You know you’re dealing with an all-around good person when they describe one of their primary motivations as that of “helping people”. Meet Robert Wolter, owner of Assisted Living Locators of SW Houston. Robert opened the doors to his business in August of 2018 and is quickly approaching his second anniversary as a franchisee. Like many before him, the journey to establish himself as a business owner took a few twists and turns before finally settling down the path to entrepreneurship. Let’s explore how Wolter got to this point, a phase he likes to call his “Third Act”.
“I got a business degree and went to work in management information systems, back when the industry was in its infancy,” recalls Wolter. “There were just a couple of big players back then—IBM and Apple, but my specialty was programming and the output was software designed for the insurance industry.” He stayed in this business channel for a while but migrated to more of a marketing position as time went on. Yet, a restlessness tugged at him that has been a familiar presence. “I guess I just like variety, new things, and even new career paths,” he states.
His “Second Act” ended up being quite the transition from the first, as Wolter embarked on a 12-year career with the Fort Bend Sheriff’s Office as a law enforcement officer. “I kind of followed my heart,” he recalls. “I’ve always had this strong desire to help people and this manner of serving my community was a fulfilling experience.” Beginning as a patrol officer—on the night shift no less—Wolter worked his way up the ranks and had the opportunity to personally save two people’s lives while on duty. When the wanderlust returned, Wolter left the force and spent the next decade as a general manager on the campus of Wharton County Junior College, overseeing admissions, registration, and security. Then, it became time for his Third Act.
“I always wanted to own a business of my own,” says Wolter. “But as everyone is aware, it can be pretty scary to go without that steady paycheck. I had more or less retired at that point and knew I loved the self-employment lifestyle. So, I took the plunge!” It all started after Wolter attended a lunch and learn session presented by Diana Trondsen, FranNet Consultant for Houston, Texas. Trondsen took Wolter through the investigative process, an experience that Wolter found impressive. “Not only was Diana an expert on franchise consulting, her availability was remarkable,” says Wolter. “She found a franchise opportunity that checked all the boxes I expressed. It turns out that Assisted Living Locators has low overhead, it’s a one-man show and it’s senior citizen-related.” Recall, that one of Wolter’s main motivations is to help people.
Almost two years ago, Wolter started his business as a franchise owner. “What I appreciate about going the franchising route is that the brand has a plan for you,” stated Wolter. “If you follow the road map, you should be able to succeed. I don’t have a specific background in what I do as a service, but the executives at Assisted Living Locators have impressed me with their fully developed plan to help my business thrive.” Along the way, Wolter has learned how much patience can pay off. “The first year after opening was a little slow, but you have the freedom and ability to learn as you go along,” says Wolter. “I’ve really come to know and understand this industry and it’s absolutely a perfect fit for someone who loves to network. Now in my second year, things are looking great—we’re ramping up and it’s going to be a good year for us.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown much of the economy and commerce for a loop, Wolter is optimistic about the future, knowing that the service he’s providing for families in his community is an essential concern. “At the end of the day, Assisted Living Locators is a resource that offers critical guidance for the families of our senior citizens,” says Wolter. “In a way, this is our moment to shine and show our customers what we can do for them.”
Wolter gives a great deal of credit to FranNet for helping him establish the Third Act of his career. “I think FranNet’s greatest asset is the ‘hand-holding’ throughout the entire investigative process,” says Wolter. It’s a fact not lost on Wolter when it comes to clients of his own. “It happens to be the exact same thing I’m doing for my customers.”For more information, please visit Robert Wolter’s Assisted Living Locators franchise website.