Client Interview: My Independence at Home
Founded in 2013, My Independence at Home is a full-service home care agency that goes far beyond simply placing a compassionate caregiver in a client’s home. The company also provides certified nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care attendants, prescription delivery services, personal emergency response systems, and life preparedness consultations. This offering of services is what makes them unique and continues to grow their business. Over the years, MYIAH has received a plethora of accolades, including 2018 Minority Owned Small Business of the Year and Philly 100. The company has also been recognized by such media giants as Oprah magazine, Entrepreneur magazine, the Inquirer, Philadelphia Tribune, Fox News, and 6 ABC News.
As the accolades and demand grew for MYIAH’s one-of-a-kind services, the founders knew they had to lessen their load financially in order to grow their business. With the help of PIDC, in just a few months, they were able to pay off their high interest lines of credit and plan for future growth with additional working capital. Most recently, MYIAH made the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America with an official rank of 3036 and an impressive growth rate of 128.67 percent.
A lot has changed since PIDC last featured MYIAH in our January 2019 Newsletter. We caught up with Founder and CEO, Lisa Robinson, to get an update on how her business has stayed afloat during the pandemic, what the business community can do to support women-owned and black-owned businesses, and her advice for fellow business owners. Check out our interview below.
Lisa Robinson, Founder + CEO
My Independence Home
Q: What inspired you to start My Independence at Home?
A: “I worked at a home care agency for a short period of time and decided that I wanted to open an agency so that I could impart my beliefs on how those in need should be treated, in addition to ensuring that caregivers felt appreciated. Moreover, on a personal note, as a stroke survivor I understand firsthand that my recovery was very much impacted by the quality of care I received at home. That said, I have made it my mission to ensure that anyone in need of home care who choses MYIAH receives the care they both need and deserve.”
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: “For me what I do daily is not a job; this is my passion. The most rewarding aspect of what I do is providing quality service to those who are typically underserved and overlooked. In my industry, there is a misnomer that home care is only for the elderly, which is not true. In addition to the elderly, MYIAH also provides care to those ages 18+ who have a physical and/or intellectual developmental disability. Being able to employ individuals in our community, particularly those who are single mothers (adding to economic growth), is equally as rewarding.”
Q: How has MYIAH pivoted during the pandemic?
A: “Since COVID-19, MYIAH has become very innovative with respect to the manner in which we admit new participants and how we onboard new caregivers. Specifically, prior to COVID-19 all of these processes were completed in person. Since the pandemic, we have been completing everything remotely, typically via Zoom. Sadly, death is a natural occurrence in home care. However, we are now unable to visit our participants when they fall ill, and we can no longer attend their funerals. MYIAH prides itself on building very special relationships with our participants and this forced separation has been challenging.”
Q: Before COVID-19, in what ways did you grow your business?
A: “Thankfully MYIAH has a phenomenal administrative team and because of their dedication and commitment, we have been able to grow the number of our participants we serve year after year.”
Q: As the owner of a women-owned/Black-owned business, are there any suggestions you have on how the business community can further support this demographic?
A: “The best support we can receive is, as always, access to capital. While very appreciative of the financial support offered by the Government during this pandemic, the same concern remains: ‘What happens after the fact, with respect to positive cash flow and having a seat at the table?’ Statistics show that, although the PPP Loan was put in place to assist small businesses, the majority of those funds were awarded to large companies and, more often than not, minority and women-owned businesses did not benefit from this package. That said, our businesses are most in need now and will remain in need when this is over.”
Q: As a business that has worked to pay off debt, what steps did you take?
A: “We used the EIDL loan to pay off toxic debt that we had taken out at a predatory interest rate because traditional financial institutions would not lend to us. Paying off this debt has afforded us the opportunity to remain as liquid as possible during these very turbulent times.”
Q: Any advice for fellow business owners?
A: “Stay focused on your mission and vision. Yes. During this pandemic you must pivot. However, know that doing so may result in a novel revenue generator you may not have considered but for COVID-19. Most of all, have faith that you will get through this and work diligently to not lose sight of the importance of morale. Your team must always feel supported and appreciated.”
PIDC COVID-19 RESOURCES
View our online resources for additional funding or support for business owners who have been affected by the pandemic.