By Leader Contributor Jasmine Hathaway of PALS
Families who need help with the tasks, paperwork, and logistics in the weeks and months after a loved one dies sometimes struggle with where to turn.
Four women who experienced this struggle personally decided that there was a gap in the market and started their own businesses to meet this need.
“I help grieving families navigate everything from benefits paperwork to technology,” says Jasmine Hathaway, who won first prize in the national “Daring to Disrupt” contest from Ally Financial and Katie Couric Media for the business idea.
In the years since starting their own businesses, Mollie Lacher, Rachel Donnelly, Esther Pipoly, and Jasmine Hathaway have come together to create a community where they ask questions, share things they’ve learned along the way, and support each other.
One of the biggest challenges? What to call their service.
“There really hasn’t been an accepted term or keywords that describe the niche we fill,” says Mollie Lacher. “We kind of fit into a space between what attorneys, financial advisors, and therapists provide.”
In 2021, they co-founded PALS: Professionals of After Loss Services. Some of their goals were to increase public awareness of the service they offer and establish best practices for doing the work at a high level of integrity and professionalism.
Now, PALS is launching the PALS Training Program™ to share what they’ve learned with other professionals who want to offer this service.
“We’ve learned that this appeals to both aspiring entrepreneurs and to professionals who want to add a line of business,” says Rachel Donnelly. “Funeral directors, death doulas, financial advisors, and others who’d like to keep this work in-house and offer an added benefit to clients have been very enthusiastic about it.”
The course begins on Oct. 1, 2022, and will run for six weeks. It will feature more than 15 hours of recorded lessons, downloadable resources and templates, interactive elements, and live virtual coaching sessions.
“We’ve really poured everything we have into this program,” says Esther Pipoly, “The strength of our combined knowledge and skills makes the PALS Training Program so incredibly valuable. I wish I would have had this when I was starting out!”
The course includes a code of ethics, information on setting pricing, marketing, how to do the work, self-care in deathcare, and more. There are tips and tricks the founders have learned along the way in their own businesses, too.
“I’m a big believer in learning from others’ mistakes,” says Jasmine Hathaway. “Our primary goal has always been to help as many families in need as possible, and this course is a way to equip as many people as possible with the tools to do that.”