“I’m Free, Fulfilled and Financially Secure”
Organisational change at Premier Foods in 2007 meant Roger Pemberton lost his senior post as Factory General Manager, and he faced a critical decision. Aged 49, and with 27 years working in the food industry, the last 10 years in extremely senior roles, what should he do next?
“With two teenage kids still at school, I needed to work and couldn’t disrupt family life by moving us to a new location. There weren’t any major food companies on my doorstep looking for someone with my level of experience, so if I worked locally I’d have to take a lower paid job,” explains Roger. “If I wanted to continue my career with big food brands, I’d have to be prepared for a long commute.”
Another option was to do something completely different and set up his own business. While this certainly seemed more daunting, Roger felt ready for a change and decided to go for it. He’d been paid a lump sum when he left Premier Foods and used this to buy an ActionCOACH franchise. Although he wasn’t specifically looking to buy a franchise, Roger felt the ActionCOACH brand would accelerate his coaching business.
“You’re encouraged to keep learning and training, so you continue adding value to your clients. For someone like me that’s really appealing.”
Going from the security of being an employee to self employed was a big step but cashflow forecasting tools supplied byActionCOACH showed Roger what was achievable. To be on the safe side he scaled back his own expectations and gave himself a buffer of several months before he needed to have his first paying client. This meant he wasn’t panicking about clients coming on board.
“If you learn the system and tools and trust them, it works! Of course you can’t sit back and expect things to just happen, you must be active and really focused on selling and marketing – but it was fine putting in the effort once I understood what I was doing and where it was taking me.”
Roger won his first client; a tow bar fitting and trailer manufacture business, in his third month. From then he gradually built things up until he had eight clients at the end of the first year.
“By month four I could take money out of the business to pay myself and by month 18 I had a very secure, stable coaching business. I was comfortably earning what I’d been earning at the height of my corporate career, and I was doing it on my terms, with no major commute.”
According to Roger, while the financial rewards are fantastic, it’s the client work that has delivered the real highs. For instance he has helped a client in IT support grow from £400k turnover to £1 million. The client has new premises and Roger is working with them on plans to hit £2 million in the next 12 months.
With his ActionCOACH business, Roger also has his own life plan in place. He plans to stay coaching for a further 10 years, meanwhile he has the beginnings of a property portfolio. Thanks to the expansion of his coaching business over the past 3 years he has been able to buy three properties and he plans to buy another over the next 18 months.
So, looking back does Roger think the choice he made four years ago was the right one?
“Absolutely, it’s great to be doing my own thing. I’m making a real difference to the businesses I coach, I’m in charge of my own future, I’m free, fulfilled and financially secure – not many people can say that.”