Interview with Glen Convey - President of Tidbits Canada
Glen Convey is the president of Recess Media and Tidbits Canada. since the age of 18 he has been involved in and owned distribution companies, he still to this day does newspaper distribution. For 18 years he was a distributor for a few different papers, but they were always on the paid subscription basis. Just over 5 years ago he was approached and asked if he would help launch and distribute a local free paper. He told them he had to think about, how could a free paper work? Needless to say heI took the risk, and it has opened a whole new world for him.
It has taught him how free papers are the only ones that will survive any economic breakdown, and if you have low overhead to boot it is really the only way. This led him to purchase 21 franchises of a different publication, free of course. He worked those papers for approximately three years, and all it did was confirm to him how everyone else was right about the free newspaper. Because he can’t be happy with anything he had to have more, He searched for another paper that could be in Canada, and found it in the states. He always wonders what his life would be like today if he had said no to that original offer. Recess Media presently distributes just under 150,000 copies a day.
BeTheBoss - What’s the story behind Tidbits Canada?
Glen Convey - Tidbits originated as a single community newspaper in a small town in Montana in the late 1980`s. A gentleman named Dave Steele discovered the newspaper in 1993, and immediately fell in love with the concept. He purchased the rights, hired the original writer and began publishing his own Tidbits in Billings, Montana.
On one of my family RV adventures, I picked up one of these papers in California. After returning from the trip, I brought that same edition back to my office thinking immediately that this was definitely an opportunity needing representation in Canada. I then formed Recess Media, secured the Canadian rights and Tidbits Canada was born.
BTB - What made you decide to franchise?
GC - I had the option of just buying a franchise or two my self but between Ken Woodard and I we decided that it would be best for all of us involved to offer this to all of Canada. If I was to just buy one or two than it would take a long time to get the word out there for others.
BTB - Tell us a little about the Advertising Market?
GC - Advertising can be a challenge, there are lots of different avenues out there for advertising, but print advertising is slowing down because of the internet. How do you fix that, simple make it a paper that people want to read, no bad news and lots of puzzles to keep you amused while waiting, the neatest little paper ever read.
BTB - What have some of the challenges been in growing your franchise?
GC - The challenges I face are getting the product known, unless people travel through the states a lot they really have no clue who we are. As we grow and people start to see and love us, then the calls will just naturally come in, where else can you get paid well for working your best.
BTB - Who has been your greatest inspiration?
GC - My greatest inspiration would be the paper; I find it is an amazing opportunity for people to get in to their own business for very little money. The crews that run the company in Alabama are amazing, full of information and give you the desire and want to succeed.
BTB - What are some of the advantages in being a Tidbits franchisee?
GC - There are a lot of advantages but I will just concentrate on those that affect the publishing industry. We don’t have the exclusivities that most franchisors have, we allow you to grow to basically as big as you want to grow. We supply you with things that will excite your readers, and even leave space for you if you want to write your own articles. It is an amazing product that allows you a huge amount of freedom. We do not charge royalties, so it does not matter what you make we are not going to take a percentage of it from you, you simply pay your text fees which supplies you with your content, puzzles, web site and web hosting.
BTB - What “Gadgets” can’t you live without?
GC - I personally can’t live without my blackberry, I have had one since they first came out and have had periods of down time and I really thought I was lost or out of business.
BTB - What do you do in your spare time?
GC - I love to travel, mainly with the RV though, love seeing new places and my mind is always looking for new ideas.
BTB - What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?
GC - Really search this out, you need to find what is enjoyable for you, you do not want to buy yourself a job that you cannot motivate yourself to do more and make more, hence just earning a paycheque. All places will say you can make lots of money, but really it is about you. If you don’t like what you are doing you will not do as good as you are capable of. Sure some franchises will make you lots of money, just by the name on the door, but will you enjoy doing it is what you need to ask yourself. You want something that keeps you on your toes and there is some payback during and at the end of all your hard work.
BTB - In your opinion, why do you think that Tidbits would be a great opportunity for someone?
GC - This business is amazing and very inexpensive, you have the freedom to grow and have fun meeting people all over your town while doing so. Once you have jumped all the hurdles of setting up, it really does get easy from there.