Dara Sharma, the latest addition to the TruBlue Home Service Ally family, boasts a remarkable 23-year career in interior design, architecture, and construction. Her extensive design experience spans various sectors, including healthcare facilities, higher education buildings, commercial office spaces, hospitality venues, and luxury developments. However, despite her impressive corporate journey, Dara encountered obstacles and a metaphorical glass ceiling that hindered her professional growth. Driven by her passion to empower women in her industry, she made the bold decision to take control of her destiny and eliminate any future limitations.
For Dara, her TruBlue franchise represents more than just a business opportunity; it's a chance to give back to the Middle Tennessee communities she's called home for three decades. Her vision is to combine her vast design expertise, personal insights into the needs of busy families, deep empathy for seniors looking to age in place, and her commitment to advancing women's roles in the industry to establish a comprehensive service business that enriches and supports her local community.
1851 Franchise: Share your personal journey with us. What were you doing before venturing into franchising, and what convinced you that franchising was the right path for you?
Dara: My connection with the Nashville area spans 30 years. I earned my B.A. in Interior Design from O'more College of Architecture and Design in Franklin and have been practicing as an Interior Designer in this region ever since, except for a brief period in NYC before we started a family. My experience primarily revolves around interior design, architecture, and construction, including healthcare, higher education, commercial spaces, hospitality, and luxury home designs.
My husband is a real estate investor, and we've collaborated on various projects, from long-term rentals and short-term rentals to multi-family developments, renovations, and property management. Additionally, I've worked as a freelance residential interior designer. Hence, I've gained a wide spectrum of experience in design, architecture, and construction over the past 23 years.
Before acquiring the Franklin and Brentwood TruBlue territories, my most recent role was Director of Architecture and Design at a prominent local luxury golf resort community. However, I encountered a substantial glass ceiling there, resulting in a challenging and undesired departure. This experience prompted me to reevaluate my career and life choices. Ultimately, I decided to take a leap and embark on my entrepreneurial journey. My husband has always been an entrepreneur, and I felt it was time for me to pursue my path independently. My journey through the corporate world, especially as a woman, was marked by significant challenges in reaching leadership positions. This is a key motivation behind my aspiration to establish a woman-owned business.
1851: What were your perceptions of franchising before becoming a franchisee, and what message do you want to convey about franchising now that you're part of it?
Dara: As an adjunct professor teaching interior design at Belmont University, I emphasize the importance of processes in any project. Having efficient systems and processes in place is crucial for success. This is one of the primary reasons I chose to pursue franchising with the TruBlue franchise - they have well-established systems and processes.
1851: What led you to choose the TruBlue brand, and what aspects of this company excite you the most?
Dara: When we discovered TruBlue, it felt like the perfect match. My extensive experience in home design, property management, and designing healthcare spaces for the elderly made it a natural fit. On a personal level, my husband and I have been caring for his aging parents for the past 15 years. We tragically lost his mother to Alzheimer's four years ago. TruBlue's focus on aging in place services for seniors resonated with me, given our firsthand experience in assisting elderly parents to age in place, including installing grab bars, ramps, home modifications, and handling cleaning and lawn care. We understand the challenges faced by adult children helping their parents age in place.
With my background and experience, I'm confident in successfully running a premium handyman, home repair, remodeling, and home maintenance business. I'm especially proud to be a woman-owned business in the design and construction industry, as this aligns with my strong commitment to community involvement. My decision to join TruBlue was driven by the desire to give back to my community by giving homeowners more time to spend with their families and aiding the elderly in aging comfortably in their homes.
During our research, it became clear that TruBlue provides substantial support as a national company. We aren't just another handyman company; we're part of a thriving TruBlue family.
1851: What are your aspirations for your business, and what are your growth plans?
Dara: After establishing the business, I aim to expand our presence across Middle Tennessee. I plan to assemble a dedicated team to manage the two territories I currently own. Ultimately, I envision a premium local business with an outstanding reputation in our community.
1851: What's one crucial aspect of your story that you want to highlight?
Dara: My husband and I have raised our three sons in this community. Our close connection with the community stems from being a part of it ourselves. We're not just offering services to busy families; we're a family offering support to others. Our sons are well-versed in property maintenance, property management, renovations, and home repairs, making this a true family-run business.
1851: What advice do you have for individuals contemplating franchise ownership?
Dara: If you're interested in owning your own business but hesitant about the uncertainties it may entail, finding the right franchise can be an excellent fit. The right franchise will guide you every step of the way, ensuring your success. As a sole owner, choosing a franchise is a fantastic way to step into the world of business with ample support.