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  • Why 2024 might be the year to go out on your own.

    Author: Nicole Madigan

After graduating as a registered nurse in 1988, Di Geddes, worked in a variety of nursing sectors, before a series of life events prompted her to go it alone in 2021.

“I had come out of a nasty divorce, I had been in a marriage where I had been unable to meet my true potential.

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“I began to think if I have fought hard to recover from divorce, rebuild a new me then if now was not the time to work somewhere that was in alignment with my values, there was never going to be a time.”

While Ms Geddes had a goal to be true to herself, she wanted to prove there was a better way to deliver disability and aged care, by focusing on compassion and joy, rather than making money.

But going out on your own can be daunting, and being aware her area of expertise was nursing, Ms Geddes set about getting advice from people that new about the aspects of business she didn’t know.

“I got my insurance, my admin system etc in place. I had a very small amount of money set aside to fall back on.”

She then worked out how much she’d need to charge to be able cover her mortgage repayments.

When it came time to launch, the experience was “scary, exhilarating, confidence building, and isolating”, Ms Geddes said.

“I’m never a fan of not knowing what is happening next, and although I never once thought it would fail, it was still scary - I had two kids living at home, I had a large mortgage, and it was a massive thing to do with no partner to save me or support me if it went belly up.

“But it was exhilarating, because I was being me, and if I succeeded it was because of me and if it failed it was because of me. This meant my tombstone would not say ‘could have, would have, should have’,, it would either say ‘she did and she did it well or she tried her hardest’.

“This was a chance to prove to everyone who had never seen my potential they had missed out.”

The gamble paid off.

In Jan 2021, Exceptional Care For You was just Ms Geddes working out of a home office, with 1 client and a total of 16 hours of care a month.

Fast forward to January 2023 and Ms Geddes, as CEO, is joined by an operations manager, business manager, administration manager, client liaison officer, marketing consultant, a book keeper, a clinical nurse and 45 other casual careers. The business now has 50 clients.

“By February we will be doing close to 3000 hours of care a month,” she said.

“Our clients love us, we have a 95 per cent retention rate for clients, once they come they rarely leave.

“Our feedback makes me emotional every day. My dream has come true, our carers and nurses are wonderful. They go above and beyond in every visit to deliver compassionate care and bring joy.”

Ms Geddes says the biggest challenges were managing the business side of things, working long hours and finding time for self care.

Coping with the loss of clients, and supporting their families, was also difficult.

“But seeing my dream in action takes my breath away every time I have time to stand back and see what I have created with the help of my team.”

“It has taken nearly 57 years to get here but I am loving it.”

For anyone thinking of branching out on their own, Ms Geddes has this advice.

“Be prepared to give it your all, be disciplined, and outsource whatever you can.

“Don’t start a business to make money, do something that you enjoy doing and the money will make itself,” she says.

“Get support where you need it, I didn’t know how to be a business woman, I knew what to do clinically but still didn’t know so much so I joined a business womens’ group and learnt so much from the other women.

“Celebrate your wins no matter how small and really celebrate your big wins. Acknowledge, discuss and learn from your failures.”

And finally, love what you do.

“Every night when I put my head on the pillow I know my business has made a massive difference that day through the little things that we deliver.”

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Nicole Madigan

Nicole Madigan is a widely published journalist with more than 15 years experience in the media and communications industries.

Specialising in health, business, property and finance, Nicole writes regularly for numerous high-profile newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Before moving into freelance writing almost a decade ago, Nicole was an on-air reporter with Channel Nine and a newspaper journalist with News Limited.

Nicole is also the Director of content and communications agency Stella Communications (www.stellacomms.com) and a children's author.