Sometimes when people are looking for change, it comes in a very obvious way. For others, like TOT franchisee Hayley Bumgarner, it comes in a more subtle way…like a postcard.
Bumgarner, a teacher for 10 years, was getting ready to go back to school after having her first son, when she received a postcard from TOT. Bumgarner said it sounded promising – hitting on many of the areas she was thinking about at the time. So she signed up to receive emails from TOT.
Fast forward two years and she was still getting informational emails from TOT. She and her husband had just had their second child, she was more exhausted from teaching than she was the two years earlier and was just tired of balancing it all.
She took the leap and replied back and made the plan to go to an informational meeting in Alabama.
“I was worn out,” Bumgarner said. “We’d had a rough two months and I thought, ‘This just doesn’t feel right. I’ve got to find something else and I really feel like there’s something to [TOT].’”
Bumgarner and her husband made the trip from North Carolina to Alabama and got to experience a TOT halftime performance.
“I asked my assistant at the time if she would want to go, but she wasn’t sure,” she said. “”I asked another teacher and she wasn’t sure. I asked my husband and he said yes. I was really shocked that he decided to go out there with me, but if he didn’t, there’s no way it would have happened.”
Her husband’s support was crucial, but fellow franchisee Linda Babbidge’s support has also meant a lot to Bumgarner who is now in her fifth year with TOT. Bumgarner and Babbidge both got involved with TOT at the same time and have stayed in contact throughout it all.
“Linda and I talked a lot,” she said. “Every year we would stop and talk to each other, call each other. I think that, to me, she was someone I could relate to and talk to and I still do. I will finish a class and call Linda. That’s been super helpful. I don’t think I could have made it without her.”
In her first year, Bumgarner was able to secure eight schools. Her motto for that first year was “fake it till you make it,” but the one thing that she quickly learned was to be herself.
“I am not into sales at all, but they really prepare you pretty well for that,” she said. “I tried to go in and be myself when I would talk to directors.”
Last year Bumgarner had 10 schools and was wrestling with the idea of hiring a teacher to help lead her classes. After an opportunity arose to lead her church’s children’s ministry, she prayed for answers and decided to hire a teacher.
Bumgarner currently has one teacher, who she loves and who also taught TOT a decade ago at a school in Texas. She considers finding this year’s teacher one of the coolest things that’s happened in her TOT career.
“She bought the curriculum for her class,” she said. “She loved it. She’s amazing…so energetic. There’s a happy, fun spirit about her. She really put a lot of thought and prayer into taking this position because she had been a stay at home mom. She was really excited about it and she just wanted to pray and make sure. She desired this and was excited about it.”
“I felt like she was the perfect fit. It was a God thing.”
And it’s God that has helped Hayley throughout her journey with TOT. While many people talk about taking a leap of faith, Bumgarner says she was simply relying on her faith.
“There’s something about walking by faith and trusting that this will work and actually make it happen is pretty cool,” she said. “So many people will tell me it was a leap of faith and I never could have done that. I just took the next steps and figured it out along the way. Only through faith did it work for me.”