Like many franchisees, Pool Scouts’ Nora Farhat started her career in the corporate world. After living internationally, she wanted to come back to the United States with the goal of becoming an entrepreneur.
After wanting to own her own business for years, she saw the transition as the perfect opportunity to jump all in and try franchising. Today, the mom of three is the proud owner of six different businesses, including a Detroit territory with Pool Scouts, the 115-territory pool cleaning franchise under the Buzz Franchise Brands umbrella.
“I thought ‘now or never’,” she said. “I liked that the franchise model was already proven and that my job is to execute it. I’m a mom of three so it was important to balance between home life and business life, but to make sure I was staying true to what I love to do.”
As she enters her second season with Pool Scouts, Farhat reflects on what it means to be a woman in franchising.
Farhat notes that there’s a lot of stereotypes and fights that women have to go through no matter what industry they’re in.
“I think it’s very easy to be in an environment where you’re discredited or not taken as seriously. I think those are real situations,” she said. “I do think that there’s ways to combat it a little bit and there’s ways that we can also use being a woman to our advantage. I think it’s a double edged sword.”
She added that she uses the fact that she’s a woman as a positive, instead of a negative. For example, Farhat noted that she always comes well prepared and works hard to prove herself.
“I think that because I realized that I had to work harder and longer, it created the building blocks that actually make me successful,” she said. “So I don’t think that being a woman is an Achilles heel. But I definitely think that the challenges can be different. It’s a fact that if a woman says something, versus a man, the way it’s perceived is different. A woman has to be well put together all the time and has to operate at an elevated level. But I also think this elevated my game.”
Farhat added that, as a mother, nothing is more valuable to her than raising her three daughters to see what a strong woman in business ownership looks like. “I love that I work,” she said. “There is no regret of not spending time at home because of work. This concept has to go away. I’m okay working hard, because then my kids are able to see that. I think that we have to be comfortable enough and proud enough to say I like the message that it sends.”
Farhat doesn’t believe we get to choose our legacy. Instead, she believes in carrying yourself in a way that, when someone has an interaction with you, they walk away with a positive energy. And that goes for her personal life, as well as business.
“I want my kids to be strong, independent, confident adults—so that’s where I put my energy,” she said. “I think it’s important to represent what we want to see represented. When someone is working for me, it’s important that I represent what a strong, successful woman looks like.”
With 75 people working for her across all of her brands, Farhat is aware that she’s in a powerful position to encourage others, and she takes it seriously. “It makes me want to be a better version of myself because I don’t want you to walk in and have a negative interaction with me,” she said. “It’s important for me to represent what you can be. As women, we have social pressures that are unrealistic and uneatable. So I say you have to throw that out and be comfortable in your own skin.”
When most people think of the pool industry, they might think it’s a man’s world. However, Pool Scouts combats that stereotype by celebrating the women–both the franchise owners and corporate executives–who are helping the brand stand out in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
“It’s exciting for me to be a part of a company that provides these opportunities for women by creating an inclusive culture that empowers them to achieve their goals and supports them in every way possible,” said Pool Scouts Director of Marketing Lynlea Rudell.
A recent report from Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 shows that the percentage of women franchise owners has risen for five consecutive years, going back to 2016. And Pool Scouts is seeing the same trend.
“I love that it’s a company that doesn’t have a stereotype,” said Farhat. “We’re in a very male-dominated type of industry, but the Pool Scouts leaderboard is full of women who are running the brand phenomenally.”
Read the full 1851 franchising article here.
Click here to listen to the Business X Radio podcast “Nora Farhat With Pool Scouts, British Swim School and Mathnasium.”