Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Toying with the Idea of Buying a Sip and Paint Franchise?

If you've been thinking about teaching Wine and Paint Classes, then the idea of purchasing a franchise may have crossed your mind at one time or another.

Businesses like Painting with a Twist, the first and largest paint and sip franchise in the US, have good track records of success. Painting with a Twist has maintained  its spot as the nation’s top franchise in the industry. It ranked as the #1 Paint and Sip Studio in Entrepreneur magazine’s 38th Annual Franchise 500® edition, for the fourth year in a row. (Read the full article here.)

The support and success can be tempting, but is a franchise right for you?

A few years back, an artist friend of mine started talking about opening a franchise for kids art classes, and with all due love and respect to her, I thought it was the WORST idea possible for her and here's why:

She is one of those people who never actually stops creating and just about everything she makes is spectacular. Having to limit herself to a franchise that tells you what to paint and how to paint it, would be like caging a hummingbird. She needs to fly and she needs to be in constant creative motion. It's my belief that a franchise would be too limiting to her creative spirit. Having to teach something a certain way (that isn't her way) is not something I can see her doing for very long-pretty sure she would go rogue and start spray painting the kids.

She doesn't want a "job" and she says she is not cut out for a job. She's an artist and she works when she feels like working. To have to show up at a studio and teach kids on a schedule, could quickly begin to feel like a job. In fact, franchising has been described as "buying yourself a job." All of the things she enjoys about her current lifestyle, would be gone.

She was tempted by the "proven system" and the marketing support. She was tired of always having to work hard to drum up students for her (very unique and inspiring) classes when she did hold them. She wanted really, to be able to show up and teach and run a successful business that would support her financially. And maybe it would, but my concern was that it might just crush her free-spirited-art-loving self. I would not want to see her make a huge investment, only to feel imprisoned in a year.

I suggested that if she wanted a franchise, she should start one herself and be the franchiser, the parent company, not the franchisee. She's an original and she's someone who could figure it out and then teach others how to do it.

So, what about you? Do you like a lot of structure, guidance, rules and systems? Do you want someone to tell you exactly what colors to paint your walls and what to paint during each class? There can be comfort in that. When you buy a franchise, you pay the franchisee to help you every step of the way and you exchange a great deal of control (and money) for this support. I've never owned a franchise, but I expect it's like having a business coach who keeps you on track and guides you so you succeed.

It's perfect for some people and not so good for others, like my friend. If you're thinking of buying a franchise, do your due diligence:
  • Find out if there are openings (or territories) in your area
  • Ask for a list of other owners you can talk to. Have a list of questions ready for them and talk to at least 3. Try to get a good sense of what a day in the life of an owner is like.
  • Visit a location and take a class with one of the franchisees
  • Get the structure and the vibe before you commit and make sure it's a good match with your style
  • Know the full costs, both start-up and ongoing
  • Decide if you want a location based franchise, like Painting with a Twist or a Community Based Option like Paint Nite. Each type has their pros and cons.
Ready to dive in and do some research? Here are some of the top franchises in the industry from the 2017 Entrepreneur Magazine. Each link will take you to a summary of the franchise.

Painting with a Twist
Initial Investment $89K-$143K

Pinot's Palette
Initial Investment $77K-$197K

Bottle and Bottega
Initial Investment $97K-158K

Wine and Design

If you're more like me, you would rather earn extra income on the side teaching wine and paint classes in your community or your own studio than run a full-out franchise business. You want to do it your way and you might do other things as well. These classes can be easy to get going on your own, you don't have to commit your life savings to buy a job you might not enjoy.

Trying it on your own first, might be a good way to test the waters to see if you even need the support of a franchise. Maybe what you are able to book and fill with happy students on your own, is all you actually need.

If you want to quickly get started with the do-it-yourself version contact me right here for a free, 20 minute, laser focused coaching call (no worries, I'm not selling anything and I could potentially save you 100K.) We'll review where you are right now, answer any questions you have and brainstorm ideas to get your class out of your head and onto the calendar. Getting that date booked will get you into action mode faster than anything else can.
If email is more your style, grab the free worksheet and start working toward "Getting Your First Class Booked in the Next 30 Days" and start making it happen!

Happy Painting!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

7 Hacks for Teaching Wine and Paint Classes

I sometimes teach BIG classes of 30+ students eager to paint. That's a lot of canvas and materials to transport, so I've devised ways to save time, money and the amount of stuff to haul.

I am not naturally organized, so this process has evolved from trial and error over the years. Here are some things you may find helpful as you set up your own wine and paint classes:

#1: Bring help for larger classes. Have a friend or older child join you to help with set up, tear down and assist students during class. It typically takes me about an hour to set up for a larger class, including bringing things in from the car, laying the tablecloths down and preparing each station with easels, canvas, paints, brushes, water cups and paper towels. 

Having an extra set of hands is needed to keep this to about an hour as well as to assist students during the class with extra paint, getting fresh water and answering questions. You may want to ask your assistant to take photos during and after class too.

#2: Pre-dispense the paints based on the sample. I prefer to pre-dispense paints on paper plates because it saves time and paint but I also love when people get creative. Students who want different choices can come up to the table and add their extra choices to the pre-dispensed options. This is not exactly a money saving option, but I love when people get really into it and want to branch out.

#3: Set up drying stations with regular old hairdryers, to speed the process between layers. Students can take their painting over and dry the layer they just finished. Make sure to put something down to protect the surface of the drying station as well. This keeps the class moving, especially if you need something dry before you can move on to the next stage. I like to paint in layers and my students love this too.

#4: Make it easy to see the finished painting. I print out mini-versions of my painting on my computer before class and place one at each station. In larger classes the students may not be able to see the example you have on display, so this way they have it at their seat to refer to. I got this idea from a class I attended myself and my students seem to really like it too. 
Another option is to ask the students to take a photo on their phone to keep at their station. Certainly less work on your part to achieve the same result.

#5: Consolidate Supplies. I transport my loose supplies in 2 plastic bins with lids. Aprons and easels go in one bin. Paints, brushes, cups, paper plates, towels and tablecloths in the other one. The canvas are separate. 

I always pack extra supplies, just in case more people show up or something happens to a canvas. Extra paint, paper towels, paper plates and canvas will keep your mind at ease and you won't stress about running out. 

Wondering where to buy supplies? Here is a post on where I buy everything.

#6: Make Clean-Up Quick. I take large, gallon-size ziplock plastic bags for quick clean up. The paint brushes go in a zip-lock to clean at home after class. The paint water gets dumped and the plastic cups go into a plastic grocery bag to also be washed at home. I take trash bags to make garbage removal easy. Depending on the condition of the tablecloths when your students are done, I may keep them or toss them.

#7: Collect aprons before students leave. I ask students to take off their aprons and put them on the back of their chairs. It's best to do this before photos. Aprons have a tendency to walk out during the larger classes, because people forget they have them on and get very caught up in the excitement of sharing their work and taking photos at the end of class. It's good to issue the reminder to insure you get them back.

Ready to start teaching your own classes? Grab the free worksheet "Get Your First Class Booked in the Next 30 Days.