Being Their Voice
Podcast with Stephanie Humphreys
Being Their Voice
In this episode of the Banowetz Podcast, Stephanie and June talk about Stephanie’s experience with balancing work and home life while doing what she loves and being her own boss.
June: Well, welcome back to Banowetz Marketing. This is June Schmidt here this morning. Glad to be here on this day, and I’d like to welcome today, Stephanie Humphreys, who is a business owner in so many different aspects. We just enjoy talking about that. She is a serial entrepreneur, and of course, along with that, we think serial killer, but she is killing it in business. Welcome, Stephanie, tell us a little bit about your story. Tell us about you.
Stephanie: Oh my gosh. Well, I am pretty much originally from Cedar Rapids. I love Cedar Rapids. I love Iowa. Spent some time out of state, after my husband and I first got married, but we came back and I’m so happy, so happy that we did.
So, I graduated from Lynn Marr and I’m a Hawkeye. I went to the University of Iowa, became a physical therapist there. But over a series of I guess, circumstances and decisions that we’ve made, my husband and I decided pretty early on that we wanted to try to forge our own way, I guess you could say, and started with some of our own businesses pretty early on.
So, I bought my own business in 2017 and it is Right at Home, and we do in home care and assistance. Our mission is just to improve the quality of life for all the people that we serve. So most of our clients are seniors, but we also have some dependent adults or adults with some physical disabilities.
We can actually assist anyone over the age of 18, but I think a lot of people associate us with senior care and just assisting those people with activities of daily living, we call them. So it could be helping them take a shower or brushing their teeth, getting dressed, cooking a meal, or preparing their breakfast.
Just things that we probably don’t even think of.
June: Take for granted.
Stephanie: Exactly. Yep. But for whatever reason, those tasks that get a little bit more challenging or difficult, or maybe just can’t do them at all anymore on our own. So I have a team of caregivers that goes and works with people in their homes on those tasks.
June: And that’s so relevant for our state, but I want to dial it back just here for a minute for our viewers, and that is in my experience, entrepreneurs are a very interesting lot, and I mean that with an incredible amount of respect.
Stephanie: Thank you.
June: So talk to me about, so were you raised with an entrepreneur, dad or mom?
How, how did that all get started?
Stephanie: You know, I, that’s, that’s a great question because I was not, I was not actually, my dad’s a retired pharmacist and he was in that profession for probably close to 40 years. He is of the baby boomer generation, and I guess I assumed that that’s what I would do, because, you know, that’s what I watched him do, just a tremendous work ethic.
And, um. I dunno. I he could probably count on one hand the number of days that he missed work. You know what I mean? Kind of not the way work ethic is now, unfortunately. Yeah. But yeah, that’s another subject.
But, for me, I think I figured out pretty early on that I wanted to try to find a way to support myself and didn’t really enjoy working for other people.
I just, I saw my dad worked really hard, but at the same time, you know, here were all of these. Corporate executives kind of deciding when he works and how much and how much vacation time he would get and his pay, and just, you know, things like that. And, I think I figured out pretty early on, I didn’t really act on it early on, I’ll say that. But I can, I have memories of when I was a teenager and I was at my first job at McDonald’s and just thinking while I knew I wasn’t going to do that line of work forever, and I of course was in high school and I got through college with that job, and I’m just thinking kind of the same thoughts.
I just didn’t. Someone else was controlling my pay and when I worked and how much I worked and things like that. And, no, it just didn’t settle with me. Very good. So however, yeah. But I, so I, I went to college, I have a master’s degree in physical therapy, became a physical therapist because again, that’s what I thought, you know, I’ll be a physical therapist for 30, 40 years or whatever.
And so I started doing that, uh, late nineties, early two thousands. And. That was good. I enjoyed working with my patients, but it was still that I’m working for somebody else and someone else’s deciding what shift I work and how many vacation days I get, and you know, if I’m sick, I have to call in and say I’m sick and just, so to still didn’t really like that.
So, but I kind of took a break from that for a while when we started our family and I was a stay at home mom for 10 years and. You still kind of don’t call your own shots because then, you know, you have these little ones that are running the show. But then my husband ran a business during that time, so I watched him do that.
And so I think kind of between both my husband and myself we have a similar mindset of trying to. Just make our own way. Then just kind of watching the daily grind that my dad went through for 30 40 years. Combination of those two things I think really drove me to finally feel like, well, I could do something like that too.
June: It’s really important for our viewers and our listeners to hear. And alongside with that, you talked about at the very beginning when we were visiting, that you moved away from Iowa. We did and then came back.
Stephanie: Yes, absolutely.
June: You know, we look at our young folks who, many of them there are like, get me out of here. I need to go somewhere else. And I do think that’s very valuable.
Stephanie: I agree.
June: However. Tell our viewers about why it’s, why you decided to come back and spend the best part of that for you.
Stephanie: Yeah. You bet. So, yeah, the grass isn’t always greener, and we lived in the desert, so there really wasn’t a lot of grass anyway.
So, yeah, when I first became a physical therapist, then surprisingly enough, because there’s always been more than enough jobs in the healthcare industry. But, uh, for whatever reason, there really weren’t that many physical therapy jobs available in the state of Iowa when I graduated. In fact, I, I know I had an agreement actually with St Luke’s at the time.
They had given me some money to help me pay for school and things like that, and then in exchange, I was going to work for them for two years. Well, they did not have a position to offer me. So that fell through. I had an opportunity to come up in Las Vegas and that was still around the time actually that I met my husband.
It was kind of a whirlwind time, but he didn’t have any trouble finding a job out there. And so, yeah, we moved out to Las Vegas in the year 2000 and it was good. Completely different environment, different climate, different people. We did a lot of traveling out there. But the longer that I was there, and especially after our older daughter was born out there, and having gorwn up here in the midwest and wanting that midwest experience for our new family and things like that.
So I started to feel like I wanted to come back. I valued more the education system here, the, the healthcare system. Most of my extended family and my parents are still here. So having having our children grow up with them in their lives and, and things like that.
So, and it’s hot. The desert is just really hot. I never thought I would get tired of the sun, but just for me personally, I, you know, I missed rainstorms and. You know, the changing leaves and maybe that first snowfall and just some of those nice moments associated with the change of seasons and stuff like that.
June: So that’s really, really good to hear. I, you know, and the other thing is I’ve listened to you talk, Stephanie, and as most of us are, many of us would say in our own minds that healthcare in one form or another. Is one of our number one concerns.
June: Talk to us a little bit about how you have seen healthcare change.
Primerely in Iowa, and what you do is assisting in helping so many people in important ways.
Stephanie: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So I still remember the days that, you know, I was on my parents insurance, the insurance paid for everything. You could go to the doctor whenever you needed to.
June: Whomever you wanted to.
Stephanie: Right, right. I mean, over the years there’s just been such a scaling back of what’s covered, who you can see, a lot more being paid out of pocket. Especially, you know, we really appreciate this being self employed, my husband and I, because we have to purchase our own insurance and. It’s not the best.
It’s frustrating because you feel like insurance is calling the shots. Of what is going to get covered and what isn’t, rather than the medical professionals and things like that. But even in this day and age, that’s where I feel really good with right at home because we are providing that assistance in the home to hopefully prevent future problems.
I mean, especially with, you know, some older adults and some seniors that have some preexisting health conditions, or maybe they’ve already had some hospitalizations or some surgeries or some health events that we can help them stay in their homes, maybe prevent further injury, make sure they’re still eating well, taking their medicine when they’re supposed to be, maybe getting the exercise that they’re supposed to be, socializing.
Just we’re really the eyes and ears for. For those seniors. And like you said, even when we moved away for a while, and that’s what we really see now is adult children are spread out everywhere. You know we have a client right now that, you know, her daughter is in Alaska and her son is in Florida.
And so, we’re in communication with those adult children and, and I’ve talked to adult children that are in other countries. And they just need someone like us to care for their parents and then communicate any concerns or just serve as a resource for their parents if they need additional assistance or care or things like that. So we’re really overseeing people’s lives.
June: That’s really valuable to hear.
Stephanie: It’s humbling. And that’s why it made, it’s just, it’s such an honor to be able to come into someone’s home and it’s their home. They have every right to maintain it however they want. And, you know, they can still call the shots there, and we’re there working for them and what they need. So it’s, it’s humbling and it’s an honor.
I would say the utmost is when someone is receiving hospice services and they’re, you know, near the end of their life, and perhaps they need 24 hour supervision. And so that is something hospice can’t provide. They are kind of in and out. So our caregivers come in, and I know sometimes our caregivers are there when our clients pass away, and it’s, it’s just, yeah, humbling. And. I just, I’m just honored to be there.
June: So you really have a great opportunity to partner with generations.
Stephanie: Absolutely. Yes.
June: Because there, I’m sure it comes a point where, yes, those needs are critical, but more and more that child in Alaska or that child in Florida are making more of those decisions.
June: For their parents. So that communication is key. So vital.
June: But one of the things that you were talking about before we were on air for our viewers and listeners to hear about is that Stephanie really likes the medium of podcasts and many, maybe in many instances would like to do podcasts of her own. So share with our viewers and our listeners, Stephanie, what that might entail, what you’d like to be able to do.
Stephanie: Well, like you said, I think that, you know, especially with, with podcasts and, you know, digital marketing, social media, things like that, that’s part of the beauty of being in a franchise system, uh, that I have a contact at the corporate office for right at home. That has really helped me increase our presence out on the web, essentially.
And you know, he follows all of the Google analytics and things like that. Things I don’t really want to do. You have people to do those things, which is great. But, uh, I, yeah, podcasts, I started thinking, that really early on just because even from a networking perspective and all the different people that I meet in this industry, healthcare or senior care or anything, and interviewing those folks and other professionals.
But not only that, I mean, our clients have some great stories to tell. You know, there’s still World War II veterans out there that have stories and just are how they grew up. It’s just so different than course how things are today.
And so to record that and to put it out there for people. To know and document their life. I sometimes, you know, I still feel like in our society that maybe seniors aren’t quite given the credit or attention that they should.
Which, yes. Yeah. Culturally that I think you might find in other cultures where they’re highly revered and you know, things like that. So it just seems like time, and again, I mean, I’m meeting somebody that I’m in their home, but, and they’re telling me about their lives and I’m thinking, why can’t I make this into a podcast or record this discussion that we’re having at, you know, his or her kitchen table and things like that. So that’s why.
June: It’s a connecting thing again. It really, really is.
Stephanie: Yeah. So it’s fun.
June: Remind your viewers again, What year did you buy right at home? Did you invest in right at home?
Stephanie: I did. So Right at Home has been in business in the Cedar Rapids area for six years, and I bought it from the original owner.
She started the franchise here in 2014 and I bought it from her in 2017, so two and a half years.
June: know one of the things that you were sharing when we were off camera that I’d love to have you share with the viewers is what your role initially was and how that’s evolved because you and I were talking about leadership concepts, so tell us about that stuff.
Stephanie: Okay, so. When I first took over, you know, I really, I had to learn every single process and I am still responsible for a few of those processes. It didn’t take too long that I felt like, okay, I need to pass on more processes and responsibilities to other people in the office. But the, the key to that is having the right people and you know, we’ve gone through a couple of couple of people in the office that weren’t the best fits. So, you know, we had to get through that time and identify someone else. But I, right now, I just, I really feel like I have a strong, loyal team in the office that is running the day to day operations.
So that my main focus is I’m just always thinking about where else can I go, what else can I participate in? Who else can I meet? And just getting that message out of Right at Home and what we do. Cause we’re not the only home care company in town, obviously, but I just, I feel so good and passionate about what we do that it’s not, I mean, it’s not hard to promote. It’s a necessity.
June: And what a wonderful place to have your business.
Stephanie: And I just, and it’s, it drives me, I mean, our caregivers inspire me. What they do is, it’s not, it’s not easy work, you know?
June: It’s not, you know, serving.
June: Serving with heart and like, like you intimated, it’s work ethic.
Stephanie: That’s right.
June: It really is. You have to be willing to work.
Stephanie: That’s right.
June: So we have the young generation, we have millennials and younger, that do love to give back that want to be entrepreneurs.
June: They want to pursue that. So if you could give some pieces of advice to these youngsters and you know, you’re even talking to your three daughters, right? What would you tell them?
Stephanie: Oh my gosh. What would I tell them? You know, you have to, owning a business is, it’s certainly not for, for everyone. Right. You know, I, my best friend that I’ve had since second grade, she probably looks at me and thinks I’m crazy because there’s an element of, of risk. There’s, there’s uncertainty with it.
Yes, there, the income potential is there, of making more than average or more than I really ever would as a physical therapist. I mean, let’s be honest. You could make less too. And so just having, knowing going into it, knowing this is may not be stable. And I’ve, I’ve had to try to learn that myself.
Because what we do can really, it can ebb and flow for sure. So getting used to that and yeah, being your own boss, I think you have to have a, certainly a certain level of, of confidence, and just autonomy about yourself and just feeling comfortable making those big decisions or making decisions for other people.
And then, yes, you have staff that’s looking at you for, for those decisions. Like, well, what do we do now? But I don’t know. I don’t feel like it’s really been that hard, I guess.
June: Well, you’re in the right seat in the bus, as the saying goes, right.
Stephanie: That’s how it feels. It really does. Cause even I have the background in health care, which is great, but I never owned a business before.
You know, never took a single business class. I hated economics.
June: I think that’s important for these guys to hear!
Stephanie: I hate Quickbooks! Then I make my husband do QuickBooks. Cause he loves that. And of course he’s a business owner too. And if he wants to sit in front of the computer and crunch numbers, great. I don’t really want to do that.
So it’s identifying, you know, where your strengths are. Yes. And then any other tasks that maybe you don’t want to be muddled down with, empowering someone else to do those tasks. And that’s what I’ve had to do because I just, I can’t be everywhere and I can’t be every one.
But you certainly have to, you have to get the right people in those positions and then give them the freedom to go with those.
June: And there just encapsulates 20th century skills.
June: That, developing that high performance leadership team.
Stephanie: Yeah, exactly.
June: So that you can do what you love to do.
Stephanie: And you have to walk, walk the talk. I mean, certainly you have to set the right example for the whole office. You have to set expectations. Yes. The culture. Just have expectations in place, have standards in place, and then stick to those. You know, be consistent. I think be available. I’m a very available business owner. Aanybody in the company or anybody out in the community knows they can just call me directly if they need to or want to.
I think a lot of people are respectful of that, but I’m very…
June: You’re accessible.
Stephanie: Accessible. Yeah. And people appreciate that.
June: You bet they do.
Stephanie: They like to hear that the owner is involved daily.
June: Have direct involvement.
June: So we are a marketing firm by our very nature, and we love to serve people. And so with that thought in mind, Stephanie, I’d like to ask you if you have a marketing question, a marketing issue, or as my boss Sarah Banowetz likes to say, a pain point.
June: What might that be, so that we know how that we could serve you?
Stephanie: Right. I mean, I’ve tried a variety of things. I’ve, I have run a commercial before I have done, you know, I’m an avid NPR listener, so I’ve done spots on IPR. Um, I’ve really, like I said through my web guy, I just call him my web guy at Right at Home, we’ve really optimized our, it’s not, maybe not social media presence, but just even people finding our website.
June: Yes, that’s critical
Stephanie: Yes, absolutely.
June: And you’re not the only one in town.
Stephanie: And as a result, you know, when people do a Google search, you know Right at Home comes up first.
And then also we partner with a survey company. So we are reviewed every single month from our clients and our caregivers. And so, and then I’ve, I have put that information out there. I mean, you have to kind of make yourself vulnerable to an extent, but then you better be good because, the exposure, you know what I mean?
June: It’s immediate, you’re vulnerable.
Stephanie: Yes, the feedback we have received, you know, not so great feedback sometimes. And I have gone online and address that.
Stephanie: And so you just, you just have to be on top of those things, but I do feel like it has paid off, so, yeah.
June: So Stephanie, you were talking about pain points.
June: Things would be helpful. At this juncture in for your company.
Stephanie: Right. So, um, well for me it’s, I think we were talking earlier about having an interest in starting a podcast. Cause I’ve, I’ve tried different marketing and I, for me, what we do, I feel like it’s almost the, the connections that I have made with other providers or other agencies, the hospitals, and just continually continually getting in front of them and reminding them, hey, you know, Right at Home, we’re here. Let us know if anybody needs anything.
So, I almost feel like that has paid off a little bit better than some of the blanket marketing, like commercials or, you know, running an ad in the paper, things like that. And, and what we’ve done.
June: That’s yesterday.
Stephanie: I know.
June: Isn’t it?
Stephanie: Right. So for me, and I’ve, we’ve really amped up our social media presence and we get a lot more people finding us through our website.
So I feel like that’s going pretty well. But the podcasting, which I have an interest in, and it’s just not knowing where do you start with that?
June: Great question. You know, and listening to you talk, Stephanie, I hear you doing and saying a lot of the right and really good things. You’re having that physical presence.
Yes. Huge. And I think particularly in a community such as Cedar Rapids , right?
Stephanie: Because it’s, you know, it’s fairly good sized, but yet it’s small.
June: Right. It’s a big town.
Stephanie: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
June: And we’ve talked about connections. Well, I have to tell you I’m incredibly excited because you’ve talked about the fact that you really do want your next step to be a podcasting and you’re giving me the first opportunity to share with you what’s on the forefront in this company. And that is my colleagues are in the process of developing, and I can say this as an educator, a podcast curriculum, so that someone, an entrepreneur or business owner, such as you can be taught the essentials and how to create a podcast.
Stephanie: That would be perfect.
June: And to network. Because in my experience, as I talked to my son who lives in California and listen two podcasts every day on his daily commute.
June: That this really is the cutting edge of technology in our country. It’s here in Iowa and it’s here right in this very location because we are the people that are doing podcasts here, as you can see.
Stephanie: I think that’s great.
June: We will be in direct communication with when this is formulated.
June: Love to have you be one of our students.
Stephanie: No, that’s fantastic. I’m happy to hear that. Yes. Cause that’s just, that’s been the obstacle to overcome is just you have a notion of maybe what you think a podcast is or what it takes.
And I’m thinking do I need a bunch of special equipment? And then I do, I’ve done Google searches, you know, how do you do a podcast and any amount of information and you know, you could kind of do one on your phone and then upload it. And that doesn’t seem very professional, and yet I just have all these people from clients to other professionals in the industry that it would just be great to have a conversation with them and they have a story to tell and
Stephanie: Yeah. How do you. How do you get that started and how much time does it take and what’s the platform where someone would even find my podcast?
You know, we have people in this office that can do that. And what I also hear you saying Stephanie is, you’re a busy lady. You would not be as successful in what you’re doing if you weren’t incredibly, incredibly busy.
June: And your time can be best served by bringing in someone in who has that expertise.
June: And has the information to disseminate, to share with you,
Stephanie: That’s right.
June: You know, per diem or in bit pieces so that you can pick and choose a la carte what you want to do and then develop, put your own personal touch to that.
Stephanie: That’s exactly right. And that’s another thing that just, that I enjoy about Right at Home. I mean, I am part of a franchise system and that’s why I struggle with the word entrepreneur because I think of an entrepreneur is someone that just started something from scratch, just came up with a product or a service or an idea that didn’t exist before.
And so I don’t know, that’s just me, but so I took over something that someone else had started. Not that I haven’t, like you said, put my own spin on it and my other, my own expectations and made a lot of changes and things like that. But, that’s what’s the beauty of being part of a franchise system that I have a corporate office.
That’s right. So they, they can put out their guidelines or best practices, you know, things like that. But as an owner and, but I can do, as I see fit in my market and, you know, in my state and things like that. But I have peeps, I have people, that I can go to because why reinvent the wheel? Make it maybe make it better.
Yeah. But you know, so that’s great.
Stephanie: That’s great.
June: So is there is anything else that you’d like to share with our viewers that you’d like them to know about right at home as we get ready to wrap up here?
Stephanie: Oh my goodness. I’m just, I’m just so proud of, of our business and our, our philosophy. I just feel very strongly about the staff that we have in place, and I have staff that just, you know, lives our mission every single day.
And that just, that makes my job easier and I can feel better about just getting out in the community and talking about right at home. And I, it pretty naturally, I think, comes out when I’m, when I’m talking to people about it and just feel good about what we’re doing, and I will never say that we’re perfect and we have our challenges
just like the whole industry does, you know, healthcare as a whole. But I think the way that we’re dealing with them and, and the fact that we’re dealing with them, recognizing them and dealing with them, sets us apart. We’re very responsive when someone does need help. I mean, gosh, I’ve gone to meet families on weekends, in the evening hours.
Between me and my staff, we just kind of feel like we’re putting our capes on and problem solving and figuring out what we can do to maybe bring that person home from the hospital safely and things like that. So our response,
June: The heroes of healthcare!
Stephanie: Kind of, that’s kinda how it feels. I mean, it’s, and, you know, getting this, getting the staff set up to support that person when they’re at home.
And it’s fun. It’s fun.
June: Great! Stephanie, so to conclude, tell us how we find you. How do we locate you?
Stephanie: Well, my office is right on first Avenue, so I don’t think we’re too hard to find. But, our website is www.rahcr.com. And like I said, my office is on first Avenue. We’re at 2616, on the corner of first Avenue and 27th street.
And our number is three one nine, eight two six, six six zero eight and we answer the phone 24 hours a day. I don’t recommend that you call at two in the morning, I won’t be answering the phone at two in the morning, but we do offer 24 hour on call service for what anybody needs.
June: Well, thank you so much.
Thank you! This was fun!
Yeah. We just appreciate all the information and how we can in the future partner with you and on behalf of all these here at Banowetz Marketing, I wanted to say thank you for joining us today. Make it a great day.