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Episode 33 of the Senior Care Industry Netcast is live!

We were fortunate enough to have Marisarah Larvick, BilliesChoice.com (Billie’s Choice Home Care, Lakeview, MN) on our show and she offered some great insight and #advice for other #seniorcare and #healthcare providers.

About This Episode:

Marisarah Larvick, Billie’s Choice Home Care

EP 33: The Senior Care Industry Netcast with Marisarah Larvick, RN, BilliesChoice.com 2
Billie and Marisarah

Billie’s Choice is locally owned, and family operated, servicing the southern metro of the Twin Cities by myself, Marisarah Larvick, my husband Cody, and our wonderful caregivers.  I’m a registered nurse and have been working in busy emergency rooms for over a decade. I’ve had the honor of caring for patients in all stages of life. The way of the emergency room is to diagnose, treat and discharge. Over the years I’ve taken care of many wonderful aging patients and have always wondered what happens to them after they are admitted or discharged. How are they functioning at home? Who takes care of them?

That’s where Billie’s Choice comes in. We have personally hired and trained our team of caregivers. They are thoroughly screened, bonded and insured. Our mission is to hire the best and care for our clients like family. Taking on a caretaking role as a family member can be very stressful. We would love the opportunity to provide companionship, homemaking and personal care services to your loved one. Let Billie’s Choice help you take care of your family in a way that allows you to truly focus on enjoying your quality of time together.

Check out the blog post with the #video 📹 and look for more episodes coming soon as we travel the U.S. to find the leaders in #seniorcare to share their insights, experiences, and joy. If you’d like to be on our show, check out the link here: https://www.seniorcareindustrynetcast.com/netcast

Full Transcript:

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry NetCast with leaders with three or more years of experience in the senior care industry share their advice. It’s six questions in nine minutes, so let’s get to it. All right.

In a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Hi there, I’m Marisarah. I’m the owner of Billy’s Choice. I’ve been an RN for the past 12 years. The majority of my career, I’ve been working emergency medicine, but most recently I’ve started our own home care company called Billy’s Choice named after my grandma who I helped take care of. As she was aging, she had Parkinson’s. So Billy’s Choice is a private duty home care company and we specialize in keeping seniors independent in their homes for as long as possible.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Perfect. So what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

I think it’s just being able to meet them where they’re at and meet their family members where they’re at and help keep them independent in their homes. Hearing their wonderful stories, their journey in life, they know so much more than any of us. They’re so experienced.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

I think to just providing respite for the family members. We do a lot of that where we’ll come in and provide respite at night time to allow the wife or the daughter or son to sleep or come in during the day so they’re able to go out and make some time for themselves. That’s been really rewarding to have them call and say, “Thank you so much. I feel like I have a bit of myself back again because of what you guys are doing.”

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Fully agree. Getting a break, taking a break, being able to sleep at night, whether it’s a senior or even your own kids.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Yeah, I feel like a service for infants that would be helpful too, have someone come in and help take care of your child so you can get a few hours of rest.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

When our triplets were born, they’re 13 now, so they’re not little anymore. But when they were born, I remember a wonderful NICU nurse who would come to the house and she would come in from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM for cash. There was one night a week where I actually slept, and it was a miracle.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

You [inaudible 00:02:21] felt like a new woman.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. I knew nothing bad was going to happen. They were so tiny coming home, but I knew in her hands I could sleep all night and not worry a bit. So having a caregiver in the house, able to handle pretty much anything and letting you sleep in another room or on the couch or wherever is just so nice.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

There’s a good peace of mind.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

What Has Been Your Experience with Marketing Senior Care Online?

Absolutely. Okay. Let’s talk about online marketing a little bit. I hear from other senior service providers that online marketing can be challenging. It is confusing. It is ever-changing. What has been your experience or thoughts, especially right now when we’re in a weird spot in our world and it’s hard to do a lot of in-person networking right now?

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Yeah. I think we’ve all had to just learn and adapt. I think having a strong online presence is key. You want to have a really strong Google… What’s the first thing that you do when you search a business you might be seeking services from, you Google them, or you check their Facebook page, you check their website.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

So I really think it’s important and that’s something that we’ve taken pretty seriously with our business, is making sure we have a strong website, strong, good Google presence, a Facebook presence. We get a lot of compliments from people that are calling saying that they’ve really liked what they’ve seen. Our website has been really helpful.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

That’s a reflection of your business. So we get a lot of our leads from people that just find us on Google. Then they search our website. As our business is growing, the referrals and word of mouth are happening from referral partners. But everyone’s still searches you. So posting to your Facebook every day, going live once a week, not that you’re selling your services, you’re just giving them something. Giving your viewers content, something that might make their day better, or they might find useful.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

I just think all those things together just really make your brand and make people want to utilize your service. And I think you need to be on multiple different platforms. You need to have Google, you have to have a good website. We have tried doing leads or buying leads, things like that. One of the websites, caring.com, I think we’ve used.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

It’s been okay. It’s not my favorite way to get business or get leads. But what I’m finding is by having that profile, people that search that site are seeing our profile and then they’re looking at our website and then they’re calling us directly.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

So being on multiple different places is helpful. That’s really helped our business because I would say the majority of our clients have come from online marketing.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Especially right now. You’re exactly right about all that. I think that you’re right in that having a website that’s up-to-date and you have taken the time to add some of that personalized content. I know there’s a beautiful picture of you and your grandmother on there. It tells your story. To me, those stories, the about us, or your story of why you got into this business, is so helpful for people because it puts a face to the person that, or the organization that you’re trusting to take care of your mom and dad, or spend the night in your house that you’ve never met before. Whatever.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Yeah, it’s very scary.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Yes. So I think people will always try to vet your services or at least get to know you a little bit. So I love your website, but I really love the personalization that you put into it and the story behind it. So those are the things I think make a whole lot of difference.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Then the one other piece I wanted to add to that is when you have clients that are really happy with your services or family members that are, ask them very nicely to write you a nice testimonial. Then utilize that. Put it on your Facebook. Make sure it’s on Google. Put it on your website because that just gives you credibility. That’s what potential clients are looking for.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Leaving with some kind words, it’s hard to remember to do it. It’s even harder to ask. And sometimes you don’t have to ask, you get a thank you note, you get an email, you get a note in the mail, whatever. But having that is definitely worthwhile. So it’s something to strive for totally.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

What other successful leaders in the senior care industry, like yourself, would you like to acknowledge?

There are probably people who have been mentors. They have been inspirations or organizations, if not individuals, who would you like to talk about?

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Yeah. So we’re up in Minnesota and in the Metro area, just south of Minneapolis, St. Paul, about 20 miles in Lakeville. So in our area, it’s a huge community and there are tons of industry leaders and senior communities. We have great healthcare up here.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

But I would like to… Care Providers of Minnesota is an organization that I joined when we started our business. They have been awesome with everything with COVID. They keep up with all of the state guidelines or recommendations. You get daily emails. So they’ve just been wonderful. They’re just an email away. If you have any questions and they quickly get back to you. So I’m really happy that I’ve had them in my back pocket.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

I have had really great luck and met a lot of wonderful people with the Elder Resource Association, south of the river. It’s just a fun networking group that all the senior industry, people that are in the industry from wellness coaches to marketing directors of senior communities, to Humana brokers for health insurance. We all can just get together and pass around our business cards and build relationships. That’s been great. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people that way.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

I think another huge thing was just getting to know my competition. All home care, private pay home care companies do things a little bit differently. Some specialize in 24/7. Some specialize in short hours of service. So getting to know your competition so that you can pass along referrals if it’s not something that you specialize in. Or if you don’t have the caregivers available, because we all know that’s the constant battle, is finding good help and be getting those shifts covered.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

So a couple agencies that have been really great for me to work with has been Touching Hearts at Home and Dignified Choice Care. They’ve just been great. Great people for me to reach out to and learn from.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Then hospice agencies, Grace Hospice, Moments Hospice, and Minnesota Hospice also have been wonderful. Their nurses and their team have taught my caregivers so much. It’s been wonderful.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

I’m just really trying to nurture those relationships. It’s been harder now with COVID, but I’m looking forward to getting back out there and continuing to grow those relationships.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s awesome. You know what? I think that there’s so many seniors to go around. There’s so many people that need help that you definitely can get to know your competition in a friendly way and work off of each other’s strengths. Totally believe that. There’s no way that no matter how many home care agencies you have in your local area, you cannot possibly serve every adult that is in need. So it’s great that you feel that way and that you practice that way. That’s awesome.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay.

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

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Let’s see. My husband and I own our company and we’re a small business owners. It can be very challenging, especially that first year of business. But just keep on, keeping on and just measure those small… Some days you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, but just you are. You’re making a difference. Just take it one day at a time. Treat your clients and their families the way you want to be cared for.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Ask for help. What I mean by that is I’ve definitely identified areas that I’m not good at. I’m not good at the social media, like the online presence. So what have I done? I’ve contracted that out. I’ve hired someone to help me do that, to make my brand look well and to be a reflection of me and take that off my plate so that it frees me up so that I can focus on other parts of the business because there’s not enough hours in the day to do all the aspects of the business. So I’m really good at saying, “I don’t like doing that. I’m going to have this person helped me.”

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

I’ve also brought on a team member, Jenna, who’s been amazing. She does some of my admin work and she hires and does recruiting. And again, that’s a full time job and she’s helped take that off my plate. So just know that. Ask for help.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, delegate.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Yes, delegate. I’m a nurse. I’m the best at delegating. Then I can get back to what I’m good at, being a nurse and working on those nursing tasks and making sure that I’m more client focused and all that other stuff I like to have other people help me with.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Do the stuff you love and that’s what also-

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Yeah, exactly.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s what keeps you fresh. That’s what keeps you happy in your business, too, and not burn out is if.. [inaudible 00:11:56] You’re right. Not only does the online stuff take a lot of time and mental energy, but the recruiting does too.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Yeah, that’s a whole nother can of worms there.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

So yeah. So it’s nice to have somebody to offload some of that stuff. Absolutely. All right.

When you have a win in life, it could be a win in business. It could be a win. It could be a graduation from high school or college or somebody in your family having a celebration.

How do you like to celebrate?

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Oh, I think having a nice, refreshing cocktail is always a good way that we like to celebrate. Just hug. I have three young children and a husband who’s wonderful, Cody, and just spending time with them, giving them a hug.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

I would say to any exciting event or anything that happens in my life, I immediately call my mom. So I would say those are the things that I do to celebrate.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Sharing it with mom is always a great idea.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Yep.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

She appreciates that, I’m sure.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Oh, of course.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. My mom says share with me before you put it on Facebook.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Yeah. Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

She gets annoyed by that. First haircut. Wait a minute. For one of the kids, I remember her saying, “Share that with me before you put it on Facebook.”

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

I’m trying to just try not to hide behind the phone and keep the phone away because you’re always telling your kids get off your iPad. You don’t want to be like that. So I find I don’t take enough pictures because I try to keep my phone. So it’s the balance. It’s hard.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, exactly. Well, thank you very much for being on the show and for doing this. We’ve learned so much about you, your service area and what is really important to you in your heart. So thank you very much.

Marisarah Larvick, RN:

Yeah. Well thank you very much for having me.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right.