First-Generation Franchisee Shares Keys for Overcoming Obstacles on Road to Success

First-Generation Franchisee Shares Keys for Overcoming Obstacles on Road to Success

The Tutor Doctor franchise, headquartered in Toronto, specializes in helping students achieve their academic and personal goals, from elementary education all the way through adult tutoring programs.

Services include online and in-person/at-home tutoring sessions. Nika Fouquet started her Tutor Doctor franchise almost ten years ago and has successfully grown the business to now delivering personalized tutoring services to over 100 families in Santa Monica, California.

Fouquet’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Panama and the West Indies. Her mother arrived at 11 years old, and Spanish was her first language. While Fouquet was born in the U.S., she encountered many challenges as a first-generation citizen.

“Some of my obstacles centered on navigating the American educational system.”

“Being that we weren’t from here, my family didn’t know about tutors and weren’t familiar with the steps required for applying to college. I had to rely on my school counselors and unfortunately, I didn’t understand at the time what I was dealing with in an Italian/Irish catholic school. Individuals that looked like me were not welcome in the neighborhood which was made clear, and I knew I was not being supported by the counselors, but I only fully understood later on the situation I was dealing with.”

“I did figure out college independently with little to no guidance.”

“Though it took me transferring a few times, once I started to comprehend the full financial burden I would face if I chose to stick with my original choices,” shared Fouquet.

Eventually, Fouquet landed at Hunter College in New York City, majoring in film production. “I had no idea how I would work in the industry since I had no connections, but I fell in love with the craft of editing and knew I’d figure it out.” Fortunately, she met someone who would become her mentor and, thanks to him, became one of the few African American woman editors working on big campaigns. “If there were obstacles, I chose to ignore them, I didn’t believe in limits but the limits that others saw for me were pointed out when someone in the industry described me as ‘urban and edgy.’”

(Image: Courtesy of Tutor Doctor)

You Don’t Always End Up Where You Expected

Although Fouquet had a passion for film editing, she was ready to start a family and needed a career that was less time-consuming. “I wanted to be a present parent and I wanted to be involved in their educational journey to lend the guidance that I didn’t have. I came across Tutor Doctor whose mission statement and passion for education aligned with my core values. I soon realized this company would provide me the opportunity to run my own business and also create boundaries, so I could be present for my family and be the mom I wanted to be.”

Fouquet attributes her success to the open and honest conversations she has with her customers. “I wanted to create a service that sets a very high bar on the quality of service it provides which is why I take the time to vet new employees and new clients.”

“What I do is very personalized to each and every client.”

“I bring with me, from my previous career, a certain work ethic and problem-solving abilities which I implement daily in my business by taking the time to understand the client’s needs, their pain and formulating a game plan to alleviate the situation.”

With almost 10 years under her belt as a franchise owner, Fouquet has great advice for all aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly first-generation business owners.

“Never stop asking questions and never, never accept ’no’ as the final answer.”

“You will encounter obstacles, that’s just part of life. How you manage those obstacles, and they can all be managed, is what will define you. Focus forward, not backward.”