys all of the interaction with her clients, who feel like family members to her.
“I don’t sell and walk away,” Moseley says. “You could choose to work in volume, but I’m much more customer-oriented. I want to get that new sponsor and keep them for the long haul, and that means making sure they know how to use this program correctly.”
She also feels like she is part of something, which she never felt when she was selling nursing textbooks. “I feel like I’m a part of the community. It’s a great feeling,” she says.
It’s funny how that can work. Now, other than visiting family, or the occasional vacation, Moseley doesn’t have to travel much. And now she feels like she’s really going somewhere.
Are you, too, interested in really taking your career somewhere with Our Town America? Learn more at https://www.ourtownamerica.com/franchise-us.
Brittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations.