Need to Generate Income? What if You Could Enter the Growing Home Health Care Field to Financially Benefit From the “Uptick in World Aging and Chronic Disease?”
There’s no two ways about it: The fact that we humans are all getting older every day is as sure as the inevitability of death and taxes.
Your challenge is to figure out how to use this to your advantage… And do it in a way that will make you money. One big idea is to develop a home health care oriented business related to helping people deal with chronic health conditions. And do it now:
- Don’t be like, Vivian, one of my former coaching clients, a 60+ physical therapist, who had an idea for a product to be used by Alzheimer’s patients.
- It was a great idea: Simple, elegant, effective, dignity-enhancing, and inexpensive to manufacture.
- A product that, if developed, would have sold like hotcakes, and made her a wealthy woman.
- Sadly, she was so bound by fear that her idea would be laughed at that she waited a decade to seek help in bringing her idea to fruition.
- In the end, just as I was aiding her to explore the manufacture of her “baby,” she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, and didn’t survive her treatment. Talk about a tragedy.
So as you’re sitting there, wondering what sort of business you can get into that will help you successfully ride out this current recession, think about the obvious:
- What is it that people will always need, no matter what the economy is doing?
- What resources can you personally access to serve these needs?
- How might you be able to set things up to provide yourself with an ongoing, recurring monthly income? One that can be grown, but that won’t likely be discontinued, once you acquire a customer?
Your answers to these questions are crucial: They could help you develop a recession-proof business that will fund your retirement.
Actually, these are the very same question the “big boys” of industry are currently asking. Based on their answers, they’re taking action – they’re shedding old businesses that don’t support the answers they’ve arrived at, and acquiring new ones which do.
Need proof? Check out this recent article from the New York Times, “Royal Philips Sheds Old Businesses for New Directions,” which notes that execs at the Dutch industrial giant have become convinced of two things:
- The population is getting older and
- It is becoming more interested in becoming “greener”
The article notes that these two trends – aging and greening – are guiding Philips as it transforms itself, reorganizing its divisions and jettisoning (non-compliant) product lines while picking up others. (For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to the aging aspect and save going green for another day…)
Of course this is worth our attention. After all, Royal Philips is a well-known a manufacturer. By the way, we’re not talking about the folks who bring you Milk of Magnesia or the petroleum company. We’re discussing the firm previously known for its manufacture of home electronics products, including:
- Magnavox televisions
- DVD, Blu-ray and home theater surround-sound devices
- MP3 players, home appliances and portable music accessories
- Philips incandescent light bulbs
- Norelco shavers
- Sonicare power toothbrushes
“Uptick in World Aging”
These days, Royal Philips is selling off its home electronics businesses and instead delving into the business of selling hospital and at-home scanning and monitoring equipment and high-tech light bulbs made with light-emitting diodes.
- “We were a technology-driven company,”said Gerard J. Kleisterlee, the chief executive of Philips. “But that is only one element. Now we are focusing on care cycles. ‘Health and well-being’ is a common theme that everyone works on.”
- Or, as the company’s chief financial officer, Pierre-Jean Sivignon, puts it: “An uptick in world aging and chronic diseases will drive our business.”
To support this new business direction, Philips has acquired a number of existing firms: First, they bought Lifeline, a home health care monitoring system, perhaps best known to millions of Americans for an old television commercial whose tagline was, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
Dozen of comedians had with that line, but despite the fun, the fact is, almost 40% of all seniors fall each year, and protecting them when they do, is big business. Look at these facts related to falls and medical helplessness at home:
- Falls are one of the most serious health risks among seniors over the age of 65, affecting more people than stroke and heart attacks combined.
- Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury in those people 65 and over.
- 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. 40% of those hospitalized for hip fracture do not return to independent living and 20% will die within a year.
- More than half (55%) of all falls by seniors take place in the home. An additional 23% occur outside but near the house. Lifeline can intervene in close to 80% of all falls.
- Most falls go unreported, but it is expected that 35-40% of people over the age of 65 fall each year.
- Those who fall are 2-3 times more likely to fall again.
- Additionally, many other chronic medical conditions place millions more seniors at risk.Cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, diminished hearing and eyesight, and Parkinson’s all leave seniors vulnerable to helplessness at home.
No wonder Lifeline currently keeps track of 720,000 elderly or infirm at-home customers in the United States and Canada. Doubtless the number of people who subscribe to this service will continue to grow as our world population continues to age.
The Importance of Developing Recurring Income
- Most noteworthy is that Lifeline uses an intriguing business model, which you might do well to consider: they give away their products and charge a monthly fee for their use.
- Explains Ronald Feinstein, Philips Lifeline president, “I don’t want to sell blood pressure cuffs and defibrillators, I want to give them away and charge a monthly fee.”
- Currently, customers pay $35 to $45 a month, for use of a pendant or a TV set-top box that connects to Lifeline. If they experience a medical problem, they push a button on the device to summon help.
Not surprisingly, considering that their target market is people who are aged or infirm, the company does lose about 35 percent of its subscribers to death each year. But you might wonder whether they even notice: After all, since the world continues to age, they have been able to grow their subscriber base about 10 percent a year.
- At this point, the company estimates it owns 60 percent of the home-monitoring market in the United States.
- The final addition to their home-healthcare monitoring revenue stream: the 250 installers who show the subscribers how to use the devices also sell them other products, like fall detectors and automatic pill dispensers.
- But to round out their presence in the medical monitoring field, Philips also sells cardiac home monitors that transmit data to a doctor’s office, home defibrillators and a variety of out-patient monitoring systems for assisted living operations.
Chronic Health Conditions Require Regular Treatment
Next up, Philips bought Respironics, the home health care firm which is best known for their positive airway pressure (PAP) machines and accessories used to treat sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
- As with Lifeline, Philip’s Respironics business uses a business model which charges a monthly fee for use of their equipment.
- And finally, Philips entry into the Home Medical Equipment field means that they can roll out ancillary products, such as oxygen therapy, light therapy and respiratory drug therapies. You can also develop ancillary products, once you get your business started…
Home Health Care Future Is Bright
Philips Healthcare anticipates great successes ahead with their home health care businesses: Says John L. Miclot, CEO of Philips Home Healthcare Solutions:
- “By leveraging our strengths as Philips Home Healthcare Solutions, we will improve quality of life for at-risk individuals through better awareness, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and management of their conditions – in the home.”
- “We are looking to a bright future as part of Philips Healthcare. We’re expanding our efforts to simplify healthcare by providing innovative solutions for the home that connect patients to their providers and support independent living for at-risk individuals.”
Should You Try For a Slice of the Home Health Care Pie?
- A Dog-Walking Service for the Homebound? – Pets are great companions, of course. But those who are physically challenged may have difficulty exercising their pets, washing them, trimming their nails or getting them to the vet. This business is similar to the pet care services provided for people on vacation, but would give you the benefit of regular repeat business.
- A Personal Shopper/Delivery Service? – “Have car, will shop or run your errands.” Many physically challenged people would appreciate having access to a service that runs errands and even does grocery shopping. Alternately, offer a service where you pick up and deliver meals from restaurants which don’t normally offer delivery. Anyone who has difficulty getting into and out of a car would be a prospect. Also, home-based business people who are busy would likely appreciate this sort of personal assistance.
- An On Call Barber/Beautician/Massage Therapist Service – Again, the concept is that you take your service to the client, and do the work at their home, saving them from the physical challenges of having to leave their home.
Not interested in providing an in-the-home service?
There are still thousands of other options. How about:
- A service where your clients call in daily, to confirm that they are OK, and receive some message or benefit in the process. Similar to the Lifeline service, this concept requires that your clients call you daily – at a pre-arranged time – to confirm that all is well. Of course, you can augment and personalize the service Lifeline offers in many ways. This would be a service many Baby Boomers who live far from their parents but have concerns over them would find beneficial.
- Or you might offer a subscriber service where prepare you deliver a daily blog post or podcast on a topic of interest – possibly even something as simple as reading aloud a chapter of a book each day.
- Another concept could be running a group call or teleconference on a daily or weekly basis.
- A “virtual book club,” for example.
- Or a specialized virtual support group – could be for people with a specific disability, like fibromyalgia, for example.
- Or possibly a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
- These virtual groups have the benefit of not being limited by geography. You could actually have people calling in from all over the country – your only limitation to a world group being time zones.
- Videos are great too!
- Could you create a series of exercise videos specifically designed for people with physical limitations of one type or another?
- What about a book, workbook, video and journaling program to assist people recovering from stroke or other life-altering illness to relearn skills they’ve lost? Possibly how to survive hip replacement surgery, for example. Or maybe how to learn to love your C-PAP machine – for those newly diagnosed with sleep apnea?
- Finally, my favorite: An Ombudsman Service for people who are challenged by working the American healthcare system. If you’re good at details and cutting through red tape, there’s a huge need for this service. And in some situations – such as arguing with insurance companies – you can do the work from home!
What Makes a Great Concept for This Type of Business?
- Ideally, your new home health care business will not be labor intensive: You are able to do it once, and get paid repeatedly. A subscription service, for example. Or a book you write once and sell many times. Possibly a combination of both…
- A service you provide that insurance companies will cover is also ideal, because it limits your customers’ out of pocket expense and means your payments can be automated.
- Look at your skillsets and figure out whether you can offer a product or service that is unique, solves a problem, and does not require you to “trade hours for dollars.”
- A product or service that is based on your own experiences and your concern for helping others overcome a challenge you have faced. The personal aspect really shines through! This then might be something you market through doctors or clinics which work with people experiencing the same medical challenge.
- And don’t forget the lesson Royal Philips teaches us: Strongly consider a product you can give away, which then allows you to charge a monthly fee for service or maintenance!
Now it’s your turn!
Put on your thinking cap, assess your life experience, and come up with some business concepts and ideas. Then develop a business plan that will put you in the game!
What are you waiting for? Go! Do! Now! The world is aging, and it needs your help!
Doubtless “Survive Economic Meltdown” Wasn’t On Your Bucket List. Hopefully “Startup ‘Second Act’ Business” Was. One Fuels the Other, Of Course. Ready to Get It Going?
Anyone who’s seen the news over the past few weeks knows that the United States is deeply embroiled in a tough economy. In fact, economists recently owned up to the “R” word, admitting recession is upon the land – and has been for the last twelve months.
To which you undoubtedly want to snarl, “You think?”
Let’s See, You’ve Got:
- Employers cutting jobs and benefits – left and right
- The automakers begging Congress to bail them out – just a month after we experienced the mortgage industry bailouts
- The banks, who’ve essentially quit lending money while the credit card companies are arbitrarily lowering your credit limits – even if you’ve been paying your bills on time
- Constant stock market blips and dips
- Not to mention a couple of wars and overall global unrest
Besides which, if your personal finances haven’t already been plunged into the toilet as a result of trashed 401(k) and retirement accounts, it’s likely all the dire news has left you feeling pretty nervous, wondering when the other shoe will fall…
Maybe a Better Metaphor For What You’re Feeling Right Now Would Be This Unsettling Image:
- You’re feverishly trying to build a house of cards on the head of a matchstick
- While simultaneously trying to keep yourself standing upright as you balance atop a rolling log in the midst of a raging river of whitewater –
- Only to look ahead and see a precipitous drop-off as steep as Niagara Falls looming just around the bend…
You’d Probably Have to Call that a “Triple Threat” or a “Perfect Storm” of Calamities, Right?”
Well, whatever you call it, there’s no doubt that you – a successful Baby Boomer with an active Bucket List – never placed “live through an economic meltdown” on your list. It wasn’t even anywhere on your radar. Yet, you now find yourself hip-deep in that “opportunity” with few visible options ahead of you.
So What Can You Do Beyond Wringing Your Hands and Gnashing Your Teeth?
How About Taking Action?
Instead of figuratively hiding under your bed or cowering in the corner, biting your nails as you read or listen to the dismal economic headlines, why not pull out your bucket list and pick out something on it that you can use to create a plan that will allow you to succeed despite the tough times? You know, something that:
- Sounds fun
- You enjoy doing, and
- You could also use to generate some additional income…
Not Sure What That Could Be? Keep Looking at Your List, It’s Really Not That Hard.
If you initially think there’s nothing on your list that you can monetize, look again. Likely there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, something you haven’t made time for – which fits the bill. And it’s probably something you can get going, just by taking baby steps, one at a time.
For example, is there an idea that’s nagged at you over the years, perhaps an idea you’ve had for a better way to do something that’s related to one of your hobbies or passions? You know, maybe it’s an idea for a:
- Better fishing lure
- Healthier way to grow garden vegetables in small spaces
- More effective way to train your pet
- Field guide to successfully living overseas
- Golf putter that’s guaranteed to shave 10% off anyone’s score
- Cook book featuring heirloom family recipes, which you’ve updated to make them healthier
If so, did you ever stop to think that THAT idea might be something you could turn into a business?
Assuming your answer is going to be “yes,” there is some idea that’s nagged at you over the years, here’s your key take away: Once you dust off that idea that’s been haunting you forever, don’t you think now would be a great time to make a plan for how you can finally“get it going?”
Think of it as your legacy, if you want, the way you will be remembered in the world. But do think about it – NOW.
Especially think about how to use this idea to start up a new income stream – while you continue to work full or part time.
That’s What Jan Bosman Did. Here’s How She Tells Her Story:
“When I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, I felt had everything I needed:
- A diploma
- A diamond ring, and
- A signed teaching contract
“I’d been trained by the best… I thought I would teach and retire, while managing a family along the way.
“But about 45 years into my scripted life, I had a new vision – a scrapbook for saving old handwritten recipes and the stories behind them. It all began with my love of collecting recipes from friends and family, using them over and over.
“At some point (I can’t give you the exact moment), I began to see the old recipes in my recipe box in a new way. They became more to me than formulae for good meals; they contained memories of the people who had shared them with me over many years.
“With the passage of time, the recipes took on new meaning and, I realized, they really defined my history. As I got started with my idea:
- I wanted a place to save my special old recipes and tell about them.
- I wanted to create a place where the recipes could be saved and the stories behind them and their creators told and saved.
- I didn’t much care if anyone else wanted a book like I wanted; but the design firm I worked with convinced me that if I wanted a book like this, others would want one, too.
- One of my friends says that the idea was in my heart for 45 years, but I really don’t know
- I do know that fear kept me from breathing life into this idea for many years
- I was afraid that someone would think it was a ‘dumb’ one, so I kept silent
“The evolution of the idea for my recipe scrapbook, Memories of Family, Friends and Food is part mystery, part motivation.
- When I started, I just wanted to realize a dream that had been lingering in my head for a very long time
- Eventually I realized I had to move on the idea or forget it
- I’d inherited a small amount of money at my mother’s death and I chose to invest it in my dream
- Alternately, I could have put the money in the bank and let the dream die
- Instead, I took action. I hired a marketing firm to help me develop and market my idea. I worked with a mentor to “get it going”
- I did not begin with a traditional business plan, nor did I work with any business development organizations to get started.
“What I’ve now learned from my experience is that you never know when you will see life’s patterns in a fresh way.
“The life I envisioned when I graduated is so different from the life I live. I’m seeing better now than I did then… despite the glasses and developing cataracts. So keep your eyes open. You just never know…”
If, like Jan Bosman, you’re ready to start making your dream a reality, there’s no need to be overwhelmed. You can start with baby steps. But you’ve got to start…
You’ve Just Got to Put One Foot in Front of the Other and Start Moving Forward.
- Create an action plan
- Get help to develop your strategies
- Work your plan
Here’s a fun way to look at it:
Jan’s Advice for You If You’re Considering a “Second – or Third – Act” in Life:
- Plan to work hard
- Be clear on your goal
- Be ready for surprises – both happy days and disappointments
- Be ready for unsolicited advice: “Not everyone is going to be as excited about this project as you are.”
- Self promotion takes a lot of time. But you are the best person to promote your project. You believe in it, you breathe it. And without promotion, “Don’t expect your books to fly off of the shelves.”
- Fear is real in all its forms. “Sometimes I’m afraid that someone will tell me my idea is ‘dumb.’ Sometimes I’m afraid to succeed. Fear hasn’t conquered me, but I haven’t completely conquered it, either.”
- Don’t undervalue yourself
- Be flexible, sometimes that’s the only way to get things accomplished
- People WILL help you
- Finally, “follow the dreams that haunt you. You will never know yourself well enough if you don’t”
She adds that she has met hundreds of people she never would have met without this project and it has kept her vital after many years in education and a few in the domestic violence field.
“I am a good speaker and have had a chance to bring a message to people about the value of hand writing, dating and signing the recipes they share with others. Then your recipes, too, can live forever.”
Jan’s resulting book is in binder form so that pages can be moved about. She explains that It is intended to be a place where each person can create an heirloom, one recipe and story at at time. On the cover she’s included a picture of some of her mother’s personal items–glasses, tablecloth, recipe box, pearls, recipe cards, antique Jewel Tea Autum Leaves crock.
Jan’s whole idea with her book is for each person to create their own book in his/her own special way. Sort of a cross between a journal and a recipe card binder – her book consists of:
- 15 acid-free 4 x 6″ pocket pages (total room for 60 recipes or pictures or other memorabilia)
- 15 acid-free lined, two-sided journal pages
- 15 lined recipe cards for sharing favorite recipes with others
- Sample journal page as a model for your writing
- As one purchaser commented about Memories of Family, Friend and Food, “There are few of the author’s words but plenty of room for yours.”
OK, Back to You: So Hopefully You’ve Pulled Out Your Bucket List and You’re Reviewing It…That’s Great!
If you’ve decided to start thinking about generating some additional income via starting your own business, undoubtedly you’re now wondering about all sorts of challenging stuff, including:
- Time Management Challenges related to starting up a new business while you already have a job
- How to keep your Start-up Costs affordable
- Whether you have what it takes to run a business
- How difficult it might be to gain Spousal Buy-In
- Health care costs for the self-employed
- What steps you’ll need to take for Asset protection
- Whether you can really turn a hobby into a business
- Maybe even how much money your idea could actually generate for you, whether you’d need staff to pull off the idea, etc.
Don’t get too stressed over these questions.
They’re all valid concerns, whose answers we’ll discuss in upcoming posts. For now, your main job is to figure out what your goal is with this concept of starting up a business. And – determine which item on your list sounds the most promising… from a business development standpoint.
Feeling better about the economy now? Thought so!
That’s what happens when you take action!