Update: In Two Years, We Scaled From $5M To $18M In Revenue
This is a follow up story for The CareSide. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi there! My name is Gareth Mahon. I’m the co-founder and CEO of The CareSide. We’re a family-owned home care and nursing service provider for elderly and disabled individuals headquartered in Perth, Australia.
Many clients reach out to us when they need assistance caring for a family member. In Australia, it’s common for seniors to spend their twilight years living at home rather than transitioning to nursing care facilities, and that’s where we come in. We provide services such as nursing care, companion care, and personal care.
Our goal is to help seniors maintain their autonomy so they can enjoy themselves and continue to be productive members of society. Since starting out in Perth in 2017, we’ve opened offices in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, and most recently, Sydney.
You can find our original starter story here.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
Over the past two years, we’ve scaled from $5 million to just under $18 million in annual revenue, which has been an exciting trajectory to see.
The majority of our revenue comes from our Perth office and we have over 100 care staff in Perth. Perth also is one of the smaller cities in Australia, which means there’s room for more future growth.
We aim to expand our caregiving and business operations teams in other locations throughout the country in the coming years to help further establish our brand’s footprint. We also recently hired an investment bank to help us find the right capital partner for our future endeavors!
We’ve invested more in PPC (we now get about ¼ of our traffic through this channel) and overall SEO efforts. We have been working on our custom internal CRM software to further manage our operations and facilitate connecting care seekers to carers. Our CRM helps us keep our costs low and in turn pass savings along to our customers with more hours of service.
Here’s a graph of links received from referring domains, earned between May 2020 and November 2022:
Providing more hours of service for the same cost as our competitors and being receptive to feedback has ensured customer happiness. We have feedback that’s received upon care managers’ request and have team members that keep track of, for example, messages sent through social media, meetings with customers’ loved ones, and Google reviews.
Asking for advice, and asking for help is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself as an entrepreneur.
We’ve also worked on different ways to make our marketing efforts more personal. For example, we added new photos throughout our website of our team and current clients - it is one thing to describe our services and have a few general photos on our pages, but it’s more impactful to include photos that fit in contextually. Seeing our team in action also adds another degree of trustworthiness to our brand.
We’ve conducted a few national survey studies, about most Australians wanting to age in place, seniors’ comfort using telemedicine and what concerns Australians about getting older. You can take a look at the reports if you’d like to learn more:
- Survey: 68% of Australians want to Age in Place (May 2021)
- Will Seniors Embrace Telemedicine? Survey Says, It’s Complicated (July 2021)
- What are Australians’ top concerns about getting older? (July 2022)
Our most recent survey was featured in The Australian and The Canberra Times, two of the largest newspapers in the country! Our inclusion in The Canberra Times was our first in a newspaper. I’ve also written a few guest articles and participated in other interviews.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
Our biggest challenges in the last year have been dealing with numerous agency audits and putting teams together at our new offices while being based in Perth.
The audits were something we struggled to deal with in our first year of business (and we had 7 in that timeframe) due to our unfamiliarity with them, and although we understand them better today, they are still time-consuming. I still believe there is a silver lining because the audits help us learn about what we can do to improve operations.
It’s difficult to travel back and forth to different locations, and I’ve always preferred to be hands-on by meeting potential team members in person and handling different aspects of our operations. I’ve had to grow comfortable with delegating, for example, who conducts interviews for new management, and with meeting many new team members on video. The first time we hired new managers was to oversee the opening of our office in Melbourne in 2021, and I was hesitant to entrust new people with a task that I historically was in charge of.
Knowing the new managers would do a great job and seeing how they delivered in 2021, I felt more at ease when opening up our new Sydney office this past October.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
My role as CEO has evolved significantly in the last year. In the early days of The CareSide, I was deeply involved in all aspects of running the business. As the company has grown, my position has evolved. It’s no longer feasible for me to manage each component of the company.
I worked hard to get The CareSide off the ground, and as it continues to grow, I’ve come to put a group of talented, knowledgeable people in charge wherever possible. We’ve hired a new CFO to oversee our company financials, and as I mentioned earlier, new managers opened our office in Sydney a few months ago.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We will ramp up promotion for our Sydney office in 2023. We anticipate the teams in our other offices will continue growing. In the next 5 years, we plan to expand into other large cities in each state. Within this plan also comes hopes for merging with smaller home care and aged care companies, organic growth through more investment in marketing efforts, and updated iterations of our internal CRM.
We’re continuing to strive for our services to reach more people and to create more job opportunities for talented healthcare professionals in Australia’s aged care sector.
What’s the best thing you read in the last year?
I try to read newly released business books every year to see how they connect with any major shifts in the workforce, learn about fresh perspectives, and reflect on areas where I’ve needed insight. The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World by Dorie Clark was my favorite read of 2022.
It’s timely given how much the workforce has been shaken up since 2020, and how many people are going through transitional periods in their careers. I read it early on in the year, and it kept me in check to properly manage my time and map out the small things that could help me realize my longer-term goals for my business.
In terms of podcasts, I am a big fan of The Tim Ferriss Show.
His book, The 4-Hour Work Week, inspired me to start a business so I could have more time with my family and a better work/life balance. It’s enlightening to listen to his in-depth discussions with guests from a variety of fields.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
I understand that it is disheartening when you’re struggling to grow your business. From my experience, it is important to pause to reflect upon what you’re doing right and what could be stunting your business’s growth.
To gain clarity on the next steps to take, you can retrace your steps and ask yourself, for example, what drove you to start your business in the first place? How did you overcome any initial obstacles when getting started? Are any of those initial obstacles resurfacing now, or related to your current struggles?
Another important thing to consider is your pride. Is there advice you could seek but you’re apprehensive about asking for it? Something I’ve had to remind myself is that asking for advice, and asking for help is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself as an entrepreneur.
Speak with individuals in your network, connect with new people, and see what’s worked for them in their growth efforts. If you have friends or acquaintances that are business owners, lean on them. You’ll find some efforts can be applied to various types of businesses, and you don’t necessarily need to seek advice from those working in your niche. You could have a question about your business goals that seems like a dead end, but you can learn new insights that will reveal unexpected possibilities.
Ultimately, you have to stay focused on your business goals. You will get what you focus on; the area of the business you pay attention to is the area of the business that will likely do well.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are! We’re seeking experienced carers/support workers, registered nurses, enrolled nurses, and care managers. Carers provide support for personal hygiene, transportation, social support, and light housekeeping. They’re also vigilant of daily medications, and shop for and prepare meals. Registered nurses oversee care workers in a set region and provide both case management and direct nursing care.
Enrolled nurses support clients under the supervision of registered nurses; tasks include assisting with personal care needs, regularly re-assessing client well-being, and recommending any necessary care enhancements.
Care managers oversee a team of support workers and nurses to ensure that clients receive the best care possible. Care managers act as ambassadors for The CareSide when meeting potential clients, serve as clients’ main point of contact, ensure compliance with industry standards, and more.
We are also hiring for business roles, including an HR coordinator and accountant.
Roles are full-time or flexible. There are more details for applicants on our careers page, and if interested you can send your CV to: [email protected]
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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