Mamaprenista and Chief Operating Officer of Emmanuel Consulting Agency, Julia Akinyooye, on Discovering her Path to Entrepreneurship
Hello Julia! Please share a brief introduction about yourself.
I am the Chief Operating Officer and Lead Business Consultant at Emmanuel Consulting Agency Inc, a premier home care business consulting firm based in New York that helps home care businesses get licensed, grow, and adhere to regulatory compliance.
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
The encouragement, opportunities, and collaborations the league provides. There are so many women who have compelling stories, and so eager to work with other women.
What made you take the leap to start Emmanuel Consulting Agency Inc?
The leap of faith happened literally when I saw the amount of revenue and profit that the company I was working for at the time was bringing in every year. When I weighed it up against what I was bringing to the table, what I was receiving in salary, the travel and effort I made on a daily basis to produce quality work, it didn’t add up. I was always on call and responsible for all day to day operations. However, I was not being compensated nearly what I was worth and had no quality of life. I was glued to cell phones, laptops, and coffee.
So Julia, what was your background prior to starting Emmanuel Consulting Agency Inc?
I am a master’s prepared Registered Nurse with over 15 years of experience serving the home care community, directorship, case management, and teaching. I started off as a bedside telemetry nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in NY. At a point, while I was working as a Director of Nursing I also owned my own brick and motor fashion boutique.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entreprenista?
I did not know I wanted to be an entrepreneur until I learned the “ins and outs” of running a home health agency as a Director. I saw a need for better internal structure to improve patient care, so that patients can receive high quality value based care that they deserve. I am the only entrepreneur in my family and always thought I was the “odd one” for wanting to be an entrepreneur until a few years ago when I learned that my late grandfather was an exceptional entrepreneur. Although he had no formal education, he was able to build an empire. To this day, his profits from his businesses are still being used 40 years after his passing and allow all his grand children back in Nigeria attend college in Nigeria and the United Kingdom from his trust fund. It dawned on me it is in my bloodline.
When launching a new business, marketing is crucial! Julia, can you take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out?
Word of mouth. We have actually never done paid advertising. Word spreads very quickly when you are either really good or really bad! We are thankful for our clients who have been with us since inception. Networking and referrals are our preferred choice of marketing. It allows prospective clients to feel comfortable knowing a colleague or friend have utilized our services with success and it allows us to work with clients that have the same mission and vision.
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?
Frankly being a woman, being a “Nurse turned Entrepreneur”, being a woman of color, being a single mother, and being young. I started when being an entrepreneur was not the “in thing to do”. Many people thought I was nuts like “how could you be a Nurse, and not work in the hospital”. In terms of handling biases and prejudice’s I’ve learned that all clients and partners are not “your” clients and partners and that’s okay. The impact that I have had on those clients that seek me out or have seen my work and want to work with me makes me continue to walk in my journey and know that I am leaving a great imprint on the industry I serve. The challenges I face also allowed me to hone in on my skills, and encourage more nurses who desire to be an entrepreneur, more women of color, and more mothers. I also love mentoring, and I believe the challenges I face make me a better mentor.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
With the glory of God, he allows my team and I to turn failing businesses around so that our clients can provide for their families and create more jobs for the economy. Most importantly, it allows people of all ages to stay in their homes to recover and receive care in their own homes. I also have the honor of being able to start businesses from scratch and see it grow. Our track record till date has been home care businesses that have started with us whose owners invested fulltime in their businesses have made on average 1 million in revenue or greater within 2 years of our team obtaining licensure. Further, when they have their first audit they have very minimal and minor deficiencies. We have also helped other types of business non-healthcare related start and scale using our our proprietary framework.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Yes, highly- I am a single mother and I must say- It takes a lot to keep up. You still have to make time for yourself, run a business, attend all school activities, take care of family, and live in the moment. I wrote an eBook back in 2018 titled “20 Ways for Moms to Get Work Life Balance: 20 habits in 2018” that I am in the process of updating and will be relaunched and on amazon this year. It will have updated tips on what I believe are the best tips that have helped me navigate entrepreneurship. Spoiler alert; one tip I share in the eBook that works for me is “outsourcing” areas of your personal and professional life. We can’t do it all. There are people that can do things better than I can and I am okay with that. They can do things in three minutes that I can’t even do in 3 hours. My principle is you will take more time trying to “figure it out” when you can be making 3 times the amount you will spend on outsourcing it. And it will get done better and more efficiently plus it creates jobs for people like students, retires, stay at home moms, or anyone that wants to keep busy. This has been so helpful for me.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Always have a mission, vision, and purpose for your business. People skim on this, but I believe you will always come back to this if you do not have one to start. Your mission, vision, and purpose provides you with direction. In my opinion, if you skim on this you will lack clarity and purpose for your business and it will be more likely for it have slow progress or fail. This is all part of business planning and fundamentals. Even if your business plan is not perfect to start with you need it. You can’t just open up a business and get an EIN and a website. There is much more than that. When onboarding our startup clients, this is something we do with them to ensure their business is successful.
What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
We were just informed late last year that we were awarded Healthcare Business Review’s Top 10 best healthcare consulting firms of 2023! We are honored to receive this award and are thankful for the nominations. We also just received The HIPAA Seal of Compliance by the Compliancy Group. Our partners and clients entrust us with secure confidential data and we have put forth all necessary processes, procedures, and financial investment to ensure our clients, business partners, and all associated patient information are secured with the most up to date technology.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We are super excited to be launching a sister company Home Care Business Xchange this spring. Our Mission is to create a safe, curated community for BIPOC homecare entrepreneurs to gain access to resources, tools, and information so they can confidently engage in homecare business deals and opportunities. In our efforts we hope to increase the monetary value of homecare agencies owned by BIPOC entrepreneurs, while simultaneously building community in major cities around the U.S. We believe with the right resources, tools and information; BIPOC homecare entrepreneurs can and will learn how to successfully navigate in business so they may better reinvest in their business, build and nurture relationships within the community, position themselves to create generational wealth and become a beacon of legacy for their families and surrounding communities.