In December 2017, Jaime Peñaherrera lost his home to a Northern California wildfire. Such an experience would be devastating under any circumstances, but for Jaime the loss occurred during the same week he was scheduled to sign the purchase contract on his Home Instead Senior Care® franchise. Not only that, but he had planned to use the house as collateral to secure the business financing.
"I didn't even own a tie, belt or shoes at that point. I lost everything I owned during the fires," Jaime recalls. "But I still had my plane ticket, so I flew to Omaha as scheduled to meet with the Home Office team."
In the end, Jaime was able to work out the deal, and today he operates a franchise in the Napa and Solano County areas. He recently shared with us his reasons for pursuing a senior care business – and why he feels Home Instead Senior Care has all the right ingredients to drive a thriving enterprise.
You have a diverse employment background that includes stints in operations management and marketing. Why did you decide to become self-employed? And why did you choose a franchise business?
Jaime: I've always been entrepreneurial. I've had businesses before. It's not for everyone, but I enjoy the challenges of it. Plus, you're in charge of your own destiny; they sky's the limit, in terms of what you can achieve.
I only wish I had discovered the franchise idea earlier. A franchise offers you a well-thought-out blueprint you can implement right away to reduce the trial-and-error of starting up on your own.
Why did you choose a home care concept?
Jaime: I have a background in healthcare, and initially I was going to buy a residential care facility, because I thought it was a natural fit for me, but that avenue did not pan out. Then the opportunity to buy a home care franchise came along, and it meshes perfectly with my own values. I was born and raised in Ecuador, and in our culture elderly people hold a special place in society. We try not to send older adults away, but rather keep them at home and take care of them. Home Instead Senior Care aligns perfectly with my vision of how we should treat the aging members of our community: by taking care to them, in their own homes. What I do as a franchise owner now is consistent with who I want to be as a person. That's important to me.
It sounds like you must feel very good about your work life at the end of every day.
Jaime: It's true. You can't buy those good feelings that come with this business. When you meet with a client, and they are lonely or depressed, or maybe they have not been taking their medications right, and then you are able to help them and enhance their quality of life—well, all I can say is it is a privilege and a gift to work with our clients.
Why did you choose Home Instead, specifically? What strengths do they bring to the table for prospective franchise owners?
Jaime: I think the biggest thing is the culture. In my experience, Home Instead has a unique culture, and frankly you either get on board with the mission or you find something else. And that's OK. It's the organization's dedication to the mission that gives it strength because it attracts like-minded people – franchise owners who are equally dedicated to the mission. And when people share a common goal like that, they tend to achieve great things.
Another thing that stood out to me about Home Instead was the way they have pioneered new concepts, business models and tools. Very often I think of something I want to do, but I don't have the resources or budget to do it, so I will call and, sure enough, Home Instead already has it. Whether it's marketing, press releases, graphic design, web landing pages, accounting tools they make so many things available. Every time I call the Home Office, I feel like I'm calling a friend.
What would you say to a prospective franchisee who does not have the same background in business management or marketing that you have?
Jaime: I would tell them this: those skills can be acquired. If you lack a certain ability, then hire someone to do it. Or get training. For instance, I can look at the financials and understand them, but to actually do all that recordkeeping myself? I am much better being out in the community, networking and building relationships. So I employ someone to maintain the data and produce the reports I need.
We all have gifts and talents to bring to the table. Recognize your weaknesses and focus on what you do best. Then bring in other people whose strengths offset your own weak areas. Mostly, just be proud of what you do on a day-to-day basis.
What other advice would you give prospective franchisees?
Jaime: This type of work is not for everyone. You don't need to be a genius to see the senior market is large and growing exponentially. But your heart has to be in the right place in order for you to enjoy operating a senior care franchise. If you do this for the right reasons, the financial numbers may come later.
On the practical, business side I would also tell them, yes, it's good to think about where you want to be in a few years. But when you're getting started, make sure you have enough working capital to cover your expenses for the first two or three months, even if you buy an existing franchise. All businesses run on a financial cycle, you know, and the work you're doing this month (and paying your employees for today) isn't due and payable right away. So make sure you can survive for the first few months, until the cycle catches up with you.
Many thanks to Jaime for sharing his story about the way his personal passion motivated him to buy a home care franchise. If you're ready to explore a career that allows you to make a real difference in people's lives, send us a request for more information on how to join the Home Instead Senior Care franchise network.
Each Home Instead Senior Care® franchise office is independently owned and operated.
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13323 California St., Omaha, NE, 68154, USA
In North America, call our corporate office at
888.484.5759. Outside North America, call 402.498.4466