It’s Who You Know: How These Entrepreneurs Found Business Opportunities By Networking

They say that in business, success is all about who you know. 

For many of our franchise partners, that couldn’t be truer: they were referred to O2E Brands by former colleagues and friends, and now, they couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

A simple referral was the catalyst for these aspiring entrepreneurs to take control of their futures. It set them on the path to realize a dream they never thought possible. In their own words, here are the stories of four O2E Brands franchise partners and how a referral gave them the opportunity of a lifetime.

ASHTON LUBMAN: In 2003, Ashton Lubman was a struggling student with no idea what to do with his future. He never could’ve imagined that one day he’d be a successful entrepreneur with multiple businesses across North America. It all started when he got a summer job as a Truck Team Member with 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

“At the time, I really lacked direction and was at a loss for what to do next,” he says. “So I asked Paul Guy, our Toronto franchise partner, if there was a bigger opportunity for me within the business.” Paul agreed to let Ashton take on more responsibilities during a time when the business was growing rapidly. Ashton worked hard to help and along the way, he fostered a strong relationship with his boss. Eventually, after completing his degree, he chose to pursue his career in operations with 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

Thanks to Paul’s guidance, Ashton now owns seven franchises and is one of the strongest entrepreneurs in our system. Ashton says networking and fostering relationships early on turned into an opportunity he never expected. Read Ashton’s full story here.

JOHN HUIZING: John Huizing had worked for over a decade at the same company when his pink slip came; the business was purchased by an overseas firm and John became one of hundreds who were laid off. Suddenly, he was on the hunt for a new career and he didn’t know where to start.

“I thought I’d get myself busy doing some painting projects for friends and family,” he says. “One day I was online and found WOW 1 DAY PAINTING; they were hiring painters in the area.” John reached out to the local franchise owner, Kim Rood, and they met for coffee to discuss opportunities. There wasn’t a full-time position available, but John remembers Kim’s phone was ringing off the hook. John asked about his experience and it turned out they had a lot in common: before starting his business just a few years before, Kim had been laid off, too. John took it as a sign and started to investigate franchise opportunities for himself. Now, he and his wife own a successful WOW 1 DAY PAINTING franchise.

“I’ve never been so busy in my life, but it’s a different kind of busy-ness,” he says. “I used to be a cubicle person, dealing with lots of corporate stuff. Now, my wife and I are partners, so we’re in charge of everything.” John never expected to be an entrepreneur. Now, he says, “I think all my life experiences have come together for this.” Read John’s full story here.

MIKE DAHLMAN: Mike Dahlman came to the O2E Brands family through a former colleague, managing director of You Move Me, James Alisch. The two met years ago while working for College Pro, and had been looking for a way to work together again. James owned a You Move Me franchise and reached out to Mike to see if he wanted to get involved.

“James believed I was equipped to take the business to the next level,” Mike says. “I agreed that You Move Me was the perfect opportunity; I loved the brand and the concept, and I basically got to help build the company from scratch.”

Mike joined James’ franchise as general manager when the brand was only six months old. Now, he’s a franchise owner. Read Mike’s full story here.

MARTIN BALUCH: Before joining Shack Shine, Martin Baluch ran a student painting franchise. He spent four years learning the ins and outs of business — then his brother told him about an opportunity with a hot new startup. That’s how Martin found his true calling as a franchise owner with Shack Shine.

“My brother was working as Shack Shine’s operations manager at head office,” says Martin. “He said my previous experience would make it easy to transition into the role of a franchise owner.” Turns out he was right: within a few short months from his first interview, Martin’s franchise was up and running.

“There was a lot to learn very quickly,” he says. “But with my brother’s reassurance, I knew what I was getting into early on.” Read Martin’s full story here.

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