NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Being an entrepreneur is easier than ever these days, but is it a good time to launch a business?
Brandon Latham is a new business owner. As a franchisee in Austin, Texas for BodyBrite, which offers Intense Pulsed Light hair removal and other beauty treatments, he's no stranger to working long days. Yet just six months after opening his franchise, Latham, 38, says it's already worth it.
Business has been "steadily increasing every month," Latham says. "To get people in the door we did a Groupon (GRPN). I was hesitant because they take a good percentage of the profit, but it's been great. We're getting people in the door and our name out and we've had high retention."
BodyBrite is already established in Europe, the U.K., Mexico and Central America with more than 300 centers open, but is just getting started in the U.S., with just 10 locations here. The company plans to have more than 40 opened in the states in the near future."It's been very rewarding," he says. Prior to opening the franchise, Latham was working at his family's insurance business in Amarillo, Texas, about 500 miles northwest of Austin. In 2009, the family sold the business and Latham thought it was a good time to try out life in a big city, despite the economic downturn. Latham says he dabbled in several jobs including real estate and retail, before deciding that he wanted to own his own business. Knowing that he was particularly interested in the beauty, health and wellness industries, Latham sought out franchises that would do well in Austin. He decided on a BodyBrite franchise mainly because the $120,000 all-in start-up costs were lower than other wellness franchises, such as Massage Envy, where the upper end of start-up costs could be more than a half a million. But Latham also says there is a prime market of customers from the city's large student body (The University of Texas at Austin has roughly 48,000 students) and professionals. "I think I've chosen the right franchise for me," Latham says. BodyBrite has been "very supportive and helpful ... The whole process of opening has been fairly smooth. I just wanted to get into something that I was truly interested in."