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Multi-Unit Franchisee Kari Janes Shares Her Journey to Business Ownership with Right at Home

After the trial-by-fire of starting her business during the COVID pandemic, Janes has not only endured but has successfully expanded her territories in Florida.

Florida-based Right at Home franchisee Kari Janes made the jump into franchising because, after spending time in a variety of fields helping other businesses grow, she saw the potential to do something similar for herself.

“I realized I was constantly helping other companies grow, and it would be beneficial for me to consider doing this for myself,” Janes told 1851 Franchise Founder and Publisher Nick Powills on a recent episode of the “Meet the Zee” podcast.  

Initially, Janes knew little about franchising. “Even when you start doing your homework, you don't realize how many companies are franchised. It was a big learning process,” she said.

Janes and her husband met with a consultant, who explained franchising and its benefits to them. “I reviewed other concepts,” she said, “but my medical background and sales marketing experience led me to home care.”

The decision to move into in-home care was reinforced by her previous encounter with a home care provider. However, stepping into business ownership came with challenges. “You can never truly understand how much you still have to learn and how much work is involved if you want to succeed,” she said.

Janes chose Right at Home after careful research, valuing the supportive community and easy-to-access corporate team. “Everyone from corporate is responsive and helpful. They jump through hoops to assist you,” she said. This support was crucial, especially since Janes started her business in West Palm Beach, Florida, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the challenges, Janes’ business began to grow. She expanded her territory to include Indian River County and St. Lucie County in Florida. “Initially, I did not have the scale mindset,” she said. “But after buying and talking to other owners, I quickly changed my mind.”

Looking back, Janes sees her varied career and personal experiences as key to her success. “I tap into my past experiences and current resources to continue growth. I’m not shy about reaching out to people I admire in the business,” she said. 

For Janes, the rewards of her work go beyond financial success. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives and creating meaningful connections. 

A summarized transcript of the interview has been provided below. It has been edited for style, clarity, and brevity.

Nick Powills: I'm here with another episode of Meet the Zee, my absolute favorite segment because it's so awesome, and it shows how someone can jump into business ownership. Kari, thank you so much for joining me for this discussion. Before we get into where you are today, I'd like to go way back. The first largest obstacle in becoming a franchisee is deciding that this is something you want to do with your career and your life. It's a huge decision. So, take me back. How did you accidentally fall into franchising? What's your franchise backstory?

Kari Janes: That's a good question. I have had a varied background in pharmaceuticals, medical, finance, and even software — lots of sales and marketing. So, I've had a nice array of experience before looking into this. I just felt that, based on time and experience, I was constantly helping other companies grow their businesses and benefits, and it would be beneficial for me to consider doing this for myself.

Powills: When you decided to look into franchising, did you have a good understanding of what franchising was?

Janes: Honestly, no. Even once you get into franchising and start doing your homework, you don't realize how many companies are franchised. It was a big learning process from the beginning.

Powills: I think of my own experience. I accidentally fell into a PR agency that worked with franchise brands. My understanding of franchising was limited to McDonald's. From where I sit, part of the gap that needs to be closed in franchising is figuring out where to begin to educate yourself on what franchising is and the best practices. It's a daunting experience. When you made this decision, how long did it take you to go through the process? What was that process like?

Janes: I might have moved a little faster than others due to various circumstances. I was working with a group of interventional radiologists, doing a lot of education for referring physicians and the general public, which I really loved. It's a fascinating, constantly changing field. But other circumstances in my life led me to consider other options. As I started doing some digging and research, both my husband and I came upon a person who represents franchises. We spent a lot of time speaking with him, getting a better overview of what's involved and the benefits of franchising rather than trying to start something on your own. It's probably a faster step up the stairs.

Powills: The majority of buyers in non-food franchises use a coach or a consultant because it's hard to know where to begin and what direction to go in. When you were working with this consultant, did you go straight into senior care, or did you look at other concepts that were total polar opposites?

Janes: I did review other concepts. But since I was looking to move out of state into a new area and not knowing the permanence of my future, many of the other franchises required a bigger financial investment in real estate, buildings, equipment, and trucks. I didn't want to get tied down, so that helped narrow it down. With my medical background and sales marketing experience, it segued into home care. Even in my previous job, I met a woman providing home care services for clients, which was a little bit of an introduction.

Powills: When I think about senior care, there's the tactical side of managing a team in the service and labor business. Was there any part of going from working for someone else to business ownership in senior care that you wish you would have known before getting into it?

Janes: Whether it's a franchise or any business, you can never truly comprehend how much you still have to learn and how much work is involved if you want to succeed. People often joke with new owners, saying if you knew how much work it would be, would you still have done it? It's like having a baby; you don't really know until the baby comes home and cries at night. Somehow, you get through it. It's a lot, but it's been good because I've learned a lot more about myself. I've stretched my knowledge in different aspects, even with software programs, financing, hiring, and recruiting. It's a continual process of learning and trying to improve yourself.

Powills: You can read any business book written by entrepreneurs, but it's almost impossible to explain the juggling that goes on once you're in that seat. In my experience, you suddenly have to be an expert in HR, labor relations, supply chain management, and client management. But that's the advantage of a franchise brand. My perception of Right at Home is that it seems like you guys have a community of people willing to share information and support each other.

Janes: Oh, absolutely. I did my research and read good reviews about Right at Home. But honestly, it's been an amazing experience. Everyone from corporate is responsive and helpful. They jump through hoops to assist you, from finance to coaches. They want to hear your feedback about marketing ideas and help you grow. The other owners have also been really helpful. During the pandemic, when I started my business, everyone was frantic, trying to figure things out. I leaned on the other owners, especially those starting at the same time, and we really helped each other out. I've joined a performance group, which has been a tremendous help and support. There are times when you start questioning or doubting yourself, and talking to them reminds you of all you've done and encourages you to keep doing your best.

Powills: So, just to get the story right, you moved states and started a business during COVID?

Janes: Yes. Oh, and I renovated a house too.

Powills: Well, you clearly know how to handle stress and push through it. So, now, four years later, where's your story? How is business going?

Janes: It's going really well. The first year was challenging. I'm in a state that requires a lot of licensing, which was a long process, but I got through it. There were some struggles with creating a team, but once you have a good team in place, you can start growing significantly. This year, in particular, I've seen tremendous growth. I now have a great team, and I'm looking forward to a prosperous future and continued growth.

Powills: Are you looking at territory expansion now?

Janes: I did a territory expansion last year. I started with a couple of territories in the West Palm Beach, Florida area, and then expanded into Indian River County, north of me, in the spring. In the fall of 2023, I purchased St. Lucie County, including Port St. Lucie and Fort Pierce.

Powills: When I'm advising a buyer, I say the most powerful tools are your head, heart, and gut. You need to be passionate about the business, use your background and experiences, and ensure you're joining the right brand. It's very difficult to build wealth off one single location. Many people limp into the business financially, which doesn't set them up for success. You should be qualified for at least three locations. Did you have the scale mindset going into this?

Janes: Initially, I did not. But after buying and talking to other owners, I quickly changed my mind. You're right, it's not just acquiring territories, but expanding office space, additional staff, and resources. It's crucial to reinvest in the business for growth.

Powills: Reflecting on your life and career moves, did they start making sense, allowing you to scale the business?

Janes: Definitely. I tap into my past experiences and current resources to continue growth. I'm not shy about reaching out to people I admire in the business. I will never say I have enough experience to be as successful as I'd like. The only way to continue is to benefit from the resources available.

Powills: Do you have a definition of success or happiness that you're aiming for?

Janes: I'm naturally competitive, having been a competitive athlete. I take a moment to reflect on my accomplishments, especially considering the circumstances of the past four years. I acknowledge what I've done and then push forward. The key to happiness is having health, family, friends, and community. Within the business, it's knowing you make a difference in people's lives, receiving thank-you calls and emails, and working with an amazing team. I come into the office because I enjoy working with my team and appreciate all they do. I couldn't achieve this growth without them.

Powills: The intangible feeling of having a community or clients celebrate your impact is something you have to live to understand. Your business segment is deeply connected to the emotional side of human beings, making it an awesome thing when business and impact relate. There's a gap in happiness that never changes for entrepreneurs. You always see the next goal to climb. Entrepreneurs find it hard to define happiness, and the gap continues to climb.

Janes: I'm fascinated by well-known entrepreneurs and their stories. It helps inspire and motivate me, expanding my perspective from my office to the broader opportunities out there.

Powills: You've had tremendous success. Congratulations. It's great to hear a franchisee find a path, build success, and keep duplicating it. People might hear multi-unit franchisee and think it's all about making money, but the true impact is on the teams we support and our clients. The beauty of this business is the impact on human beings. Many don't understand the true impact of franchising or senior care. You're deeply impacting the United States and the world.

Janes: We make a big impact on those we employ, providing steady jobs and support. We ensure our caregivers know we're here to help them. It's rewarding to find great matches between clients and caregivers, creating deep connections that make a difference in multiple lives.

Powills: For someone considering franchises, any advice on starting the journey or making the decision to jump in?

Janes: In-home care, with hard work, growth, and opportunity, you can create a successful business. But you have to be willing to make sacrifices, especially in the beginning. You might have to step in as a caregiver yourself. You need to acknowledge the day-to-day work involved from the start. You're not buying into an established business; you're starting from the ground up. You have to jump in with both feet and learn everything.

Powills: That's great advice. Am I willing to hustle, be a team player, and do the dirty work to scale my business? Clearly, you've done all that, moving, renovating, and buying a business.

Janes: It's hard. The first few years, my family was understanding. Late nights, answering the office phone, weekends, you have to be available. You don't see your friends as much, but they understand you're passionate about something important. It's a sacrifice to start any business, but it's worth it. I'm teaching my own daughters that it's scary and hard, but rewarding if you're willing to sacrifice.

Watch the full interview here

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.