SitterCycle.com. We are a child caregiving training site that allows for caregivers to take multiple classes on our website.
How long have you been a nanny, or how long were you a nanny?
I had been a nanny for about 7 years off and on through college and through my years after college.
What is a highlight of your nanny career?
The highlight of my nanny career was also the catalyst for creating SitterCycle. Right before I moved to Boston one of the families that I was a summer nanny for had two children on the autism spectrum. Unfortunately, while I had experience with children with special needs, nothing had prepared me for caring for children with special needs particularly the autism spectrum. This had me thinking about the training and education of nannies. SitterCycle aims to provide many training’s for caregivers to learn more about the needs of children and families as well as elevate their professional lives. All of these are issues that I am very passionate about.
How did you come up with the idea for your service?
While I was nannying before graduate school, I was a nanny caring for two children on the autism spectrum and initially we struggled as I familiarized myself with autism, engaging them, and fully understanding their needs. Things became much better over the summer, but it made me wonder if there was a way to help caregivers learn while on the job. More importantly, promote social learning because that is the best way adults learn. SitterCycle was first developed in a class at MIT and I began working on it during the summer of 2012.
What is your level of monetary investment and have you seen a profit?
Currently, I am bootstrapped meaning I am paying out of pocket and with jobs that I’ve held. I have spent $3,000 on hosting, travel, surveys, etc. However, I have won $1,500 through competition which is exciting. We’re currently selling our first class and currently working on several other curriculums. Our online class also includes resume reading and other coaching tools. We currently price the trainings at $120.
What is the purpose of your service?
SitterCycle quite simply aims to educate nannies, empower them to teach and learn from other nannies, increase career options, and better the care provided to children.
How has the nanny industry received your service – i.e. what has been the feedback you’ve received?
We completed a pilot that was positive but knew there was much to do. So every class there was feedback that we integrated into the class. The class is much better and richer and we’re always going to be retooling for what caregivers need! I want SitterCycle to be the best it can be and make a HUGE impact globally. Those are my dreams for this company.
What words of wisdom do you have for others, who may have a product /service and wish to expand its market?
Dream BIG and talk to everyone about it, endlessly. I have a lot of mentors that inspire and give me advice. I imagine that I get closer to what I imagine as I get advice test things out. Since I am a single founder it helps me be courageous to have someone to report to and bounce ideas off of. What if people steal your idea? That rarely happens but when it does let them and learn from their mistakes and yours. Learn from as many people as possible. Two weeks ago I did a conference call with Jennifer and Whitney at Nanny Magazine about social media, it was great and I have been way more active with SC’s social media.
What do you wish you had known early on, that you’ve learned going through this process?
Ask for help, because people who believe in you and what you do will go to bat for you. I’ve had nannies complete a Spanish translation for us and a friend in a social circle just cleaned up our Facebook image. Friends are awesome!
Any other information you would like to share with us?
Do good, support others, and wish them well and you will also see increase. Keep at it and realize that the first iteration of your idea may not be the best one. Enjoy the learning and not just the money. Keep building, tear it down, build it again and stay true to your values.