Annie Tsoumbris dreamed of running her own business when she was a young girl, inspired by her parents’ example.
And now she has achieved that goal, as a franchisee with Home Caring in Adelaide.
A registered nurse, Annie showed her commitment to business by starting an MBA, even before she bought her franchise in winter 2022.
“I was ready to do something different,” she says. “I started my nursing studies and registration overseas and came to Australia over 12 years ago. When I started nursing here I was working in residential aged care.”
Annie progressed her career, taking on a nursing coordinator position, and then moving into management roles.
Her rise into more business-oriented roles forecast her eventual leap into business ownership.
“I worked as a residential manager, and a care planning manager; I was involved with a big team on the residential side.”
In these roles Annie found herself missing the direct contact with clients. She was also disappointed that it was difficult to deliver a high standard of service.
High standards of customer care motivated the move
“It was the quality and enjoyment of personal care that led me to change my career,” she says. “I thought maybe I could do something with my leadership and bring some high level protocol and personal care to my clients’ lives.”
So why did she choose the Home Caring franchise model?
“Why? Well, first of all the franchise manager Bill Lockett is a gentleman. He’s not too pushy, he gave me the right information and was very patient, and that encouraged me to find out more about the business.
“I met with other team members, and it all felt right. I like the business model and its values align with mine.”
Home Caring operates on a joint venture basis, sharing the investment and the profits with the franchisee and providing a guaranteed salary. But while Annie liked this structure, her motivation wasn’t financial.
“I was earning a higher salary before, but I bought the business because I can see future gains,” she says.
Even though Annie was familiar with the aged care sector, she admits it was a big learning curve to shift from the residential field to aged care and disability at home.
“It was a challenge learning how the system works, and the policies. However there is self-learning and learning on the job each day, and plenty of support from Home Caring.”
Finding a new balance as her own boss
Annie also found it took time to adjust to a new routine and new responsibilities, particularly as the mother of a young son just starting school.
“There were times I had to be out with a client, and times I needed to be with my son. Now I have found ways to make family time work with my business. I’m committed and dedicated to my business, but I’m learning to balance!” she says.
“I work Monday to Friday, and I am my own boss. I enjoy the flexibility – whether you like to work early or late you can work at your own pace.”
The business is growing, and Annie is expanding with it. She began her business working from office and is excited to move into an office location early next year.
“That will help build team connections with my staff,” she says. “That was my initial goal.”
Annie points to a strong team culture as one of her big achievements in the business so far.
“I’ve been lucky enough to build a team which is delivering our brand value, from managers and nurses to operational lead and support workers. Everyone in the team is working in the same direction, we are all there supporting each other.”
Home Caring franchisee’s dream delivers
The market is packed with potential and Annie plans to extend and develop her team and increase the number of clients.
“We have a lot of referred clients, and we want to take the business to the next level of service,” she says.
The business currently delivers in-home services for disability and aged care clients. The next goal is to get into the business of specialist disability accommodation (SDA) and supported independent living (SI) services.
Annie’s Tranmere territory in Adelaide includes a very diverse community with cultures ranging from Chinese to Greek, from Italian to Vietnamese.
“We started opening the door into local community. I’m Chinese, and here other communities are not so developed so we are introducing ourselves into Asian communities with free lectures to build knowledge, to help people understand what’s available in the community.
“We were recently part of a local community festival, which was brilliant. It’s a goal for us to deliver more into the community.”
“I did bring my own vision and standards focused on customer care and listening to the client. That was the concept we built into our team. We have such positive feedback from clients, which is making it all worthwhile.
“I feel empowered, and I’ve empowered my team, doing what we set out to do, to deliver more for our Home Caring clients.”