Business Partners Share the Joys and Challenges of Owning a Senior Care Franchise
Business partners Lindsey Mendenhall (left) and Dina Chatwin run five FirstLight Home Care franchises together in the Denver metro area. The pair opened their first location in August, 2021 with three caregivers. Since then, they have grown it into a booming operation with 120 employees. Below, they share the joys and challenges of running the senior care franchise together.
What Attracted You to FirstLight Home Care?
Dina: I came to the home care industry first as a daughter who had needs for my own mother. I knew that it would be a company that I would choose for my own mother.
Lindsey: The thing that drew us to FirstLight was the way the corporate office spoke about and values the caregivers. It really drew us in. Dina and I strive to talk to our team on a regular basis. We thank them every single time we speak with them and find ways to show our appreciation. When we realized FirstLight’s culture of support and appreciation for its care staff, it was an easy decision for us.
What Did You Do Before Investing in FirstLight Home Care?
Lindsey: I ran my own preschool/daycare while raising my kids. Eventually, I went back to school and got my business degree. I closed my preschool shortly after graduating and worked in the commercial appraising field for almost two years before Dina approached me with this business adventure. I was halfway done with courses to become a certified appraiser when I chose to switch to something that is more compatible with my personality and goals. It was one of the best decisions of my life.
Dina: Prior to buying FirstLight Home Care, I did corporate finance, then after I got my MBA, I worked in mergers and acquisitions, and corporate turnarounds. All those areas have greatly helped me in this business. After my mother got sick, I wanted to work in an industry that could help others. When I learned of FirstLight, I knew it was where my heart was.
What Do You Like Most about FirstLight Home Care?
Dina: I know what it is like personally for our clients and their adult children when they make that first call looking for help. I have literally been there myself. It can be one of the most difficult days of someone’s life. I love that we get to make a difference and provide comfort to families.
Lindsey: My favorite thing about this business is helping people. I love providing relief and respite and being someone they can count on. I know the toll this can take on family members and their relationships. Being a family caregiver is rewarding but very hard, and I like to remind people in that role that getting help is OK!
What is Your Advice for Women in Business?
Dina: My business life motto is “SOLVE the problem or LEAVE the problem. But do not LIVE with the problem.” In business, there will always be challenges, so face them immediately.
Lindsey: Set up a good work-life balance, which is very difficult as an owner or leader. Work will always be there — your kids won’t be. I would also advise female leaders to try lending a hand instead of pointing fingers. It demonstrates humility and a team mindset and promotes a more positive work environment. Offering assistance presents a learning opportunity for ourselves and our employees, and this will lead to more efficient and lasting problem-solving.
What Do You Like Most About Your Partnership, and How Do You Share Daily Tasks?
Dina: Lindsey and I have been friends for over a decade. I feel so blessed that every day I get to come to work and see my friend. Of course, there are times we disagree, which is vital to have differing opinions, but friendship always comes first.
Lindsey: We have divided responsibilities based on strengths and what brings us joy. She excels with finances and numbers, and I will hire caregivers and talk to leads all day. We stick to our lanes pretty well but run everything by each other. I like having a business partner. She is the only person who can truly understand my pressures, stress, joys in success, and disappointments. Dina and I are friends first. When things get stressful, Dina is great at making me laugh and diverting the conversation to our friendship.
For more information about the FirstLight Home Care franchise, visit https://www.firstlightfranchise.com/.
Demand for Senior Care Services
With FirstLight Home Care, families have peace of mind when looking for quality senior care. According to AARP, an estimated 10,000 people turn 65 daily in the U.S.. This aging population is driving the demand for in-home care services.