Know what’s important in life and use your experiences to help others.
Susan Kusek knows the value of having someone to walk you through a very difficult time in anyone’s life. Her company, Kusek Cares, LLC provides advanced planning for the death of a loved one. It was her own personal experience going through the process with her father that brought Susan the idea of creating a business focused on what comes up before and after someone passes.
Susan cares for her ailing father in his final few months of life. During that time, things she had not expected came up that had to be handled. Family dynamics can present an issue as everyone tries to determine the best course. Kusek Cares was developed to make this time easier by educating and preparing families for what Susan calls the “administrative side” of one’s death.
Susan’s work experience has given her a distinct advantage from others who offer these services. With a history in marketing, as well as nursing and pharmaceuticals, she is an ideal advisor. With compassion and practicality, she guides families through the essentials of the end of life process.
Where did the idea for Kusek Cares come from?
The idea was born through my experience with my father. He lived alone in his own home almost until the time he passed. I went to help him for several months since I have the experience in nursing. My brother was the POA, so he had a lot of responsibility toward my father and his affairs. While I was there daily, I had to make several decisions that should have fallen to the POA. The family dynamic can become a hindrance when you aren’t fully prepared for everything that comes with the end of life.
Kusek Cares offers education and planning for families that are going through a similar situation. There are a lot of things besides just the person that needs to be taken care of, most of which families don’t even consider. I want to help guide them through those things. They want to focus on the family, of course, but taking the time to prepare will ease a stressful situation.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I like to break up my days into intervals of time. I’ll wake up in the morning and exercise, usually while listening to something inspirational. It’s a great way to start the day and get your mind ready. Then I will sit down and prioritize what needs to be done within a self-set time limit. Breaking it down makes it easier to reach the goals I set. I’ll spend the day following up on phone calls and emails.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I am so fortunate to have a great support system in place. I have a business mentor that I will turn to if I have an idea. Not every idea is great, you need to really evaluate the benefits and weigh the risks. I know if I present an idea that is too risky, I’ll get an honest response and I’ll be able to adjust what I need to. I can’t express how grateful I am to have that resource.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Death is a very hard subject for people to discuss, but I have found that people are learning that preparing for it can be beneficial. I love that I could ease the minds of those going through the experience.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think my consistency is a great habit to have as an entrepreneur. You must have the right mindset to run any business. You must know things will work out. Every day wake up with that mindset and keep doing what you know is right.
It’s also important to set yourself up with the right support system. Besides my mentor, I have a great group of colleagues I’m able to reach out to for support, or just a friendly voice when I need one.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to have more patience. I would say not to be too spontaneous with things. I’d remind myself what the important things in life are and take some time to really enjoy those things.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
In the process of planning for the death of a loved one or oneself, is that communication needs to be open. This is difficult for many people to do, as the topic itself is extremely sensitive. To ensure that all the needs of the individual are met, conversation is necessary in the process, not everyone would agree with me on this.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am very disciplined. Once I have decided, I will concentrate on getting to that goal. It’s important not to let your head rule your heart. Make decisions based on facts but follow your heart as well. I never saw myself running a business like Kusek Cares, but the experience I went through showed me the necessity of the services we offer.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I think my background in advertising and marketing has helped me with this. I know how to find my target market and get my name out there. I also research the competition to see what they are offering. Then I can see what else I can offer that is better. I think my personal experience really helps set me apart. It’s not just paperwork to me, it’s part of my heart going out to the families I help.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve tried a couple of different entrepreneurial endeavors over the last several years. One of those things was direct marketing products. The company claimed you could make a fortune, but the reality is your friends don’t want to be pitched to. I put money in but didn’t get the returns I expected.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think with the advancement in technology and automation, the best thing for anyone to focus on is service. Great service is something a robot can’t give. There’s a human component that can’t be programmed into a machine. Anything in the service industry, with a focus on the experience you’re providing, would be the best business to get into.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I am a believer in self-care and the occasional spoiling of yourself. The best money I’ve spent recently is for a manicure and pedicure. Take the time to pamper yourself when you can. Everyone is so busy running their day to day lives, they forget that taking a moment is essential to your well-being.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google share drive has been extremely helpful for my business. Having the ability to write up a document, share it to my team and allow for edits all on the same platform has helped so much with our efficiency.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. It’s insightful, yet simple. If you have a goal and the focus, you can achieve it.
What is your favorite quote?
“Be strong for yourself. What is meant to be will end up good, and what is not, won’t. What you want inside yourself is worth fighting for, but sometimes you face obstacles and you are the only one who can fight for it.”
● Always believe in yourself
● Have compassion
● Know what’s important in life
● Use your experiences to help others
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.