Leaving college or university is a pretty daunting time for most students but for those who have been studying performing arts, the prospect of entering this profession can be even more overwhelming.
The performing arts industry has a reputation of being very tough and with such fierce competition for each and every job, this is a very accurate description. However, college leavers can take their future into their own hands and invest in a proven successful business venture, whatever their age.
At just 23, both Alison Beveridge and Caroline Larcombe have utilized their performing arts degrees by investing in Razzamataz Theatre Schools, a franchise business which gives franchisees the opportunity to run their own part-time performing arts schools even if they have very limited business knowledge. This makes it ideal for young performers who want to balance a financially rewarding career with their love and experience of dance, drama and singing.
Alison performed all through school before going on to obtain a First Class Honors degree in Performance for Live and Recorded Media at Teesside University as well as a Masters in Acting at The Academy for Live and Recorded Arts in London. Alison performed lead roles in Musicals, Pantomimes, Short Films and Corporate work and is combining performing with her new role as the Principal of Razzamataz Durham.
"I always wanted to run my own business and was attracted by the prospect of running a theatre school," explains Alison. "I specifically wanted to go for a franchise, and in particular Razzamataz because of the support from Head Office and other Principals. I’m very determined to bring in my background as a performer to my business and instill a sense of passion together with a strong work ethic, determination and tenacity that is required to be a performer into my teachers and students. As a young business owner, probably the toughest challenge I’m going to face is not being taken seriously. I may be young and not have a great deal of experience but I'm fresh out of professional training and hungry for Razzamataz Durham to flourish and ignite the hearts and minds of the children and young people," she explains.
"For other young performers, I would say you must be passionate about it, if not, you won't enjoy all the hard work and long hours you must put in for your school to succeed. Being a business owner is just like being a performer – it’s all about networking, meeting new people and collaborating together to produce something new and innovative."
Like many performing arts graduates, Caroline Larcombe, who achieved a 2.1 BA Hons in Drama at the University of Lincoln was working in the retail and catering sectors after finishing her studies. Caroline has recently become the Principal of Razzamataz Manchester South, after deciding to invest in herself and the company.
"I decided to run my own theatre school as I was searching for a rewarding opportunity that would allow me to fully utilize the skills I had learnt throughout my education and personal experiences," Caroline explains.
"I loved the idea of working for myself as I am a very self-sufficient person, and made it my goal to make this happen. Since my training and experience lies in performing rather than the business side of things, I knew I would struggle to start a school from scratch myself, and appreciated the idea of being part of an already successful company."
"The biggest challenge for me has been the business side of things, understanding accounts, business banking, bookkeeping and also certain aspects of marketing; understanding and arranging mailshots, e-shots, trying to get PR's in newspapers etc. I definitely feel like there is a lot of support from Head Office and the other franchisees have always offered advice and recommendations based on their own experiences, and this has been invaluable," she adds.
For a limited time only, Razzamataz is reducing its franchise fee to £7,999 from £9,995, plus Razzamataz will waive the management fee for the first term. This is a total saving of around £5,000 and significantly more affordable than many businesses in the franchise performing arts sector. When you consider actual schools can produce a yearly net disposable cash figure of £73,888 this is a fantastic return on investment.
Many people have have found a rewarding long term career through franchising with Razzamataz Theatre Schools.
Razzamataz Theatre Schools franchise, with almost 50 schools throughout the UK, has many retired performers as Principals.
Nick Furlong and Gemma Hextall bought Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield in June 2015.
Jessica Chandler Smith has seen her Razzamataz franchise in Brentwood achieve huge success in just a few short weeks.
Lauren Kirkbride joined Razzamataz Theatre Schools as a student and now runs her own franchise.
The new Principals at Razzamataz are all set for their September openings after completing a week long extensive training session.
Michael French launched Razzamataz Barnet in April 2012 and has recently renewed his franchise agreement for a further five years.
Debbi Ledwith, Principal of Razzamataz Newbury, launched her school to allow her to spend more time with her three children.
Proving that age is really just a number, Pam Dixon, has run her Razzamataz Theatre Schools franchise since 2008.
Charlotte Young, the Principal of Razzamataz West Cumbria first became a franchisee in October 2006.
The Razzamataz Theatre Schools network continues to grow with the launch of two new London schools as well as a school in the North East.
At Razzamataz's recent training week, three new franchisees who have bought franchise re-sales, joined the franchisees who are launching in new territories.
Razzamataz have a number of franchisees who are either former teachers or combining part-time teaching with being a Razzamataz franchisee.
I don’t have a business background so after deciding to retire from professionally performing it was the memories of Razzamataz on Dragons’ Den that set the wheels in motion. I was really inspired by the brand and the business model and because it is a franchise business we receive a lot of help and support from Head Office as well as on-going training so I can make Razzamataz Barnet the success that I believe it can be. In the last 12 months, I have doubled my student numbers in a very competitive market and I have now clear plans on how I would like my business to progress this year.Michael French, Razzamataz Barnet
The support and training we get means that we can get help on any aspect of our business. It has also been a fantastic and rewarding way of working, allowing me to continue to be there for the family while running my own business.Lisa Roberts, Razzamataz Rickmansworth
It was 10 years ago that I left hairdressing and for anyone thinking that it is too late to change their careers I would say step out of your comfort zone and just do it. I never thought I would be able to and it’s the best thing I have done and wished I’d done it years ago!Pam Dixon, Razzamataz Dumfries
One of Dragons Den most successful investments!
Affordable part time performing arts lessons
TWO franchises for the price of ONE!