The Franchise King® is the alter-ego of franchise ownership advisor and author Joel Libava. In addition to providing straight-shooting advice/coaching on choosing, researching, and buying franchises, Joel is the author Become A Franchise Owner! (Wiley Publishing, 2011). He also writes monthly franchise articles for The Small Business Administration’s Community blog, Small Business Trends (where he’s the “franchise expert in residence”) and Franchise Direct.

In addition to all of the above, he also gives a 100% money-back guarantee on all of his products and services – wow!

He recently took time out of his busy day, well, two busy days, really, to answer some of my questions. (My questions are below in bold.)

Become a Franchise Owner

So, Joel, what is The Franchise King?

It’s my official brand name, and it’s trademarked. It was officially registered and approved by the US Trademark office several years ago.

Ok, I better use the ® mark too. So, where did the idea for The Franchise King® come from?

Tom Sudow, the former director of the Beachwood, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, called me “The Franchise King” (he actually yelled it out at a business expo) and the name stuck.

How did you bring it to life?

My friend, Jim Kukral, who owns and runs , strongly encouraged me to get it trademarked and to use it everywhere. He thinks I should wear my crown everywhere I go. I’m not there yet.

Where do you see it (your business) in five years?

Wow. Great question. I still want to consult one-on-one with prospective franchise owners. That’s my passion. I love helping people learn all they can so they can make intelligent decisions on the franchises they’re looking at. And, I want my Franchise Biz Directory to be a serious player in the franchise marketing space.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would do more outsourcing instead of trying to do everything myself.

What does your typical day look like?


My time is spent:

  • Writing articles for my own web properties
  • Writing paid articles for other websites and blogs
  • Doing marketing work for a select number of franchisors and industry suppliers
  • Promoting my franchise ownership advisory services
  • Promoting The Franchise Biz Directory
  • Adding new listings to the Directory after they’ve been purchased
  • Networking on social media sites
  • Doing client calls on the phone and via Skype
  • Searching for strategic partnerships

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m really watching the Mobile space. The PC market is shrinking (although I don’t want it to) and it’s going to be interesting to see what our tech geniuses have in store for Mobile viewing and engagement.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I worked for an automotive franchise promotions/Direct Mail company. It was a fun job, but the CEO was full of crap, and I knew it when I met him. He seemed to be a bit sleazy. I didn’t trust my gut. It was a disaster. My wife was really mad that I took the job. It lasted 2 months. I learned that I must trust my gut… my instincts. They’re usually correct.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Write. Write. Then write some more. You can do so much with words these days. Becoming an average writer has opened lots of doors for me, and I’m getting better at it-a day at a time.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I tried to start a podcast. Twice.

I spent lots of time and some money learning how to do it. I even made a commitment (publicly) to launch it. Lots of people wanted me to. I didn’t have the patience to do it right. I feel that I let some people down. I’m pretty much okay with not having a podcast now. It’s just not a fit for me. (Even though I used to be an on-air radio announcer back in the day.)

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Someone needs to start a franchise brokerage that will buy back a failing franchise that one of their brokers placed. In other words, if a franchise broker makes a successful match, and gets paid to do so, if the person he or she put in business is failing and wants out, the brokerage should offer to buy it back and sell it. (And give as much of money back to the former franchisee as possible) That would change everything in franchise brokerage.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I would like to find a way to save more stray and neglected dogs. There are more adoptable dogs around that ever before (it seems) and it’s just so sad to see so many of them euthanized. They are very special animals. They really are man’s best friend…and they should be celebrated as such. How would I do it? Become an advocate and use my influence to make change. I don’t have any specifics yet. Yet.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

I like <> It’s an easy-to use tool that can be used to add sales-related graphics to websites.

I love Moz. It’s founder, Rand Fishkin is a genius. I want to meet him, as he seems like good people. Moz provides the best SEO software on the planet.

I love I use it all the time to find current happenings in business and tech. The best blogs in the world are listed on along with hundreds of very specific categories. Bonus: I was able to help Guy Kawasaki’s team put together the franchising section of the site.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Killing Giants by Stephen Denny. It’s a great book for small business owners who want to learn how to compete with the biggest and best companies around. Amazing book.

Killing Giants

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

@chrisbrogan – I met Chris through Twitter, and we’ve become friends. Chris is into sharing great stuff and promoting others. He also imparts lots of wisdom in 140 characters or less.

@copyblogger – Brain Clark’s team is amazing. Copywriting and inbound marketing tips are dispensed daily on their Twitter feed. They don’t promote others a lot, but when they do, expect to see things out of the ordinary and first-class.

@smallbiztrends – Anita Campbell puts out an amazing product. Her product: her website, which features the latest and greatest in the world of small business. No spam. Ever.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Watching a Tonight Show With Johnny Carson interview via YouTube, of the late Robin Williams. Robin Williams was the funniest man ever. And, Johnny Carson was the best in his field.

Who is your hero?

Johnny Carson. I idolized him when I was growing up. He was an artist. To watch him at the top of his game was amazing. I always thought it be cool to host a TV show like that.

Do you (or did you ever) have a mentor?

I’ve had some informal ones. Anita Campbell mentored me a bit (and still does) when I started writing for Small Business Trends 7-8 years ago. She encouraged me and showed me how to write in an authoritative way. Rieva Lesonsky is another informal mentor of mine. I trust her judgment when it comes to business. Carol Roth lets me run ideas and such past her, but I haven’t talked to her for a while-my own fault. Maybe it’s time to have a formal one?

Is there anything I didn’t ask that I should have?

No. You’re quite thorough, Dane.

Tell us a secret.

I only attended college for 8 months.

Bonus Secret: I have ADD.

Thanks Joel! If you’d like to find out more about The Franchise King® you can visit his website, or, you can connect with Joel on Twitter (@FranchiseKing), Facebook or LinkedIn. The Franchise King also publishes his own franchise directory. Check it out here.

Originally posted by Dane Carlson on August 19, 2014 in Featured / Interviews.


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