Ten years at Interbrew UK, a major blue chip company. My roles included sales and marketing, at one point I was managing a team of ten sales managers. I then took the role as Human Resource Training Manager specialising in leadership, customer care, personal development and people management.
North London: Winchmore Hill N21, Southgate N14, Palmers Green N13
I became a Monkey Music franchisee in 2007.
My daughters attended Monkey Music classes.
Full-time during the school term, part-time in holidays with own management on flexible hours to fit in around the family.
Flexible working hours, work values and ethics of ‘nurturing a lifetime of music’ mirror home values of raising a family, networking on my area installs a feeling of belonging to the community which includes my family.
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
This is how I feel about Monkey Music: I love teaching, singing, performing, interacting with children and building relationships with adults. Combine this with working for yourself, being in direct control of your turnover and profits and flexible working hours around the family and I feel this job is a winning formula.
Annual Support Meeting, Curricula Forum, knowledge that I can contact Head Office for support at any time, Facebook Monkey Troop to keep in touch with other franchisees and feel part of a team.
Self-motivation needed to execute the less interesting side of the business such as admin, accounting.
Recognition of my work by winning the Monkey Music Award for ‘Moving from good to great’, positive reviews from customer: e.g. 5 stars on Facebook with 30 reviews. Customers telling me that ‘Monkey Music is the highlight of their week.’ Dad’s approaching me outside of Monkey Music to tell me they know the words to the Monkey Music songs even though they haven’t been to a class as their child sings the songs at home. Seeing a child with Monkey in the supermarket or park highlighting how much Monkey Music means to the child. Being financially independent and having funds to contribute to my family outgoings and living a comfortable lifestyle.
I did a music and Welsh degree followed by three years and various postgraduate qualifications from the Royal Northern College of Music (PPRNCM and PGRNCM). I was an actress in the Welsh equivalent of Casualty before turning my hand at more conventional career in administration – which then led to another degree in Personnel – achieved while I was working full-time for a multi-international engineering company. Further down the line, I decided that I really should try singing for a living – I felt that it would be something that I would regret if I didn’t and thoroughly enjoyed the next stage of my career, ten years of singing in West End musicals – Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music and Jerry Springer the Opera. When my children were approaching school age, I reassessed my options again as working six evenings a week wasn’t going to suit once the children were at school during the day. This is when I stumbled upon Monkey Music and I’m so pleased that I did! I feel that this franchisee role has embodied all the skills which I have learnt in the past and many more skills learnt on the way.
Amersham, Beaconsfield and the Chalfonts
The years since I opened the local franchise in 2008 have flown by. When I started Monkey Music, my children were in pre-school and getting ready for Primary school. In September they will be in secondary school! Where has all that time gone?
I remember the moment well. I had been chatting about career to my husband the night before and we had discussed various options but with no obvious conclusions. At that time I was playing the part of Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium. I was heading towards the stage area in my nun’s habit when a fellow nun came down the stairs looking extremely excited. When I asked her why she saw grinning so much, she explained that she had just signed a franchise agreement with Monkey Music. She had been a Monkey Music teacher for four years and had decided that the time was right to buy her own area. It seemed like a sign! The following week, I observed classes in action in Chelsea and was extremely impressed by the standard of the curriculum. I had tried various classes with my children (twins) but had never returned for a second class. The oldest children that I saw that day were the same age as my own children and I was astounded by their musical knowledge (they were answering questions about the violin) and by the intensity of their concentration within a fun environment. There wasn’t a Monkey Music franchise in my area and I knew then that this was something that I could do myself.
I work daily Monday to Friday and add in a couple of hours at the weekend. It’s hard work but very stimulating. I choose to teach many of the classes myself although I do also have two other teachers who teach for me. I also have an administrator and secretarial help.
It fits well around family life. I take the children to school and I am home when they come back (or when they were younger, I was able to collect from school). Other aspects of the daily workload can be fitted around their needs – but there is no getting away from the fact that is a full time commitment – in spite of that flexibility of working hours.
At holiday times, there is lots to do – in terms of teaching, management, marketing, financial and general administration – but this can again be fitted around outings, activities and family time. You just need to be organised and plan your diary and time off accordingly.
Monkey Music Head Office are very supportive. Originally, I had no experience of running a business – how to go about filling classes, how to make the Monkey Music name known locally, how to price my classes, how to structure my accounts, how to write a business plan – the list was endless! I simply knew that I could tell potential customers to come and try the class and that in my opinion that the curriculum was the best around. The advice needed and received in all areas of running my business was comprehensive, in person, on the telephone and in terms of the manual which is substantial but extremely clear. Head Office seem to be aware that each franchisee brings their own set of skills to the table and we are assisted as individuals with our own unique set of strengths and areas which we need their support. Initially, the support I needed was significant, but with time comes experience and the support requested becomes less frequent, but nevertheless was always there when needed. I followed every piece of advice which I was given and saw my numbers rise and rise. Furthermore, I felt that I could also share my achievements and delight when numbers grew – and that it was reciprocated. I remember sharing that there were 350 families coming to my weekly classes…. just as I remember sharing that I had reached 100 for the first time. In 2013 I was approached to join the Teacher Training team at Monkey Music and I have enjoyed this additional consultancy work. Each new teacher needs to attend a training and assessment day and ongoing teacher training is also available. I have very much enjoyed working with new and existing teachers, ensuring that the strength of the Monkey Music curriculum is supported by creative teaching and that our parents and carers become aware, through our classes, of the benefit and value of the classes for their little one in terms of musical, social and language development. We are serious about music. We are fun, progressive and educational. Once that message is clear through our classes, our classes become sought after and customer numbers will rise!
In my area, we currently run 34 classes having added more venues and classes this term. I teach 20 of those classes myself.
I believe in the benefit of the classes. I feel that I am doing something worthwhile. I am singing regularly. I am also home in the evenings and can share my time appropriately between work and family. I feel that I am rewarded financially for the work I do. I enjoy the thrill of seeing my franchise grow. I enjoy the feeling that I am part of a wider network and can learn from the experience of others. Locally, I have talented teachers and administrators who are talented at their work and terrific people too.
Not really. You get out of it what you put into it. It needs energy and commitment.
I won the Monkey Music Customer Care Award in 2014 and early on I won the New Franchisee Award. I always knew that I could sing but now I know that I am running a successful small business. Monkey Music is still growing in my area and there is no reason that it can’t continue to do so as long as I continue to give it time, energy and commitment.
My background is Music and Marketing. I toured with my own band in London for over 8 years before going to work in marketing at Sony Music. I have always been hugely passionate about music and been involved in it one way or another for as long as I can remember.
Maida Vale and Marylebone.
I started in September 2014.
I was introduced to Monkey Music by my sister and her husband who run their own franchise in a neighbouring territory and it combined everything I had ever learned and loved about music with the added bonus that you have the incredible fortune of working with young children. I started working with them as an office manager and after a couple of years took the next natural step and began to enquire about buying my own franchise. I can tell you now that it’s the best decision I ever made. I still work with them both as we continue to work as a trio on both their franchise and mine. It’s quite literally a family affair.
I work full-time and that is a decision that I took very early on when I realised that you get out what you put in. The sky really is the limit and I found that although you can be very flexible with your time (you are after all your own boss!) ultimately if you work hard throughout the term you really will see your customer numbers and profits grow. The great thing too is that you still get the school holidays so you are always well rested in between each term.
The job fits very well around my personal life. As well as having the benefit of working with my family, we have built a good team of teachers who are all so good about covering for each other when necessary. It’s a relaxing way to work each day and means that you don’t bring any stress home (or very rarely anyway!). I prefer where possible to get my work done in the day time but it’s great to have the flexibility where if I need to be out of the office I can work from home to catch up. Equally if you ever need to be somewhere else during office hours you can very easily plan for it and there is always someone to cover for you. You don’t have the stress of needing to get written or verbal permission days or weeks before. You and only you manage your time and there is nothing greater.
You get all the support and training that you would ever need from head office. They are hugely welcoming and support you in every way possible, particularly in your first year where you are supported by your Franchise Manager. Head office are also always ever present thereafter if you ever have any questions or need advice.
The flexibility it offers you. The fact that you run your own business and can build a team that you feel utterly comfortable with, makes for such a wonderful working environment. Working with children is obviously hugely rewarding, watching them grow over the years and seeing them develop is massively inspiring and that is all thanks to the incredible (and vast) curriculum that Monkey Music has to offer. The Monkey Music brand never stays still, the company is constantly expanding and developing so as the company grows as a whole, so do you.
I have yet to encounter any but if I had to pick one...it’s that I cannot walk past a buggy now without seeing it as a business opportunity! I find myself wanting to flier and talk to mums or nannies constantly, (even on my days off) so you can become a little obsessed!
Absolutely, I already do at any given opportunity. It’s a lot of fun, it’s extremely rewarding, it’s sometimes hard work and you are often rushing from A to B but when it’s your own project and you feel passionate about something it’s so fulfilling to see it going well. With my first child on the way I know that Monkey Music and my family life will fuse effortlessly together.