[PODCAST] EP 019 – Shelley Rostlund & Suzy Sanders

Freelance to Franchise. A Growth Story.

May 12, 2023 | Brand

Growth is a weird, personal experience.

I know your time is valuable. These show notes give you the gist of the episode, what is covered, any links or resources talked about in the show, and also gives you a few ways to listen, watch or digest this episode.


This episode’s topic, in a nutshell…

When you work on your brand strategy, and you’ll know this by now if you are regular listener – you work on four big areas of purpose, personality, proposition and experience (or brand presence as a I call it).

In this episode we touch on two of those areas of purpose and proposition. We dig into why it’s important to choose how you want your working life to look like and alongside that: how you intentionally design your business to function.

Today, I have invited one of my business friends to come and join us to share what her business looks like on the inside and share her journey in growing her micro business through franchising.

And to help me unpack this topic, I invited the lovely Suzy Sanders to join me. Suzy started her life as a freelance virtual assistant, but then there was a moment of clarity where she decided to look at her work as a BUSINESS and she shares what followed that clarity. (You can find out more about her in my more detailed bio for her below).



In this episode we walk through:

  • What freelance life looked like before Suzy changed the structure of her business
  • How Suzy felt about the term ‘franchising’ before she chose it (hint: she was not a fan)
  • The inner working of Suzy’s thought processes at each point in her journey (which led her to making the decisions she did)
  • How her “job” had to change once franchisees came on board and how that felt
  • What she thinks of franchising as a model for growth – now that she’s “in it”
  • How she has evolved what her role is in the business (and how that feels)

Today, Suzy and her husband Paul are running their franchise, based in Northampton and while they work hard and steadfast for their network of franchisees – they are definitely intentionally designing their business.

They are a still technically a micro business from their ‘head office’ standpoint, but they are close to crossing over the line into the small business territory (as I would call it) where as a full business (including franchisees), their headcount will exceed 11+ soon. The challenges are changing and it’s interesting to talk to Suzy about her journey.

I love that Suzy’s growth journey is intimate, personal and almost soulful. She has carefully chosen the route to growth that suits what she wants for her ideal working lifestyle.

She is a strong micro business owner who has clearly identified her strengths and knows how to pick the right partners to help her grow her business and stay true to her brand’s core values.

Who do you know that could do with hearing Suzy’s story? Share this episode – go…on, you know you want to.


Ways to watch, listen or digest this episode:

Full transcription: Click here for the audio with follow-along transcription.

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If you want to watch with auto-generated captions – click the captions icon on the YouTube play bar menu at the bottom of the video.


A bit more about Suzy Sanders 

[PODCAST] Suzy Sanders on the Brand Compass PodcastSuzy Sanders is a business owner, author, speaker and professional coach. She founded her virtual assistant business in 2016 and four years later, she grew the business through franchising and, as at the time of us recording, she has 6 franchisees across the UK supporting a thriving global client base.

Suzy has been featured on the BBC, Huffington Post, and PA Life – sharing her finely-tuned approach of putting the strength of collaboration and community at the heart of business. She emphasises that business success is not always about more money, but rather about more kindness, integrity, impact, empowerment and adventure.

Find out more about her on her website at www.alchemyva.co.uk, connect with her on LinkedIn or join her community on Instagram