Lisa Mills knows the feeling of panic that accompanies the discovery that your child has head lice. The first time it happened, she used harsh pesticide products. The second time, she was referred to Lice Squad, a franchise that provides pesticide-free head lice removal and education.
Desperate for help, Mills travelled an hour to get to the nearest Lice Squad clinic. Impressed by the service, she saw an opportunity. “I thought, ‘if I’m willing to drive an hour to get this done, this is something I could bring to my community.’”
At the time, Mills was unhappy working in sales, a job that didn’t allow for much work-life balance. Although she had never previously considered business ownership, she got in contact with Lice Squad and began the process of becoming a franchisee. “This has the flexibility that I need for my family,” she says of her business.
After completing the initial training program, Mills launched her franchise as a mobile business in January 2014. Today, Mills and her staff service the Durham region of Ontario. Her key responsibilities include scheduling service calls, accounting, purchasing, and sales and marketing.
Her favourite aspect of the business is helping parents in need. “People will call in tears and you have to talk them down from their fear of lice,” she says. Mills visits schools, walk-in clinics and childcare facilities to educate staff about lice and to let them know about Lice Squad’s products and services.
Franchisees don’t need a specific background to succeed as Lice Squad owners; what they do need is flexibility and a genuine desire to help people. “If you’re only in it for the money, that comes across and people are turned off by that. I do this because I want to help people. Getting paid for it is just a bonus,” she says.
Finally, Lice Squad franchisees – like all business owners – must be willing to overcome fear of failure. “You need to get up and do it regardless of your fears; you can’t be afraid to fail.”
Mills is enjoying the benefits of entrepreneurship. “There’s a lot of gratification that comes when you can see the results of your hard work,” she says. “I love getting up every day and knowing I’m building my own business.”