BSR Wisdom

  • Encore Entrepreneur Stories: Finding a niche as an independent health clinic audit consultant Roberta Kaplan

    Roberta Kaplan, owner of InnovaHealth

    Independent health clinic auditor Roberta Kaplan, MPH, MS, PA, and owner of InnovaHealth.

    Health Innovations owner Roberta Kaplan lands on her feet with a specialized encore career as an independent health clinic auditor.

    What the business does: Independent health clinic audit consultant for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

    Re-visiting, Re-creation and Re-Imagining: Roberta Kaplan was working for the Oregon Health Authority.  She did this for two years, conducting clinic visits through the Patient Centered Medical Home Program.  She started to collect unemployment insurance when she was laid off at 62.   Her unemployment benefits were going to run out when a letter came in the mail stating she might be a candidate for self-employment. She was able to get support while starting her business.  Roberta had never considered self-employment.  She didn’t know where to begin.

    Someone suggested that she do clinic audits on a large scale.  She had to write a business plan, and started to do research.  A friend suggested she apply to the contractor companies who provide oversight for Health Services and Services Administration (HRSA).  HRSA clinics are government run programs that provide full services including medical, dental, behavioral care to vulnerable populations.  They also cater to those who are under-insured, or on Medicaid.  She put together her small business as a health clinic auditor.  InnovaHealth was established.

    What’s working now:  Roberta keeps busy, typically during the warmer months.  Travel to far flung locations is easier from March to October.  Many of the clinics she audits are in remote places such as Bethel, Alaska, where travel is easier in summer.  There are 1,350 federally funded health clinics around the country.  They in turn have multiple sites totaling 5,000. There are 33 HRSA clinics in Oregon, including Outside In and Wallace Medical Concern.  For people in remote areas, these clinics are the only access to health care.

    Roberta flies up to 80 times a year.  She often flies out at the beginning of the week, works 12 hours days, returns home Thursday.  She writes the report over a weekend, then gets paid upon turning in the report.  Typically she’s off again come Monday morning.  The winter months are quieter and essentially with little to no work, so she attends networking events.  She audits college classes to stave off isolation.

    BSR wisdom: Roberta writes:  “I was excited and scared about the prospects of starting out on my own. There was so much that I didn’t know and it took a while to get everything organized, even with resources available.  I underestimated my capabilities, and I have grown in confidence over the last few years.”

    She concludes:  “Being self employed is not for the faint of heart. Do your homework. Do market research; look at the resources that are available through the SBDC, the SBA; Oregon certification programs; do informational interviews. Look at your finances. Can you swing the financial impact of starting a new business? Do you have a safety net? Is this all feasible? It takes several years to turn a profit. Understand your motivation. Are you the kind of person that likes the independence? Are you a self starter?  Really understand the importance of a business versus a hobby.”
    Jackie B. Peterson offers classes and workshops on solo business.  Subscribe to her newsletter and keep up on classes and workshops offered.
    For more information on how the SBDC can help you with your self-employment ideas, visit:
    For help from the SBA visit






  • Encore Entrepreneurs Stories: Marketing for Service Providers at Don Nasca’s Service Store USA

    The Service Store USA wonder and founder Don Nasca

    Don Nasca, founder and owner of The Service Store USA, a marketing platform for service providers.

    Don Nasca helps “professionals increase their income, improve their livelihood, and expand their network” at the Service Store USA.

    What the business does: marketing for service providers.

    A career in programming eventually led to a venture in creating a platform that offers marketing for service providers.  When he was 55, Don Nasca first got the idea for an online platform where professionals could offer their services.  Don was particularly interested in keeping the market in Oregon and Washington.  There are other platforms like The Service Store USA, such as UpWork and Freelancer. Don, however, keeps it local and does not have providers bid on their services.

    Don’s own career in the technology field began in New Jersey.  He was the son of a single mom who had developed an interest in HAM radio.   When he was thirteen, a family friend who was also into HAM radios took Don under his wing and encouraged Don to continue his interest in technology.  Don later became a engineer in the 70’s, and later got into technical sales.  He also earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Portland State University in 1995, and launched the university’s radio station, KPSU.  He continues to have a day job in technology.

    Don first got the idea for what is now The Service Store USA in 2008.   He wanted to create a platform for professionals to offer their talents at the local level.  The difference would be leaving out the lowest bid aspect.  Don really wants to see people who are underutilized with their experience, talents and skills succeed.  Requirements include having a tax ID, a bank account, and pay a deposit.  Participants get a rating upon completed work.

    What is working now:  The goal of The Service Store USA is to help people help themselves, but has to make money to prove it.  Having a team with the right people is optimal, and it took awhile to get to this point.  “It doesn’t matter how good the idea is, a group of good people willing to do the work at a reduced rate.”   The Service Store USA is also the first of its kind using Amazon Payments.   Don’s business is the first of its kind to do this on Amazon.

    BSR Wisdom: Upon reflecting on the path that led to The Service Store USA, Don says he would have spent more time developing a viable product.  But now his business is “selling a connection between two parties,” which is what Don wanted to see happen.  Don also wanted to give back, and has the means to do it.

    For those interested in looking into doing similar work, Don said he used these sites for assistance: Assembla for project management, and Slack for communication.

    Visit Don’s site, Social Entrepreneur Meet Up Group, a networking group for those who want to give back, with either a for-profit or non-profit venture.

    To learn more about Jackie Peterson’s solo business classes, subscribe to her newsletter.


    The Service Store USA sign

    How the Service Store USA works.



    Social Entrepreneur Meet Up QR code

    QR code for Social Entrepreneur Meet Up

    Social Entrepreneurs Meet Up Flier

    Social Entrepreneurs Meet Up Flier





  • Encore Entrepreneur Inspiration: Bill Saphir’s Change Management Consulting Services small business

    Bill Saphir’s business, William H. Saphir, LLC, provides change management consulting services to healthcare providers, focusing on supply chain process.

    Bill describes his chronological age as 70.  Then he adds,”I don’t think I look that old nor do I feel it!”

    What the business does: His business is still in the beginning stages, but has found people interested in the concept.  He has been working with Jackie on honing his focus and developing his presentation skills.

    Re-visiting, Re-creation, and Re-imaging: Bill has a solid background in business and healthcare.  He has three college degrees, including two master’s degrees. Bill has over thirty years of leadership and management experience.  He has worked for Cardinal Health and for a large urban teaching hospital.  He thought about how to put the pieces together.

    “The supply chain,” he writes,”is a continuous loop of three components – supplies, information, and money – going back and forth between a consumer, a buyer, a distributor, and a manufacturer.”  Identifying his target as the healthcare market Bill considered how the consumer’s information could reduce the cost of supplies.

    Demand Planning is a concept that utilizes in information based on future demand for supplies.  Instead of filling storeroom shelves based on historic trends.  This concept is still being used in the healthcare world but the consumer is being left out.  Bill’s business concept; “Utilizing my consulting services in change management, my concept brings the consumer into the arena which benefits all the Supply Chain components.” This produces greater efficiencies throughout the system which translates to less waste and lower operating costs for all the players.

    The BSR take away: Bill used his rock-solid understanding of business and health care to craft a compelling business concept that is beginning to gain traction.  Look back at your history, think about what you can do, are good at, and love to do.  Then start researching the market.  When those all come together, you are really in business.


  • Encore Entrepreneur Stories: Debbie Durham House Sitting strategy for housing

    Housing Strategy: House Sitting domestic and abroad.

    What she does: Find house sitting gigs as an alternative to paying increasing rents.

    What is making her strategy work now:

    Debbie has been able to find house sitting jobs since she moved out of her apartment in March, 2016. She charges a fee for taking care of pets. She has strung together constant house sitting stints over the months in the Portland area, but realizes that that may not last forever. So far, she has found all her house sitting via word of mouth. So she started looking at other house sitting options abroad.

    When asked how she manages personal effects, mail, etc: use a post office box. But there are certain institutions that require a physical address as well. She uses a storage unit for most items, and assigns respective boxes for bathroom supplies, another for office, suitcases for certain seasons. “The paring down process is ongoing,” she says.

    Debbie’s story of re-visiting, re-creation and re-imagination:

    Current income generating activity: Community Education Program Coordinator at Life By Design since 2009.

    Debbie Durham finds alternative housing as a house sitter

    Debbie Durham, House Sitting as housing option.

    Debbie was living in Clackamas County, renting an apartment at a reasonable rate for a long time. The location was perfect as it was within walking distance to the store, post office, and other amenities. She was also taking care of her mother at the time. 2009 saw the beginning of an influx of people moving to Portland, and this started to drive up rent. Debbie’s rent traditionally had only gone up $25 a year over the years. But then the rent increased six times the normal amount. She was not willing to sign a lease. She looked at the current housing situation in Portland as a lose-lose situation.

    Debbie looked at her budget, and could not afford the new rent. Her health insurance at the time was about $300 a month, leaving her with a thin margin to live on. “I was working part time by choice to help my mother,” so my income was low and there simply was not enough money for these increases in expenses.

    Debbie also reflected on how people want to do something meaningful in their lives, but don’t always get to do this during their careers. Many put off acting on their passions until after retirement. Debbie attended a housing forum put on by Life By Design in 2015. This housing forum focused on housing issues often faced by those over 50. The discussion focused on getting people to think about where they want to be in five years, and not waiting for a senior housing crisis to hit.

    Given all this, Debbie thought about how to handle the changing housing landscape, what is important to her, what things make her happy, a how to generate income, and what she was going to do come 2017.

    As an erstwhile Peace Corps volunteer, she had experience teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). ESL teachers often have employment opportunities abroad as American ex-pats. She also could find work as a writer or an editor. Debbie also loves traveling alone, speaking different languages, learning about the culture and how people live their daily lives in a country different from her own. After a search on the internet she found house sitting web sites to help potential house sitters find opportunities, including internationally. The international aspect also appealed to Debbie: housing is very expensive in the United States, but considerably less expensive in developing countries. Sure, she realizes there may not be much money in teaching English, but she will be making up for it in terms of paying less rent.

    In her research she found plenty of web sites aimed at “a life of ease,” geared at those who are looking for options in developed countries. Debbie prefers to be in “uncomfortable” settings. That’s a mark of an intrepid traveler! One web site she mentioned is where potential house sitters can build a profile and make themselves available for sitting. Hosts often say they want retirees.

    Her plan as of now is to go to Quito, Ecuador in 2017. She may also go to Nicaragua for awhile. She has connections in both places which helps.

    A nomadic lifestyle fits very well for many people, at any age. When asked how she emotionally manages moving on a regular basis. “I have never had a permanent place to live! I am used to moving every five to seven years. That said, my strategy is to keep myself flexible, allowing for spontaneity. I keep reading travel blogs written by long term house sitters/travelers who are quite happy with their lifestyle. That encourages me. My #1 concern is related to being alone. As I age, sharing meaningful experiences with a travel companion is more attractive.”

    The BSR take away:

    At age 65, Debbie took stock of her values, experience, and also what made her happy. Being adventurous opens up different avenues for her. She also has experience that puts her in a good position to generate income in an international setting. ESL teachers are frequently sought after in many countries. Many people want to learn English!

    Housing is a reality in our current economy and directly impacts our short term and long term choices. If traveling, particularly in developing countries, is a good fit for your lifestyle, international house sitting could potentially be an option for 50+ people considering how to manage their living arrangements and financial realities. Living abroad may not be for everyone but it might work for you if it is something you have always wanted to do but were not in a position to do so in the past.

  • Encore Entrepreneur Inspiration: Independent Financial Professional Luna Jaffe

    Financial planning and money coaching as a small business

    Luna Jaffe, 55, Lunaria Financial, Ltd.

    Luna Jaffe, Wild Money Owner

    Luna Jaffe, Author of Wild Money

    Financial planning, investment management, and money coaching is Luna’s business.  As an independent financial professional, Luna is the award-winning author of Wild Money: a Creative Journey to Financial Wisdom, “the world’s first beautiful book about money.”  Luna writes, “my life’s work is to inspire a transformation in the way we think about and relate to money – so that money and wealth building become tools of person and social change.”

    Luna created an innovative financial planning firm by drawing on her life experiences,  skills, education gathered over three decades.  She earned a degree in Bilingual Education. She traveled the world in a sailboat.  At 23 started silk painting, running a business called LunaSilks for over a decade.  She then earned a degree in Jungian psychotherapy and had a private practice in her early thirties.  Laid off after 9/11 at age 41, she went from selling security systems, and after that became a financial advisor selling securities.  Now, she successfully brings it all together, creatively advising clients though their own unique financial wilderness.

    “The truth of the matter,” Luna says, “is that I had no clue where I was going when I was 41.”  She had been laid off of the first time in her life, and had a two year old.  She wanted a career that would allow her to be entrepreneurial and stable.  Not knowing what to look for, she made a list of what mattered most: make over $100k, use all the skills and experiences of the past two decades, work close to home so her child could know what she did for a living, and have the freedom of working for herself (although she was open to working for a company).

    Luna was recruited by Edward Jones.  Another financial advisor convinced her that “you can learn the money stuff!”  Putting all of her creative projects aside, she devoted herself to learning the foreign language of stocks, bonds, and financial planning.  Her approach to advising was always rooted in her creativity, and her background as a psychotherapist served her well.

    She grew her business by teaching finance in creative ways; won numerous awards and traveled the world a a result of trips won from exceeding sales expectations.  She mentored new financial advisors, and was a frequent speaker at sales events.  But after seven years with Edward Jones, she began to feel limited by their brand, and wanted to be the brand.  She also had more books to write.

    At 51 years old, she started Lunaria Financial, a company deeply rooted in her creative approach to being an independent financial planner.  It was not easy.  “If I had known how hard it would be, I might not have done it.”  Luna adds, “I was determined that the book I wanted to write wasn’t going to be shaped by some compliance department.”

    For Luna, Encore Entrepreneurship is about owning who she truly is an deciding what she wants to put out into the world.  This is how Wild Money came about.  Luna’s pearls of wisdom:

    1. The key to a successful encore is looking at your entire body of work – experiences, mistakes, adventures, relationships.  They may all look different but look for patterns, which can inform your next act.
    2. Recognize the education you need to be a business owner is equal to the training you needed to acquire whatever skill you’ll be going into business to do, whatever it is.  You need to know how to create systems, how to be repeatable, how to scale your sills.  Get those skills now and “see if it lights you up,” as Luna puts it.
    3. Think about the risk.  How much risk can you tolerate?  Do you have the personality type to be entrepreneurial?  Get to know yourself, but don’t let yourself get scared off by the challenge.  “Just because you’ve never identified has an entrepreneur before doesn’t mean you can’t start now!”
    4. Don’t underestimate the value of helpful people! Engaging with others can make or break your business.
    5. Study what things cost and what’s appropriate to spend.  Practice making money in the beginning. DON’T invest in a web site or marketing program.  Focus on cash flow and building cash reserves.
    6. Your home life will inform your business life and vice versa.  Get your home life in order first.  Hire an independent financial professional.  People loose track of their personal finances when they start a business.
    7. Remember that success is a moving target.  Our definition of success shifts as we reach milestones.  We need to celebrate when we achieve goals, no matter how small.





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