What is it like running a Lingotot business? Hear from Abigail, the founder of Lingotot Teesside, who started her business in 2011
Posted: Wed, May 19, 2021 1:00 PM
Abigail Curtis has been running her business, Lingotot Teesside, since October 2011. Abigail welcomed three tutors, Rosie Sonley, Carol Ingram and Maryse Belanger, into her network in order to meet the local demand for language classes. Lingotot Teesside teaches French, German and Spanish classes in schools, nurseries and community settings throughout their local area. We have been getting to know a little bit more about Abigail and her experience of running her own business, read on to find out more!
Tell us about yourself and your background
I am a married mum of 2 boys aged 12 and 9. I don't speak any languages apart from English! I studied Physics with Medical Applications at University and I work part time as a Process Engineer for a big manufacturing company.
How did you come across Lingotot (and what appealed)?
My grandfather was French but died before I was born and I always regret not being able to speak French fluently. I knew when my own children were small I wanted to expose them to another language so I started looking for children's language lessons. I discovered Lingotot and began taking my then 3 year old and baby to French Lingotot Lessons in Durham. I was amazed how quickly my 3 year old picked up French and how my baby (who couldn't yet speak!) could follow simple instructions in French. Angela then advertised for Franchisees and I was on Maternity leave from my process Engineer job and I thought that running a franchise would be fun so I applied.
When did you launch your business?
I launched my business in October 2011 as Lingotot North Tees but then bought an additional 2 territories in Feb 2015 so relaunched again as Lingotot Teesside.
What has happened since?
I currently have 3 tutors working for me. We teach 1 Spanish community class, 2 Spanish private lessons, 3 Spanish lunch clubs, 3 nurseries teaching Spanish and are looking to start 1 Lingotot Generations Spanish class where children from a local nursery go into a care home and we deliver the Spanish lesson to the children while the residents of the care home watch and participate. The majority of my business is focused in schools. Each week we teach PPA in 11 schools and run 5 after school clubs. The PPA consists of teaching 16 French classes, 20 Spanish classes and 4 German classes per week.
I have won many awards including Hartlepool Small Business of the Year, Franchisee of the Year at the Working Mums Awards and have been the top performing Lingotot franchisee for 5 years in a row.
How is your work life balance now?
My work life balance is great. I can work my Lingotot business around my children and can do school runs, attend school concerts and I am always available as 'driver' to my boys football matches, swimming galas and all of their training sessions.
What do you enjoy about running a Lingotot franchise?
I love the flexibility the franchise gives me. The main reason for the franchise was to enable me to spend as much time with my boys whilst still earning a living.
I started my business when Patrick was 3 and Matthew was 15 months old. They're now 12 and 9 years old and thriving, I am so proud of them. They are happy boys, with a great grasp of French and Spanish, and they teach me plenty of the language!
I now speak enough French to get by on holidays, simply from still attending weekly classes with the boys. They see me speaking the language on holidays which they love. This is a massive personal achievement for me, and something which would make my grandad really happy!
I am also proud that my business is giving employment to 3 local people. Two of my tutors are mothers with young children who struggle to find a job as rewarding and family friendly as Lingotot Teesside. They can work the hours they want around their child’s school day.
Finally, the financial rewards from the business are something that has allowed my family to do things that would have not been possible otherwise. We have visited relatives in Australia, been to Lapland for a magical stay and in 2019 we had an amazing holiday to Disneyworld in Florida all this is paid for from my Lingotot profit. This was something we’d never have been able to do had I simply stayed in my job full time.