William Jenks had a successful career as a professional cellist and associate conductor for the Omaha Symphony Orchestra. A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis changed everything.
"Standing in front of an orchestra doesn't look like much, but it's pretty physically demanding," Jenks said. He knew that he would have to plan for a career after it was no longer possible to play cello professionally or conduct a symphony. He took a position as a program director at a classical music radio station but was still looking for something else.
Jenks was in the same social circle in Omaha with the couple that founded Home Instead, Paul and Lori Hogan, and after his stepmother passed, Jenks learned about Home Instead Senior Care and bought the franchise territory for Cumberland County, Maine (which includes Portland) in 1999.
He sold one of his two prized cellos (for $75,000, the cheaper one) to raise the funds to cover start-up franchise costs for Home Instead, which provides non-medical caregiving to elderly Americans in need.
It's a booming business in Maine, the oldest state by average age in the U.S. Jenks' franchise was profitable in less than a year and revenue is expected to surpass $2 million for the first time this year.