Like so many women today, Sharmila Bastakoti wears many hats: devoted mum, caring wife, successful business woman, franchise owner and beloved member of the Nepalese community in Sydney.
What ties all of these roles together is her passion for helping others.
Sharmila is a HomeCaring franchise owner who helps vulnerable people living in Sydney’s south west. She provides much-needed support services to seniors, people living with disability and their families. With her warm personality and ‘can-do’ attitude, she’s a great example of someone who has turned her love of caring into a financially successful business.
Why Sharmila chose home care
One look at Sharmila’s career journey to date and it’s clear she is no stranger to new challenges.
After working as a pharmacist in her home country Nepal, Sharmila moved to Australia in 2007 and completed a Master of Accounting. She worked for NSW Transport before taking some time off paid work to be a mum to her two beautiful children. It was during this time that she found her true passion: caring for those around her.
“I’ve always been an empathetic person,” says Sharmila. “When I had kids of my own, I became interested in supporting other mothers through community activities and learning about developmental health.”
Sharmila started volunteering as an executive member of the Macarthur Region Nepalese community in Campbelltown, helping the group connect with others through social activities, cultural events, fundraising for charity and support groups.
It wasn’t long before she met Claire, a HomeCaring franchise owner. “I was helping her out by promoting HomeCaring’s support services and handing out brochures to the community,” she says. “Claire suggested that I might want to start my own business with HomeCaring, given my love of helping people.”
Taking the first step
As Sharmila researched the HomeCaring franchise model, she was drawn to the company’s philosophy of care – particularly its focus on excellent client service, compassionate support and a ‘person first’ approach.
More pieces started falling into place. Helping seniors and people with disabilities was a great fit for Sharmila’s healthcare background, while her empathetic nature and organisational skills made her a natural at meeting with clients and leading a team.
After plenty of research – and backed by her supportive husband and HomeCaring’s head office –Sharmila opened her own business in Liverpool, right in the heart of her local community.
Her first client was a teenager with muscular dystrophy who needed support with everyday living. His family was overwhelmed with the arrival of a new baby, so Sharmila did was she knows best: she stepped in to help. She found him a support worker who he trusted, organised transport for him, provided occupational therapy and more.
“The mum was looking after him completely, and now she can balance caring for him with her baby. We helped take that burden from the family,” said Sharmila.
“To be able to help people in any way is significant. I have been volunteering in the community for a long time, so for me, I’m happy to be involved in something like this.”
Changing lives today
One year on, Sharmila is running a successful home care business, reaching her financial goals and enjoying a great work life balance.
She is continuing to grow her client base by reaching out to people in CALD communities, despite the impact of last year’s global pandemic. And her team puts a high priority on a ‘person first’ approach to all their services, be it personal care, domestic assistance, community engagement or capacity building programs.
Best of all, Sharmila is in her element, thriving in a career that aligns with her passions.
“I wish I had started this earlier! It has been absolutely amazing meeting new people and getting clients, I’m really enjoying the journey,” she says.
“I’m really happy that I’m making changes in people’s lives. Giving service to people who need it and bringing smiles on their faces … it gives me a lot of satisfaction.”