Passion and Compassion Are at the Heart of This Nurse’s Business Success

Mar 16, 2022 | Uncategorized

Candyce Slusher had four sets of grandparents that she was close to while growing up, so saw first-hand the passion and compassion it took to care for them in their more vulnerable years. After graduating from high school and then attending nursing school to become a licensed vocational nurse, she discovered these very same qualities in herself

“In my 20s, I was lucky enough to find what I loved and I haven’t worked a day since,” she says.

Since 1995, Candyce’s nursing career has taken her down several paths that have recently led to entrepreneurship. Right out of school, she began working for nursing homes, then in home health and later in assisted living. In 2004, she landed in private-duty non-medical home care.

She spent years working for the largest and best home care agency in San Antonio, Texas, where she grew with the organization as it grew to 180 employees and 100 clients. Candyce was running the agency’s operations in 2016 when she had an episode of bell’s palsy, or unexplained facial muscle weakness or paralysis.

“At the time, my doctor had told me I needed to do something about my stress,” she recalls. “I didn’t understand that what he was saying is that I needed to manage my reaction to the stressors in my life because they weren’t going away.

While the most visible signs of bell’s palsy disappeared in a few weeks, Candyce was left with the realization that work isn’t everything. “I had always worked on work-life balance with my husband, but this was the catalyst for me to really start paying attention,” she says.

Candyce also realized she wasn’t satisfied with the status quo. She went to a workshop and created a vision board. She put messages on it like “Get out of your own way” and “You’re meant for bigger things.” “I didn’t know what it meant, but knew I wanted more,” she says. “I didn’t think about opening my own company though—that took another year or two.”

In 2019, the company Candyce had been working for was sold and within six months, she knew she wasn’t a match vision- and values-wise with the corporate start-up agency she’d been helping. As a back-up plan, she applied for a license to open her own agency. Then on January 6, 2020, her agency job came to an end and by close of day, she had a lead on a consulting client.

“I put something on Facebook and a friend called me with someone who was starting their own home care agency,” Candyce recalls. “The licensing process for my own agency took 90 days and by the time I got it, I was in the midst of helping three other agencies.”

This got Candyce thinking. The market was saturated, but there was still plenty of consulting work to go around. Also, she had been on-call 24/7 in some capacity since she was 22 years old. Maybe it was time for a major change that capitalized on all her years and knowledge of nursing

Candyce registered the business, Slusher Consulting, to have as a safety net while she did pro bono work. Then in July 2020, a few months after the pandemic hit, the state of Texas sent out a bulletin requiring all home care agencies to have an upgraded emergency policy in just a few weeks—a major undertaking considering so many were scrambling with team members feeling scared and getting sick and quitting.

“I was blessed to not have an agency, but thought I could still help,” says Candyce. She developed an upgraded emergency policy packet and sent out a marketing email to everyone in the state letting them know it was available (through the website her husband quickly helped to build). “I was able to help hundreds of struggling home care agencies, and my path was well lit.”

Everything seemed to be falling into place when Candyce went back to her vision board. She had included a message on it she had forgotten about: “One of the reasons to be an entrepreneur is it gives you the freedom to spend your time the best way you can to take control.” “That’s what all this was about,” she says. “It was pretty surreal.”

Since then, Candyce has found there are plenty of other businesses that focus on supporting areas of the market like hospice, but no one in non-medical home care agencies; Personal Assistance Service (PAS) that provide in-home caregiving for anywhere from 4 to 24 hours a day to help the more vulnerable maintain their independence.

“This is my niche; no one else is doing PAS,” she says. “It was empowering to know there’s all these people out there who need my expertise.”

In fact, she recently shared her expertise in a YouTube video that’s been viewed 2,500 times and resulted in several calls. She’s also been a featured speaker for the Texas Association of Home Care and Hospice and will soon speak for the national association.

Candyce joined NAWBO, too, and through her local chapter, has connected with a business coach who is helping her determine what’s next. “I feel like I’ve leveled up and now I belong here,” she says. “I’ve made lots of connections and collaborations because everyone at NAWBO is either overseeing care or knows someone who is. I hope to be a resource to all of them.”


Candyce’s advice for women business owners who are also caregivers:

“Whenever life is more stressful than work, you go to work to get a break. There’s no reason to feel guilty about setting the boundary that you’re not going to quit your job to care for someone. You just need to see how you can push that boundary, even by 10 percent. Can someone come in to cook meals? Clean? Run errands? Consider how you can get help and help yourself.”


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