Go from awkward to awesome in your childcare business!

Go from awkward to awesome in your childcare business!

Worried that you’re being awkward and finding sales super hard? Well stop worrying! We’ve all been there! Running a childcare business means our skills lie in caring for children – all the other stuff is a steep learning curve.

However, to make our childcare businesses successful, we’ve got to figure out how to make our awkward work for us. It’s a journey you need to go on to gain clients and build your business so it’s sustainable and profitable.

None of this comes naturally to me either, but I’ve been in the game long enough to know what works for me. I’ve got three strategies I’m going to share with you here. I hope they’ll help you go from being awkward to awesome.

1. Get over it!

Honestly. Sorry to be so blunt, but no one likes selling. Nope. No one. It’s super awkward asking people to buy your service and to shine a light on what you do better than others. It feels unnatural to us. But I learned pretty fast that the only way I was going to gain new clients was to put on a mask (no, not the Spiderman or Mardi Gras type!). I smiled and channeled my inner Queen. Essentially, I put on a show. I was acting. But d’ya know what? When I started my day like this, I started to believe that I was successful and I oozed confidence. People buy into that.

You’ve got to be seen to be successful. I’m not suggesting you lie about your business. I am saying you sort of need to trick yourself into believing that you’re good at selling. Put post-its around the bathroom mirror with affirmations on. Try these ones:

Get over awkward with affirmations - Childcare Ninjas

2. Shine a light on your uniqueness

Take your uniqueness and shine a spotlight on it! Think about what makes your childcare special. What makes it stand out from the rest? Is it the decor? Is it the themes you explore? Or perhaps you’ve got a background in something quirky that you bring to your business. Whatever it is, don’t hide that treasure away in the dark. Get it out in the spotlight and really make the most of what you’ve got.

When I first started my business, what made me totally different from other childcares in the community was that I offered 24/7 care. I was doing night times and weekends when others focused on daylight services only. And that’s not going to be for everyone, but there were people in the community (and from miles away actually!) who had been looking for someone like me to care for their babies. To them it was like a dream come true when they heard I was opening.

So get clear on what you’re offering and tell the world about it!

3. Shout about your story

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: shout about your story from the rooftop! People buy from people, and they want to know all about you. They want to know what makes you tick. Your business needs storytelling and it is so important that you bring the personal to your profession! There’s tons of evidence to show that sharing your story helps your business grow. Why? Because it will chime with families and they’ll find that they want to support your business.

Your story will inspire people. And by telling your story, you’ll be giving other people hope. You’ll bring hope to families who are struggling or maybe another business owner will be inspired to keep on pushing forward. It’s going to demonstrate to your customers how much you want to be in this business and how much passion and drive you have. It will show them how much caring for children in your neighborhood means to you – which will lead to sales!

You can read more about the importance of telling your story in this blog.

See? Sales don’t have to be awkward.

You just need to figure out what makes your childcare business unique and talk more about your back story.

Put on a smile, get out there and tell people about what you do and why you’re so awesome.

grow-your-childcare-business-with-childcare-ninjas

Before you go, have you found the Childcare Ninja Facebook group yet? We are an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup! Interested in becoming a part of the community? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

 

Ways to spotlight your new childcare business for success

Ways to spotlight your new childcare business for success

As childcare business owners it is super important that we promote our businesses all the time. We are the business! So we need to learn how to put ourselves and our businesses into the spotlight. This will bring you all the success you’ve been dreaming of.

So how do you get the word out to the neighborhood about your brand new childcare business? What’s the best way to reach the entire community and get a buzz going before you’ve even opened your doors?

Here are 3 tips on how to spotlight for success in your new childcare business:

1. Start sharing before you open

Before you’ve got clients and before you’re anywhere near ready to open the doors to your new childcare business, you need to start spreading the word. You want to build up a buzz. Get people having conversations about your new business.

Talk about your exciting new challenge and share your journey. This is where social media is brilliant. Put up posts saying “Coming Soon” and share some details about what it is you’re doing – highlight the unique and the memorable. Generate some interest through your social network.

When you go to pick up your own children from school, make time to chat to parents and teachers about your new business venture. They’ll take an interest because they know you, and they’ll spread the word for you without any effort.

If you can, get your logo and contact details put on your car. I had mine put on our minivan, and I’d get leads from people who’d seen it parked at the mall, or when it was outside the church. It’s all about visibility! Think outside the box to shine a spotlight on your new biz.

2. Build rapport

It’s time to really put some effort into building rapport with other businesses. These relationships are crucial to building a successful childcare business. Not only do you want to be developing connections with schools, you should reach out to other childcare providers. There’s room for everyone. Do this by sharing your resources – maybe you’ve found a cool website or printables they might find helpful? You can help each other out by offering to send people their way when you’re full (or the client is not a good fit for you) and vice versa.

It’s not only educators that you should build a rapport with. Think about those businesses in the neighborhood who work with parents and families. Stores, libraries, bus drivers…How can you connect with them?

A great personal example is one of my neighbors. He is in real estate. We’re not friends, just acquaintances, but because he’s seen me out and about with my daycare kids, he knows I’m good at what I do. So, when he shows a new family around, he mentions my services. I never asked him to do this, but whenever we’ve met on the street I’m always polite and ask how he and his family are. These personal recommendations are vital!

3. Don’t sleep the old school

Just because we’re in a digital age, doesn’t mean you should only focus on online spotlighting! Don’t discount the old school strategies of promo. There’s a lot to be said for putting a flyer through your neighborhood doors! It reaches the grandparents and elderly relatives who will then pass on the news about your new childcare business opening to their family members who might be in need of help. Social media doesn’t reach this generation, so going door to door, having conversations and sharing the news is a great way of spreading the word!

You can take out adverts or write short articles for your community newsletter or local newspaper. You’ll be surprised how effective this can be. And don’t forget that having business cards is still a thing! They’re cheap to have made and super easy to leave in places that people will see them. I’ve lost count of the number of families who’ve picked up my cards in the bank or at the grocery store and given me a call!

I hope these strategies will help you take action and you’ll now go out and spread the word about your brand new childcare business!

The world needs what you’ve got to offer.

Don’t shy away from the spotlight!

grow-your-childcare-business-with-childcare-ninjas

Interested in becoming a part of the community? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! The content you’ll have at your fingertips is unique to childcare businesses, because I was tired of joining groups for advice, but finding it irrelevant to my needs. So here we are! A one-stop shop for Childcare Ninjas!

Have you taken my Childcare Ninja quiz yet? And don’t forget that I also have a free Facebook community for childcare providers. Check it out here.

How to start a wildly successful childcare business on a budget

How to start a wildly successful childcare business on a budget

The majority of us starting out in this industry are beginning on a tight budget. Unless you’ve got huge savings or an investor – lucky you! –  you’re going to be developing your childcare business with limited cash. So I thought you’d find it helpful if I shared some ideas of how to save money without risking the professional look and feel of your business.

Here are three ways you can begin to grow a wildly successful childcare business on a budget:

1. Plan the flow on a budget

Now is the time to sit down and think about how do you want your childcare to run. What kind of childcare is it going to be? What exactly will you be offering parents? When I first opened up, I decided I’d offer something that other day care centers weren’t – 24 hour care and weekends too. I knew I’d be setting up as a home childcare, so I needed to make it unique and fun, as well as homely. What will your specialty be?

You can write down goals for the future, but for the time being, you’ve got to focus on what is feasible right now. There’s no point overspending on activities or resources that’ll drain your cash and leave you struggling later in the year. So plan activities to your budget.

One of the ways I did this was making exciting trips to different parks with the children in my care. We ventured further than their local play parks, instead taking sentimental trips to my old childhood park on the other side of town. The kids love going on adventures to new places, and your bank account will love it even more!

If trips to the Science Museum are not feasible right now at the start of your business, do science experiments at home in the garden or in the local park. Make a rain gauge or a sun dial with the kids to put outside, or make some erupting art! Kids love fun and are oblivious to your budget! However, you can aim for bigger things once you’re established!

2. Search for closures

This sounds a bit strange, but hear me out! There are always going to be dentists, doctors, offices and other places closing down, so while you’re on a tight budget, keep a look out. Often these closures mean there’s tons of furniture and other resources – even toys!

When I first set up my home childcare business, a friend of mine came by one day with a cute table and chair set that he’d received from his job (which at the time was a doctor’s office that was remodeling).  With a little love and attention, it looked fantastic set up for my kids to play games on or with some coloring activities laid out on it!

And I know plenty of childcare owners who get ahold of some awesome second hand Lego and other sought after toys for an absolute bargain because they’ve taken time to read ads in local papers, spent Saturday mornings traipsing round yard sales or local garage sales. Being thrifty is an excellent way of staying on budget and there’s absolutely no shame in it!

3. Get crafty with some D.I.Y

This is a chance to get really creative!

I’ve already mentioned my little table set upcycling project, but there have been many since! And I love getting the kids involved too! We’ve done decoupaging with photos of all the kids who’ve gone through my childcare over the years; covering table tops with the images and protecting with a couple of layers of PVA glue.

Check out local builders merchants and traders, who might have excess pallets they’re looking to shift. And wow, there are so many ideas online for making fun things with pallets! You could try your hand at making a buddy bench for the garden, or even a wendy house for imaginative play! I love the idea of getting the children to join in the fun and paint. And older ones are capable of using tools when they’re supervised and are taught how to use them properly. Think of all the joy and pride they’d have using furniture they’ve made themselves!

And once you’re more established, you can branch out and get other people to build fun talking point pieces for your childcare. A couple of years ago, I was able to have a whole market play center built by a local craftsman, and it is still going strong! And the kids who attend and their parents love it. People sometimes even ask me, “are you the day care with the cool play market?” and I’m like, “aaaaah yes we are!”.

I hope you can see now that being on a budget doesn’t mean you’re not able to be awesome. You just have to think outside the box and get really creative with the little you have. And the passion you show by spending time creating a schedule that your kids will love and learn from will come across. By using your free time to make upcycled furniture you’re going to demonstrate to families how much you care!

grow-your-childcare-business-with-childcare-ninjas

Are you in the Childcare Ninja Facebook group yet? We are an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup! Interested in becoming a part of the community? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be!

How to make opening your first home childcare business a breeze

How to make opening your first home childcare business a breeze

It sounds like a mammoth task, doesn’t it – “Opening your first home childcare”?! Appears to be pretty daunting, hey? But breaking it down into bitesize pieces is going to help you.  Just try to focus on each thing you need to get done, and don’t let yourself get caught up in the overwhelm of starting a new business.

Starting my first childcare business in my family home was a huge learning curve for me. You’ve really got to be sure that this is something you want to do. It’s no longer a case of having your kids’ friends over for dinner, it’s your livelihood. There are regulations and guidelines you’ve got to follow. This is a commitment! But it is soooo worth it!

Why home childcare?

My reason for setting up my first business as home childcare is pretty common, I guess. I wanted a job where I could balance my home life and work, that used my skills and stretched my intellect. It gave me the chance to be my own boss, but still be at home when my baby girls got back from school. Caring for other people’s children in my own home meant I could be around to support my own kids. There was also the added bonus that if there was a performance on at the school, I could make it an educational field trip for the day care!

Still feeling a little unsure? Never fear, lovely Ninjas! As a seasoned childcare business owner, I have some tips to share with you. We’re going to get you feeling organized, confident and ready, so you’re not frazzled when you open the doors!

Get your mindset ready

When you’re opening your first home childcare it can feel a little strange. You’re essentially turning the place where you live and sleep into a work place. And that is a pretty scary thing to do! So what you need to do is develop strategies that get you in the right mindset. These will help you keep a balance.

The way we approach our challenges often sets out how they’re going to be. For example, if you rush around in a frenzy setting up your home childcare the reality is that you’ll probably end up running your business in the same way. I believe that being organized, calm and confident in my abilities will set me up for success, and it’s the same for you.

Positive mindset

Hey girl you've got this - Ohverlee

Surround yourself with positive messages and people who believe in you. Put post-its on the cupboards reminding you that “you are awesome” and “You’ve got this”, and get some dollar store frames and print off some posters with affirmations on them – make your own on Canva or use this template. Here is a really great article with some business specific affirmations for you to read. I love this print from the talented British designer, Ruthie who runs “Ohverlee“.

Make sure you’ve got a space at home that you can go and reflect in at the end of the working day. Somewhere calm, child free and relaxing, where you can light a candle or be creative. I’ve written more about creating a space for yourself here.

Plan, plan and plan some more

This is super important and will make opening your first home childcare feel easy breezy! Making plans and putting them into action is how you are going to run a successful childcare business, so let’s start off the way we mean to continue, right?

With opening your first home childcare, you’re bound to be on a tight budget, so planning is key. So, first of all, you’ve got to plan out your space. What do you want the parents to be buzzing about when they visit? What do you want the kids to notice? Think about what you’re offering families and plan out how that’s going to work. Take time to figure out the curriculum – will there be a theme each week or month? Plan out activities you’d like to try and trips you’d like to make – this’ll get you ahead of the game!

Plan out how you want each day to look. Will you begin each day with a story? Will the kids be allowed to free-flow into your outside space (if you have one) or will there be set times?

Plan out meals you might prepare each month taking care to have a healthy balance and not too much repetition. Then you can get list ready for grocery shopping. It doesn’t matter that you’re not open yet. This is going to save you time when you are!

By breaking down each part of the business, and planning it out, you can then start thinking about systems!

Start with systems

Before you open your home childcare, it’s a good idea to have some systems in place. Everyone who knows me, knows that I am systems obsessed – and for good reason! It’s how I have grown my childcare business and it’s how I stay sane! By being organized, and using systems, I have more time for the fun stuff!

The way I do this is I write down all my plans – every area of the business, every little task – and I then look at ways I can simplify or put a system in place. This ranges from staffing to hygiene, food to safety! I have systems in place for everything. And I cannot stress how essential this is if you want to start off on the right foot. You might change the systems once you get going, but it’s good to get organized in advance of opening.

Download your free childcare business map here and I’ve written more about planning and systems here.

planning opening your first home childcare

Hopefully you’re now feeling a little more prepared and ready to begin this journey? And perhaps more motivated to get started on organizing yourself?! I love hearing about how other people go about setting up their childcare businesses, so please leave a comment below or drop me an email with how you’re doing.

This is such a great industry to be in and it’s why I set up my membership to help other women become successful childcare ninjas as well!

grow-your-childcare-business-with-childcare-ninjas

My community of Childcare Ninjas is here to help with tips and advice, and to support you while you’re opening your first home childcare business – and beyond!

Please tap into the hive mind over in the free Facebook group, and if you want to join the Ninja Membership head here now to reserve your spot! And don’t forget to follow @ChildcareNinjas on Instagram for more ways to grow your business!

How to balance the world of childcare ownership and family

How to balance the world of childcare ownership and family

In the crazy world of running a childcare business, it can be really tricky to strike a balance between work and family. Even after such a long time owning my daycare centers, I sometimes get caught up in work-mode and drop the ball on the family side. It can feel like my business is my life. But it’s so important that we try to find a balance between running our businesses and spending time with our families.

So how do I do it? What’s the secret to harmonious balance between these two worlds?

These are my three balance bringing tips that will change your life as a business owner:

Balance by setting boundaries

This is something most business owners struggle with. Do you find yourself cutting back on family time constantly? Maybe checking emails on your cell phone at the dinner table, rushing the kids’ bedtime stories so you can get back to that blog you need to finish, or finding that you’re replying to staff messages late into the night?

Enough is enough. You can’t carry on working like that! You’re on the highway straight to the burnout zone. Trust me! And you don’t want to miss out on precious family time. Kids grow up and neglected partners grow apart. Your business will still be there in the morning.

So set some boundaries! Leave work at a reasonable time and set a good example to your staff. Allow yourself a set period for email checking and replying to clients. Do the same for your team members. Then put your phone / laptop / iPad away!

nope-boundaries-balance

Another boundary issue we have is saying no. We’re super women, right? We want everyone to know how awesome we are! I get it. I do, I really do. But you also need balance in your life and by saying yes to every Tom, Dick and Harry who asks a favor, or to pick your brain, you’re missing out on time with your loved ones. So you need to get better at saying no. Turn down invites that don’t light you up; don’t feel guilty about the shop bought baked goods for the sale at school; and say yes to the things and people you love!

Set some goals for finding balance

After you’ve established some boundaries with work, it’s fundamental that you plan out some goals with your family for what you want to do and achieve together as a unit.

Perhaps you’re all going to play a game together once a week? Or maybe everyone is going to contribute a portion of their earnings each week towards a family trip? Whatever the goals are, make sure they’re discussed as a family. You’re a team! Make it clear that you all want to spend time together.

Creating family goals will help you work together, and bring you closer as a family. Building on those relationships will help you get the right balance in your lives and give you the strength and security you need to run a business.

balance childcare business and family

Find balance by taking a break

Self care should be a top priority for all business owners. When your cup is empty, how can you pour love into your work life and into your family?

We all need a break from time to time. I’m not suggesting that you book some all expenses paid trip to Mexico and jet off into the sunset for some “me time”! Not at all!

Instead I’d recommend finding some space in your home where you can go and relax. Away from work and the stress of owning a childcare business, but also in a place where you won’t be disturbed by the household hustle and bustle of your family!

create a space for balance

I’ve written a blog about creating a space just for you and from experience I can tell you how valuable my own space is! I love being able to just head up to my quiet zone, to be creative or to reflect on my week. We all have so much to do ALL. THE. TIME! So taking ten minutes for ourselves to reboot and reignite our passion for work and our love for our families, is extremely important!

If your budget allows you to book in a manicure or a massage, go for it! But even running yourself a luxurious bubble bath at home, or heading to bed an hour earlier to enjoy your book will be beneficial for you. Just think about adding a little more balance into your routine.

The juggle is real!

Let me know how you get on with juggling running your business with raising your family. Leave a comment below, or write a post in the free Facebook group, where you can connect with other amazing women and share ideas. Join us for more tips on how to take your childcare business to the next level!

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And if you’d like to find out more about becoming a Childcare Ninja, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re an army of childcare professionals who are sharing ninja-sharp skills to transform our businesses into childcare empires! This is Childcare Ownership all Grownup!

 

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