American companies looking for that competitive edge are always searching for exceptional talent, and often, that talent comes straight out of the military. Service veterans are as highly coveted by businesses as recent college grads with 10 miles of degrees. That’s because the vets enter the work-force with real world experience in problem solving, decision making, adaptive skills, discipline, and work ethic.

Kalaya and Linwood Nelson have those attributes, having served their country, and are now Army veterans. Kalaya retired from the service in November 2017.

Before either left the service, they started considering “life after being a soldier”. After taking orders for 20 years, neither wanted to go work for someone else. Maybe running their own franchise business, something they could do together, would be the way to go, but what kind of business? Fast casual restaurant? Service industry? And just how much money would they need to invest to find a franchise?

They needed help. That’s when Dave Buck, an Alternative Career Coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source (TES), North America’s leading career transition coaching franchise, came to the rescue.

Recently, we spoke with Kalaya Nelson about their experience with TES, and the opportunity it provided her and Linwood.


Q: How long have you and Linwood been married?

Kalaya Nelson (KN): Four years, but we have known each other since 2003. We have a “yours, mine, and ours” family with children ranging in age from 32 to 5 years old, plus we have two grandchildren. There is never a dull moment!

Q: What did you do in the Army?

KN: We both served in military intelligence, doing different jobs, and enjoyed the challenges in those roles. We both made the rank of Sergeant First Class.

Q: What made you decide to focus on owning your own business as you contemplated your retirement from the Army?

KN: Linwood had partnered with a friend in a custom sports apparel business, and also had some marketing experience. We both knew running a business would allow us the freedom and flexibility we wanted for our family life. Plus, we really want to leave a legacy for our kids and grandchildren. You really can’t do either working for someone else.

Q: What was your first experience in attempting to find a franchise yourself?

KN: Not good. We really thought a popular, fast food restaurant would be the way to go. Our area around Fort Meade, Maryland, didn’t have access to this particular brand, so we thought we’d bring one in.

We quickly discovered the over-head was very high, and they really didn’t offer much help toward that, or any real guidance. It was very disappointing.

Q: When did you discover The Entrepreneur’s Source (TES)?

KN: I enrolled in a business transition assistance class, and Dave Buck was one of the featured speakers. He really stressed the basics of franchise ownership, things such as finding out if you’re even right for franchising. He also reviewed things like: What makes a good franchise fit based on your individual Income, Lifestyle, Wealth and Equity goals? What will be expected of you? What will be expected of the franchisor? The more he talked, the more comfortable we felt about the idea of franchising, and working with Dave and TES, instead of doing things on our own.

Q: Tell us about your TES coaching experience.

KN: The most important part of the coaching process for Linwood and me, was Dave took the time to find out what OUR goals, needs and expectations were, first. It was never about “making a sale” with him. It was all about our “Why”.

After establishing that platform, Dave took us step by step. There were in-depth possibility profiles and assessments, discussing different franchise business formats, helping us make connections, and just generally doing a lot of “hand holding”. He realized he had a personal stake in our future, and we were trusting him to help us. He created a confidence bond, and helped us see all opportunities, without pushing us to one business over others. I liked that.

Q: What options did he present you with, and why did you pursue Tutor Doctor?

KN: There was a car repair business, a pizza business, as well as property management, and Tutor Doctor. Linwood and I both enjoy helping children achieve goals, and making a difference in their lives. Tutor Doctor just felt right. In our role, we meet with the families and their child, do an assessment of what support the child needs, provide a customized plan and tutor just for them. It’s fantastic to share in their success!

Q: Can you give me an example?

KN: Sure! One student came to us, recently, wanting to increase her SAT score by 50 points. That would help broaden her field of college opportunities. After just 12 hours of tutoring with Tutor Doctor, she improved her SAT score by 100 points-doubling her goal! That brought us tremendous satisfaction!

If you’re ready to take the very first step to find your ideal franchise and getting complimentary coaching assistance from an Entrepreneur’s Source coach, click here to get started today.


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