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Ep77 Transcript: Interview with Saundra Boyd
Andrea Vahl: Nursing is hard work and can be highly stressful. So what do you do when you’re in your mid-fifties and you are burnt out? Well, if you’re Saundra Boyd, you go back to school to get your Bachelor of Science in nursing and you start your own company. Tune in to today’s episode as we hear more about Sandra Boyd’s journey.
Hello Dreamers. Welcome to the Late Starters Club, giving you the inspiration mindset and tools you need to start something midlife and beyond. Remember, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
Late Starters. It’s your host, Andrea Vahl, and I am here with Saundra Boyd of Caregivers Haven.
I’m really excited to talk to her about her late start in going from nursing to becoming a business owner, and all kinds of things that you’ve done with your podcast and all kinds of other things that you’ve launched. So, welcome, Saundra.
Saundra Boyd: Thank you Angela, for having me. I’m really happy to be here. We don’t talk about this often, Late Starters, and we should.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, we should, because I think it’s a huge thing. It can be a little bit scary to make a big leap or make a big transition later in life. You began your entrepreneur journey at age 59, which is awesome and people don’t often think about starting a business at age 59, but it is so possible.
I personally think we’re uniquely qualified at this age to start new things. So I’m excited to dive in and talk about how you got started. So why don’t you just give us a little bit of background about where you were at with nursing and where Caregivers Haven came about?
Saundra Boyd: So I’ve been a registered nurse for 42 years and I went to the old school nursing school where I lived in the dorms at onsite at the hospital for two years.
They don’t even have those anymore. And I think we were the last school that had it at the time. And so I graduated with a diploma in nursing which for a registered nurse… a registered nurse is a nurse, is a nurse, is a nurse. It doesn’t matter. Because there are several different tiers and it doesn’t matter, especially way back then, you could be a manager, you could be anything as long as you have your RN.
I had always wanted to get my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, but once I graduated I got married and had four kids and so that was the end of that.
But I always wanted to go back to school and I always tell my kids to finish what you start. So when my youngest daughter left for college that’s when I started considering going back to school. And I eventually did, and I graduated age 57, 1 month before my 58th birthday actually.
And so it was really exciting. And during this whole going back-to school journey, a couple things happened. My sister said, “You know what? Your whole entire career, you’ve been in highly stressed areas of nursing. Why don’t you find something else to do that’s less stressful once you get your degree?”
And I was like, “Like what?” She goes, “Start your own business.” And I was like, “What? I don’t know anything about starting business. And I don’t even want to start a business.” And she goes, “Just hear me out. I want you to go to this conference. It’s called the National Nurses in Business Association.”
Now my sister’s not a nurse. I don’t even know where she found that conference! But anyway, I was like, “I’ll think about it.” Well, in my last semester of school after I’d done my capstone project my professor said, “You need to present this to the leadership at your hospital and you need to go speak at this national conference, this Nursing Informatics Conference.”
And I was like, “Are you kidding me? This was a homework assignment. I’ve got my grade, I’m done!” and she’s like, “No, I’m very serious here.”
And so, I told her, “Okay”. Then in the meantime, my sister was still harping about this conference. So I said to my sister, “Look, if I go to this conference and I’m able to speak in front of these people without fainting, then I’ll consider going to this conference.”
So anyway, long story short, I went to the conference and I saw all these nurses with all these businesses, some in healthcare, some not. I was blown away when on the last day at a conference I was standing at the coffee thing talking to a couple of other nurses and we were all talking about what we thought we might do, and all three of us had gone there without a business, with no clue what we were doing.
So we were all each telling each other what we thought. And so I told them, “I’ve had the idea since I’ve been standing here thinking about something in informatics that I could do. I also go to a support group for families who are taking care of a loved with mental illness and these families are struggling. Because I’m a nurse I know how to maneuver through the health system. I know who to call and they don’t, they’re just lost and frustrated and really struggling. I just want to find a way to help them.”
So when I got done, the nurse said, “I don’t know which business you’re going to decide on, but your passion is with those families.”
And so that’s when I decided what I would do and so that’s where Caregivers Haven was born in that moment. And so that’s my journey. That’s how this all got started… from my sister. My sister made me do it!
Andrea Vahl: My sister made me do it!
Saundra Boyd: Yes. My sister’s a Reiki coach, so she has her own business. But my whole career I’ve been in pediatric intensive care, neonatal intensive care, and then informatics. And all three of those areas are very, very stressful with lots of overtime. But I loved it, it was just what I do.
Andrea Vahl: Right. And I think the cool thing is, is that once you start to get around the people who are doing some of these things – like at that conference or your sister knowing how starting a business can be – it doesn’t seem quite as scary when you see other people doing it. It’s inspiring and awesome.
Now, what was it like getting your BSN at that age? Were there other people your age or was it just like, “Oh my gosh, what am I doing?”
Saundra Boyd: I went to a program that was basically for nurses who are already working.
However, there were classes that we had with some of the regular nursing students. In my last semester, I had a class where there was a student who was the daughter of someone that I worked with. I was like, “Oh my gosh, I feel so old!”
Most of the program I was fine because we were in a cohort where we were all seasoned nurses but that last semester when we were in class with five youngsters, just babies, and a couple of them were younger than my kids. So I was like, “What am I doing?!”
But it was just a moment. I was fine.
Andrea Vahl: Exactly. And I think we put too much into that. It’s just a moment and then it’s like, “Who cares? I’m here to do something and here to finish what I started.”
I think it’s inspiring to anyone who thinks it’s too late. No, it’s not too late. I interviewed a guy who got his Ph.D. at age 72. It’s just not too late.
So let’s dive in a little bit. I just want to hear a little bit more about what Caregivers Haven does for people because I think it’s so important.
I lost my dad in 2021, and I know how challenging it can be to care for a loved one. Obviously, you are working with a different population of people, but it’s still very stressful. So talk about what you do and how you help people.
Saundra Boyd: So caregiving in general is a very, very difficult task and unless you’ve been there, you don’t get it. You don’t understand. And there are a lot of statistics and data out there.
I’m a nurse so I’m nerdy, I like all that stuff and I won’t really get into it here, but I’ll just say in general there’s a lot of data out there that has proven that caregivers themselves go on to have their own illnesses from being stressed, from taking care of their loved one.
I personally know a couple of clients and families who have had major depression, who had a heart attack, had severe anxiety just from caregiving. And when you think about it, if it’s someone living in your home, it’s 24/7.
And if you don’t have a whole lot of help that just wears on you after a while. So for anyone who’s caregiving, it is just difficult.
Now, the population that I deal with are individuals and family caregivers who are taking care of a loved one with mental illness. And that’s sometimes even harder because if you’re taking care of someone who’s had a stroke and they’re laid up in the bed and you have to take care of them, people can understand that type of caregiving.
But you could be caregiving for someone who looks fine. They’re not bedridden, they look fine. But the emotional support and the cognitive decline that they have… sometimes the things that a caregiver has to do are very, very stressful. If they have a psychotic episode at home and have to call the police, it’s a lot.
And really what I have found is to provide the care that they need to remain stable, it’s 24/7. And it’s a lot of sacrifice on the families. And so what I do, on the caregiver’s consultant piece is I help them find the educational resources and support that they need. I help guide them through and say, “Look, this is probably going to be a forever thing and these are the steps you need to take to make sure that you don’t get sick, to make sure that you don’t lose it yourself and to make sure that you can do this long term.”
So that’s what I do as a consultant. And then as a coach, I call myself a holistic coach because it can be life coaching.
A lot of people think it’s like therapy or they think so many different things about coaching, but I like to look at it like this. So Kobe Bryant, when he played NBA, he had a coach. Kobe already knows how to play basketball but the coach can help bring things in or maybe say, “Hey, I want to work on this statistic, I want to get to this number.”
So that’s how a coach can help you. The basketball player already knows how to play the game, but a coach can help him reach higher goals. The same thing with my coaching… a caregiver may already be taking care of their loved one. They already know how, but they may say, “You know what, I’m here right now, but I want to be over here.” Or, “My health and wellness is here and I want to be over here.” And so Coach helps you get there.
So someone may have a goal and I just co-create action steps with them. I don’t tell them what to do, I just create with them. And I help them and coach them on how to get there.
I can coach anyone who is interested in their health and well-being, but I love coaching the family caregivers of the mentally ill, because most of the time when they come, usually the first two sessions, that whole entire time they’re talking about their loved one and their illness and what they’re going through. And by the end, it flips. In my last session it was literally 45 minutes of themselves and 15 minutes of their loved one.
And that’s where I want to get you because that’s what’s going to help you take care of your loved one long-term. If you don’t take care of yourself then you’re not going to be able to keep up with them.
People don’t understand that, because it sounds selfish and they’re afraid to say that, but that’s what I help them do.
Andrea Vahl: That sounds like such a needed resource out there. And people don’t realize how important it is and don’t give enough priority to that.
It’s great that you’re helping people through that. Now let’s talk a little bit about what this transformation has been like for you. One of the things we were highlighting was your view on aging and starting this whole process later in life.
How has it helped your success and how have you reframed what it means to get a late start or be older when you’re starting?
Saundra Boyd: When I think about getting a late start and the things that I’ve gone through in life, the things I’ve gone through with this business, the conclusion that I’ve come to is that I’m better, I’m ready for this now.
Because I’m 63 years old, so I have been through a whole lot of ups and downs. I have been through a lot of challenges. I’ve had a whole lot of stumbling blocks. Life, no matter how you plan things, doesn’t always work out the way that you want it to.
And so I think because of that, starting this business, when the stumbling blocks came when the challenges came when I didn’t feel like doing it anymore, I was able to just pick up my bootstraps and keep going because I’ve seen the other side.
I’ve had enough challenges in life. I’ve had enough, disappointments in life that I know that it’s better on the other side. So I know to keep going.
If I did this when I was in my forties, I don’t know if I would have, but I know now. Some things are no big deal. And second of all, I know to keep going because I know on the other side there’s success and that I just have to keep pushing through.
And so I think that’s one of the things. I feel like starting older is a huge benefit for us. Because we’ve been there, done that, and we know to keep going.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, it’s true. I see my kids sometimes, they’ll hit a little bump and I’m like, what’s the big deal?
I forget what that was like in your twenties and thirties. Things felt like a bigger deal. And now it’s just like, “Yeah, whatever. Let’s just keep going.”
So obviously being in this high-stress situation of coming from nursing and then starting something new that is overwhelming, having all of a sudden to do LLCs and figure out what kind of structure your business is going to have… when you’ve been overwhelmed, what have you done to get through that overwhelm and push through? What are some tactics you use?
Saundra Boyd: So I want to step back for a second. I’m a certified nurse coach, and so in that group of nurse coaches, we all have issues, especially those of us who are ICU nurses -talk about type A personality and needing to cross all my t’s and dot my i’s! That’s me!
But as a business owner, you cannot be that. You can’t be that way. So, for example, I started my podcast and it took me several months because I needed to know everything. I needed to know exactly how to do it.
And you can’t know everything to start a podcast. And, even if you do the way that social media works, tomorrow it might be different.
So as a business owner, that was very hindering for me. And for most nurse coaches, that’s a huge problem, we are waiting for everything to be perfect because of how we were trained and how our minds work.
But anyway, back to your question. So, what has helped me is my crew (I literally call them that). When you start a business, especially when you’re older, there are going to be days like, “What am I doing? I’m retired. I could be sitting here playing with my grandkids or I could be at the beach today. What made me decide to do this business?”
And so on the days when I felt overwhelmed and burnt out, I called up someone in my crew. And so it’s kind of like when you were younger and your mom said, “Birds of a feather flock together”, or nowadays you hear people say, “Hang around the people who are successful or hang around the people who emulate what you want to be”. That is critical I feel when you’re a business owner because you’re going to have days when you want to quit, you’re going to have days where you’re just like, “Why did I even start this?”
Or you’re going to have days where there are real challenges. And so you’re going to need people who you can call, who can give you suggestions on how to get past whatever it is you’re working on… inspiration, motivation. So I call up someone in my crew and my crew can’t be just anybody, right? Because of what I just said.
They are people who I know are going to motivate me or inspire me or help me get done what I need to get done. For example, a couple weeks ago I just couldn’t get past this one thing I was working on and I was ready to throw in the towel.
And, and I don’t mean really ready to throw in the towel, but I called my sister. She lit into me, first of all, which sometimes you need and then after a conversation, she sent me this long text message basically saying things like, go do your devotion again, go read your Bible again. Go do some affirmations. Go do a mindfulness practice. Go get on your yoga mat.
I know to do all those things, but sometimes the day is in such a way that you need to hear it from someone else, you need someone to kick you in the butt and tell you to quit pouting and go do what you need to do,
So, I have people who will pray for me. I have people who will motivate and inspire me. I have people who can help me with something in my business. And so that’s what I do to keep going.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. That is so critical for sure. I am right there with you.
I’ve been in business for 14 years now and there are times where I’m like, “That’s it! I’m checking LinkedIn. I’m going to just go get a job right now. I could just get a job if I want.”
So it is hard. This entrepreneurial journey is not for the faint of heart, but I feel like it’s so worth it. It’s so exciting to build something that is all something that you’ve dreamed up and can be exactly the way you want it and help people in the way you want to serve them.
Now, you did say in our little pre-call chat that you had a funny travel story. I love travel, so I am a sucker for travel stories. I’d love to hear your travel story.
Saundra Boyd: Yeah. For people who have followed me on Instagram, they probably know the story already.
But in July of 2021, I went to Maui with my family and one day I decided to try to take a picture of the turtles in the ocean. And I took my cell phone into the ocean, and I just kept saying, “Hold on real tight. Hold on real tight, and you won’t drop it.”
Well, I turned around to get better lighting – I love the ocean, but I also respect the ocean – and as I turned around, a big giant wave came and just knocked me down. It just slammed me down and I fell three times, trying to get up and get to shore.
And that third time when my butt hit down, I looked back and I saw my cell phone floating in the wave.
And so it was gone. And I literally just sat there thinking, “I cannot believe this, how can I get in touch with my family?” Because we were all over the resort and that’s how we communicated. Plus, it’s my phone and it has all my pictures on it. I was just devastated.
But I sat there and I said, “I’m not going to let this ruin my vacation. I’m still going to have fun.” So I packed all my stuff up and went up to the pool. And so later that night we were all going to dinner and I was like, “I’m getting my cell phone back!” And my daughter’s like, “Mom, your phone’s gone. Give it up!”
And I was like, “I don’t know, something’s just telling me I’m going to get my phone back.” And so I said, “I’m going to stop at the front desk and tell the guy if someone finds a phone it’s mine.”
So I and see the guy on the front desk and he looks at me and says, “Why don’t we try to give it a call right now?”
And he’s laughing at me, he thinks it’s so funny and I’m just standing there and he says, “Oh, you’re serious, aren’t you?” And I’m like, “Yes!” And so he said, “Well, if it’s that serious, we have divers that can go out and look for it.” And I was like, “No, I’m just letting you know if someone turns it just let me know.”
So I lost it that morning, and this was in the evening. And so the very next day, my daughter had a seven o’clock yoga session on the beach. My grandson was one at the time and I went to the beach with her early in the morning to watch the baby while she was in her yoga class.
And so she does her class and then when she’s done, she watches the baby so I can go take a swim in the ocean. And then it was her turn and I said, “Well, I’m going to take him up to get something to eat while you go swim.” And so then I thought about it and I’m like, I probably shouldn’t leave her out there swimming by herself.
I think we passed each other because we went back to look for her and I couldn’t find her. So I go back up, I’m turning around to put the baby in this little car seat at the table and I turned around and my daughter was sitting next to me and she said, “Mom, I have something to tell you.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but when my adult children say that, it’s like, what’s going to come out of their mouth? Is it good, bad? Is it funny? You have no idea! Anyway, she reaches in her bag and she pulls out my phone.
She said she was swimming out in the ocean and she swam past two guys and one of them came up out of the water with the phone. My daughter literally passed him at the right moment!
The phone still turned on. It was what it had. It had still been receiving text messages and it had been in the ocean for over 24 hours.
Andrea Vahl: That is so wild. Oh my gosh! You didn’t have to put it in rice or do all that stuff?
Saundra Boyd: I had to put it in rice to charge it. But I was able to use it right then and there. Oh, it was bizarre. So of course I had to go to the front desk and show that guy.
Andrea Vahl: Oh my gosh, that is amazing. That’s an amazing story. I interviewed somebody whose whole studying was about synchronicities in life and how things happen. And something tells you, go over here, or go swim that way, and all of a sudden…
It’s a great story. Now, what would you tell someone who is looking to get started or do something later in life, what advice would you give them?
Saundra Boyd: If it’s later in life, hopefully, it’s not something you have to do financially, because then you can do something fun.
So my advice is to find something fun or if you do have to do it financially, still look for something fun and choose something that you’re passionate about.
My mom said my whole entire life, all I’ve ever wanted to do is help people. And that’s what I loved at that conference when I went to the National Nurses Conference, was everyone there – even if their business didn’t pertain to healthcare per se – everyone there, they were still helping people.
And so if your passion is helping people, do that. If your passion is animals, do that. So my biggest thing would be to tell people to find something you’re passionate about and then that’s what you do. And just start your research. Research what other companies there are out there, there’s a lot of stuff on social media.
Sometimes on social media people will say that they’re making like all this money but often they’re really not. So you have to be careful on social media as far as finding help and business strategies goes.
But I would say research the area that you want to work in and then try to find the resources from other businesses.
Andrea Vahl: I like the idea too of going to a conference. I think that’s a great strategy because then you’re around people who are doing different things and your eyes are open to what the possibilities really are.
Saundra Boyd: Yes, conferences are great networking places.
Andrea Vahl: Well, this has been so awesome. As we’re wrapping up, I always like to ask people for a favorite quote or inspirational saying, what is something that picks you up when you need it?
Saundra Boyd: My favorite quote at this point in my life is by a writer called Audrey Lore, and it says, “Self-care is not about self-indulgence. It’s about self-preservation.”
I’m a caregiver and so self-care is a big thing for me. I help people with that a lot and the reason it resonates with me is because a lot of times when you to hear people talk about self-care, they talk about getting their nails done or getting a massage or going shopping. And those things are awesome. I love those things too. But when you think about this quote, it says, self-care is about self-preservation. Preservation means keeping something alive. It means preventing decay. And so get a massage and a manicure and all that but it’s not going to keep you alive.
And so what I talk to my clients about is what I call the basics of self-care, nutrition, exercise, sleep, a mindfulness practice, and spirituality.
To me, that’s your foundation. Once you have your foundation, yes, do all those things on top of it, but again, those things aren’t going to keep you alive and keep you able to take care of your family member, whereas the basics will.
Andrea Vahl: Yes. And it’s amazing how often people are neglecting some of those really critical things like exercise, getting outside, eating healthily.
And I think that our body needs need good fuel. They need to move around and you need to. Take some of that stress out. So I love that quote. That is awesome.
So I want to just make sure everyone knows how to find you. You’re at caregivershaven.com and what’s the name of your podcast?
Saundra Boyd: It’s also Caregivers Haven. I would love people to subscribe to my podcast. Yes I’m also on Instagram, @CaregiversHaven.
Andrea Vahl: Well we’ll link to everything in the show notes for sure. So that people can get to the right podcast and get to your Facebook page and your website.
Thank you Saundra, so much for joining us here and being that shining light for all people who are giving care to their loved ones and struggling.
It’s just an amazing mission that you have and I’m excited that you are passionate about it and helping people and starting this fun journey at this time of life and inspiring others.
Saundra Boyd: Thank you so much.
Andrea Vahl: Hope that was helpful, and make sure you grab the free guide Top Tools for Late Starters on the website at latestartersclub.com and let’s turn dreaming into doing.
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