I recently wrote a blog post called Setbacks and Silver Linings In Your Family Day Care Business. The aim of that post was to highlight how the perception of family day care has changed because people are realising how crucial we are to the community. You can read it here. Today, I want to talk specifically about how COVID has affected my business as a family day care adviser.
How COVID has affected my business as a family day care adviser
In more ways you can possibly imagine! And that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Like many business owners, COVID stopped me in my tracks.
Like you, I work hard to achieve my vision. There are so many tasks to juggle, things to think about, jobs to be done, people to talk to, systems to create, clients to help – the list goes on. It can get overwhelming, hard, and downright busy at times. But, it’s not like we don’t love what we do; that’s why we do it, right?
When I started this business, I started with an already established client base, which was wonderful, but it meant I hit the ground running. That looked like working at nights and on weekends, which I’m sure you can relate to. I tried to do it all at once, just as you have probably tried to do as well. And, maybe also like you, I had a family to attend to – I was a mother to a child and I wanted to be good to her.
So when COVID came along, it stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t go and visit clients, which was the core way my business operated. How could I train staff, or work with service providers to improve their businesses if I couldn’t go to see them? My business came to a screeching halt.
I had a period of feeling low and lost, and then I decided to use the time for some reflective practice, trying to find the ‘silver lining’. First, I had to change my business model to move online. That in itself has worked out great, because I can still do what I love – which is helping to grow the FDC industry. In addition to that, COVID has affected my business in three further ways. Here they are:
1) It gave me time to work on my professional development
I knew from the onset that I wanted to ‘influence’ the sector. Early childhood is sacred and education and care is my passion. FDC was the intersection of my ‘two worlds’, professionally speaking. I believe we have a real opportunity to make early childhood great which, in my opinion, includes supporting and educating parents. Even if only for a short period of time, we can make sure they get the message of how important early childhood is to inspire them to do the best they can.
As professionals in the FDC industry, we need to develop the knowledge and skills to get that message across effectively. I hold qualifications, we all do, but that’s not where I got my ‘real’ skills from. I got them from self-education. I consider myself to be a life-long learner, and find ‘snippets’ everywhere to build on.
For example, when I was younger, I worked in bars in the evenings to make ends meet. I once had a manager say to me, “Remember! People like to hear their name.” For some reason, and I didn’t recognise at the time, but that was a ‘snippet’ which I built professional development around. What did that look like? In one of my roles in long day care, I had over 120 parents I needed to build relationships with. I made sure that I knew each parent’s or carer’s name. For me, doing that was an important aspect of my professionalism. It resulted in parent’s feeling welcomed and included.
Now, in my role as an FDC adviser, I have provided many ‘snippets’ for educators and service providers to build their professional development around. I hope you take advantage of them, because a ‘snippet’ can set you on a path of discovery. Never underestimate it.
2) It helped me focus on projects I had been meaning to do for long time
Another example of how COVID has affected my business is by giving me the chance to deep dive into some ideas I had put off because I had been too busy to work on them. I’ve got to say, I got so much done, more than I thought. I’m still not finished, but wow! I am so proud of what I’ve created during this period.
I have thrived in this quiet season. I had so many balls in the air, so to speak, that needed finessing. I was able to look at each project for its own merit – my online courses and policies and procedures are what I am most proud of. They are the products I have developed that I believe will help me achieve my goal in influencing change for the betterment of children, and the family day care sector.
3) It gave me time to reflect on how far I have come.
After I got over my initial anxiety of having my business come to a stop, I began reflecting on how I became to be where I am today.
I have a community of 4,000 followers overall, a 98% rate of getting people through the approval process, I’ve saved countless services from closures and sanctions, and I’ve helped improve quality standards.
Wow! I am proud of myself and what I have created. I have never felt better about what I do than right now in this present time.
So, that’s how COVID has affected my business. Here in Victoria we are just locking down again. I am not freaking out as much this time, because I know I am going to have another opportunity to work on my business and make it stronger.
What is the vision you have for your business on the other side of COVID? How can you use this time for self-reflection and self-education so you can build the business of your dreams while making a positive impact on the lives of the children in your care?
Please take time to look at my website to find things that may help you. All of my videos on YouTube are free, I have a free Facebook group you can join, and I have a free newsletter you can subscribe to that I always try to make informative and educational. Let’s come out of this better than ever.
Wishing you happy business x