Investing in yourself has never been easier, in terms of choice. There’s so many ideas and options floating around the internet, and your inbox is full of people professing to know what a good investment for you will look like.
You want to up-level and reach your goals, but you’re not really sure how to get there.
Well I can tell you, after years of not investing in myself, I only started to see huge growth in my business when I began to see myself as worth the investment.
Putting yourself first
When you put yourself first, you increasingly have more energy to be more productive in your work and you’re more motivated to grow your business. And because you’ve invested in yourself, you’ll find that you’re able to add more value to others. Unlike many other investments you could make – the stock market, real estate, horses – investing in YOU is never a risk, because there’s always a benefit.
People start to notice you
Nely Galán, the author of “Self Made“, describes how, when you choose yourself, “people will notice you, and they will choose you over and over again.” You put an end to passively waiting for things to happen to you, taking a lead and investing in yourself, so you take action and begin to move closer to being the you you’ve always dreamed of.
Here are some ways you could be investing in yourself:
- Improving your health and wellness – by looking after yourself you’re protecting your future.
- Booking a workshop or course – professional development and adding to your skills is vital!
- Watch, listen and read – Women who read, lead – am I right!?
- Attend networking events – surround yourself with other phenomenal women aiming high.
- Hire a business coach – this is a biggy and is a key one for leveling up!
- Prioritize self-care and breaks to increase productivity – you certainly can’t pour from an empty cup.
All of these are opportunities to invest in YOU. Set yourself a challenge to do a few of these each quarter and watch how much progress you make! I know that you’ll be amazed.
Getting into the right mindset
By investing in any of the above list, you’re getting into a childcare business owner mindset. You’re prioritizing yourself and showing leadership. All of the examples are going to demonstrate to your team that this is the way things should be. That when you lead it isn’t all about being at your desk 24/7 and neglecting your well-being. Nor is it about spending your days swanning around the mall with the Amex. Role modelling these to your staff and your family is true leadership.
And once you start investing in your self, it’s like you’re saying to the universe that you’re ready for success. It shows that you’re getting into the mindset for being a childcare business owner.
Investing in your future
I’ve got a Masterclass coming up where I will be covering the 5 foundations I recommend for making childcare ownership simple. After years of experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that owning a childcare business consists of 5 main steps. These steps can be broken down very simply so you’re not overwhelmed in your journey to successful and simple childcare ownership. And although they’re all of equal importance, some of these are overlooked!
In a nutshell, the 5 Foundations for Simple Childcare Ownership are:
- System Building
- Legacy Creation
And these are the simple steps I’ve noticed in my thirteen plus years of being a childcare boss! And when you start investing in yourself and in professional development like this, you’re beginning to think like a successful Childcare Boss.
I would love to see you in the Masterclass! If you have any questions don’t forget that I’m always in the Facebook group and if you haven’t already joined here’s the link The Childcare Ninja Members Group.
When it comes to putting passion into action, I’ve often found childcare business owners don’t do this enough. Yes, of course you’re passionate about your families and the care of the children, but what else lights you up?
Let me tell you a story about why it’s important that we don’t put all our eggs in one basket. And why we should look at our passions when we diversify our incomes.
It was all going so well
Back in the days – about 13 years ago – when I was running my childcare solely from my home, I had no other form of business. I ran my daycare, I looked after my own family. That was that. All was going really well – the children in my care were thriving and their parents were appreciative and kind.
Suddenly the rug was pulled from under my feet. The government had major budget issues. They froze childcare payments to those who needed them. Families in my daycare relied on that so they could send their children to me, in order to go to work. Government subsidies was where a significant amount of my income was coming from. And when they froze the payments, I found myself with less than I needed coming in.
I was facing three months with no pay outs from the government to cover those families. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Around me I could see other childcare businesses shutting down, but I was sure as hell not going to be one of them.
Searching my passion
I needed an additional source of income – STAT. Thinking about all my skills and passions, I began to search for ideas I could implement to supplement the gaping hole in my finances. It needed something that wasn’t dependent on the government or my daycare parents.
There were a couple of events and weddings I went to around this time, and I noticed that there were parents struggling – understandably! – to keep kids quiet and that those babies were bored outta their minds. A light bulb moment occurred!
I could put my passion into action! Soon after the idea came to me, I set up my very own Events and Weddings Childcare Service. I began offering babysitters on and off site for both the organizers of the events and to those attending. All this was in addition to my home childcare. I was serving other families, and it wasn’t focused on those at work so I didn’t need to worry about subsidies.
Where does your passion lie?
What are you passionate about? Is there something you’ve always wanted to experiment with, but you weren’t sure how to incorporate it into your life? Perhaps you pushed it aside to focus on your childcare business.
Well, I want you to learn from my mistakes. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Use your passion to diversify your income. We love what we do but I’ve been taught the importance of speculation! Figuring out a way of getting income from alternative sources is key!
Look at the hobbies and skills you’re excited about. Are you a talented musician? You could be offering musical sessions in your daycare or using the network of parents in your childcare business to spread the work about piano lessons. Or maybe you could play at events and ask parents to tell their friends. Minimize the work by implementing through your business.
Perhaps you’re an artist or amazing craft maker who could offer extra sessions in the daycare, or sessions at the weekend or after school to bored kids or in the evenings to folks who want to learn from your skills. If you’re into something pretty, these are highly sought after for things like bachelorette parties.
Put your passion into action
This isn’t the time to be humble. If you have a skill – outside of being a childcare ninja that is – use it! Whatever it is, it’s necessary to diversify your income streams to protect yourself and your childcare business.
By taking something you enjoy doing in your free time and creating a cash flow from it, you’re putting your passion into action. This sounds exhausting, but it needn’t be. Ensure you utilize word of mouth, making the most of the networks you have available, i.e., your parents!
And I implore you to do it now. There are unstable times upon us and you have a duty to yourself and your family to do what you can to look at other income streams.
Growth and Legacy
This is also an opportunity to think about growth – do you always want to run a childcare business? Or can you see yourself doing different things after you’ve sold it or moved on? Your passion project and side hustle could then become your main source of income instead of just a back up.
And what about the vision for your legacy? What does that look like for you? I like to say that your childcare business can be the catalyst to growing an amazing life, but it doesn’t have to be the only thing. It can be the start of amazing things.
And I see a bright future in you! There’ll be no stopping you once you put your mind to it. Trust me, I’m a ninja!
I hope you found this blog helpful to think about your future. If you enjoyed reading this, and would like to see more like this and chat with other childcare business owners, I wonder whether you’d like to head over here: Childcare Ninja Facebook group! Join us for more tips on how to make your childcare business the success it deserves to be!
While you’re here, are you in the Childcare Ninja membership 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! It’s full of exclusive resources and support to help you grow your Childcare Business.
“Vision board” – it’s a term that’s thrown around like confetti in the entrepreneurial online space, right?! All the big names are talking about them! But have you ever made one with the purpose of growing your business?
I’m Siobhan Strode, word witch over at This Sister Scribes. And I’ve been asked by Ms. Nyckie to write a blog on vision boards because since I’ve been using them I have seen a huge change in my mindset, and my copywriting business has grown from strength to strength. And we thought it would be fun to share how and why they work!
Don’t be put off by the idea if you’re new to it, or the “woo” freaks you out. I felt like this once too! So bear with me and have a read of this blog…I think you’ll love what I’ve learned.
So, what exactly is a vision board?
A vision board is a visual representation of where you want to go in life.
Imagine it’s a sort of map that guides you and pushes you forward. You piece together a creative collage of images and texts which help to stimulate your imagination and develop your ability to visualize your goals. The board is a visual representation of the dreams and goals that you aim to achieve.
It might be a digital board, where you copy and paste images and words that you feel drawn to, but I love something I can touch. Something I can pin up on my wall, and add to as time goes on. To me, it’s a prod or poke to remind me where I’m headed and how I’m going to get there.
Let yourself try it!
After spending a couple of years ignoring the suggestion by numerous coaches, I finally let myself try it in 2017. Slowly, I began to really believe I could build the business of my dreams and a life where my values are centered. And since then I’ve achieved so much. I’ve helped 100s of female founders find the right words to say in their businesses; I’ve held writing workshops and spoken in groups; every day I write for some phenomenal women! I started a feminist podcast “This Sister Speaks” and began hosting writers’ retreats in my Airbnb guest space.
I’ve begun to be the female leader I put on my vision board. I have built a blossoming political career alongside my business – I became a Councillor in December 2017 and I ran for UK Parliament in December 2019; I’ve set up community groups, run campaigns to raise awareness around education cuts and changes to the social security system…Honestly, looking back makes me feel so proud.
And all this is because everyday, I’m reminded of my soul goals and the steps I needed to take to get there. Each morning, I look up from my desk and see the empowering words and mantras, the pictures that align with my future self. I allowed myself to believe. Because I can do this. And if I can do this, you can too!
Creating your vision board
First, you’ve got to pause and think about where you’re at and where you want to go. Ask yourself where you’d like to be this time next year, and where you want to be in 5 years. What steps do you need to take to get there? Think about your why. Where do you want to take your childcare business from here?
Once you’ve taken time to contemplate your goals, and gathered up the craft materials – scissors, washi tape, Sharpies, and a glue stick – plus a big pile of magazines and catalogs to delve into, you can begin! Set aside at least 2 hours of time where you can just be in the moment, with no interruptions.
As you flick through the pages, cut out images and words that you feel drawn to. Perhaps you’ve got specific quotes or mantras you want to include. You might have 3 goals you’re working towards and divide the space accordingly, adding words and images that represent that. This is completely personal and for your eyes only.
Creating a vision board with your goals in mind – really putting your heart and soul into it – can be an extraordinary experience. Like you’ve just read from my own journey, they can truly help you focus and will act as a reminder to you every day of what you want to achieve.
Making the vision board work
While making a vision board is fairly simple, what actually matters is making sure that it works. If you’re spending a good chunk of time on this, you want to ensure that it is worth the hours given.
Acknowledge that this isn’t actually magic. It won’t do the work for you. You’ll get the most from vision boards when you’re determined to put in the work needed to reach your goals. Studies have shown that people who visualize themselves achieving their goals and – crucially – taking the steps to get there are more likely to succeed than those who only visualized themselves attaining their end goals.
Therefore I’d like to encourage you to incorporate those steps you need to take! Add more actionable images and dynamic verbs to your vision board.
Train your brain
Display your vision board where you can see it every day. Place it in your bedroom, work space, the bathroom (probably laminate it!) or any other place that you’ll see it repeatedly.
Reason being that vision boards help prepare your mind, getting it ready to take action. Whenever an opportunity presents itself for the accomplishment of your goals, you’ll be less likely to shy away from it because everyday you’ve been presented with an image of your success in this area.
Having consistently given your mind visuals to prepare it, you won’t waste opportunities to head towards your goals. You’ll find yourself taking action. Essentially what you’re doing is training your mind!
Go and get creative, Ninjas!
Hopefully you’ve stuck with me on this and can see how helpful vision boards can help you grow your business. Although I’m creative – I’m a writer after all! – I’m a hugely practical person, who is apologetically ambitious. I don’t want to spend time doing things that won’t give me a return! I’m a busy woman, as I’m sure you are too.
But creating a vision board is something I invest time into at least once a year, and add to it or create a new one whenever a new goal comes on the horizon. I ask myself, does it fit with my values and soul goals? How am I going to do this? And then it goes on the board!
Let us know if you’ve ever tried before! How do you create yours? Nyckie and I would love to hear from you, so leave a comment! Or if you’re trying for the first time, tag us in a photo of your vision board on Instagram – I’m @thissisterscribes and Nyckie is @childcareninjas.
Have you discovered 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!
Trust. It’s one of those reciprocal things in life isn’t it? We’ve got to give it to receive it. Often, as childcare owners, we think about the trust parents give us when they leave their babies in our care. They entrust us with their most precious ones and then when they leave us testimonials, that builds the confidence in our business within the community.
In this blog, however, I want to focus on the trust we have in our childcare employees, not just the customers. It’s a huge area to dive into, but one we have got to truly understand if we want to grow our businesses!
And you can’t build confidence in your business and expect them employees to have faith in you and your leadership if you don’t totally trust the team you’re working with. So how can we, as childcare business owners, develop our capacity to trust? How can we create a culture in the workplace that encourages trust? I hope this article will help you find some answers…
Watch out for kids playing your team
Recently, one of the children came up to me when I came out of my office and asked me to go to the bathroom, despite there being 3 other adults in the room. I looked around. They were all there, all available. So I asked her, “why are you asking me, there’s three other teacher in here?” The little girl looked me in the eye and said, “because you’re the boss.” I was honestly quite shocked but I told her, “honey, you need to go and ask one of the other teachers because they are in charge of this room right now.” So she did…
But this got me thinking. If I had said “yes, go on”, I could have easily undermined the other adults in the room who may have already said no. Perhaps the child in question had already been several times and was playing around with the taps. Or this could be an issue their parents are concerned about and my staff know more specifics around the issue at this moment…but whatever it is, I trust my team.
Whatever the kids try and sneak around, it’s always good to remind them that the other adults who care for them are important and they deserve respect.
Parents jumping the authority line
And the same goes if there’s an issue with parents. Encourage families to stay within the chain of command, per se, and not skip straight to you as the owner. Going straight to the top – that presumptuous “I want to see your manager” superiority – seems like something that is becoming more prevalent in society, and that’s dripping into the kids attitudes as well.
Let’s work together with our teams to do things systematically, because actually your team have got the creativity and problem solving skills to cope. They just need the opportunity to flex that muscle! Demonstrate your trust in your team. Politely point out that the staff are well-qualified to support their needs. Unless there is a problem beyond their capabilities, you have confidence in your team to do their best for your business and the families you work with.
Undermining your team members is a way to build distrust and a bad atmosphere in your childcare business. You want to create a morale within your team, to build them up. Show them appreciation and respect by pointing out their skills and directing children (and parents!) to them as figures of authority.
Build trust with your team
You’re trying to grow your business, but to do this it’s incredibly important that you build trust with your team. This can come in various forms! Some of which I can briefly cover here: responsibility, giving feedback, providing support, offering training, communication.
Making other people aware of the responsibilities and delegation you’re giving to individual team members is essential. It shows how much you trust them, and it models to other staff that there’s something to aim for. It keeps them accountable but also helps remind you that you’ve got a fantastic team around you to lean on!
Trust comes from being honest and open, so ensure that you give constructive feedback to your team when you’ve given them a new responsibility or challenge. Tell them how impressed you are with aspects of it, and ask them if they can suggest ways of doing better next time. Put the onus for change on them. You know where they went wrong, so do they. We can all learn here.
Offer support and training wherever you can. Doing in-house professional development training in areas you have expertise, but then getting in a guest expert for other things so you can participate too demonstrates trust on another level.
Be a role model
I’ve previously talked about how I communicate with my teams, we use Slack and WhatsApp to keep us all in the loop, and to motivate each other. Communication is super important.
Part of communication – particularly as educators – is modelling making mistakes and being resilient. This builds trust too. When I own up to something I’ve done wrong – for example if I’ve lost something and blame someone else for tidying it away…then later find it’s actually me who moved it; or if an order went in late and I’m annoyed at the delivery guy…because it’s actually still sat in my outbox because the internet blipped! Whatever it is – I take ownership of my hiccups and I tell the team about them. What have I learned here? (Put things in their place, breathe before getting annoyed, etc…)
The benefits that come with this are that your team feel they can own up to mistakes they might make and know that you’re a safe person to talk to. They can trust you to help them. So I urge you to be a good role model. Don’t put yourself on a pedestal or patronize them. Show them you respect and value them!
How do you build trust with your team?
Over the years, I’ve learned the ins and outs of running a childcare business and I love what I do. I love it so much that I’ve developed a program to support other childcare business owners in building their empires! Women supporting other women is so powerful! And we ought to be raising each other up, right? Sound good? Come and join us over on the Facebook group!
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!
Have you taken a moment to rethink and reload your financial goals for 2020? It’s been a rollercoaster of a year so far, but there’s no need to despair! Essentially, we’re only half way through so let’s assess where you’re at and get planning!
Y’all know my favorite word is the “p” word. Ms. Nyckie loves the planning! However, you might be wondering, “what’s the point?” You’re maybe even thinking, “Let’s write off 2020 and start from scratch next year”. Who wants to sit back and mope?? Not me! And I want to encourage you to re-look at your financial goals with some positivity and hope!
Why you need to rethink your financial goals
Between a global pandemic causing financial chaos and the anxious state of flux we’re seeing on the international stock market, it’s not really surprising that we might not have met our goals for 2020. But I hasten to add one word to that sentence: YET. You might not have met them YET.
Clearly 2020 is giving us enough reasons to rethink (life, health, family…let alone our businesses!), so why not just go with the flow? We cannot control the way the pandemic is impacting our businesses – social distancing, face masks and additional cleaning are just a few of the adjustments we’re all having to make – not to mention closures for those of us in countries where strict lock-downs have been in place.
What we can control is our reactions and coping strategies. Let’s be pro-active, re-think and reload our financial goals!
Where to start with reloading
It sounds simple, but in the words of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning”! You made Q1 goals in January, right? And maybe the more savvy Childcare Ninjas among us even set Q2 goals back in March. Since then things have gone a bit haywire, and maybe that line you’re usually so able to predict hasn’t quite followed the path you were expecting.
Look at what’s worked well and where things need some support. Have you managed to stay open during this time, or have you had to close temporarily for everyone’s safety? I’ve been lucky in the grand scheme of things, but I know many childcare business owners elsewhere who’ve had to shut their doors, uncertain of when they’ll be able to welcome their families back and therefore had to dismiss staff. Now some of those day cares are preparing for re-opening and they’ve got to look at rehiring as well as navigate intense new levels of hygiene.
If you’ve been one of the lucky ones and have been able to keep going, take a good look at your goals from earlier in the year. How can you alter the projections you’d made to take into account any changes in the financial climate? Factor in any interest rate alterations and allowances you might have been able to access. You can still dream big, and maybe reloaded goals look more positive than you’d imagined they might, considering the current situation.
Ensure that your goals are SMART.
If you’ve not heard of SMART goals before, this means that you are looking at targets in a more analytical way. While you’re reloading your financial goals, it’s worth checking that they are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Due to the instability of everything at this precise moment in time, you might be concerned about the longevity of your business so analyse everything and figure out what you can do differently.
Setting really specific goals, like “Find 3 new families for the day care” or “create new menu on a smaller budget”, will mean you can easily see if you’re making progress. Just be sure to write down detailed plans, to chunk big goals down into bite-size ones, and make a timeline for achieving your goals.
The back up plan for your financials…
If you’re not going to meet your goals, but still worrying about not meeting adjusted targets, what’s your plan B? What are you going to do differently to cover your back? If you’re not fully up and running yet, you could set a new goal to develop your childcare business by training up a team or looking at venues. Or maybe you’ve got to pick up some freelance jobs or babysitting work in addition to running your childcare business, just to tide things over.
You may decide that now is the time to start saving more emergency funds, or that you’re going to make changes in your investment strategy so your money has a better chance of surviving market downturns.
I’d be happy to chat over in the Facebook group with you about how things are going, and the other childcare business owners will have ideas about how you can adjust your strategy to reach your new goals, in the new normal (whatever that looks like for you!).
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!