Lucky Lil’ Darlings in New York City is an elite family care solutions company providing babysitting, event staffing, travel coverage, family concierge, housesitting and more in eight states.
‘Ah ha’ moment that led you to launching this business: We launched back in 2009 after babysitting on the side for four years. It was getting so big that I finally quit my job in public relations in September 2011 and have been running with it since.
Ideal Customer: Elite families, hotels, travel agencies and event planners across the United States.
First Customer: My first official LLD client was a family I had been helping with babysitting, housesitting and other family-centric services for years. I told them I was going to turn my passion for childcare into a real business – and they signed up.
Measuring Success: Success in my line of business is built around loyalty and trust. My sitters are extremely loyal to me, as are our families. Both parties trust that LLD will take care of them and provide them excellent service. We have open communication in our company and strive to keep a positive energy. Every time a LLD sitter walks through the door the family knows what to expect: the best. An early success was expanding outside the tri-state area, once our families got to know our business, they told their friends and it grew from there. Recently we signed up as a preferred vendor with major third party agencies (travel agents, hotel concierges, etc.) It’s been great to have corporate validation of our concept and business (in addition to our families).
Biggest Struggle: Time is my struggle. I am your typical Type A personality. Each day I wake up thinking how can I successfully tackle each issue my business faces. At times I need to pull back the reigns, prioritize, my tasks and remember that my time is scarce and valuable.
Surprise!: I have been pleasantly surprised by how much competition we face – it validates the market opportunity and keeps me motivated.
Promoting Business: Customer service. Our best promoters are our existing clients and we get referrals all the time. We don’t advertise in order to maintain our exclusive image – so referrals are critical.
Two things I wish I would’ve known: It is impossible to make everyone happy. LLD is in a very sensitive line of business, there are lots of feelings and emotions involved. As I always strive to keep a positive energy in everything that LLD does, there will always be bumps. Secondly, intuition is key. In past jobs, I had to listen to other people tell me what to do, even though I did not feel right about it. Now I follow my intuition and that seems to be effective in most situations.
What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?: My mind does not stop. There is always work to be done and I often feel guilty going to bed. Sad I know, but I love what I do and helping people. I always am thinking of the next best idea for my company or a new way to promote our services. I also get very connected to our families, so if something is happening in their lives, it affects me too. I often think of ways to better help them in their situation.
Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: No, although I definitely get nervous at times. But the gratification of signing a new client, making a new business relationship or meeting someone who says “Wow, that’s a great concept!” keeps me going. It makes me happy to know that I am making a difference in the lives of our sitters, families and children.
Moving Forward: I want to continue adding stellar sitters to our pool of childcare providers and increase member families by 25% per month in each city. I want to build Austin, LA, Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia into what we have in NYC and I will complete this by building our relations with elite travel agencies, partners, hotels, etc. across the United States. This summer, I want to hire an assistant, get an intern and secure office space to call home.
Pricing, Getting It Right: Ask your customer, research and follow your instincts.
Funding: I met a man interested in investing, I pitched LLD to him, he liked it, we discussed all details and then we signed papers. It may not be this simple for most, but LLD was already up and running for years prior to me needing financial assistance to leave my former fulltime job.
A Few Good Tips: Know your brand and stick with it. Do not change your mind because one person suggested it. Consistency is key. In promotion and PR always make sure that your messaging is on-par with who you reach out to otherwise the message gets lost. Make sure you trust your employees and clients. They talk and will be the biggest ambassadors for your brand.
Must-Reads: I read Parenting.com regularly; they have unique tips on how to engage children, Entrepreneur Magazine.com is always on my night stand; they provide quick and easy ideas on helping you save time and money. I write for Mommybites and always follow what they have to say. I also like Big City Moms, MomTrends & Macaroni Kid for local events and weekend picks for families.
The absolute best part of owning my business is: making a real difference in the world.
If you had to do it all over again, I would have: not worried as much and just enjoyed the experience.
I never imagined: legality would be so difficult.
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “Listen to the right people. Stay positive, talk to everyone and take in the good and the bad. Then evaluate and make it happen.”