Interview Nikita Cosgrave, Nanny and Co-owner of an online business Lullaby Nanny Share
Many people that decide to work in child care seem to come up with ideas for great online businesses, often as a reaction to gaps in the child care marketplace – which according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics is steadily growing in size.
“From 2004 to 2007, the number of child care businesses increased by 19%. The growth in the industry has come from smaller child care businesses employing less than 20 staff,” they say. Nikita Cosgrave now co-owns an online nanny service, which fits this profile.
“Businesses employing 1-19 staff have increased by 93%,” showing that there is still a place for niche services and one-on-one child care.
Lullaby Nanny Share allows people to split the cost of a nanny with another like-minded family that lives near them. They provide services for sole-charge nannies as well as after school care and occasional nannies. Nikita began the business with her partner Rachel Russell when sharing nannies was “very rare.”
“We thought it would be a fantastic idea” for a business, explains Nikita. “We wanted to create a personalised agency that matches families.”
“There are a lot of referral agencies in Sydney and we wanted to be different.” As well as managing nannies and families, Nikita explains that her agency has small business services and needs such as contracts, administration, temp nannies, payroll and recruiting.
“We also provide our nannies with monthly nanny workshops,” Nikita says, “that will help them learn new ideas and meet new contacts.”
The industry has evolved to include both child care services and nannies, due to demand
“Our clients are usually working parents that are required to go back to work,” says Nikita. “Sometimes when they are not offered a place in day care so they come to us. Our service offers them peace of mind.”
The challenge of running a successful business
“One of the biggest challenges has to be the nannying industry in general,” explains Nikita. “Unfortunately a lot of parents pay nannies ‘cash in hand’ while we believe in promoting the complete opposite.” This agency is concerned with empowering their employees and aims to service their employee’s welfare. When workers are accepted and sign up, Lullaby Nanny Share pays the proper tax to the Australian government as well as superannuation and even nanny insurance.”
The way the industry is progressing is clear. “If you want a professional nanny you must keep (your business) professional,” Nikita explains. Signing on to a reputable provider is paramount, says Nikita.
How to set up a successful child care business: from someone who has done it
Nikita has been fortunate that her business has attracted enough revenue to allow the site to move into new offices in Sydney’s prestigious Eastern Suburbs.
In terms of business performance, Lullaby Nanny Share has garnered the admiration of the industry, having been awarded with a finalist position in the Brightest and Best Business Awards and The Small Business Champion Awards. Nikita says this comes after lots of planning.
“We try to keep our office as inviting and professional as possible for our nannies. We aim to give them an experience that is equivalent to them seeking a role with any other (more standard) job.”
Advice for students looking to get started
Being a nanny is very different to any other child care job as you are on your own with the children and you must make the right decisions at all times. I would suggest getting your qualification first as most jobs require this with also your background checks.
Create a nanny folder and bring it with you to interviews. It should have your child care resume, photos of children you have worked for and excellent references if you can get even one or two to start off with. Try asking family friends if you can babysit to gain some experience.
A final word of encouragement
To all the wonderful students out there, you have chosen the best job possible. You are caring for other people’s children and have a huge impact on their lives; so love every minute of it.
"Your profession is not what brings home your weekly pay cheque, your profession is what you're put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling."
When dealing with children we can’t take any chances! We fully screen our nannies and make sure that they have a Police clearance check, a working with children’s check, 1st Aid Certificate and reference from previous employers. We meet all of our clients face to face to gather all of their requirements building a wonderful relationship. They know we are here for them at all times.
Top 3 tips for students looking to get started in the child care industry
#1: Be passionate about children
If you truly love child care this will show in interviews and in practise. Child care can be stressful at times however it is not like any other job. It takes a very special person to look after children and I believe it is the best job in the world.
As a child you always remember your favourite teacher or carer, so be that favourite to all children.
#2: Create a child care resume
This is extremely important. I know being a student, you gain a lot of experience in various different jobs. If you are going for a child care job, create your own child care resume. A child care resume can be different to any other resume you will ever do.
Be creative – add photos of children, daily routines and activities that you love to do with also an introduction about yourself and why you got into child care. Put down all of your babysitting, Nannying and day care centre experience. Be personal as parents love to hear about the children that you have cared for.
#3: Be reliable
No matter what, be on time for interviews and never let a parent or employer down. It is a small industry and parents talk so show professionalism in every way that you can.