Death is a subject so taboo that people are often in need of comfort and familiarity wherever they can get it.
Jessica Boyd was a private caregiver when she came across an ad for a women’s mentor meeting at her local Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She attended just to see what it would be like, but she ended up leaving that meeting knowing that she wanted to be a business owner.
That class started a relationship between Jessie and SBDC advisor Nancy Stoll, who would later end up being a great partner and teacher to her.
“She delivered great advice from day one,” Jessie said. “I was very nervous the first meeting, but Nancy brought great relief, and her expertise made me feel like, ‘Yeah, I can do this!’ I left that class determined to be a successful female business owner.”
With Nancy’s support and some one-one-one advising, Jessie created two businesses over the span of seven months: End of Life Caregivers and the Vivian Walker Hospice House. They are sister companies that provide complete hospice care for the dying, through clients’ homes and residential in-house care.
Jessie utilized other free classes and workshops the SBDC offered, helping her create her businesses’ branding and marketing content. She learned how to look for clients, how to help others, and how to be respected as the owner of multiple businesses.
When she started End of Life Caregivers, Jessie was the sole employee trying to find her way. Over the first three months, she was able to hire and train six employees. Jessie said that with Nancy’s help, she was able to “create, market, and expand my business in an efficient and trustworthy way.”
When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, Jessie’s businesses were significantly affected because of how hands-on her employees must be with her clients. COVID-19 also made it even more lonely for her clients, who already deal with the terminal aspect of their care.
“Nobody should have to die alone,” she said. “During COVID, a lot of people are, and it’s very saddening. Once we get our clients, we become their families.”
Business slowed, but Jessie was able to keep her employees working. Instead of having multiple clients at a time, they pared it down to one or two. Before, multiple caregivers would be assigned to the clients, but now they have more one-on-one time for bonding.
Jessie is “extremely proud of her accomplishments and the excellent people she met along the way due to the SBDC.” Her companies continue to provide loving care to those who are dying, and she is hopeful for the future.
She looks forward to both businesses continuing to expand and helping care for more people. She loves becoming their support system and helping ease their nerves. She now serves two to four 24-hour care patients and has only two-week breaks between her residential clients. She put together a therapy group, Come to the Table, that is a dinner and discussion surrounding all things death. Additionally, she has a book coming out that is about the transformation from Human to Heaven that will be finished by 2021.
“If it wasn’t for Nancy, I would not be here,” Jessie said. “What she does is so important, and I appreciate everything that was available for someone like me. The help of the SBDC that was offered to me was awesome.”
For more information on End of Life Caregivers, visit Facebook.