Full Transcript:

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry Netcast, where leaders with three or more years of experience in the senior care industry share their advice. So let’s get to it. In a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Michael Connolly: Connolly Care Home Health www.connollycare.com

Hey, good morning, Valerie. First, thanks for having me on the show. This is actually my first podcast or YouTube video, so very exciting. And to tell you who I am, basically, I’m the son of a Registered Nurse who’s also my Director of Nurses now, as well as a salesman. So I went to college to be a physician, and I think I enjoyed the campus a little bit more than most. And so then I decided to, I hung that up and went into medical sales. And I describe myself, I love to sell, so I went into sales, mostly as an account executive in the senior industry. I got trained by the best I would say, and then became time, I needed to do it on my own and see if I could. And so about three years ago, I went off on my own created Connolly Care and here I am today. And we’re doing very well. I’m very proud of the team. So that’s who I am.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s awesome. Well that’s a great story. So you’re your dad’s boss? Is that what I’m hearing?

Michael Connolly:

Yeah. Well, that’s funny because my dad did work for me. He retired, he did a career of timeshare sales and basically taught me everything I know today, as far as sales and from scratch. So he said, “I want to retire with you, Mike.” And I said, “I’m not sure, I don’t think we’ll get along.”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It’s real for me.

Michael Connolly:

Yeah. So my number one draft pick was my mom. She worked at one of the large hospitals out here and it took an act of God to get her over with me all the way. I actually had to, I was thinking about hiring some other Director of Nurses, because I didn’t think she would come. And then I think I stopped asking and then she came.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s awesome. It’s a family business then, huh?

Michael Connolly:

Yeah. Well, I’m the sole owner. I asked my mom if she wanted to own some of the company and she said, “I’m okay with that. You can take the risk and responsibility.” So she was my number one draft pick. Right now, we’re getting close to 50 employees. We’ve grown a large Medicare home health company within two years. We have of Las Vegas’ leading surgeons, world-renowned spine surgeons and world-renowned total joint surgeons that send us the work. And we’re very lucky to have them refer to us. So everything has worked out and in under three years, I’ve just launched a pediatric home care division as well.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. Very nice. So you’re doing great. That is always great to hear that we have family-owned and operated or even sole-owned and operated, but working with your family and some really good success there. So congratulations on all those exciting milestones. That’s awesome.

Michael Connolly:

Thank you. It’s always day to day.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, it is. One day at a time, you never know when things are going to change right? All right. What is the best thing about serving your clients, seniors and their families?

Michael Connolly:

I think that’s the reason you get into the industry, is because you like helping people. And like I said, my mom is a nurse, I’m actually marrying a nurse here in November, and then my whole business is nurses. So I think it was my calling to, fortunately beyond the business side so I don’t have to do any wound care or IV care in the home myself, but it takes special people to go out and care for the senior population. And I’ve been through the whole journey, start to finish with my grandfather all the way through hospice and when it’s done properly and you have a high level of customer service and there’s just a great level of follow-through and outcome, the look on the patient’s eyes and the family, the gratitude, there’s nothing like it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

You’re right. Yeah. Absolutely. Being in a helping profession is so rewarding. It can be very challenging every single day, but very rewarding. So absolutely. Yeah. When a patient is healed or their challenge is resolved, it’s a great feeling for everybody.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Let’s talk about online marketing for a minute. So we have senior service providers of all ages and some have been around and some are older and some are younger like you, so online marketing, it’s confusing. It can be ever-changing. What has been your experience or your thoughts?

Michael Connolly:

I was excited about this question because I talked to my online marketing guy and they do a mix of everything, SEO, which is huge nowadays. I wish I could find a firm that just puts referrals in my lap from the internet, but I don’t know in our industry, if it’s ever going to be that easy. I’ve sold every service there is to sell in the home, and when I marketed private pay caregiving, there’s that company called, I think, For Mom or something for-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

A Place for Mom.

Michael Connolly:

… A Place for Mom, and that sounded good. I’ve never worked with them, but that’s an interesting question because right now, I think everything should be put on the frontline with your marketing people and you need a good website, I like the weekly email blast. I seem to get some good feedback. When I see the people I market to and friends, they say, “Oh, I got your email this week.” And so I think it creates a, what is that? Perception is reality. I think it makes you look a little bigger.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Look bigger and more engaged. Yeah.

Michael Connolly:

But right now, I’m a little skeptical on how much you spend, because I think the ROI is not there.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And everybody’s going to have definitely a different experience. I would say since COVID hit, the value of online marketing for everybody across the board has gone up exponentially. I know we see that because people can’t get together in-person as much as we would like, or in the same ways that we used to, but it’s important of course, to have a great online presence, but I would also say it sounds to me like you have an excellent referral network of physicians and doctors and people who trust you and have worked with you for a long time. So establishing that is also important. And I think the importance of in-person networking in this home care space will always be number one. And then after that, probably online marketing.

Michael Connolly:

Is there anything you’re seeing currently that that works because I’m all ears, I’m listening.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

In our business, which is a separate entity from what we do with this interview, but in our business, we do online marketing for probably about 200 home care agencies across the country and it’s all about engagement. So if you are blog posting, and if you are paying attention to your social media, or you have hired somebody like the guy that you use or us or whoever, to do all that for you, but you still need to participate, you still need to be present in that. You can’t just let somebody else take over for you completely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I think 90% outsourcing it and 10% of your personality and I guess your input, your pictures, your staff, caregiver of the month, honoring the folks that work for you. I think those kinds of things out there on social media help tremendously with online marketing. Really getting out from behind that website and showing who you are as an owner and who your caregivers are, who your nurses are. Those kinds of things really resonate well with your local community. They want to know who they can trust, they want to see your faces.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So that’s my experience and that really does help increase that return on investment for online marketing, is really having someone in your organization be accountable for sharing good information, seems to really work well. It doesn’t have to be every day, a couple of times a week, once a week, even, but I think that works. That works really great.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Let’s move on to another question. I would imagine that there are other organizations, there are successful leaders like you who have made a difference in your life. It might be your mom and dad, it might be, who knows, but who would you like to give a shout out to? Who would you like to talk about?

Michael Connolly:

Yeah, shout out, I think everybody, I wouldn’t name names, but everyone who has trained me and brought me up from the beginning, they know who they are. They have made me into what I enjoy today, which is being, it’s pretty cool. I would call myself a medical entrepreneur or a medical business engineer, that’s what I enjoy and creating new medical businesses. And obviously I have to say thanks to my mom and my dad, their work ethic is second to none. I’ve seen my mom work 30 shifts in a row. That’s what she loved, her background, she’s an emergency room nurse. Actually, her, as my director and my clinical supervisor, they’re both 20, 30 plus year, ER nurses.

Michael Connolly:

So usually in home health it’s a little more dull in the office, but ours is like The Wolf of Wall Street, if you may, the home health arena. And we got a lot of energy. I’m so proud of the team. Just recently, we’ve really just came together. We have nine people in the office. We just expanded and added a suite to support more home health growth more. And the pediatrics is humbling. It isn’t getting going right away so I’ve been back to pounding the pavement and I like getting them up from scratch. You get real dirty and banged up, but it’s rewarding when it’s put together.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. Very nice. Yeah, absolutely. Yep. Sometimes it takes a little time to get some of those new adventures on the way, but I know you’ll do a great job.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Michael Connolly:

Yeah. Well, let’s say somebody that, when I opened my company, I was 31 years old. So let’s say there’s a 31 year old out there thinking about doing it, and I think if you have the referral sources and you think you can, then what the heck? Give it a shot. You might fail, you probably won’t, because if you believe that you can do it and you work until you can’t work anymore, it will come together. You will succeed. So try, if you don’t try, you get nowhere. So the one thing I would say, have you ever seen Deer Hunter?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes.

Michael Connolly:

With Robert De Niro, I still go back and remember when I finally left the company to go off on my own. And it’s similar to the Russian roulette that he plays. And then the bullet didn’t come out, you lived and you made it to the other side. And now you have a business that is thriving. And what do you need? You pay your mortgage, have a little bit of money to go out and see a movie, get some food after the movie. What else do you need? So might as well put it on the line because you can’t take it with you, right? You can only gift it down.

Michael Connolly:

Or I got a new thing in the office and I say, “I want to go out at zero balance.” I want to have nothing with me and I don’t want to owe anybody anything, and I don’t want to leave anybody any debt, but I want to take a lot of risk, calculated risks. And you want to leave a mark, right? You want to do things, a lot of people do a home health and a hospice, but me, I do want to do all three, but I had to stick this pediatric company in the middle because I like different. I like things people haven’t done before. And if you give it everything you got, it’s going to come together.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. It’s hard work. It’s a good work ethic. That’s really what I think is a lot of the difference between just surviving and thriving and then succeeding. So you’re doing a great job and you know what? Do it your way, isn’t there a song about, I Did It My Way?

Michael Connolly:

That’s it. Yeah. I forget who sings that, but any entrepreneur like yourself, you went into that because you didn’t really want to work for anybody anymore. I’m sure you have and you’ve done an amazing job working for other people, they’ve taught you everything you are today, but you had to give it a shot and see, Hey, can I do it with no safety net under me? Right?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, absolutely. And with three kids and 12 years in, we’re doing great. So it is possible. You don’t have to [crosstalk 00:15:45] calculated risk is true.

Michael Connolly:

Let me tell you, women are always most impressive to me because you got three kids, you’re opening a business and us guys, we don’t have any of the kids, as far as mothering them. So we have nothing to complain about, right?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh yeah. Well, I would say I’m a firm believer that women are pretty much, they can work miracles when they need to. Absolutely. And men can too, but I would say that, moms, being that mother figure, it is a little challenging, but if you really have that fire and that passion for what you’re doing and you got mouths to feed at home, and sometimes, I had a spouse that is very supportive of me to this day and those kinds of things that really fuel your fire. So my why is definitely to make sure my kids have what they need and what they want in life and to help them be successful. So absolutely, family does help tremendously all the way around.

Michael Connolly:

I’m excited for that part of my life. I haven’t had kids yet. I haven’t been married. So that’s kind of the next challenge is up. We’ll still be, I hear people say, “Well, I want to focus on the kids,” but I’m going to be putting the kid on my shoulder, running around the office, having him file things or her file things. And then, hey, maybe we’ll be on Wall Street, ringing the bell with the kid on my shoulders.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

You never know. That is absolutely true. Yeah. Involving them is always a great idea, letting them understand a hard work ethic and what it takes. So, absolutely.

Michael Connolly:

I love it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. So last question. When you have a win in life, how do you like to celebrate? And that win could be anything. It could be getting married, it could be someone in your family graduates from college or high school, or you just have a great day or you helped somebody. How do you like to celebrate?

Michael Connolly:

Yeah, good question. And I was asking my fiance last night, if I can answer this question, truthfully I didn’t know it would be broadcasted, but what I like to do, like this past weekend, my little brother is probably my best friend. He is my best man in my wedding. And he’s quite the entrepreneur, he’s up and coming. And he works for a DJ out in LA. So his life is I think, a little more fun than mine, but what I like to do, I like to spend time with family and friends. I love ball games, basketball is my favorite. And the Boston Celtics look like they’re making a championship run here. So if I could celebrate a win at Buffalo Wild Wings with some Mango Habanero Wings and maybe a favorite beverage maybe I could say that on this podcast.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s fine. We’ve had vodka martini, tequila. We’ve had a lot of different answers.

Michael Connolly:

Yeah. Well, that’s what I said to my fiance. I said, “Do they really want me to say, I’ll be showering the room with alcohol?”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

You know what? Sometimes you got to have a big celebration and it’s definitely worth having a few alcoholic beverages. We’ve definitely had that answer.

Michael Connolly:

I’ll tell you something. I’ll tell you, when we celebrate in the office, I got a new thing. We just got a brand new fridge when we hit a goal and we’re coming to the end of a new goal, at the end of this week. And if they hit it, they get a brand new microwave [crosstalk 00:19:54]

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Woo-hoo! Yay. All right. So you don’t have to leave. They can warm up their food right there in the office.

Michael Connolly:

That’s it. We got a great team. So name your price, let’s set a goal and let’s hit it and let’s have some fun.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All Right. That’s an awesome way to celebrate all the way around. Thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us and your goals and everything about your business. We appreciate it. And we’ll make sure that when this goes out, everybody knows how to get in touch with you, especially in the Las Vegas area. So that’s great. Thank you.

Michael Connolly:

Yeah. This was a lot of fun. Thank you for the invitation and popped into my LinkedIn. And I said, “Hey, this is a good opportunity.” And I had known your name too. I think your name is very well known in the home care community. So this is exciting. And like I said, this is my first virtual interview to tell my story and it can only get better from here, right?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. You did a wonderful job. And I appreciate that. And everybody watching will appreciate learning more about you. So you did great. Thank you so much.