Former airman James Temple aspired to one day have his own business, but the plan was distant. Everything changed in February of 2009 when his dad passed away unexpectedly and, as James puts it, “life just felt short.” He knew it was time to take action for himself and his family. It was time to pursue his dreams.
James entered the Air Force for many reasons. He was inspired by his family’s multi-generational legacy of military service in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marine Corps. He was also drawn to the life of structure, the opportunity to get a college education by participating in the ROTC, and the prospect of having a rewarding job upon graduating.
Not only did James get an affordable education and a great job, but the military provided him with invaluable leadership experience and management training. “I spent four years as an Acquisition Program Manager learning project management; helping the customer figure out what they need, defining requirements, finding a contractor to build it, monitoring the process of building, and then delivery of the system.” The next three years of his military career as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer was more about managing people than projects. “At one point I was responsible for 400 people. In seven years I gained experience that most people get in 20.” This experience with real-life consequences makes veterans ideal candidates for franchisees.
After separating from the military James went to the Darden School of Business to get his MBA with the idea of joining corporate America and eventually becoming an entrepreneur. Shortly before he graduated, his dad passed away. There was a new urgency to make his dream a reality. “Through the course of their 30-year marriage my parents had always planned for a future together. Now those plans had turned upside down. It was important that my mom have a meaningful way to provide for herself.” JoAnn and James had previously discussed working together, now “owning a business started to make a lot more sense.” James liked math and his mother’s experience in early childhood education made it a good fit for them. “A lot of things happened that led us in this direction, and one day we decided to give it a try!”
Over the course of running his own Mathnasium James discovered how well his military training prepared him for owning a business. “Aircraft Maintenance is a very disciplined profession. There are checklists for everything. It instills a way of thinking that’s helpful when running a business. Ask any member of our Mathnasium team, we have a checklist for how to do everything. This has allowed us to scale the business from one learning center to ten.” James and JoAnn have seen incredible growth becoming one of the top performing franchisees in the company. “We’re at the beginning of something. There is tremendous opportunity that might not exist in other businesses that aren’t growing at the rate supplemental education is growing.”
When asked what advice he would give to those transitioning out of the service, James speaks about the immense government investment of time, effort, and resources put into training our men and women in the armed forces and the confidence it should instill. “They need to understand how valuable their skills are.” As he points out, not all veterans are the same, but “for those who have enjoyed leadership, who have enjoyed figuring out, following, and executing structure, franchising provides a neat opportunity to go at it a bit more on your own but under the guidance of a franchise with a system that has been defined and is a proven success.”
James is proud of the positive impact his business has made on the families he serves. He recommends Mathnasium to any veteran who wants to continue their service to the community because it “is a purpose-driven business. It’s important to understand that not all franchises are the same. Yeah you can wake up and just enjoy the game of business, but how great is it to do that and have meaningful work?”
If you are not sure when to take the next step, James says “those of us interested in owning a business find many reasons not to take the risk. There is never going to be a perfect time to pursue your dreams; sometimes now is the right time.”
Mathnasium is a math-only learning center franchise that teaches kids math the way that makes sense to them. We’ve been a successful business for over a decade, ranked highly by Entrepreneur and Forbes Magazines. Mathnasium is a proud member of the International Franchise Association VetFran Program and offers qualified veterans and active military a 25% discount on the initial franchising fee. We are honored to have military veterans like James Temple as a part of our organization. If you are interested in learning more about owning a Mathnasium franchise go to www.mathnasium.com/franchise/veterans.