It was advice from a college professor in 1983 that catapulted Page Cole to entrepreneurial success 30 years later. Page was at a crossroads in his life, wondering what to do after 23 years as a Baptist minister. While searching for his next career path, he remembered the words of his college professor.
“30 years from now, if you’re not doing something with seniors, you ought to; because there is going to be a huge generation of people who are going to need help.”
And that professor was right.
Cole, now 51, is a man who doesn’t steer off course. He has been married for 32 years to his high school sweetheart. And, he spent 23 years of his life mentoring people at church. Being a minister allowed him to do what he loved – meeting people at a time of crisis in their lives and helping them work through it.
But when his ministry turned into more of an administrative role, he realized that it was time for him to search for a new career outside of the church walls. Today, Cole wears more than one hat. Not only is he a successful entrepreneur who owns and operates three small businesses, he’s also a software developer and author. But most importantly, he is living his passion in his new found career; a career that not only provides critical help for others but one that played a major role in his own life when his parents’ health quickly declined.
LOOKING FOR A NEW CAREER IN YOUR 40s IS NO SMALL FEAT
Cole didn’t have a business degree and like a lot of people his age, he had concerns about his skill set after being in the same field for 23 years. He had a master’s degree in religious education, but he wondered what that would do for him in the real world. And that’s where his age and experience came into play. He knew what he liked and what made him happy. So, he thought back to what brought him the most joy in life. Cole always had a special place in his heart for seniors. Even when he was a youth pastor, he enjoyed interacting with senior adults in his church. And that was it. He had found his niche.
BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS STYLE
Cole knew that starting a business from the ground up was not his style – so he set out looking for a career that would allow him to help seniors and looking for a company that would guide him along every step of the way. So, he sat down and typed in three magic words: senior; home; and care. That search led him straight to Visiting Angels, one of the largest in-home senior care companies in the nation.
DO YOUR RESEARCH – YOU’LL THANK YOURSELF IN THE LONG RUN
Once he found Visiting Angels, Cole did his due diligence in researching the company, a move he says is critical for your career. He went out in the community and asked people about their experience working with this company. And Visiting Angels encouraged him to call other franchisees to get a real life snapshot of what becoming a franchisee entailed. Cole asked, asked and asked some more. He learned people are typically excited about helping others avoid their own hard knocks, so they are willing to honestly answer your questions. The more research he did, the more comfortable he was taking the next big step.
YOU MUST TAKE THAT LEAP OF FAITH
It’s the scariest part for any entrepreneur, but a step that must be taken. In order to achieve your dream, you must take that leap of faith. Cole walked away from a six figure job and opened his own Visiting Angels franchise for an opportunity to live his passion of helping people.
“Just ask yourself what you would need if you found yourself in a specific time of crisis and then find a way to meet that need for your clients.”
That’s advice that Cole thinks all entrepreneurs should live by – advice that certainly resonated with him. Throughout his entrepreneurial journey, Cole found himself realizing the very need for in-home care when his father was diagnosed with brain cancer and his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after. All of a sudden, “things got real” Cole said, and he relied on in-home caregivers from Visiting Angels. His experience validated the need for the very service he was providing to others.
THE TRIUMPH OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Cole now owns three Visiting Angels locations and the territory rights to the entire metro Tulsa, Okla., area. So what’s next for him as he is now an entrepreneur in his 50s? Taking his own advice by continuing to meet the needs of his seniors and their families in ways that will set him apart from the crowd – because let’s face it, the senior care industry is booming as the aging population continues to burst at the seams. He just published a book called Protecting Your Nest Egg to help seniors avoid being scammed. He also developed and created his own senior care app called LifeChest. It houses all the critical information families should have on them at all times about their aging parent/s, such as medicines they’re taking, emergency contacts, etc.
EXPECT HURDLES ALONG THE WAY
Every entrepreneur has their own hurdles when starting a business. Understandably, it’s the financial hurdle that most entrepreneurs have in common. After all, you can’t start a business (or a franchise) for free. But the financial hurdle did not distract Cole from his dream because he knew in his heart the need for senior care was out there. Cole knocked down this hurdle very quickly and soon found himself with a new career he was passionate about and a new congregation of people who relied on him (seniors and their families), all while securing his family’s financial future.
REALIZING RISKS ARE WORTH YOUR REWARD
It may be hard to see it while you’re jumping entrepreneurial hurdles. But remember, those hurdles will eventually bring you to the finish line. Cole is now able to help seniors and their families at a crossroads in their lives – one of the biggest decisions they will ever have to make with and/or for their parents – to place their parent/s in a nursing home or provide them with in-home care. With his new business, Cole is able to help families grant their parents’ wishes of aging in their own home, surrounded by their own memories. It was the perfect hands-on career he was longing for. In fact, it has become even more than he had dreamed.
For more information about Visiting Angels (which has more than 450 private duty agencies throughout the United States), visit www.visitingangels.com.