My high school friend Kristin started a nanny business called Northlight Nannies. They provide quality in-home care on a full-time, part-time, and seasonal basis. They serve the greater Grand Rapids, Michigan area. If you live in this area, check them out! At some point we all might need a care giver either full time, part time, “on call” or during breaks like Christmas or Spring Break. I have met a few moms here in Oregon who have been looking for a business like this in our area! Starting a business is something that always intrigued me. Here is Kristin’s story…
This summer, my husband and I decided to take a major leap of faith and start our own business. After over a decade in youth ministry, my husband was ready for a new job opportunity and a chance to try something different. So, we started Northlight Nannies, a business that helps busy families find in-home childcare for their kids.
I grew up as the daughter of an “entrepreneur”. I learned this word as an 8-year-old to describe what my dad did for a living. In reality, I had no clue what this word meant. Later, I finally learned this word meant he was developing his own business. I think this background helped me step into Jeff’s desire to start a business without too much hesitation. I’ve been shocked by how many women hear that my husband is starting a business and they say, “Wow –isn’t that kind of scary?” or “How brave of you to start a business!” I don’t find it scary or brave to be starting a business. I witnessed my dad successfully start a business and have full confidence in my husband and I that we can do the same.
However, even just 6 months into our new business, I’ve learned that starting a business with your husband versus watching your dad start a business as a young child are two very different things. As a young child, I watched my dad start a business and assumed my mom did not play an active role. He was “Dad, the entrepreneur” and she was “Mom, the mom”. Looking back, I’m sure my mom did play a large role in helping my dad start a business, but my child’s mind didn’t notice any of the work she was doing. There were a few aspects I did not anticipate:
For example, my “work” days are longer. My day-job has remained the same, I’m the primary care-giver for our 3 kids, dealing with snack-times, play-times, school pick-ups, planning meals and cleaning the house. However, my evening job has turned into Kristin, the co-worker. We typically find time after the kids are in bed to discuss work decisions. However, It’s been a real challenge to limit ourselves to that time frame. For example, Jeff comes home from work and I’m eager to hear about his day. However, instead of simply hearing some highlights, we often start brainstorming new ideas and marketing thoughts. The kids quickly point out if we take too long chatting about “daddy’s day” and drag him off to play which is a quick end to any productive work discussions. Even date nights can turn into work discussions if we’re not careful.
On a different note, becoming a business owner has added a new dimension to my life which I didn’t even realize I was craving. I’m not just “Mom” any more, I’m also someone who’s learning more about all the different aspects of business: web design, marketing, hiring employees, serving customers etc. I have new opportunities to interact with people on a different level. While Jeff does the majority of the business work, we’ve found certain aspects of the job that I excel at. He then takes on the role of primary caregiver for a few hours a week during the day and I head off to the office. That’s has given him additional chances to be “Dad” and gives me a chance to act like a grown up.
At the end of the day – which does seem a little longer than it used to be – I’m thrilled that Jeff felt this desire to start his own business. I’m enjoying the new challenges that it brings to our family and excited to see where we can go from here.