Can a babysitter be an entrepreneur?

Thinking of this popular summer job as a business can increase skills and profits.

As students prepare for summertime activities, many will be thinking about jobs or ways to make money. Some youth will babysit for extra money in the summer as well as to get job experience, but most of them will not think of themselves as entrepreneurs. Can a babysitter be an entrepreneur?

If a teenager were to apply a few business skills to their babysitting endeavors, they could increase their experiences, knowledge and possibly even their profit. There are many ways business and entrepreneurship skills can help, including market research, target marketing, value-added services, goal-setting, record-keeping and professional demeanor. More information on applying these skills to babysitting can be found in the accompanying article, “Turning babysitting into a business.”

Young people can start to improve their babysitting business right away with simply the attitude they take when dealing with customers. Babysitters may overlook this attitude, or professional demeanor, if they are used to getting jobs from friends or family members, but can be a tremendous help in order to expand a customer base. This can include having a good business handshake, learning how to communicate well by speaking and writing, and building trust with families.

Once someone has decided to think of their babysitting as a business, it may help them to set some goals. These may be related to experience, such as wanting more experience with babies and toddlers or wanting to get a certain number of jobs per month; money, such as saving money for a big expense like a car or college; or building the business, such as getting a certain number of referrals from current satisfied customers. Whatever the goal is, making sure it is written as a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound) goal is important. This helps to give meaning to the goals and makes it easier to monitor progress towards it.

After goals have been set, the best way to track movement towards those goals is with clear records. Keeping jobs organized in a calendar can help determine future openings as well as staying on schedule, especially if other activities such as sports or 4-H are involved. Setting up a simple spreadsheet or three-ring binder can also help keep track of job specifics, like parent contact information, rates agreed on, hours worked, ages of children, etc. This can help in re-booking jobs (knowing previous rates), as well as keeping track of progress towards goals. This information can also be key when developing marketing materials or putting together a resume.

There are many ways for a babysitter to think of themselves as an entrepreneur, and applying one or more of these skills to a babysitting venture can lead to increased success as a babysitter and a business owner. Michigan 4-H has resources and information about entrepreneurship and money management. You can also read these Michigan State University Extension articles for more information, “Youth entrepreneurship projects teach life skills” and “Goal setting: Are you ready to get it done?

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