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Getting a job or buying a franchise at 40 something
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davidreese



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:03 pm    Post subject: Getting a job or buying a franchise at 40 something Reply with quote

Hi,

I'm in the process of selling a business in the states. My wife wants to return to Japan. We are looking at the the franchise options.

So my questions are:

1) Any comments on the franchise options from someone that is/was an owner - or from someone that started their own school?

2) Difficulty in finding a job at 45? Stability and expected income?


3) On a way out - idea - is their a big enough market in Tokyo for American style acting classes - improv/method?

The salaries at the schools seem to run around 250,000 on average. It seems buying a franchise would allow a higher income without having to worry about getting a job.


I have an MBA, and have been teaching privately for 10 years. I teach public speaking and presentation skills via acting.

Thanks for any advice, thoughts, or sharing.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Getting a job or buying a franchise at 40 something Reply with quote

1) Any comments on the franchise options from someone that is/was an owner - or from someone that started their own school?
Avoid Smith's.

2) Difficulty in finding a job at 45? Stability and expected income?
If you've never taught here, expect to start at the bottom rung and make 220,000-250,000 yen/month pre-deductions unless you take on supplemental work. Expect high competition.

3) On a way out - idea - is their a big enough market in Tokyo for American style acting classes - improv/method?
Not enough, IMO.

Quote:
The salaries at the schools seem to run around 250,000 on average. It seems buying a franchise would allow a higher income without having to worry about getting a job.
Lot more headaches, though.

Quote:
I have an MBA, and have been teaching privately for 10 years. I teach public speaking and presentation skills via acting.

To fellow Americans, no doubt. Teaching English to Japanese is totally different. Be prepared.
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davidreese



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:42 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for the response. Gives me much to think about.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know a lot about buying franchises, but I think it might be a struggle for someone with no experience working in Japan. Your wife might be fine managing the paperwork and dealing with students (do you speak Japanese?), but as the teacher you might struggle to keep them happy/entertained/coming back.

I'd recommend you got a job for the first year or so, do your research while you're over here, and get ready to make the jump when your contract is up if you still think it's feasible. I don't think age should be a factor in finding employment, you should be fine. You might not be able to find anything making full use of your skills though.
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davidreese



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:47 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for the input and suggestion. The year idea makes sense though not sure if I can make it going from business owner back to employee - that is one of my worries.

After being responsible for managing the sales and expense/income the idea of receiving a salary alone seems too calm. I've worn many hats for along time. The idea of just doing one thing might be more challenging.

I have no problem with long days / working six - seven days a week.

My assumption is they would welcome someone willing to work long hours/extra days...
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:09 am    Post subject: Re: Thanks Reply with quote

davidreese wrote:
Thanks for the input and suggestion. The year idea makes sense though not sure if I can make it going from business owner back to employee - that is one of my worries.

After being responsible for managing the sales and expense/income the idea of receiving a salary alone seems too calm. I've worn many hats for along time. The idea of just doing one thing might be more challenging.
Teaching what you have is with native speakers. Teaching non-native speakers is a whole different ball game, and you would not necessarily be teaching grammar (depending on the job), but instead how to use English in conversations, often by following someone else's prescribed format. I would think all of that would be your biggest problem in accepting.
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marley'sghost



Joined: 04 Oct 2010
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, I don't have any experience with buying into a franchise either. How's your Japanese? Have you spent much time here? Got kids? Will you have some money after the business is sold or will you be flat broke? I'd suggest getting a teaching job (language school, ALT, whatever) get used to Japan for a spell, look around a bit and then think about starting your business. Don't worry about being 45, not a problem. Your background in teaching public speaking and acting is a plus. We don't call the biz "edutainment" for nothing. (joke, not dissing the arts of acting or public speaking) And don't worry about making the adjustment from "own boss" to "employee" too much. It's only temporary hopefullly. Worry about making the "life back home" to "life in Japan" adjustment.
Good luck.
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davidreese



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:42 am    Post subject: Thanks more things to think about Reply with quote

Thanks. The input is appreciated. I'm seeing the common thread and plan to take the advice.
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SeasonedVet



Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Posts: 236
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi davidreese,
i don't know much about the franchises but, know a little about running your own school.
The key thing (after having enough students to have a profitable business up and running)would be to keep them interested and coming back. And also how to keep attracting new students over time. Students tend to study English for various reasons some of which may be short term.
A friend of mine along with his Japanese wife runs his own school. He says it is hard work and keeps them both busy. (not a franchise)
To you would have to understand the eikaiwa market here as well as what keep students happy and coming back. Actually having experience would help.
Working for eikaiwas here you have to follow the format given to you and follow the rules of the particular school..
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davidreese



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:53 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Hi,

Thanks for the input. It seems from all the advice that is my best long term choice. Spending sometime getting experience in the industry.

I've been thinking my best choice might be to get a couple of part-time jobs to gain experience and see different methods of approaching the work.

-David
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is your wife Japanese? You mentioned "returning" to Japan.

Just thinking what sort of visa you would have.
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davidreese



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:15 pm    Post subject: Visa Reply with quote

Hi,

Yes- she is Japanese. She is originally from Tokyo and wants to return. We were going to get a spousal visa. It seems to offer the most flexibility in terms of work.

She moved here four years ago but didn't adjust so well.

My guess is that it is easier to find work in Japan than from outside.

I assume many of the smaller schools don't advertise outside of Japan for teachers.
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RollingStone



Joined: 19 Jan 2009
Posts: 138

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you have an MBA and a decade of (successful?) business management and are seeking business advice from complete strangers at random on an internet forum.

so far your discovery strategy has uncovered the insight that, to be a successful entrepreneur in other parts of the world you must a, get customers and b, keep customers.

i am sure there must be at least a few franchise owners spending rare and expensive "free" time on such forums just to provide free help and guidance to aspiring competitors. though the thought just occurred to me - should i listen to him/her? haha! =o

like i tell anyone who poses in forums looking for advice from completely random strangers re investing their future - continue to laser in on those goals. you'll be fine in no time.

edit: i think i see what your query is about. your wife lost the sheen from the livingin a america trip and is now at the point of can't take it anymore, or will be shortly. so, your last option to stay in marriageville is to just assume you will be able to just do what you do now, only somewhere else. japan. because otherwise....well, there is no otherwise.

do not assume you will just pick up where you left off but only better because in japan your wife will be happy, so you'll be happy. you have no idea how adjusting to japan will take for you. investments will not make adjusting to japan simpler, easier or less complicated. actually, it will have the opposite effect.

what business ties are you cutting back home? can you make use of web/digital technologies to take your business with you?

anyway, even one sans mba and business experience likely knows you do not invest until you learn the terrain. anyway, good luck
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teacher4life



Joined: 22 Apr 2012
Posts: 121

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With your background. this is what I would strongly suggest:

1) Get a McJob in the eikiawa indutsry for 1 year. Learn about the business and become "Japan-proficient". (It will take you much, much longer to become proficient in Japanese language, but you can learn your way around Japan in a year.) You will definitely see what is good and bad about the English teaching business in Japan in a year. Putting your keen business mind to work you will identify niches where you can add value.

2) Over time, as you get to know more and more people, start to build up an inventory of private lessons.

3) Open your own school (or buy a franchise) after #'s 1 and 2. I would definitely opt for NOT buying a franchise, but if you have business experience maybe you'll see it differently. (That is something you'll determine during that first year in Japan.) Buying a school from a foreigner who has been dying to evacuate for years for pennies on the dollar will be much cheaper.

4) Good luck!
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davidreese



Joined: 25 Jan 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:39 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks for the input: Teacher4life and Rolling Stone.

Based on the feedback and my research so far the direction seems sensible. Finding a job for a year and investing in learning the language seems the best strategy.
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