Always, Sarah

4 Tips to Opening Your Daycare (or Any Business)

If you haven't read the general idea of how the "daycare thing" came about for me, you can read about it here.  If you've read it, then you know that opening the daycare was more out of necessity than something I had been dreaming about over a period of time.  For those of you who have been dreaming of having your own daycare, please don't take that the wrong way. There's absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming of being a daycare owner or working for yourself if you're in the childcare industry.  YOU are needed. And I APPLAUD YOU for who you are and what you are able to do day in and day out.  For me though, it wasn't my dream and I didn't have any background in childcare.  My qualifications were 3 ECE (Early Childhood Education) units from taking an child psych 101 as an elective in college and life experience as a mom with two kids and one on the way.  

I also knew there were four things that I needed to open up shop.

When I was doing homework on opening a daycare, running one, and the real life experiences of others who were already wearing the shoes I was window shopping for, I didn't really find much.  There are probably tons of information that you can find out there now, but if the information didn't quite satisfy what you're looking for, I hope this will help.

4 Simple Tips to Opening Your Daycare (or Any Business)

  1. Desire.  This one word is no joke and will be your biggest and most important driving component to opening and running your daycare or any other business really.  If you don't have this deep desire that keeps you up at night and wakes you up in the morning to get your business closer to the ideal you have in your head, your desire isn't deep enough.  Everyone's desire differs, so don't discount what you want because it's different than your spouse's, bestie, sibling - whoever you're talking to.  My Hubs works with money.  His desire was to not spend my entire paycheck on childcare.  With two and soon three kids going to daycare, what I made each month from my employer would literally go directly to daycare.  How many of you can relate to that? My desire was to stay home with the kids and make an income.  How many of you can relate to that?

It's safe to say that my desire for change was much greater than my desire to stay the same.  So I got to work.

2.   Start.  I know quite a few people who have a desire, but they never get started. It's pretty intimidating, but it's the lack of starting that kills the dream.  Some people have a need to research, and research, and research. Some people need to have everything in place first - the perfect website, the best image.  Some people need to plan e-v-e-r-y-t-h-a-n-g.  Someone once told me that the best way to get started is to pick one thing and start.  I had zero experience being a childcare provider, but I did have experience in picking one out.  I started by making a list {I am such a list girl} of all the things I liked about the daycares I've enrolled my kids in and a list of all the things I didn't like.  I took all the things I liked and brainstormed on how to implement them.  Then I took the things that I didn't like and figured a way to make it better or threw it out of the mix.  It looked something like this.

How overwhelming is that? How intimidating? Not very.  Yes, research, planning, and design are important but it is in the start that new worlds, new journeys, new adventures are created. Start as simple as possible.  Take what you know and make it even simpler.  Later you can dig deeper, but as you get started, do as little as possible.

"There are 2 mistakes one can make along the road to truth...not going all the way, and not starting." ~ Buddha

3.   Have a deadline.  My grand opening date was easy; the soonest you can enroll a child into daycare is 8 weeks old.  We moved into our new house in May, the baby was due in July. I'm pushing you to simplify - here's how I kept this simple.  I decided that my daycare doors would open 8 weeks after my daughter was born.  Because this would be my third delivery, I was realistic about my recovery time, which meant all or most of the heavy lifting to get this daycare thing up and running had to happen before I had the baby.  Talk about sense of urgency right? That's what you need to create for yourself.  A deadline, a sense of urgency and a non-negotiable mindset. {You can do it}

 4. Mindset.  You will have days when you will come across challenge after challenge.  You will have days when your friends and family are questioning what you're doing.  Then there are those super fun days when you get both. Being clear and knowing what you want and where you're headed comes from within.  I'm pretty sure everyone I know does not welcome obstacles and disappointments, however some of my favorite people handle disappointment like a boss.  I've found the difference between these groups of people is mindset.  Each knows that everything we do will come with struggle, but one group already decided that when the struggle comes, they will keep going and not give up.  Be in that group. So you don't feel alone, here are a few of things my loved ones said to me:

  • You've never started a business, small businesses never last.
  • You don't have a degree in childcare or business, why would people pick you?
  • Do you know how much of a liability that is?
  • How are you going to take care of other people's kids and your's?
  • You're taking on too much all at once. 
  • Where will you find kids to enroll?
  • Do you even know how to run a preschool?

Compliments of my loved ones y'all.  I don't hold it against them.  They brought up good questions and I found solutions.  So can you.  If you put your mind to it.

Yes, it can be scary. Yes, it can be lonely. But it can also be exciting and give-yourself-high-five exhilarating when you step back and see what you've created. 

If you need a cheerleader or are stuck, I can help cheer you on or get unstuck.  Need help with your next steps or details? I got you.  Hit me up ~ we'll be great friends!

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