Couple's Success In Own Franchise!

With nearly 50 years IT experience between them, you’d think the Holden’s would be naturals at this, but there is so much more to running an Activ Web Design franchise than just building websites.

Previously, Cecilia worked for a large US Investment bank, but disliked the culture and work/life balance. Home was just somewhere to spend the weekends, hopefully see a bit of husband John, and also play golf. John moved to the UK from his native Ireland in the 1980s when the software firm he worked for expanded and re-located. John was made redundant in 2001, and opted for a complete career change. Also a very keen golfer, John started his own company printing personalised golf balls. He enrolled on several courses at the local university to learn the skills needed to manage your own business, taught himself Dreamweaver and built a website, converted the garage into a workshop and off he went. The first few years were quite successful, with his products featuring on ITV’s This Morning.

There came a point when both John and Cecilia were looking for a new challenge. They though a franchise was the safest bet and after meeting the Activ team at head office, it ticked all the right boxes...Activ Web Design was that new challenge.

We’re known by our golfing friends Team Holden because we work so well together. John does the thinking, and I do the hitting. It was difficult at first establishing a whole new type of relationship. It was like moving in together all over again! We’ve spent more time together in the nine months we’ve been with Activ than we have for the whole of the rest of our 16 year marriage. We’ve learned a lot together, and while we are still both learning about the marketing side of our business, we love the rest of it. Head office support is great, and so far we have 17 satisfied customers, with eight more under construction, and several more 'thinking about it'. Networking in our local area has helped and we are now starting to get referrals from our happy customers.

We love what we do and love the work-life balance. We work harder than ever, but we do at times that suit us, and we back each other up. John fields my calls if I’m playing golf, and I look after his customers while he’s on the golf course.

So where do we see ourselves going? Absolutely nowhere! We love what we do and we aim one day in the not too distant future to be building 10 websites a month each (yes, 20 between us). So we need to get more streamlined, get better at admin, sales and marketing and stop rebuilding pages we’ve already built because we had a better idea.