Right at Home franchisee Julie Houston launched her business, delivering quality homecare across North Cheshire and Leigh, in April 2017
Julie Houston hit her monthly break even point after just five months and now employs a care team of 18, alongside her registered manager and two office support staff. So what does a typical working day for Julie look like?
I arrive between 7am and 8am. That’s when we get a lot of calls about clients and schedules, so we need good capacity to respond.
I then have a meeting with my registered manager to identify priorities for that day and review the previous day - we’ll look for any training or communication needs and go over schedules.
We’re extremely responsive to job enquiries, because finding the right carers is such an important part of the business. So we’ll respond immediately at any time of day or evening, but I will also block off time each day to focus on recruitment marketing and strategy.
This might include reviewing our digital advertising campaigns, which head office support us with, or updating online business pages.
One of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given in business is to make sure you take at least half an hour to yourself each day. So often at lunchtime I’ll go out for a walk or for a coffee or make a phone call to someone who is nothing to do with the business.
We encourage carers to call into the office at any time of day - it’s an important part of making sure we have a good team culture and that the carers feel well supported.
We had a big open day for the team just before Christmas, with a buffet, Secret Santa and various goodies to thank them for their hard work.
Most days I’ll have at least one meeting to raise brand awareness. This is where having the brand and a network of 50 offices behind you really helps - it opens doors and gives you confidence because you’ve got a strong set of values and a brand identity.
At the moment, a lot of my time is spent directing the business, such as looking ahead to pre-empt issues, and I’m in the office every day. But now the back office team is coming together, the plan is to create more time for community engagement.
A typical afternoon may include time spent pricing packages and completing contracts and tracking the financials. We took on a lot of care hours in quite a short space of time, which has been great for getting the business up and running, but it’s meant we’ve needed all hands on deck. It’s not uncommon for me to have to cover a care visit - you need to roll up your sleeves and help when push comes to shove.
I’ve never found it easy to switch off and this is no different, especially as it’s a 24/7 service.
I’m always aware that we have carers out later at night, sometimes overnight. But at least I’m doing it for myself now.
I have taken breaks from the business this year and in 2018, with the back office team in place, I’m looking forward to a proper holiday abroad.