Shonda Boudet owns and operates Always Best Care, a service that provides in-home care for independent seniors and helps others find a home that best meets their care needs. After spending eight years working in – and hating – pharmaceutical sales, Shonda decided her time was better spent helping others.
Tell us about your company.
Always Best Care is focused on helping families in the position of not knowing how to make the decision of keeping their loved ones – whether they’re seniors or disabled – at home or moving them into an assisted living facility. A lot of people are in that sandwich generation: They have careers and families, but now they’re taking care of their parents. It can be difficult and challenging to do both. We help families come up with solutions on how to do that. We offer caregiving services and respite care, whether it’s a few hours a day or 24/7 care. We also talk to them about strategies for medication management and fall risk management. Or if they’re starting to think their loved ones shouldn’t live at home any longer, we can help them find a safe place to live based on their care levels and what they can afford.
You’ve mentioned before that you have a background in pharmaceutical sales. What was the moment you decided to start your own business? What motivated you?
Probably in year eight of pharmaceutical sales, I went to one of my doctor’s offices along my route. And the receptionist handed me a sheet of paper that, if I was going to bring them lunch, they would only accept food from the following places. In that moment I realized I had turned into a caterer and a delivery person. All I did was bring in food and tell the doctor to sign here for your samples. Driving home, I realized I didn’t want to look back and say, “This is what I did with my life.” At that time my kids were babies. They’re going to graduate from high school one day, and I’m going to give them this speech about how they can do anything with their life. I want them to reach for the stars, be happy and love what you do. How can I give this speech when they’re going to look back at me and say, “Well, you didn’t do that?”
If you love what you’re doing, you’re never working a day in your life.
So I guess it’s like justifying it to your children, then. How can you tell them to pursue their own dreams and say it with a straight face when you never pursued yours?
Absolutely. I started a little project with them on their first birthday, called birthday letters. I journal about them throughout the year. Then I write them a letter for their birthday each year with the context that they’ll read it when they turn 18. Things they did, my hopes for them, and I pick a topic like courage, patience or responsibility. Eighteen days before their 18th, birthday they’ll start getting these letters. They’re getting ready to go out into the world, and I want them to know that I was trying to prepare them. When I was writing these letters, I remember thinking, How am I going to say I want you to love what you do? I have to be able to say it too. You want to have a job that makes an impact on people’s lives. Don’t go home from a job and say, “I hated what I did all day.” I know that’s what I was doing.