Interview with the CEO, Belina Nernberg

How and when did you become involved with 1Heart Caregiver Services?

I went into the caregiving business in late 2003, 3 years after I started LA Jobs, which is an employment agency that provided professional workers at the corporate level. Within the first 2 years of operations, LA Jobs gained the trust and confidence of the local business community in Los Angeles in finding the right person for their personnel needs. It wasn’t long before our clients started calling me for personal attendants who can take care of their family members as well. At first, I would refer them to other home care agencies but as the calls increased, I realized that this was a great business opportunity that I could pursue. The population in the US was aging, the growing demand was evident and I was already in the business of meeting the community’s employment needs.

Tell us a little about the senior care market?

We are an aging nation. Every single day, at least 10,000 people in the US turn 65. This older population – numbered at 44.7 million in 2013, represent 14.1% of the US population. This means, about 1 in every 7 Americans is 65 years or older. As the baby boomers grow older, the population aged 65 and over is projected to be 83.7 million by 2050. The surviving baby boomers will be over the age of 85. Life expectancy has also improved in the past decades. In 2010, anyone turning 85 is expected to live another 6.5 years. People are living longer but they are not getting any younger.

This means that the aging population will require focus on chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, heart diseases, and other disabilities. Our seniors will be needing help with their daily living activities and long-term care services such as those we provide will be very important and inevitable.

What are some of the advantages of being a 1Heart franchisee?

It’s a business that requires a low-cost investment. As everyone knows, there is a huge market out there that needs the care we provide. The senior population is growing every single day. We have established strong relationships based on trust and confidence in our services with local referral sources locally and national brands. We are also very committed to supporting our franchisees as they grow their business.

Who is your ideal franchisee?

That would be someone who has a good balance of compassion and business sense. Someone who is inspired to help the most vulnerable in our society. He or she must have the motivation to push the company forward and realize the senior care industry income potential. Our ideal 1Heart owner is one who is professional, reliable and responsible – not afraid of failure and has already decided in his heart and mind that he wants to be his own boss.

What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

Being a business owner is not easy. It takes a lot of dedication, time, energy and sacrifice as well. Financially and emotionally, the rewards are great and it makes all of the hard work worthwhile. Now that we’ve offered this business as a franchise, the work has multiplied in a way because now, we are doing everything we can to help each of our franchisees realize the same success that we’ve had over the years. The rewards of course are multiplied as well because their success also becomes our success.

Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?

When I made that first step to start my own business, my children were my inspiration. I wanted financial freedom for my family.

When I expanded into the senior care business, my mom inspired me. She was a brave woman who lived for 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer. During those 5 years I was more than 7000 miles away from her and never got to take care of her other than yearly short visits and a lot of long distance phone calls. Providing our service to every senior we care for at 1Heart is my way of giving back to her the love and care that I couldn’t give her because of the distance that separated us. She continues to inspire me and I see her in every smile that I get from the moms and dads that we take care of.

As my companies grew, so did my team. I witnessed the hard work, loyalty and “heart” they had for the company we all helped to build. They inspire me to continue doing what’s best and what’s right to achieve our goals. They are part of my “whys” and when the going gets tough, I get up and move on because I know they are there to back me up.

What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise?

First, you must be sure you’re ready to be a business owner. Be prepared not only for success but most important, for failures as well. Do not think that just because you own a franchise, you don’t have to work as hard or that the money will just pour in. Your success will depend on your commitment to follow and implement the system that has been established by the franchise.

Know your capabilities, what you’re good at, then choose the industry you’re interested in.

In your opinion, why do you think that 1Heart Cares would be a great opportunity for someone?

Everyone can agree that the senior care market will continue to grow in the next 3 decades. We are expecting a landslide of income opportunities in this industry. 1Heart offers a proven successful business model for someone who has the right attitude and dedication to grow their business. Start-up cost is low for a business in an industry that offers so much income potential.

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