The first time Jody Anderlich heard about Lice Squad.com was when one of her six kids had lice.
“At the time I was providing foster care for four girls and I have two boys of my own. One of the kids had lice and it slowly spread to the rest of the family. Needless to say, I was quite upset about the situation,” recalls Anderlich.
But as soon as she and her children entered a Lice Squad.com clinic, she was put at ease. The consultants gave Anderlich’s kids complete lice removal treatment, along with guidance and preventative information, all while being friendly and reassuring. In fact, Anderlich left the clinic feeling so empowered that day that she couldn’t help but wonder, “why doesn’t my community have a Lice Squad.com of its own?”
In 2017, that question was addressed. Soon after Anderlich’s initial Lice Squad.com visit, and after a few weeks of training, which involved a crash course in lice removal methods and products, she opened Brampton’s first Lice Squad.com franchise. The location is one of the largest lice removal clinics in North America, and serves Brampton, along with the neighbouring areas of Vaughan, Shelbourne, Maple, Caledon, and Bolton. Now, people dealing with head lice issues in her local area don’t have to drive for miles to find help. Help is now close to home.
For Anderlich, it’s made owning a business a fulfilling career choice. “When my clients walk through the door, they walk in feeling a certain way. Many of them are high on anxiety. I’ve had people crying because they are so upset about their situation. But they leave feeling a different way – happy and relieved,” says Anderlich. “We have the knowledge and experience to help families struggling with head lice so to be able to provide this assistance is highly rewarding.”
The Path Towards Entrepreneurship
For Anderlich, becoming her own boss didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken nearly twenty years of work, ten of which were solely dedicated to gaining experience in the franchising industry. “I have two years of experience as an employee and eight years as a department manager for a successful, franchised grocery retailer,” says Anderlich. “I ran it the way I would run my own business.”
Throughout that time, she laid the groundwork needed for successful business ownership. She cultivated leadership skills that improved staff productivity and instilled a sense of verve and commitment in her employees. Even while managing a big team – consisting of different personalities, backgrounds, and ages – she never viewed her employees as merely cogs in a machine that could be easily replaced. As a result, she maintained high employee retention rates.
She has been able to uphold that reputation at Lice Squad.com as well. “I have two subcontractors and one person on staff and I always ensure that I take their input into my decisions,” Anderlich says of the strategies she implements to foster the tightly knit team she has today. “The consultant that originally helped me when I was having my own head lice issues works for me and she has twelve years of experience. I’m never going to learn anything if I think I’m the smartest person in the room. You’ve got to have humility and you’ve got to be willing to get your hands dirty just like everybody else.”
This is why in the nascent stages of her business exploration, rather than launching a startup alone, Anderlich decided to invest in a franchise with a strong support system. She and her husband tossed around a few ideas (mainly in the children’s services sector, which they have always been passionate about) before her own experience with head lice drew her to Lice Squad.com. “We always liked the idea of a franchise because it is an effective system that is already developed. Lice Squad. com is very well established in the lice removal industry and children’s services sector.”
With over 17 years creating clean, safe and child-friendly environments for their customers, LicSquad. com not only has a business model that works, but one that provides superior support for their franchisees too. “I never feel alone in the business,” says Anderlich. “Franchisees are always kept up to date. They share strategies that are successful so that we can implement them into our clinic and then they also share what hasn’t worked so we know what to avoid too.”
This support has made Anderlich’s career transition into business ownership that much more seamless, and above all, possible. “This is something that I set out to do twenty years ago. Owning a franchise has allowed me to take the reins of my own career.”
It doesn’t take long for Anderlich to recall how she felt on her first day as Lice Squad.com franchisee: “It was outrageous!” After whisking off her six kids to school, at around 9 a.m., Anderlich walked into her clinic, opened up her laptop, and was immediately thrust into the thick of action. “I was met with seven to ten requests,” she recalls. Even more phone calls and e-mails came throughout the day. One by one, Anderlich replied to each of them – right up until 11 p.m. After what would be an exhausting day for most, all this entrepreneur could feel was pure exhilaration. After years of hard work, she was finally living out her dream. “I felt super excited. I just kept thinking ‘I’m here and I’m doing this,’” Anderlich says proudly.
This is not to say that there haven’t been days when she’s felt overwhelmed. On top of juggling her other roles as a wife and mother, for the first six months, she was running the business on her own. But while many first-time entrepreneurs jump in head-first, without taking into account the realities of running a business, Anderlich was prepared. “You have to make a mental and emotional transition before making a physical one because you’re working for yourself and it’s scary,” she says. “I went through a lot of internal dialogue beforehand: ‘If this situation comes up, how am I going to work through that?’”
Anderlich’s preparedness means challenges that arose along the way have been easier to navigate. “I struggle with finding which marketing strategies will work with the head lice industry,” says Anderlich on the challenge of establishing her business online. “But I am overcoming this by working with professionals in the field of marketing and advertising and using both traditional and online methods.”
While many more stumbling blocks may be encountered in the future, if Anderlich had to start a franchise business all over again she would choose Lice Squad. com every time. She explains how the franchise has made achieving her longtime goal of business ownership a satisfying journey and a worthwhile venture.
“There’s definitely a heightened sense of satisfaction when it’s your own business, when you can see every effort that you put in is coming right back to you. It has been a truly positive and rewarding experience.”
By Trisha Utomi