At age 22, Anup Wassan is one of the youngest
Franchisees in company history.

As a kid, Anup found math to be tough. It was not that he didn’t understand the concepts, but he admits that he was a bit of a “lazy kid” and that homework was not something he felt inclined to do. He just didn’t see how math was important. Facing the prospect of being held back a year in school, he agreed to let his mom take him to his local Mathnasium in John’s Creek, GA, which is owned by Holly and Chris Lee.

Anup was among the Lees’ first ten customers when they opened their doors. “He was super sharp,” Chris remembers. “He just needed that extra attention, and he really blossomed.”

Anup attended off and on for almost two years. At the time, he had no idea how his life would circle back around. Today, he co-owns the Center in West Marietta, GA with his mother, Indi Nandhra.

What did Mathnasium do for you when you were young?

It built my confidence in math. That flashy demo–one of Larry’s favorite’s– “What’s 7% of 250?” That stuck with me, as well as other arithmetic concepts. 

You’re only 22 now. What did you do after high school?

I spent two years at university studying geology in Nova Scotia, but I was spending a lot of money at an institution where I wasn’t gaining personal gratification or a means to a meaningful career path. So, I came back to Roswell and became a certified welder. I worked in a structural steel shop.

We used to cut these huge I-beams on a miter–a 90-degree angle, and there was a really tight margin of error. I got that error down very low, because instead of using ironworker tricks, I wrote out the actual trigonometry problems. It helped me get noticed, because I was using this math tool to better the company.

Why did you leave?

Welding and slinging steel for 10 hours a day takes a toll. I saw what it was doing to people. And I always had an itch to be an entrepreneur and explore that avenue.

How did you end up at Mathnasium?

I had developed from someone who was apathetic toward math to really using it in the workplace. I was listening to our local NPR station when they did a piece on Russian math. I looked into it, and the results looked really good, but I would never want to put my kid through what looked like a system of really stern Russian math teachers drilling things into you. I knew math could be explained in a caring, nice, fun way. So, I thought of Mathnasium.

I knew that Chris and Holly were still doing really well. My mom and I looked into it, and it was a no-brainer. It was the right timing. It’s a mall location with plenty of foot traffic.

How long have you been open, and how many students do you have?

We’ve been open four months and had 51 students by Christmas.

Your mom is your co-owner.

Yes. She was one of the first Franchisees in Georgia for the Goddard School, a preschool. She, like me, had no business background when she did it. She was very hands on and did well, selling her two locations a few years back.

I live at home, and for a while after we bought the franchise, it was crazy. All we did was talk about work 24/7. It was rough, but it’s probably a good thing in the long run. Although my mom helped me by being here at the Center every day for the first month, now she comes in only a day or two every two weeks.  In fact, the only thing I have yet to take over completely is Quickbooks!

What’s been your greatest challenge?

I’m green and a novice at management, ownership, and accountability. I have a long way to go in the relationships I’m building with my staff.

And greatest success?

My mom always says–and even the parents and kids say–it feels like a happy place. And that, I think, is one of our biggest successes, but also our challenge for the future: Keeping it an effective learning center while keeping it inviting.

Who or what else helped you along the way?

A big part of it was the Stage 4 and 5 training group that I was with. We made great relationships. We call each other to say, “What would you do in this situation?” We know we’re in the same boat, same training, all understanding the same things.

I’ve gotten tons of great ideas from Chris Lee. Also Sam Younis, the owner of the Decatur and another location. He was all open arms and ready to help with tips. Kim and Geoff Dingle–owners of the N. Marietta location–have been great. They came to our ribbon cutting. We’ll refer students to each other when it’s relevant. I’m very grateful to them.

What is your hope for the future?

I don’t only want to grow in the Center, but in the community as well. You have to get your face out there and interact with people. I’m not trying to win their wallets; I’m trying to win their trust. Even if I don’t convert some of them into customers, it’s valuable to interact with everyone, so that if they have a family friend whose child gets a poor grade on a report card or wants enrichment, they’ll be a source of referrals.

What would you tell potential or new franchisees?

Don’t try to do it all at once. Put yourself out there, and don’t be afraid to market to schools. A lot of people out there need your services but don’t know it yet, or they know it, but they don’t know about Mathnasium–or that you’re three steps from their house. Have trust in the method; what Larry and the team developed works.

I had doubts too, but I tucked my head down and trusted that if I do what HQ taught me to do, I could deliver. And now, only four months in, I’m staring at A+s on the brag board that I wasn’t expecting. It’s a great idea. Just go for it!

Anup is getting great advice from experienced Franchisees, but it is not a one-way street. Lee recently reached out to Anup for insight into his successful school marketing campaign. “He has a good business sense and good instincts,” said Lee, proving that successful ideas can come even from the newest—and youngest—of Mathnasium Franchisees.