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Right At Home Franchisee Michelle Rankine Finds Success in Texas

Michelle Rankine, Ph.D. is celebrating her 10th anniversary as a Right at Home franchisee, with successful territories in Southern Denton County, Western Collin County, and the Mid-Cities.

By Erica InmanStaff Writer
SPONSORED 2:14PM 05/08/24

Michelle Rankine’s inspiration to become a franchisee with Right at Home was born out of an unexpected circumstance. In 2011, her brother was involved in a tragic car accident that left him disabled. Rankine and her family suddenly found themselves facing the complexities of providing care for her brother. As she struggled to find a professional caregiver, she realized that many other families have a similar need.

“We weren’t trying to be caregivers,” Rankine said. “And there were so many other things that had to be done for him that we really needed someone else to step in and be by his bedside all the time. For me at that time, even through all the emotions and what I didn't know, it made me realize this is a need. There is a strong need for this.”

However, Rankine was on a completely different career path at the time. She was just finishing her doctorate in education with a concentration in athletics and working as a high-performance director for the United States Olympic Committee. Three weeks after her brother’s accident, Rankine flew home to get more clothes and personal belongings; on this flight, she saw something that made her stop and consider a potential new career path.

“I was on a Southwest flight and actually saw the advertisement for a home care franchise,” Rankine said. “I remember meeting the gentleman who came into the assessment for my brother and him saying that he was from Wall Street. So I was like, ‘OK, I don't have to have that background prior to [franchising].’ I really liked helping people. I always felt that I was a caregiver at heart, and so it just seemed right.”

Through the emotional challenges of navigating her brother's care, Rankine contemplated the career change, taking her time with her decision. While she was thorough in her research, she felt a sense of fearlessness after witnessing life’s fragility through her brother’s accident, which eventually inspired her to make a significant career shift. 

Rankine was immediately drawn to Right at Home, but the brand initially didn’t have an available territory in her desired location. She researched other in-home care concepts and through the research process, she realized the importance of building trust and rapport between the franchisee and franchisor. 

“Building that relationship with me is really what made the difference — that courtship, that time they spent really getting to know me — because this is going to be our relationship. I need to trust you. You need to trust me, and that sometimes takes time,” Rankine said. 

Through all the brands she considered, Right at Home was the only brand that she felt a solid connection with. Fortunately, after several months, a territory became available in Rankine’s desired area, and she got to work straight away making a positive impact on her Texas community in Southern Denton County, Western Collin County, and the Mid-Cities. 

Her background in education and sports, she realized in hindsight, was not wasted or thrown to the side when she made this change. Rather, it instilled in her the mindset of resilience and perseverance she needs for tackling business ownership in such an emotionally demanding environment, and doing so with a contagious smile that benefits clients and caregivers alike.

Rankine can’t help but wonder if she would have opted for a career path in senior care from the start had it been visible to her beforehand, but she firmly believes that everything happened the way it was supposed to for her. Through her education and background, she learned valuable skills that have made her successful in her current role as a franchisee. Through her brother’s accident, she gained a new level of empathy and compassion that led her to find her purpose in serving seniors and adults with disabilities. 

“I want to have a successful business,” Rankine said. “But I don't want to do this unless it's a joyful success. It has to bring you joy. And for us, we are helping people and that's just pure bliss for me. We're helping people daily, and we're able to see that.”

Watch the full webinar here

Read a summarized transcript below, which has been edited for style, clarity and brevity.

Powills: These are my favorite types of interviews. I've interviewed presidents, rock stars, athletes, but I'm always more excited about talking to franchisees because the story is always impactful. At some point, you made a decision that you were going to take your life, your career, into your own hands and do something special. So, let's start with your story. How did you fall into franchising? What was your pathway to becoming a franchise owner?

Rankine: Well, it's not a traditional story. I know many people in franchising come from a business background, but for me, it happened because of an accident. My brother was in a tragic car accident in 2011, and at that time, we needed to hire a homecare agency to assist him. One day, while on a Southwest flight, I saw an advertisement for a homecare franchise. I remembered meeting the gentleman who came to assess my brother, and he mentioned he was from Wall Street. That made me realize I didn't necessarily need a business background to pursue this opportunity. My own background was finishing a PhD in education with a concentration in athletics, and I was working as a high-performance director at the United States Olympic Committee, which was quite different from healthcare. But I always felt like a caregiver at heart, and it seemed like the right move for me. So, I followed my gut and pursued looking into franchises. That was 11 years ago.

Powills: So, in 2011, your brother had the accident. When did you see the Southwest advertisement?

Rankine: It was literally about three weeks after the accident. Life was still chaotic, but I saw the ad.

Powills: Your story aligns with many people who enter senior care without prior experience in the industry. Sometimes life's challenges lead us to discover gaps in our communities. Was it emotionally challenging to navigate caring for your brother while considering a career pivot?

Rankine: Absolutely. Despite the emotional toll, I realized there was a significant need for this kind of care. Seeing other families struggling with similar situations made me recognize the opportunity to make a difference in a different way than I had been doing with my PhD.

Powills: Did you feel any warning signs in your previous career that pushed you towards making this pivot?

Rankine: The tragic accident made me feel fearless for a while. I realized I could make this jump, especially after talking to someone who had transitioned from Wall Street to our industry. I also learned that I didn't necessarily need a healthcare background to succeed in this field, which was motivating for me.

Powills: From the time you saw the advertisement to when you started seriously considering franchising, how much time passed?

Rankine: It took about a year. The franchise system allowed me to ease into it, attending webinars and gradually taking the next steps, all while maintaining my role at the Olympic Committee.

Powills: Were you discussing this journey with others, or was it mainly within your immediate family?

Rankine: I spoke to my father, who had some reservations, but my mother was supportive. She saw my nurturing spirit and believed I could do well in this field. My brother was also excited about the idea. While some friends thought I was a bit crazy, they ultimately supported me because they saw the silver lining in a tragic situation. For me, it was important to pursue something I was passionate about and felt I could make a difference in every day.

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