From Air Force to Home Care: Meet Two Veterans Who Are Thriving Entrepreneurs

Whether it’s defending a nation or supporting their local communities, we’d like to introduce you to two veterans who are thriving as home care entrepreneurs. Meet Nurse Next Door franchise partners, Sonia and Rhenso Hernandez, who found their military skills transitioned perfectly into senior home care.

The couple runs our newest franchise location in San Antonio, Texas. Sonia was an HR specialist in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and Rhenso served on Active Duty before joining the Reserves as an IT Manager. They’ve spent the last 20 years moving around the country. When Sonia separated from the military to focus on raising their two daughters, she stayed involved in activities like the Military Key Spouse program and organized a Child Care cooperative. They felt that the time was right to start their own business, but not just any business, a home care business.

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Why home care? Why Nurse Next Door?

Most other business opportunities “felt kind of shallow or selfish, caring almost exclusively about the bottom line,” says Rhenso. Sonia believes home care is the reason her grandmother lived six years longer than doctors expected when she was in a nursing facility. “She lived to see her 101st birthday because she was surrounded by loved ones in the comfort of home. That extra time allowed her to meet my daughters, enjoy precious time together, and create amazing memories.”

The Hernandezes found the home care industry a little outdated. They chose Nurse Next Door because it was a bold brand breaking the mould, providing an environment for exceptional health care and a culture for employee happiness. Sonia says, “Nurse Next Door’s unique concept of Happier Aging ™ really stood out to us. Other Franchise Partners were genuinely eager to help, and the Heartquarters team gave us confidence. We loved the idea of supporting the well-being of seniors while working toward financial success. Now we’re excited to be part of a Top 50* franchise system!”

*Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Nurse Next Door #50 out of over 1000 franchises in 2018.

We caught up with Sonia and Rhenso to learn more about their first few months in business.

These veterans found a clear transition from military service to running a home care business

Sonia and Rhenso are proud of the roles they’ve played in defending the nation. “The great thing about the military is it also focuses on making communities better,” Rhenso says. Military members typically volunteer for food and clothing drives, community outreach programs, youth mentorship, charity runs, and disaster relief.

Veterans learn many skills entrepreneurs need to run a business. The Hernandez’s list the following examples:

  • Leadership: “Effective leadership comes from those who embed themselves into the team while providing direction to get the job done.”
  • Perseverance: “It means working through hard times instead of giving up.”
  • Self-motivation: “You always go above and beyond, even when external motivators are absent.”
  • Adaptability and creativity: “It’s about finding new solutions during changing circumstances by thinking outside the box.”
  • Discipline: “Following guidelines and procedures is key to reaching goals.”


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What does an average work day look like?

After dropping off their daughters at school, Sonia and Rhenso head to the office. Mondays are weekly planning days, and the others are filled with sales, recruiting, conference calls, and networking or attending events. Because they’re a new franchise, sales and recruiting are top priorities. “It’s important to build a dedicated team of caregivers that lives up to Nurse Next Door’s core values,” says Rhenso. As partners, the couple is still defining their individual roles, so they’re tackling everything together for now. “We know that we must use each other’s strengths to offset our weaknesses.”

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Their advice for veterans (or anyone) wanting to run a home care business

Sonia and Rhenso hope to conduct ‘Lunch and Learns’ and start working with the Veterans Administration in the near future. “Our military service instilled a desire to help,” says Rhenso. He’s learned that a smooth-running business requires organization and proper delegation “so you can multi-task and get everything done on time.”

Here’s their advice to any veterans looking into a home care business:

  • Research military and small business resources, like Boots to Business (an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the SBA).
  • Seek mentors within the military community. Many small business owners currently serve on Active Duty, Reserve components or the National Guard.
  • Take your time choosing the right business for you. It takes time to grow it, so passion is key.
  • Set down local roots. Small businesses thrive when the community supports you.
  • And perhaps most importantly…“Don’t forget to make time for family. Maintain the work-life balance. Happier Aging not only brings a smile to seniors and their families, but to us too.”

For additional reading, check out Why Veterans Make Thriving Franchisees.

Did you know that Nurse Next Door is a proud VetFran member? We’re excited to offer qualified veterans 10% off initial US franchise fees. 

Are you a veteran looking to transition into entrepreneurship? Join our FREE Discovery Call at 1.877.330.1819 or download a FREE franchise report and learn how Nurse Next Door can help you take your next step toward a fulfilling career!

2019-02-20T11:34:17-08:00May 4th, 2018|Entrepreneurship|

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