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Military Veterans Who Became Great Franchisees: Noel Cajudo, Caring Transitions

Driven by a desire for purpose after retiring from the Navy, Noel Cajudo's personal experience caring for elderly relatives led him to franchising with the senior relocation, downsizing and estate sale concept.

By Chris IrbyCopy Editor
8:08AM 07/06/24

Veteran Franchisee: Noel Cajudo

Franchise: Caring Transitions

Noel Cajudo’s transition from a 27-year Navy veteran to franchising with Caring Transitions was driven by his search for purpose after retirement. Upon leaving the military, Noel found himself restless and quickly realized that he needed something more fulfilling than retirement alone could offer.

“I started volunteering at a nonprofit organization, helping 40 seniors raise funds for the local library,” said Cajudo. “After a couple of years, my wife suggested I find something else since I was working full-time as a volunteer. I explored franchises and discovered Caring Transitions at a career fair. It resonated with us because we were caring for my parents and mother-in-law at home.”

Drawn by Caring Transitions’ mission of providing invaluable services to seniors and their families — relocation, downsizing, estate sales and more — Cajudo still wanted to be sure he was making the right decision with the franchise.

“[My wife and I] prayed about this for over seven months,” Cajudo said. “We really wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do, and it kept feeling right.” In January 2018, Cajudo took the plunge—he and his wife, Rydell, opened their Caring Transitions location in Menifee, California.

Cajudo credits his military background with providing traits and skills that have proven invaluable in his new role as a business owner.

“The military taught me to be steadfast, tenacious and flexible,” said Cajudo. “In the Navy, I dealt with crises daily, which prepared me for handling customer issues and business challenges. Staying level-headed and not reacting immediately are important traits I carried over from the military.”

1851 Franchise talked with Cajudo about his franchising journey, his military service and his advice for other veterans interested in becoming entrepreneurs. The interview transcript, which appears below, has been edited for clarity, brevity and style.

1851 Franchise: Tell me about your background in the military and your journey from there to entrepreneurship.

Noel Cajudo: I signed up for the Navy when I was 19 in 1988 because I had no direction or goals. After one year of college, I realized I wasn't going anywhere, so I enlisted for three years to get the GI Bill and then planned to return to school. During those three years, I met great supervisors, chiefs and officers who saw my potential. I kept getting promoted and was eventually recommended to become a naval officer. I served both as an enlisted and surface warfare officer for 27 years before retiring.

After three months of retirement, I got bored. My wife is a retired nurse who went back to work to keep her license active. I started volunteering at a nonprofit organization, helping 40 seniors raise funds for the local library. After a couple of years, my wife suggested I find something else since I was working full-time as a volunteer. I explored franchises and discovered Caring Transitions at a career fair. It resonated with us because we were caring for my parents and mother-in-law at home. We prayed about this for over seven months. We really wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do, and it kept feeling right.

1851: What was the name of the organization you volunteered with?

Cajudo: Friends of the Sun City Library. They have a bookstore that raises funds to support library programs. I managed the bookstore as a volunteer, developed standard operating procedures and increased revenue, but I had to step back once the franchise took off.

1851: How did your time in the military prepare you for success as a franchisee?

Cajudo: The military taught me to be steadfast, tenacious and flexible. My military experience in crisis management and standard operating procedures helped a lot. In the Navy, I dealt with crises daily, which prepared me for handling customer issues and business challenges. Staying level-headed and not reacting immediately are important traits I carried over from the military.

1851: What's your favorite thing about Caring Transitions?

Cajudo: My favorite thing is providing work for our employees. We have around 10 employees, mostly semi-retired seniors who want to stay engaged. Some used to have high-level jobs but now just want to work without being in charge. My job is to get clients so my staff can have work. Seeing them happy and engaged is very rewarding.

1851: Looking back on your entire franchise journey, what are you most proud of?

Cajudo: I'm proud to share our success story and validate the franchise for prospective franchisees. I talk honestly about our experience, emphasizing that while it's not a path to instant wealth, it's very rewarding. We're not the most successful or highest earners, but we love what we do and are grateful for the opportunity.

1851: What advice would you give to other veterans considering franchising?

Cajudo: Do it. The great thing about franchising is the standard operating procedures, which veterans are used to. There's a binder that tells you everything you need to do to succeed. You have to put in the work, learn the system and be on the ground, but the structure is there to support you.

Every great franchisee had help buying a franchise. Want to learn more about how 1851 helps franchisees find the right franchise opportunity? Visit www.1851growthclub.com and start your journey.

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