As 2018 draws to a close, 2019 approaches with renewed opportunity. Like CEO, Catherine Monson, use your past experiences to shape your future.

FASTSIGNS Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Catherine Monson is a firm believer in using past experiences to shape your future; choosing to take any experience, positive or negative and using it as a catalyst for future achievement.

In her own life, Catherine has been very open about her childhood experience of living with an alcoholic mother. Catherine explains, “I’ve not been silent about my childhood, those early experiences taught me a lesson that I have lived by ever since. It is simply that each day we have a choice to make, we either choose to be happy or unhappy. Once we realise we have a personal choice, we feel more in control and start to make better life decisions.”

Catherine’s negative memories of her formative years could have adversely affected her future, however, they actually made her more determined to achieve. “When I was in High School, I knew I wanted to be a CEO. I loved business. My parents owned a chain of preschools. I would spend time speaking with my dad and learning about all aspects of the business.”

Catherine entered the world of franchising in 1980, when a career-change led her to join the Sir Speedy printing franchise. She became part of the management team within the first year, falling in love with the ability to help people’s dream become reality.

In 2017, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) stated that up to 10% of the UK workforce has a desire to be their own boss. Their reasoning for this could range from wanting to choose their own hours, choose when and how they work or they would prefer to use their energy building something for themselves, instead of for someone else. Whilst many have a desire to work for themselves, they are often reluctant to make their dream a goal, let alone a reality! This reluctance this may stem from negative past experiences, possible feelings that they don’t have what it takes or letting the fear of failure stop them from starting.

Franchising offers those with a goal the opportunity to run their own business, providing them with the steps and structured support to do so. The FASTSIGNS franchise offers people from all backgrounds the opportunity to carve out their own future. Everyone in the network has their own story to tell, a story which they could have used to define them or to hold them back. Like Catherine, each FASTSIGNS owner realised they are responsible for their own personal happiness and made the choice to build their own future.

Franchisee of FASTSIGNS Hammersmith, Simon and Friederike Slee took the offer of a voluntary redundancy and turned it into an opportunity which allows them to balance a successful business and a young family.

Richard Wedgwood of FASTSIGNS Manchester had lost interest in extensive overseas travelling for work and turned his dream of owning his own business into a reality.

Shahzad Ahmad, franchisee of FASTSIGNS Islington grew up in a family who owned an impressive franchise portfolio, but he wanted a business he could call his own.

Each FASTSIGNS franchisee made a choice to take their own personal history, skill set and circumstances and used the FASTSIGNS franchise opportunity to create their next chapter.

Having the courage to take steps to set up their own business is something Catherine admires in all of the FASTSIGNS franchisees. She also trusts in the flexibility of the FASTSIGNS model. Catherine explains, “Each of our franchisees have very different backgrounds and the FASTSIGNS franchise opportunity doesn’t require any previous sign industry knowledge. We help our franchisees build their business and team around their personal capabilities.”

In joining the FASTSIGNS network, you will be in business for yourself, but not by yourself. You have the support of the wider FASTSIGNS network and the dedicated UK based support team to rely on. Along with the assurance of a business model which has worked for hundreds of other ordinary people, with extraordinary goals. “By the end of 2018,” Catherine explains, “we will have 715 franchisees operating in 9 global locations.”

The turn of the New Year is always a great opportunity to reflect on what the next twelve months may hold. Does it involve taking the step to leave employment and start the adventure of running your own business? With FASTSIGNS, you have a low-risk opportunity to fulfil your dream, make it a goal and then an achievement. Your past experiences don’t have to hold you back, nor does your career so far have to dictate where you go next. Define your goals and shape your happiness, then look for ways to make better life decisions.

As Catherine says, it won’t always be an easy road, but it is not an impossible one. “I could have sat back and spent my life feeling sorry for myself because I’d had a difficult relationship with my mother. To me, it is not an option. Why would I want to wallow in negativity? It comes down to the understanding I have the personal responsibility for my own life. Does it mean it is easy? Absolutely not! It’s not easy. But it’s better than being unhappy.”

Are you ready to turn a new page in the next chapter of your life, supported by the security of the FASTSIGNS franchise?