The Story of a woman owned franchise.
Being a woman in a predominantly male oriented industry such as professional lawn care hasn’t deterred Kathleen Smith, owner of Freedom Lawns of Charleston, SC, from achieving success with her organic based lawn care franchise!
At a young age, you could find her on the court and on the green with the rest of the guys. She loved sports and was always outside. When her brothers were too young to play golf, she played in a “father and son” golf tournaments with her dad. Never did Kathleen feel out of place or at a disadvantage because she was a girl. “I was just another one in the game, trying to win! That’s how I even feel now in the business world,” said Kathleen. As one would assume, lawn care of any type is not a job you would expect to see a woman in a leadership role. Never has she viewed herself as different from the guys she works with.
In owning a Freedom Lawns USA Franchise, Kathleen found that her greatest challenge is not working with men, but rather juggling all her responsibilities. “Owning a business means that there are many times in which business bleeds into your personal time. I get behind on my own lawn work, things around the house and even having quality time with my daughters,” stated Kathleen.
She has also faced challenges in her family life all while trying to run her own business. In the same year that Kathleen started her Freedom Lawns her husband was diagnosed with ALS. In a year and a half her husband’s ALS progressed and with it came adjustments during his illness and after he passed. To make matters worse, a couple of years later her business partner decided to pursue other interests.
These events, however, did not discourage Kathleen from growing her Freedom Lawns business. “I wouldn’t have believed I could overcome all the hurdles. I don’t ever stop and think about it. I just stay in the present and try to keep moving forward,” expressed Kathleen.
When starting the business, Kathleen stated that the corporate office really set her up for success. “The franchise gave me the framework to build my business. By following the guidelines they created for success, I was able to adapt to the world or entrepreneurship.” She also mentioned that during those difficult times in her life the corporate office was there to guide her. “It never goes without bumps in the road, but the corporate office is there to guide me through those too,” added Kathleen.
So, in her advice to woman who want to become business owners she states that, “as in everything in life, things don’t always go as planned. Don’t give up, just adjust to the situation and find a way to keep moving forward.” Kathleen also mentioned that you must take the time to find something that will be fulfilling to you and to know your strengths and weaknesses. “Make sure you understand what you can expect out of your business at start up and aim high but anticipate the struggles that will surely come along with such a journey. Sometimes setting yourself up for success can take years. You have to decide the path that will work best for you.”
Kathleen has certainly found her path and now her Freedom Lawn operation is one of the finest lawn care companies in the Charleston area. Great work Kathleen!
Freedom Lawns is an organic based lawn care franchise company based out of North Carolina.