weTHRIVE – Angela Martin

Angela Martin

Owner of Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care

Since April 2011, Angela has co-owned and operated Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care, an independent agency providing nonmedical in-home care to elderly clients. The passion for opening this type of business grew out of 10 years’ experience caring for her mother as she faced physical and mental decline.

Prior to this calling, Angela earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Maryland and then spent many years working as a full-time homemaker and mother. During this time, she worked as a self-employed writer/editor, producing educational and promotional materials for a variety of clients, primarily in the nonprofit sector.
Angela has been married to her husband John for 45 years. They are the proud parents of six children and 22 grandchildren.

Learn more about Shepherd's Staff In-home Care

weTHRIVE Episode 6 Transcript

Casey Clark (00:00):

Hi everyone. And thank you so much for joining us on the, weTHRIVE Podcast, where we share stories from entrepreneurs around the world about how they’re creating an impactful legacy. I’m your host, Casey Clark. And today I have the pleasure of interviewing Angela Martin owner of Shepherd’s Staff In-home Care. So thank you Angela, for joining us today.

Angela Martin (00:22):

It’s a pleasure to be here.

Casey Clark (00:24):

Awesome. So tell us a little bit about yourself.

Angela Martin (00:28):

Well, I never thought I would be an entrepreneur in my past life. My primary purpose was always to be a mother. I worked for a few years after I got married and then I had my first child and, and I quit to stay home. And after about six months, I was kind of ready for a new challenge. In addition to the challenge of having a baby, I went back to my old job and I said, you know, do you have anything I can do at home? I was actually a medical writer. I worked at national institutes of health in the news branch. And my primary job was writing feature articles for publication in you know general you know, like popular magazines and translating medical research into language that anyone could understand. So I had written, I’d been published in a few magazines.

Angela Martin (01:22):

I’d actually gotten an award and I loved it. They actually offered me a promotion if I would, you know, hire a babysitter and stay. And I said, no, thanks. So they were glad to have me come back and work as a freelance writer. So I did that for a number of years and I eventually developed my freelance business and I did freelance writing on different topics for about 30 years while it was raising my family. And as the kids grew up and got into college and eventually, you know, the nest was empty and I was kind of ready for something different. As my kids got older, my mother’s health started to decline and I found myself more and more becoming a family caregiver. My mom lived with my dad and they lived in my brother’s home. So he was kind of there and they didn’t really need care, but as she became more informed, she had several strokes.

Angela Martin (02:22):

And then there was a heart attack and cancer surgery and, and she became very weak and unable to do the things that we all take for granted things like, you know, using the toilet and just getting out of bed in the morning. And it got to a point where it was too much for my dad and I had to step in and convince him to hire people. And that was, that was a process because he was this old fashion Italian that believed that, you know, family takes care of its own. And the idea of hiring a stranger was really foreign to him. And he had some predictions about how bad it would be. And most them came through. Sadly, it was not an easy process, but eventually we were able to find some really helpful women that helped get my mom, you know, taken care of for a number of years.

Angela Martin (03:14):

And then as she continued to decline that wasn’t working. So I had to hire well, she actually ended up at that point going into a nursing home because, you know, the ladies that were doing it got too old and couldn’t lift her anymore. And she became more of a heavy lift, more you’re more of a two person assist. So she went into a facility and she lived for three years in a nursing home. And, you know, we were going up there and visiting her there and we kinda went through the whole process, hospice, you know, it was a real learning experience. And when she died, she died in 2008. My dad had been in really good health right up until a few weeks before she died. And then he got a bad cold and it went into pneumonia. He never really was himself again.

Angela Martin (04:06):

And two months after she passed, he died very suddenly. And so I became an adult orphan and that’s, that’s a moment in your life where you really take stock of your life. And, you know, you think about you know, where am I going? And is there something that I’m supposed to do? And I guess but I did that and it was an, I, I consider it a calling, but I, I kept feeling it desire to do something, to help people that were in the situation that we had lived through to help elderly people and help family members that are dealing with elderly parents. So I wasn’t quite sure what that was, but my husband and I used to have these long conversations when we were in the car, you know, going somewhere and we would talk about what, what are we going to do when we retire or, you know, will we even be able to retire, you know, can we afford it then?

Angela Martin (05:03):

And we thought that maybe starting a business while we were still young and of working age would be a good thing to do. And we decided we wanted to find a business that helped the elderly. So, so we did some research and when new year’s day in 2011, and we, we had this conversation like this is time to make resolutions a week later to, to really do this, or we way to just keep talking about it for another year. And my husband went away and then he came back a little while later with his laptop open. And he said, what do you think of this? And it was a website about in home care and it was a franchise. And we looked at you know, we started to talk seriously about, could we run an in home care business?

Angela Martin (05:51):

And we decided we did not want to be part of a franchise. We eventually found an advisory group called the seniors choice. It was a membership board, an organization of independent home care providers. And they provided training and they provided resources and assistance for people wanting to start their own in home care business. And we liked their philosophy. So we said, let’s do it. And we jumped in and April, 2011, I went down to Baltimore and sign the papers to to start a business. And we just started building from there. We put an ad in the paper to hire caregivers that we really had no idea what we were doing, what we were getting into. You know, it’s kind of like getting married if you realize what it’s going to be like, you’d never do it, but it was an amazing adventure, just an amazing journey.

Angela Martin (06:46):

And it, it grew from three clients in our first year, we had nine clients in our second year. So I thought, wow, you know, it’s 300%, you know, who can do any better than that and kind of go from there, you know, not quite as fast, but we are recognized in the community. We Shepherd’s staff has an excellent reputation and we’re caring for up about 60 clients. There’s it fluctuates, but it’s, you know, it’s been steady. We are employing a lot of people. We have a great office staff and I never thought that that I would be doing this, but I’m really loving it.

Casey Clark (07:32):

That’s awesome. So you’re coming up on a 10 year anniversary here soon.

Angela Martin (07:37):

Yeah. That’s right. Next year will be a 10 year anniversary. We’ll have to really celebrate that.

Casey Clark (07:43):

Yeah, definitely. That’s awesome. So as you know, our podcast name is we thrive, so it sounds like you’re really, you know, like you said, you’re employing a lot of people, you have great office staff. So it sounds like you’re really impacting those around you. So tell me what the word thrive means to you.

Angela Martin (08:07):

You know, I really spend some time thinking about that. And to me, I think to thrive means to live well. It means to live a life that is in balance you know, in tune with reality I think it means becoming the person that you were meant to be, and it means having a balanced life and that’s being imbalanced physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, there, everybody has those four aspects and, and you really have to take care of all of them. So that, that’s one thing that really you know, comes to mind. But when I thought about, you know, how, how am I thriving and what does it mean to thrive? Three things came to mind. The first is giftedness. I really believe that everything of value is a gift. You know, everything that really matters in life, you can’t pay for it.

Angela Martin (09:06):

It comes to you as a gift, and we really need to recognize that and value and cherish the gifts that we’ve received. You know, my life is a gift. Just the fact that I exist is a gift and everything that, that I’ve done and accomplished really is a gift. I don’t take any credit for it. So so that’s, that’s the first thing. And then when you received a gift, the response is gratitude. So to me, gratitude is very important just recognizing that, that I’m grateful for everything and, you know, and that applies in business as well as in life, you know, expressing gratitude to our caregivers and to our clients for trusting us with their care is, is really part of who I am. And I think that’s reflected in the way we run our business. Even the challenges that we faced, you know, it’s all it happened, things happen for a reason, and sometimes things happen that we wouldn’t necessarily choose, but then we realized that we grew from it.

Angela Martin (10:22):

So sometimes looking back, you realize even some of the more difficult moments in my life, you know, just thank you because it was it was a value to me. Yeah. And then finally giving back, you know, to me, service is it’s is what we do. And it’s really what I feel is, is my calling, you know, to do something, to give back, you know, I did not bring myself into existence. And, you know, the only you know, proper response really is for me to make a gift of myself to others you know, to my family, to the people I serve and to to give back in a way that will, will help make other people recognize their giftedness and their value. So so just living a life of service and, you know, giving myself away is is really what I believe. You know, I’m a Christian, it’s part of my faith, but it really makes sense to me. It really has become you know, something that is, is part of who I am.

Casey Clark (11:38):

I love it. I definitely, I love the gratitude part. And you know, the service I felt like if we receive, we’re kind of obligated to give in a sense. So yeah,

Angela Martin (11:51):

I think we bring more love into the world and by doing that, we help other people to realize their giftedness and that is so needed in the world today. There’s so many people feeling offended, feeling, not valued feeling you know, that you know, the hate is the answer and really love is the only thing that can overcome hate. Yeah. That is, that is what we’re called to do is to bring love into the world.

Casey Clark (12:23):

I love it. So when you’re being of service and bringing love into the world, what obstacles have you had to overcome that kind of prevented you from thriving?

Angela Martin (12:37):

Well, you know, I felt like I had to like really go back in time when you know, I was considering that question. And I think as a younger person, like many of us when I was younger, I was more goal-oriented. I was more about, you know, what’s in it for me or, or with, you know, making sure that, you know, I was getting back what, what I was putting into relationships. That’s not all that uncommon. But you know, when you focus on yourself, if you really it does not bring you joy really. And, and I reached a point in my life and I had two toddlers. I was pregnant with my third. I was overwhelmed. I was just, you know, I had a husband who was working long hours, which was wonderful because he was supporting us. I wasn’t working.

Angela Martin (13:30):

And my writing job was really just bringing in pin money. I mean, it was not something that was a major source of income. So you know, so I kind of reached the point where I was like, what’s it all about, you know, is this all there is I am, you know, I’m not sure what I believe anymore. And I remember a rather emotional moment when I was kind of shouting at the ceiling or are you there, God, because I’m not sure I believe in you anymore. You know, I’m not feeling it. I really need some help here. And, and I, you know, I can’t say that I had a major epiphany or a lightning bolt or anything like that, but I feel that God revealed to me in a very quiet, internal way that he was there, that he had always been there and that I needed to trust him.

Angela Martin (14:20):

And that was kind of a turning point in my life. It was really you know, where a point where I, I realized that I was not in this alone. And I think that that’s very important to, to realize that you know, that we are, we don’t have to do it all ourselves, you know, there is help to other people, you know, God works in very many mysterious ways and sometimes he speaks to us through other people. Right. And so learned to tune in to those little ways and to recognize the, the little gifts that were coming my way and to, to just be aware of them and to trust him in the difficult circumstances.

Casey Clark (15:05):

Yeah. Is there any particular circumstance that stands out to you where you really had to lean on your faith?

Angela Martin (15:13):

Yeah. In 1984 on a day, just like any other completely unexpected. My husband called me and told me that my twin brother was in the hospital. I knew he had been sick with what he thought was a cold, but I had no reason to suspect that there was anything seriously wrong. By the end of the day, he was in a film. I had a girlfriend with me that day. She had come to my house for lunch and she was there when my husband called me. And so she said, I’ll take the kids and you go, and, and, you know, she took care of things. And when I got back that evening, she was waiting with food and consolation and the next day she took my kids again, we went back to the hospital and my brother was taken off life support.

Angela Martin (16:00):

And he died at the end of a very long, sad day. And you know, I went, went back to, to get the children and, you know, she was, again, my friend was waiting with you know, with love and support and hugs. And you know, it was a very dark time that, that week, you know, we planned a funeral and, you know, I had to kind of help my parents do that. My, my mother was literally prostrated with grief and it was a very difficult time. And I really relied on my friend and she was a beautiful woman who had a a medical condition that was not chronic. It was not really life-threatening, but a week later just about a week after my brother died our kids were playing together and we were sitting together nursing her infants and talking about life and death and you know, what we believed, and that was on a Friday.

Angela Martin (16:59):

And on Sunday I got a call from a mutual friend saying she had been taken to the hospital and that she had very low blood pressure. And I thought, well, gee, that’s not, that’s not bad. Is it? And Monday morning early, I got the call and said she had died that at that point I was prostrated with grief. I mean, it was like a one, two punch. And she was a person who had helped me through my brother’s death. He had only been dead 10 days and now she was dead. And you know, we went through that funeral and that was really a point where, you know, I, I had to claim to my faith because it didn’t make sense, but it was you know, it was what it was. And I had to just keep putting one foot in front of the other lifts through it.

Angela Martin (17:50):

And there was, you know, there was help. There were other friends that came to help me. There were people that came to the funeral that didn’t even know my friend, but they were there crying alongside of me. And I remember telling one woman, you didn’t even know her. And she said, no, my tears are for you. I was just so touched by that. She’s one of my dearest friends today and, you know, the void gets filled, you know, in ways that I didn’t expect. Wow. And it just, it becomes part of your story, but I, you know, I know, and I believe that my friend lives on and as my brother does, I, I talked to my brother all the time. So and you know, and I feel like we’re still connected, you know, we’re twins, we’re very close and that bond is still there.

Casey Clark (18:41):

So you have mentioned that your new found friend kind of filled the void. What other relationships or resources have you used kind of help yourself thrive either personally or professionally?

Angela Martin (18:58):

No, I think girlfriends are essential for women and my girlfriends and I have a group of them and, you know, they’re you know, we’re each other’s tribe and, and that’s really important, you know, just supporting one another, you know, so I have a group of women my own age and I’m friends with, and some of the business friendships that I formed, I feel have been, you know, very enriching, you know, my friendship with you has enriched my life. And I, I hope that, that maybe as mutual our you know, the women’s groups that I’m in the women’s business network and holistic women’s group have been very helpful to me. I want to give a shout out to a friend Carol who did StrengthFinders with me, and then later on with my whole group, because I think the Gallup strength finders is a very good resource for getting a better understanding of yourself. You know, years ago, my husband and I did a Myers Briggs inventory that was set up specifically for married couples that was pivotal, that really helped our relationship and helped our marriage to thrive better because it made us aware of our personality differences and how to use them to our advantage, you know, recognizing that there’s no, you know, right. Or correct personality, it’s just different. And, and that was a really helpful moment for us.

Casey Clark (20:37):

Then the strength finders that awesome.

Angela Martin (20:42):

So yeah, he’s done that too. Our whole team did it, and that was really helpful. I needed, I was doing payroll and I needed somebody to help with it. And we did strength finders and it was like, Oh, look at this, I’m better at payroll than I am. And that turned out to be the case. So, so it was really great for helping us reorganize the tasks that people were doing in the office. I think it’s a great resource for businesses. And probably just, I mean, when I learned things about myself, I learned that my highest strength is connectedness and I thought, well, that makes sense. Yeah, I can, I can own that.

Casey Clark (21:24):

Yeah, absolutely. So I know this podcast isn’t about strengths, but I have to ask, do you know your top five?

Angela Martin (21:31):

Yeah. I think my top five is connectedness empathy, a belief intellectual one and responsibility.

Casey Clark (21:40):

I’m not surprised at all as we both share responsibility and are tough. That’s awesome. All right. So any other resources that you’ve used to help you thrive at all? Yeah,

Angela Martin (21:56):

I actually years ago I came across a piece of writing and it was something that just affected me so much that I printed it out on a piece of paper and it’s all tattered. And dog-eared because I’ve had this now for 30 years and I keep it on my bulletin board. And I, and I read it every day. It was written by a a Catholic Bishop. He actually was an Anglican and he was converted to Catholicism. And just last year, he, he was named the same. His name is John Henry Newman. And he wrote, God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work to me, but she is not committed to another. I have my mission. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. I shall do good. I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place. Well, not intending it if I do, but keep his word. Therefore, I will trust him, whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve him. If I’m in perplexity, my perplexity may serve him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may surgeon, he does nothing in Bain. He knows what he is about.

Casey Clark (23:26):

Very cool. That gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing that. That is fantastic. So you read that every day,

Angela Martin (23:36):

If hangs on my bulletin board and it just keeps me grounded, it reminds me that no matter what’s going on, I have a mission to do and I need to trust. Yes. So speaking of that mission, what does the legacy look like for you? Like what does that word mean? Well I remember it means, you know, creating something that will live beyond you. And, and I remember when my kids were starting to reach adulthood, I had, I gave birth to five children. I raised six, I had an adopted child and she is in religious life. So she won’t be reproducing, but I, I remember telling my five kids now I want a legacy. I want to, I want to be the founder of a dynasty here. So, so you need to have kids. And I said, you know, if I have 25 grade kids and they all have five kids each, and there’ll be 125 and the next generation, how cool is that?

Angela Martin (24:35):

So we have 22 so far, we have 22 living grandchildren and two in heaven. And so as I’m hopeful that that I might get to that 25, but my family is a wonderful legacy and they are, you know I have terrific grandchildren and I’m now starting to see them grow into adulthood. And knowing that, you know, what we pass on to them is going to be passed on to their children is just really powerful. And, you know, will the business live on beyond me? I don’t know. You know, I haven’t figured out, you know, what’s going to happen when I’m not able to run it anymore, but I am hoping that, you know, between my staff and the people who would know about it and care about it, that, you know, that will be revealed to me in time and I don’t need to know right now.

Angela Martin (25:29):

Awesome. Awesome. So you’ve given a lot of really good information and some nuggets today. Is there anything in particular that you’d like to share that, you know, might be a nugget that would help someone who might be struggling? Well, just whatever you’re struggling through this, I used to always say this too will pass. You know, suffering does not last forever. It you know, the, the fire that burns straw refines gold, and when we feel ourselves in a fire, we are being refined. We can choose to let it destroy us, but you have a choice. And the choice would be to, you know, to hang on, to recognize that no trouble lasts forever. That there’s a higher purpose and that you are part of that purpose and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And you will eventually get through it and see the meaning. Yeah, absolutely. I agree. 100%. So any other burning desires or thoughts that have that you haven’t

Casey Clark (26:44):

Shared so far?

Angela Martin (26:45):

No. I, I, I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. I think I think sharing our stories is one of the most important and powerful things we can do. And I love it. You think courage me to share stories and that look forward to hearing other people’s stories on your podcast, but everyone should realize that, you know, you are you know, the accumulation of, of all the stories in your life. You know, you are writing your story with your life. That is and your story will live on and will have meaning for others. So, so share their stories with the people you love and with the people in your life. It’s a great thing to do. Yeah.

Casey Clark (27:29):

Well, despite having traveled with you before I learned something new today, so learn things about you. I had no idea about, and I’m looking forward to our upcoming trip and spending more time with you. Yeah. It’s definitely been a pleasure. So again, I’d like to thank you for being a guest, and I’d also like to thank Stephen Lamar Moore who produced the music for our podcast. So thank you again, Angela. It’s been a pleasure.

Angela Martin (27:58):

Thank you. You’re welcome.


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