If you asked me what’s one thing I wish I’d had when I was setting up as a childcare business, it’d be a simple step-by-step guide. A guide of the things I needed to do to ensure my day care was legal, marketable and (most importantly!) AWESOME. Because when I set up 15 years ago, I had to make it up as I was going along.
So I spent years learning the ropes and figuring it out solo! It dawned on me that maybe I could create a road map for new childcare business owners. Read on to find out more!
Wishing on a star
At the time I set up, I had no such thing. I was absolutely winging it. I remember wishing that someone – a local mentor, a kind stranger, God…whoever! – might give me a hand figuring it all out. Setting up as a childcare business owner was something I wanted and needed to do, but a guide would’ve been super helpful!
So instead of you having to do the same thing, I set up Childcare Ninjas! I want to support you on your journey. My mission is to help Childcare Ninjas (like you!) build a 6-figure business you love, so you can live life on YOUR terms. No sitting, waiting, wishing for you!
Congratulations on the best decision of your life!
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a friend about pivotal moments in our lives. Hers was pretty huge but tainted with regret. Mine, however, was full of positivity. Can you guess what it was, Ninja? That’s right! Mine was taking the leap to build my own day care business. Doing that gave me the security I so badly needed, but also the freedom I craved. I was then able to raise my babies AND be of service in my community, in a job that I adore!
So huge congratulations on making the decision to start your own childcare business! This is honestly going to be the best business decision you’ll ever make. Welcome to the magical world of autonomy and being your own boss! This is a role that will give you all the creativity, flexibility and financial security you’ve been yearning for!
Reminder: this is not an easy option
Now, before you let anyone tell you otherwise, setting up as a childcare business is not an easy ride. It is damned hard work in the beginning. The list of things to do can seem endless and the hoops you’ve got to jump through feel frustrating. There’s no getting round the fact that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
However, it doesn’t have to be a miserable journey! I am here to make it SIMPLE for you, and I am here to SUPPORT you. Truth being told, if you want to run a successful childcare business, you need the right information from someone that has already walked that road. Oh hello! That’d be me!
I want to help you create a plan of action and get crystal clear on why you’re setting up as a childcare business. Because once you’ve nailed your why, everything else feels a little less draining! Like Jiminy Cricket, let me be your guide…
Knowing WHY you’re setting up as a childcare business
It might sound a little silly, but your why really does matter. And here’s a clue: it can’t be “to make millions”. Why? Because – although that’s nice and all – when things go wrong, as they no doubt will somewhere along the way, that isn’t a strong enough reason to persevere.
Your why is key to giving you strength to keep going. I love this TED talk by Stacey Abrams, where she explains that without having a clear reason that drives you, “the ‘do’ is meaningless”. And I know things might get hard if others stop believing in you and they might even try to tell you to stop chasing your dreams. Going back to your why time and time again will motivate you and help you block out the naysayers!
Practicalities are boring but necessary!
There’s so much to think about when you’re setting up as a childcare business. Where will you run the business? From home or another location? Who’s your target market? Will you have a team to support you? What are the legal things you need to know?! So many questions. And by all means, you can Google each one of them every time a question pops up.
And so much of it is dull, right? When can you just look after the kids and help them grow into awesome human beings?! To get to the fun bit, there’s a few necessary bridges to cross first: licensing and getting registered, setting up systems, finding your families…
But having a practical plan to figure all of this out would be helpful wouldn’t it? I know I wish I’d been given some sort of guide instead of living on a wing and prayer!
Step-by-step guide to getting started
When I first decided to offer childcare in my home around my job as an admin for a small church, I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. I knew I wanted to have the chance to spend time with my daughters and earn a living at the same time.
When I sat down to think of what my Ninjas truly need to set up their businesses, I realised that they need what I never had! So I created a guide to give you what you need to get started. It’s exactly what I wish someone had given me all those years ago.
This guide explains how to start your own childcare, from choosing your logo and choosing a location, to licensing and registration, choosing our team, and managing your day-to-day operations. It’s all broken down for you, and all in one place! No more Googling every. Darned. Thing. It’s insanely simple!
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! Interested in becoming more involved in the community and to grow your business? Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be! Or if you prefer Instagram, we share ideas and tips there too!
As Childcare Business owners we need to create all kinds of documents for the everyday running of our daycares. That might be important registration forms, rotas, meal planners, or simply printables for the kids. But wouldn’t it be great to know how to uplevel your childcare business documents right now?
Now, y’all know I’m not the most tech savvy Childcare Business owner in the universe, but there’s one particular tool that I use that has helped me raise my game!
In this blog I’m going to share with you how I’ve revolutionized and completely simplified my document creating process. Only read on if you’re ready to simplify your life!
What are you talking about, Nyckie?
Okay, okay. So I probably ought to tell you what the tool is! It’s Canva! It’s is an amazing tool. And this week I wanted to talk about how this brilliant tool can help you in your business.
It’s not usually what I do in these blogs but when I was chatting to some other Childcare Ninjas last month, it was clear that not everyone knows about it. I guess most of the time we’re too busy to explore the range of amazing resources right at our fingertips. It’s made a huge impact on my childcare business and I want to help you do the same. And it’s so powerful knowing about the different tech tools that can level up your business in so many exciting ways.
(And, just so we’re clear – this isn’t an #ad and there’s no affiliate links! I just LOVE this tool so much and needed to make sure y’all know about it!!)
Simple way to uplevel childcare business documents
When someone first told me about Canva a couple of years ago, I was like, “no way! I’m not a designer! I won’t be able to do this!” And I still can’t believe that I’ve been using it to create all sorts of things for my businesses since. Me?! It still makes me laugh!
What I love about Canva is that it’s a tool that is so simple to use. It’s been created by designers but is super simple to use. Which makes it ideal for those non-designers like me and you! So it’s perfect if you don’t consider yourself tech savvy or creative this Canva is definitely the design tool for you!
It’s intuitive and laid out in a way that makes sense. (Unlike so many other tool I’ve tried – I’m looking at you, Photoshop!)
Save time while leveling up!
When you’re caught up in the daily stress of running a childcare business, who’s got time to be searching for tools?! Well, that’s why I thought I’d tell you about Canva. Here are just a few of the ways it can save you time!
You can create a “Brand Kit” with all your colors and fonts, so you don’t have to search for the exact match each time. You can save your logo in there and drop it onto all the things you design. (They’ve also got amazing advice on how to do your own branding.)
Once you’ve created something, you can duplicate it with one click and adapt your creation to the next thing. No more cutting and pasting into boring PDFs or Word documents.
There’s tonnes and tonnes of templates ready for you to use and alter. Want a schedule of activities for your families? You got it! Need a new brochure for marketing? Here ya go. Not sure what to share on your social media? Get inspiration here. And that’s before we even get to the documents we need to use on a daily basis for running our businesses: invoices, ID cards, sign off sheets, checklists…you name it!
We haven’t got time to waste on creating things from scratch every time! Honestly, it’s a total game changer! Go on, give it a try.
Tech doesn’t have to be pricey
Back when I first set up my Childcare Business, it was impossible to get good design without spending hours learning to use a complicated (and clunky!) tool that cost a fortune, before caving in out of frustration and trying to find a vaguely affordable graphic designer.
Well it’s all changed now! We’ve been blessed with this fantastic tool and we should all be making the most of it! Canva has an extensive FREE package so you can get started without spending a penny. And the paid version doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as you might think. By using a tool like this you can uplevel childcare business documents simply and quickly.
For less than your weekly take-out coffee, you can have gorgeous designs for your business! So it’s great for new businesses who’ve got a tight budget. Have a look here for other ways to save money when you start your childcare business.
Honestly, the world is your oyster when it comes to designing stuff! It’s a tool we use in both my Childcare Business and with Childcare Ninjas. You can use it to create all sorts like your documents, forms, printables, kids activities and reward certificates, through to your marketing materials. I’m not kidding when I say this is the best way to uplevel childcare business documents. I am so grateful to have this tool!
You can actually have bucket-loads of fun getting creative and designing everything for your Childcare Business. There’s gifs and stickers, meme makers and video templates too, so you can think outside the box and really make your business stand out! And there’s templates for personal things too – Christmas cards, planners, invitations and even T-shirts! All. The. Things!
I hope you’ve found this blog super helpful. If you have, share it with a friend!
Also, if you liked this, I wonder whether you’ve found the Childcare Ninja Facebook group yet? 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! 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!
During last decade – and beyond – I’ve heard countless money myths being waved around as reasons for hesitation when it comes to taking a step into owning your own childcare business. And while some of the rumors might be a hangover from days gone by, most of them are just factually incorrect and are certainly nothing I’ve ever witnessed.
There’s only so much time to write these blogs and you’ve not got all day to read them, have you?! So in this post, I’m busting three of the myths that keep popping up in Childcare Ninja conversations. Read on if you’d like to find out why you need to ignore the money myths and listen to your heart!
Money Myth 1: Expensive to get going
Not true! There are tonnes of ways you can start your childcare business on a budget. I’ve written a few blogs on this, but it is possible to start a wildly successful childcare business with limited financial backing. I know because I’ve done it! Cut back on expenses – do you need those subscriptions or the organic food? Could you strip it back to the bare minimum temporarily until your profits start coming in?
Look into ways of getting more knowledgeable that don’t involve spending money or spreading the cost between yourself and other childcare facilities. Sign up to mailing lists and free trainings and teachings around legislation and regulations.
Setting up your childcare business doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing childcare business to get going. I think the phrase is “done is better than perfect”. Don’t let fear of getting started put you off.
Money Myth 2: Childcare owners can’t make a profit
This one always makes me laugh, because my business is testament to the fact that you most certainly can make a profit! Don’t be intimidated by the money talk around childcare. A lot of the chatter is around the issue that our industry is not valued by many in our society, despite us being a lifeline to families. The recent pandemic highlighted how essential we are (which we all knew!). But the debate as to whether we’re profitable is nonsense.
You can have a successful childcare business that brings in a profit. It takes hard work, effort and planning, but it is definitely achievable. I’m working with a number of childcare business owners – my Childcare Ninjas! – helping them scale up and grow their businesses to become even more profitable.
Money Myth 3: Hard to keep up
Funnily enough, this money myth is a teensy bit true. Yes, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with changing policies and legislation. I could probably dedicate an entire year to reading documents and keeping up with current practice. And of course all the regulations are essential so we have to keep on top of it all.
However, when you’re savvy and have a great team around you, you can split the training sessions between you and share the knowledge when you get back. You can sign up to emails that will keep you up to date, and you can join networks with other childcare businesses. There’s also a great Facebook group I’ve heard about, for Childcare Ninjas like you 😉
Tips for battling the money myths
Over the years I’ve been running my own childcare business, I’ve discovered some ways that you can combat the money myths out there! Here are a few tips to help you on your childcare business journey.
Firstly, surround yourself with encouragers and people who support your dreams. It’s so much easier when you’ve got like-minded people giving you motivation and rallying around you. It’s also important that you can trust them and know that they have faith in your abilities. There’s nothing worse than constantly having to second guess yourself because of negative comments about things that you didn’t ask for an opinion on.
Be wise with your money
Second, y’all know I love systematizing, so you won’t be surprised to hear me say this! So here goes: Get yourself some systems that help you manage your business better. This will save you time and money to invest elsewhere in your childcare business. When you’re more organized and things are streamlined, you can budget better.
Next, I’d like to encourage you to invest in yourself. With the savings you make on time and with budgeting better via systems, you should put that towards bettering yourself. Learning never goes out of fashion! And educating yourself and self development is never a waste of money. Whether that’s additional childcare training or a business diploma, the decision to prioritize YOU as a business owner is pivotal to your success!
My last tip is that you get help with finance. I’m not talking about loans and borrowing money (although if you’re going to do that, make sure it’s ethical and in your best interests! Steer clear of sharks). No, I mean getting your head straight when it comes to finance. Take time to get some money mindset coaching, and another idea is to learn how to do your own accounts.
I hope you’ve found this blog super helpful. If you have, share it with a friend!
Also, if you appreciated the tips in this post, there are plenty more over ideas and inspiration over in the Childcare Ninja Facebook group! 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! 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!
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!
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!