In this episode, we talk with Evelyn Knight, known in the industry as the Childcare Business Coach. Evelyn gives us a deep dive into her journey, from having an eviction notice on her door and navigating a neurological disease to growing her business and bringing in seven figures a year.
With the help of a coach, Evelyn was able to turn around her failing child care business and is now a coach herself. Aside from money issues, Evelyn sees many clients coming in for help with time management and staffing. In this podcast, she provides her process for addressing all three, including some practical takeaways:
Evelyn is known in the industry as the Childcare Business Coach and is the founder of Child Care Business Professionals. Her mission is to empower early child care education professionals in reaching their full potential by providing educational services that promote quality standards, professionalism and business proficiency.
Evelyn has degrees in Early Childhood Education and Psychology, and has spent more than 25 years working in the early childhood space. Having owned three successful child care centers, Evelyn uses her expertise to help other child care providers achieve a level of mastery over their business that delivers the results they want.
If you want to connect with Evelyn and hear more of her amazing wisdom, you can find her in the following places:
To get more insights on ways to succeed in your child care business, head over to our Resource Center at https://www.procaresoftware.com/resource-center/.
Have an idea for a podcast or want to be a guest? Email us at [email protected].
Speaker 1 (00:07):
[inaudible] welcome to the childcare business podcast brought to you by ProCare solutions. This podcast is all about giving childcare, preschool, daycare, afterschool, and other early education professionals, a fun and upbeat way to learn about strategies and inspiration you can use to thrive. You'll hear from a variety of childcare thought leaders, including educators, owners, and industry experts on ways to innovate, to meet the needs of the children you serve from practical tips for managing operations, to uplifting stories of transformation and triumph. This podcast will be chalk full and insights you can use to fully realize the potential of your childcare business. Let's jump in
Speaker 2 (00:53):
Good morning. Hey everybody. And welcome a again to the childcare business podcast. And if you've been listening to our podcast for any period of time, you probably know by now that what we try to do, uh, you know, in our, in our show is, is really just pulled together, thought leaders from the childcare industry, educators, business owners, coaches, mentors, consultants, anybody that's really contributing to, uh, moving our industry forward and supporting the professionals that call this industry, their home and their profession. And, uh, today I'm really excited to introduce to everybody if you don't already know her to Evelyn Knight. Um, Evelyn is known in the industry as the childcare business coach, and she is the founder of childcare business professionals. Uh, her mission is to empower early childcare education professionals in reaching their full potential by providing educational services that promote quality standards, professionalism, and business proficiency.
Speaker 2 (01:52):
Um, you know, Evelyn has degrees in early childhood education and psychology, and she has spent more than 25 years working in our space, having owned three successful childcare centers. Evelyn uses her expertise to help other childcare providers achieve a level of mastery over their business that delivers the results they want. Uh, and if you haven't already, you can catch up with her on her own podcast. So, uh, I'm excited to have, uh, a fellow podcaster on the show today. Maybe I'll learn some as we go. And, uh, her podcast is called the childcare business coach, or you can also view her knowledge filled videos on the childcare business professionals, Facebook page, uh, Evelyn, it's a pleasure to have you welcome.
Speaker 3 (02:34):
Thank you, Ryan so much. And I am also still a currently a childcare center owner, so that there's a lot of consultants and coaches in the field, but what sets me apart is I'm actually still in the trenches with my clients. Um, I'm also looking right now, I'm in negotiation to purchase of my fourth center. So, uh, I know, I mean, I practice what I preach. I am an owner and I take the practices I use in my childcare centers myself, and just teach my clients what I've learned through trial and error.
Speaker 2 (03:07):
Yeah. I love that. It brings up a really good point because we actually have had a few other consultants and coaches on our show. Um, but you're right. You know, a lot of times what we see is individuals kind of track through their career and monitor and kind of gauge all the learnings. And then they reach a point where they're like, Hey, I want to give back. And so now I've moved into maybe phase two of my career, but you actually do both. So how do you balance your time? Can you talk a little bit about like on a day-to-day basis? What does your schedule look like as it relates to running your centers versus the coaching side of your business?
Speaker 3 (03:40):
Well, I think the first thing I had to realize is it, time, time management is one of my specialties, but one of the first things I had to realize is I really had to change my mindset and start thinking like the CEO of a company. A lot of times in early childhood education and as childcare center owners, we don't understand that we need to change our perspective and see ourselves as business people. So I started calling myself a CEO and that, and then I created for myself a CEO schedule. And I really just started thinking on terms more like those types of terms and childcare education, where moms were, teachers were directors, and then we become owners, right? But we're not business people. And that is something our industry really needs to change. It's okay for us to be all those things, but we have to become business minded in order to take our profession to that professional level and to become successful.
Speaker 3 (04:34):
So that's really how I started to learn how to manage my time better. And I actually went on a journey to learn better time management so I can juggle my center, but really what it is, is learning how to duplicate yourself and automate, right? So that when I'm not at my center, my brand, everything I created runs on without me, whether I'm there or not. And that's where I can own multiple centers, have my coaching business and do all the things that I do, but still be the CEO of my company, still be a mom to my children, still care for my sick husband and still juggle all these things. It's just really that mindset shift that, um, so many of us, we have so much more time than we realize. It's just, we waste so much time. We don't even know that because we don't track our time and we don't understand how to manage our time. Really.
Speaker 2 (05:27):
Yeah. I mean, I think that's one of the things hopefully we'll get to spend a chunk of this episode on, is talking about time management, because as I was researching a little bit for our conversation, I, you know, I think I started to look at my own schedule and realize like with all this stuff, Evelyn has on her plate and that she's dealing with, uh, I think a lot of people can probably start to get rid of excuses on why they can't get things done. It seems like you have a lot, but I, I do want to talk a little bit about before we get to like your day to day, maybe your history. Cause you mentioned what you have kind of found through your own experiences. Like we have to be business-minded as opposed to just like educator minded. Was that something like when you started in the industry, were you like firmly in that former camp? Like you were a teacher, you loved kids and the whole business side you had to learn as you went, or did you start from day one with kind of the business mindset?
Speaker 3 (06:19):
Oh no. I learned it the hard way. I was at one point a failing business owner. And that is where I basically went on this journey. Um, I honestly thought that, um, it wasn't me also. I was failing, my center was failing. I came so close to bankruptcy and failing that I actually had an eviction notice on my center door that I've now been at for almost 13 years. Um, when I first started, I was like that close to losing everything. And so I just realized one day that I had, it's almost like I had two people in my head. It was the director and the owner. And I came to a realization that I needed to learn how to be both. And, um, at this point I'm no longer a director, but at one point in my life, I realized that I needed to seriously learn how to be a real owner because I was being a director, but I didn't realize that the jobs are two separate jobs.
Speaker 3 (07:17):
And that's when I really realized that I needed to learn how to be a business person. So I actually hired a business coach myself, um, and an advisor. And I went on a journey to learn as much as I could about business as I possibly could. So I spent a couple of years reading textbooks, just different books, getting coaches and mentors, um, and just really diving into the business side of things. And, uh, basically that's where my business completely turned around. Uh, I, and I was one of those owners who believed the economy. I blamed the fact that there weren't enough children. There was too much competition that, you know, I had an excuse for every reason why I was failing, but when push came to shove, it was my leadership. I can't deny for a second. It was absolutely my leadership. And I had to come to terms with that.
Speaker 3 (08:08):
Once I came to terms with it, dealt with the problem, found a solution, completely turned my business around and now I've developed an ECE model. I did go against the industry norms a little bit because at the time, um, we were going through the recession, uh, it was all started around 2008. So we were going through that recession and here in my county, it got really bad. We were at a 27% unemployment rate. So it was really easy to blame, you know, to place blame on that. But in reality, it wasn't that it was my leadership. And so when I changed and I became a better leader, I guess when I learned how to be a leader and how to be a business person, totally committed to surround. So now I've taken that on my journey, made it Chuck you're specific. And that's basically what I package now for my clients.
Speaker 2 (08:55):
Is that what you, so you were talking about when you hired your own business coach is really when things started to turn around from you and I, I'm curious, cause I think that's a place that a lot of people, you know, get to in their career. And you know, I don't know if it's pride that comes into play or not understanding what the end result could be, but you know, I think there's a point where people need some help and sometimes don't ask for it. Absolutely. Was that, so for you personally, when you reached that point in your career, was that something like you knew right away, I need to hire somebody to help me. Did somebody recommend that? Or how did you come to that spot? And then how did you find the coach that you ended up hiring?
Speaker 3 (09:32):
Yeah, somebody recommended. So, um, it was actually my accountant of all people. She kept telling me, you need this, you need this, you need this. And uh, she had a recommendation for me and it took me about six months before I decided that I have to do this. And I guess I just decided one day I'm either I'm going to, I have to do something or I'm going to lose everything. And for me it was the money. I was so scared to spend the money as I was already broke. I couldn't pay my bills. I was already, you know, just having a really hard time. Things were bouncing. So I just kept thinking like, how am I going to spend more money? I can't afford to. So I went into a meeting and, uh, the consultant, I ended up hiring, she talked to me and I remember driving away from that meeting saying, this is it.
Speaker 3 (10:16):
This is my last shot. This is my hail Mary, what do I have to lose at this point? I'm going to lose everything anyway. So I might as well try one more thing. And it was just, um, my last thought was like, I might as well try this. I'm about to lose everything. And so now in retrospect, I realized that I could, I could not afford not to do this. I kept thinking I can't afford to do it. I can't afford. But now I realize that I could afford, I couldn't afford not to do it. I had to do it. And it is what kept me out of bankruptcy. So I think that's where a lot of owners get caught up on. I already am broke. I can't afford a coach. I can't afford a consultant. I can't afford. Um, and I think we also forget it is pride, of course, right.
Speaker 3 (10:59):
Our ego can't it tells us like, I know how to manage money. I know how to do this. I do find my home. So, but we have to realize that this is a so different. And just like, we have our teachers that come in and we don't throw them into a classroom and expect them just to know what to do as owners, we go in to ownership and just think we know what we're going to do. And we don't, we need to learn just like you would get a college degree for any other profession. You need training, you need to learn. And so, yeah, it took some swallowing of my pride, took some opening my pockets and deciding I couldn't afford not to hire this woman, but, uh, that's pretty much where I was at. I was like, this is my hail Mary. If this doesn't work, I'm done. This is my last hope. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (11:45):
What do I have to lose? Well, and you want to rag. Yeah. You bring up an interesting point because not just in our industry, but you know, even in other industries that I have interest in and I, you know, I'm a sports fan, you know, watching coaches. One of the things that I have observed is you're right. Like individuals who are at the very highest level of their particular like career are constantly learning and sharing knowledge. Like I think of coaches, like in athletics that are constantly visiting other coaches and programs to, even though they're the top of their particular, you know, you know, discipline, they're always looking for ways to like continue to move forward and to innovate. Do you remember, like for you at that very first meeting with that coach, like, I'm curious for you, like, what did that, what did that look like? What were the mechanics of that meeting? If you, if you don't mind sharing?
Speaker 3 (12:34):
Well, she was very blunt with me and she was very, um, honest showed me. I had given her my books, let her see everything. And, um, she told me, she's like, you're going to be okay. But, and she basically lined up for me, the things I have to do. And one of the thing that sticks with me, the absolute most is she told me, as I left, she said, I want you to go through your bank accounts with a fine tooth comb. And I want you to cut 10% of your spending period. And I left feeling so defeated thinking. There's no way I can't have 10%. And, and she just told me, she's like, hear me out, just do this. She's like before you sign a contract with me, I'm telling you, and she gave me tips on how to do it. And so I just remember thinking, there's no way we're already running so thin.
Speaker 3 (13:23):
I am already running out of things, you know, and I'm already not spending money and buying the cheapest toilet paper doing this enough. That there's no way, but I did what she told me to do. Anyway, I went home, did it exactly how she said, and I ended up spending 17% where I thought there was nothing. I mean, I was buying the cheapest of everything and going without, so I was just amazed that when I followed her protocol, I did find, you know, 17, not 10, 17%. And it was, so it was a huge eye opener for me. So I'll never forget sitting there driving away, feeling defeated like this isn't going to work, but doing the work anyway, thinking, what else do I have to lose? I'm going to lose everything I might as well try. And I'm just so glad that day that I didn't stop myself, that I could have easily gone home and just said, oh, well, this is never going to work, throwing the information.
Speaker 3 (14:12):
She gave me the garbage and just let that feeling of defeat take over. But I'm so glad I sat down and did the work anyway and found that some 18%, cause that led me to hiring her. That led to where I am now a seven figure business owner. Right. And I do have to say also as now, I think a lot of people who would look at me and say, well, you know, you've got seven for your business. Why do you need a business coach? Now I still work with her to this day. She's my accountability partner. I also have a second coach that I've leveled up. So basically when I kind of outgrew my other consultant, I hired a new business coach. And last year alone, I spent over $40,000 on business coaching and it's, but it's how you become. So when I have so many people coming to me, I'm like, oh my gosh, you know, it's such a short period of time. You took your businesses. Um, childcare business professionals is a fairly new company. It's only about a year and a half old. And, um, I'm already, I've already been able to make that a pretty large company and there's tall. It's because I'm not afraid to invest in coaching. You know, it's like that. Yes, I spent 40,000, but how much did it make me write it? That is why I am now a seven figure business
Speaker 2 (15:17):
Owner. Yeah. Which is an interesting topic because in terms of like calculating that ROI, I mean, I think your very first experience with that coach was probably really easy to calculate the return on investment. Meaning I know what I'm spending for this coach. She just challenged me to go reduce my expenses by 10%. I reduced it by 17%. So I know what that 17% saved the bottom line of my business. And there's a formula there that helps you realize like, oh wow, this person's actually paying for themselves. And then some, but you know, as you talk with clients and they, you know, start asking you about, you know, the services you provide and trying to calculate, how do I know if this is working? Is there, is there an answer that you give your clients or is there a formula or a way that you can help clients calculate a return on investment? How do you know that a coach is actually impacting your business to the degree that they should?
Speaker 3 (16:11):
Oh, absolutely. Great question. I see a lot of consultants and coaches out there who really don't understand how to really guide their clients. So I love that question on it. So one of the things I do is every quarter we come up with our quarterly plan. I'm huge on, um, having big goals and big visions. People become owners because they have big goals, right? They, they have a trajectory. They want to take their life on. So what I always start people with is tell me where, you know, if you could wave a magic wand, where would you be in 10 years? I want you to paint a vivid picture of your life. And that's something we document, right? We document the 10-year goal. Then what I help them do is reverse engineer that we turned that into, okay, where do we need to be in five years?
Speaker 3 (16:55):
Where do we need to be in a year? Right. And then I to break that down by the quarter. So then I help them reverse engineer. Okay. So by the end of this year, this is what we need to do. And everything we're trying to do is get them to that 10 year goal. Okay. And so every quarter I have a form we fill out and everything. Um, we figure out what do we need to get accomplished this quarter in order to get to our annual goal. And, uh, we come up with a strategic plan. It's pretty involved. Then every month I meet with them, where are we on this plan? What are, what steps have we taken? Where we at? What are we doing? And I help guide them through that. Right. And so basically what I would say for my clients to measure me is, look at your quarterly plan.
Speaker 3 (17:43):
Where are you in that plan? How far have we gotten, have we accomplished your goals? Have we had to adjust? Sometimes we have to make adjustments, right? And on an annual basis, did you get to where you want it to be? There should absolutely be a place that you like, you should have your marker. This is what I want. And your coach should be getting you there. And of course the can't, it's gotta be realistic. I mean, I could go to my coach and tell him, I want to be at a hundred million dollars by, you know, that's not realistic. So we come up with a, an absolute, you know, do you want to increase by a hundred thousand dollars? That's pretty doable most of the time. Right? So there should be that measurable, let's set this goal and your coach should get you there. It should be measurable. So, um, yeah, absolutely. If you're, if you do have coaching and they're not having some kind of measurable goal for you to Certamen or you can't measure it, you probably need to look at
Speaker 2 (18:35):
Yeah. To be able to track. I like that. To be able to backtrack all the way down to your current day. So I know what my year goal is. I five-year 10-year goal. And I can take that all the way back to what am I going to do today? Or are you Evelyn, when you work with clients right now, who reach out to you about coaching? Is there, are there common themes that you hear from every provider that everybody's trying to solve? Meaning is it always financial goals from your perspective? Is it always like, look, I'm struggling. The businesses running me, I'm not running my business and I can't sustain it. So it's, I've got to get the financials dialed in. Or are there other topics that you find providers are equally focused on?
Speaker 3 (19:17):
Ironically financials? Isn't the number one thing that people come to me before I radically, um, right now I think the biggest thing I'm seeing, I actually, there's two, two things that I think that kind of go hand in hand. Number one, time management owners and directors always think they don't have enough time and I can tell you, they do. We all do. We do have more time. We just don't know how to manage time. So the number one thing, no matter what your problem is as a client of mine, the first thing I'm going to do is put you through my time management training. And I have a whole recorded series, like worksheets to teach you, how do you manage time? How do you respect your own time and how do you train the people around you to respect your time? So that's the first thing I put everybody through.
Speaker 3 (19:59):
The second thing is staffing. They either have a revolving door and they can't keep staff, or they're having a really hard time recruiting right now. And part of the problem with that is that in the early childhood education world, we don't recruit, we hired. And so that is where I immediately changed. People's mindset on, you got to stop hiring and you need to start recruiting. And also you need to retain more important than hiring is retaining your staff. Um, my staff members have been with, I have several that have been with me for over a decade. And my average step remember has been with me for over five years. And that's because, um, we really invest in our staff and, and I'm don't mean financially. I know first thing a lot of owners and directors are gonna think is though I can afford it. Well, you can, it doesn't I in statistics show that money is not an, even the top three things that an employee an employee is looking for. So if you're so fixated on how much you can afford to pay your staff, then you're kind of creating your own problem. There's a lot more. But, um, yeah, I was thinking the thing is just fixing their staffing. I have a six month onboarding process. I teach all my clients on how to use for their staff and it's a 30 day pretty intense on the job training, but the entire on the job, uh, new hire training is about a six month program.
Speaker 2 (21:18):
It is so, so I, I want to just double click on each of those topics for a couple of minutes, just to see if maybe there's some practical takeaways for our audience. When it comes to time management, you made a reference earlier as well about, you know, having a CEO schedule as opposed to maybe a director schedule. Can you, can you explain what you mean by that? Because that's interesting to me, what's the difference between what you define as a CEO schedule versus the type of schedule maybe you had prior to taking that approach.
Speaker 3 (21:50):
So if you look at successful CEOs, right, that's who we want to emulate, how do they use their time? They really don't waste a whole lot of time and they know where their time is going. So there's a couple things on that that I think about, right. And one of the things that I can tell you, one of the exercises I put everybody through at first is I have them do a time map. And I literally have you write down everything you do every hour of the day, right throughout the day, and what I do at the end of it, which is tedious. Everybody's just like, are you kidding? You're going to really make me do that. But I can tell you, by the end of the day, you see how much time you're absolutely wasting. And you get to the point where you don't want to write certain things down.
Speaker 3 (22:28):
So you stopped doing certain things like scrolling on Facebook for two hours. You know, you don't realize that every time you scroll on Facebook for 15 minutes, by the end of the day, you've been on there for four hours. Right? So when you really just take note of that time, you get a little, you just start getting rid of a lot of those. Time-wasters the other thing with my, I look at what the CEO's schedule is. Um, I have to work on my business, not in my business, tactical things that I can be paying someone else to do are not worth my time. You have to know how much are you worth? Right? So for example, I came to the conclusion a couple years ago that I wasn't going to do anything. That was a task that I deemed under a hundred dollars an hour.
Speaker 3 (23:10):
So my thought processes, am I going to pay somebody a hundred dollars an hour to do this task? If I'm saying no way, then I hire somebody to do it. I don't do it myself. And, um, that's basically a CEO's mindset. A CEO knows what they're worth. They know what their time is worth, and they don't do the things that aren't worth that time. Um, and that's where I say, working on your business and in your business, CEOs would not be cooking in their kitchen, right? Because that is, you know, a $15 an hour task that is not a $100 an hour task. So I know a lot of owners automatically think, oh, but I can't afford. And I can tell you, you can't afford not to, again, back to that you can't afford not to because when you're doing those hundred dollar an hour tasks and your center, that's, what's bringing in that is what's going to make you successful. So it's really changing that mindset.
Speaker 2 (24:01):
Yeah. I liked that. What is the a hundred dollars an hour? I'm just curious, like, do you think that that's a number that every childcare owner can use as kind of a baseline to just say a hundred bucks an hour, if it's under that I'm going to hire somebody or is that a number that was specific to your business? I think that's
Speaker 3 (24:15):
Probably specific to me. I don't know. I think a lot of owners might be afraid of that number. So I would start. So with my clients, I start them with baby steps. I kind of feel them out to see what they need. Um, some of them, I start at $30 an hour mindset. I always worked their way up. I want them to think eventually as a a hundred dollars an hour person, but some people can't handle that. So I, and that's where my psychology degree comes in. That's the other thing that makes me very different is because I have that psychology degree. I do tend to bring a lot of psychology in. So, um, I start every, I kind of feel them out if they can't handle thinking of themselves as a hundred dollars an hour employee, then I'll start them around $30 an hour. And then I work, but I eventually want you to get there. I want your brain to you. You gotta know your work. Yeah,
Speaker 2 (25:03):
I like that. I mean, that's a big part of probably the whole coaching process is to get clients to understand, think bigger than you are today. Like you have to stretch yourself, you have to expand your horizon. And you know, we, we talk about this. Somehow this theme comes up a lot on our show, but you know, you have to be, uh, willing to be uncomfortable because it's going to put you in an uncomfortable situation in order to stretch, but that's going to also be what causes you to grow. I love also just the practical exercise. I think our audience, a lot of people can take this away of like, just list down what you spend all your time doing, like literally minute by minute, journal it throughout the day. And I'm sure it's easy. At the end of the day, it would be like, I spent four hours on Facebook, like you said, and you can start getting some wins really quick, like it,
Speaker 3 (25:49):
And you have to keep it going all day. You can't like you've got, cause you won't remember. So you can't summarize at the end of the day. So when I tell my clients is at the end of every hour, tell me everything you've done. Right. And if you can do it as you do, as you go, because then you'll really see like, oh wow, I spent way too much time on Facebook and whatever. So at the end of every hour, break down what you did love
Speaker 2 (26:09):
That tip. And then what about on the second topic that you talked about? I know like time management is kind of the biggest theme. The second theme is staffing. Any, any practical tips that you can give in? Today's like environment of hiring and recruiting and retaining, you know, key team members like any key, like bullet points, takeaways, or tips that you can give to our audience about, Hey, if you're, if you're having struggles, finding or retaining quality staff, make sure you do this a, B, C, if you have a couple of things that you could share.
Speaker 3 (26:44):
Yeah. So first of all, I would say you retain or like focus on retention first, right? Because if you've got your staff, it's so much easier to keep them than it is to hire the number. One thing I tell people is you've got to know your visions and your value, right? Because when, uh, all the studies I've read, the number one thing people want is in a job it's new, that they're making a difference in the world, right? So you have to know what difference in the world are you making. And then you have to articulate that to your staff. You have to really sell it and you have to make sure they're buying into it. But if you don't know what your visions of values are, then all you're doing is providing a clock-in and clock-out job for these people. There's no difference than them going to work for McDonald's.
Speaker 3 (27:25):
So you want to give them something bigger, some, uh, uh, just a mission that they're on, right? And then when you know your mission and your values, you're going to know the people that you need to bring in. You're going to know no, those people that line up with you and instead of posting for jobs, you're going to start recruiting. When you go out into the world, you're going to see those people. Uh, one of the examples I like to give is like, if you go to church, you're going to go to Sunday school. You're going to see the Sunday school teacher. You're going to see that they have the same kind of values. It can even be a waitress that you see consistency Lee at a restaurant, right? But it's those shared values that you're going to start recruiting and bringing people in for instead of constantly chase, like waiting for people to come to you, you're going to start going to them.
Speaker 3 (28:08):
Um, the second thing I would say is you've got to have an onboarding process that really, really works. One of the biggest things is if you can get a staff member to stay with you between that nine month to 18 months, mark, they're usually according to statistics, they become keepers. So what you really want to do is make sure that they're really assimilated and onboarded into your childcare family. I always like to think of it as my center's family, right. Which is why I have a six month onboarding process. So the first 30 days, um, it's really intense. What I've seen in this field is so many times we hire these teachers, we throw them into the classroom and we can, you just expect them to figure it out, right? Or we expect our teachers just to train them. And there's no real training for these people.
Speaker 3 (28:56):
Who've never been in childcare, or even if they're coming from a different center, every Sunday, there's different. We just expect them to figure it out. So with my onboarding, I'm really much more intentional. And we guide them through this new hire training. We check with them over a six month period just to make sure that they're very assimilated into our program. So that after that initial six months, they become a part of our family. And that way we know that we're retaining them. And then of course, every year you've got to follow up. And, um, my director actually knows that every month she has to observe every single classroom and have a meeting with every single teacher that is huge on retention. So those are just, I mean, a quick summary of a huge program I do. But that is like the gist of it basically is just that onboarding, building those relationships, keeping, and just keeping them going and making sure that you're hearing them, you're developing them, you're coaching and you're mentoring them. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (29:51):
That's great stuff. And it actually lines up. I know, you know, Beth cannon a little bit too, but she was on our, on our show recently. And, you know, in some of the coaching, she does what centers to that, that theme of really understand your mission and values, define them for yourself, make sure that you own them and make that your key recruiting principle, because then, like you said, you're hiring family and they're part of something bigger than just a paycheck. Cause like you said, I think this is a, you know, something, a lot of centers struggle with is if it's just a paycheck, they're just going to jump the word. They can make a quarter an hour more or a dollar an hour more. But when they feel like they're part of something bigger, that retention becomes a lot easier. Um, so when you get a new client, just out of curiosity, Evelyn, I want to talk just a little bit about your process.
Speaker 2 (30:41):
How, how are you, how does that initial meeting go? Cause if I, if I'm a childcare owner and I reach out to you and just say, look, I'm really looking for some help. And so I scheduled some time with you. Can you just like for people who are interested or possibly considering hiring a coach, can you just walk through maybe, um, take a little bit of the, uh, the pressure off of that first meeting for somebody who's interested or looking at that? Like, what does that look like? What does it feel like? What's your approach?
Speaker 3 (31:11):
Sure. So my first meeting, I do have an onboarding process of course, for my new clients also. And uh, I like to meet with you pretty intensely in the beginning, like the first month we're probably going to meet weekly and I really need to get to know you again because of my psychology background. I'm really looking to help ease your anxiety, find those pain points and really help just dive in to relieve some of the pressure that's on you right now. So a lot of times when I'm looking for is a lot of, a lot of what we think is our biggest need. Isn't always our biggest need. So I'm going to ask you a lot of questions, just really digging in to try and find what can, where can I alleviate the most stress out of your life, right? And then we're going to work together pretty intensely for the first month to make sure that I'm actually like really making a difference right off the bat.
Speaker 3 (32:02):
So, um, I will ask you a lot of questions that you may not expect. Like I'm going to ask you, of course the typical questions, your licensing, fascinate, what state are you in? But then I'm going to ask you things like, you know, are your financials consistent? How are your parents paying? Are they paying on time? What is your staff's attendance? Like, are they, you know, calling in a lot? How long is your average staff member been with you? Because I'm really trying to diagnose the problem in your center so that we can just really tackle that first. And then, uh, my, one of my biggest goals, especially for owners is that owners seem to be married to their centers. Um, my husband teased me once years ago and he told me that he feels like my center was my spouse. And he was like just the other man in my life. And so you can tease me about that. What's a long time ago. So that's one of the things I try to free owners up, which I'm just trying to find. Where's the quickest, easiest way I can relieve that stress and pressure from your life and help you gain your life back. Yeah,
Speaker 2 (33:04):
I like that because, because coaching is more than just going and getting the business, you know, dialed, I mean, as a human being, everybody's trying to find that perfect work-life balance. Like I want to contribute, I want to have a successful career, but I'm doing that so that I can balance the life also outside of these four walls. Right. I want to go live. So, so how did, when you, when you're coaching with, with providers with owners, is that, is that an ongoing part of your coaching and the theme of your conversations is not just the financials
Speaker 3 (33:36):
Because we tend to fall back into bed, old habits
Speaker 2 (33:40):
Make, make sense. So you're always trying to, as part of that 10 year plan that you talked about earlier, you know, for your clients is always just trying to keep them focused on, you know, where do you want to be in life too? Not just the business, right?
Speaker 3 (33:51):
Absolutely. I am also on top of every other hat I wear. I'm a certified life coach, even though I don't use that. I do use that in my coaching practice. So absolutely. I am focusing a lot on how do you want your life to look because your career are our centers, our career, right? But we also want our lives to like, we became owners for a purpose because we wanted to better our lives. So that is the trajectory. I want to see where you're on. I want to know, do you want to still be the owner director in 10 years or do you want to retire in 10 years? Right. So for an owner who wants to retire in 10 years, I need to help them really learn how to duplicate themselves and get themselves out of the center. I really need to learn, or they need to learn how to trust the people that they work with so that they can step away and re retire.
Speaker 3 (34:37):
But for somebody who loves being the owner director and who still wants to be on a director of 10 years, or maybe they want multiple centers in 10 years, then I have to take them down that route. So it is absolutely not just the problem that you see today, right? And I can tell your listeners out. There is so many of us are so fixated in what is happening to us today, but we really need to be future focused. The most successful people in the world are future-focused in fact, Elan Musk has a a hundred year plan for his life, right. So yes, I'm going to help you get out of where you are today. But beyond that, I want to make sure that you have that life and future that you dreamt up when you first started and you had all the hopes and the dreams that were still alive before the reality really just started to bury you. That's really what I want to help people focus on.
Speaker 2 (35:27):
Yeah. And is that like for you, Evelyn, is that life coaching? Cause I, you know, and kind of doing a little bit of research and background and explore your website and some of your content for this episode, I know you've had some life events around health-related things that have come up and I don't know how much you're comfortable talking about that and the motivation, or I guess the impact it's had for you in terms of how you manage, um, your business and life and how all that plays together. Can you, can you talk a little bit about your story?
Speaker 3 (35:59):
Absolutely. I'm an open book and ironically, right before you guys, I was just filming, um, I do a Facebook and YouTube live every Monday morning at 9:00 AM Pacific time. And, uh, I just finished filming about what my current life situation looks like and how I can help people through what I've been through. But yes, I have a neurological disease and, uh, I was diagnosed about 10 years ago and it was devastating as, um, somebody who has a degree in neuropsychology. Um, when I was going through the whole process, I knew exactly what it would mean for my life, if this was confirmed. And, um, I just, I was devastated. I wanted, I got the confirmation that yes I do. In fact, I have narcolepsy with cataplexy, uh, and when it was confirmed, I knew exactly what that would mean for my life. So I went through a period in my life where I really spiraled downward and, um, it got so bad.
Speaker 3 (36:58):
The depression got so bad. I was actually also diagnosed with the gore phobia. Um, and I, it really almost destroyed everything. I almost, that is the period of my life, where I almost lost my, everything, my businesses, everything. I tell the story where I even had an IRS agent knocking on my door at one point because I let life consume me so much that I just froze and I did nothing. And so now, um, I'm on a mission to help to make sure other owners don't get trapped in that season of life. And we need to really understand what life really throws blows that us is just a season. And I can tell you guys right now, I'm in another one of those seasons in life. Um, my husband is terminally ill and Wednesday, uh, just this past Wednesday, I was actually just informed that, um, we are pretty much at the end and this is, this is pretty much it.
Speaker 3 (37:55):
His doctor basically is transitioning him. We're in the process of transitioning onto hospice. So it was very interesting to me where, um, back when I was diagnosed with narcolepsy, my husband also was originally diagnosed with something. Literally it was five months apart where I got my diagnosis, he got his diagnosis and you know, over the last 10 years here we are today, fast forward, 10 years later. And now my husband is being, you know, approaching hospice care. So one of the things I talked about this morning in the video is even in this situation in life, even in these dark times, we have to make a choice and we either choose to freeze. Like I froze the first time or we have to come up with solutions because no matter what happens, these are just seasons in life. And when we get to the other side, we still have to live and we basically really have to choose, what is life going to look like when all this is over?
Speaker 3 (38:56):
Am I going to freeze again? Am I going to wake up into another nightmare? Like I did the first time when I got sick and when he got sick or am I going to still wake up to two thriving businesses? Right. I know I'm going to go through a grieving period. I know I'm going to have to go through the motions of life, but two years from now, what is the life going to look like a year from now? Right. I need to choose that. So that, that is a huge inspiration for me to go into the life. Coaching just I've been through so much, um, in my life that I just, I know that I can help others who are going through one of my clients, like just signing up with lost her son. And, um, it's been about a year since she lost her son.
Speaker 3 (39:38):
And she's just trying to dig her way out of going through that life event. And, you know, it's just, you get to the point where it's like, I still have a business to run it life doesn't stop just because your life feels like it needs to stop. So that is absolutely something that inspires me and something I really want to help other owners with. I want to make sure that when we do go through these horrific events in life, that we can come around the other side and still have thriving businesses and that we don't have to face bankruptcy.
Speaker 2 (40:08):
Yeah. That's um, I appreciate you sharing that. That's, that's a lot going on. And, and, uh, with your husband, I hadn't heard that most recent update. Um, yeah, that's a lot, but very
Speaker 3 (40:22):
Recent. So a lot of people haven't yet. I just announced it this morning, literally right before I jumped on with you guys. So, wow.
Speaker 2 (40:29):
Yeah. Well, and I think it does tie into, you know, a lot of what I've seen, you know, you share at least publicly on, on your different platforms, is that the concept of like preparing your business for things like this, because life is going to come at all of us at some point. And there's just going to be times where, you know, maybe you're not in control. Maybe that's not the right way to describe it, but there's going to be life events that pop up that, that caused you to have to kind of go down and, you know, a different path for a little while and, and to deal with some things that you didn't plan on. And to the degree that you can prep your business to be self-sustaining during those times, it's going to take one less pressure or stress off of you to focus where you need to be at that time. I think if I'm not mistaken, that's, that's a theme that you spend time talking with your clients about too, is just preparing for, um, a sustaining business, even if you're not there for him.
Speaker 3 (41:22):
Absolutely. And that is something that I prepare. Like I help all my clients realize that they have to do, I have another client who, um, she was, my client got into a horrific car accident is in recovery now. Right. And I was thinking she didn't know that was going to happen. And that's the thing is we go and we live our lives day by day as if we know what's going to happen tomorrow. But the reality is we don't w and I've just had this happen to me so many times at this point where I've just come to realize that, you know, each and every one of us have a responsibility to create a strategic plan. So that if that unexpected happens to us, there is an action plan that goes into place, right. Because somebody has to sign those payroll checks, whether you're there or not, somebody's payroll has to keep going. Right. And, um, the IRS is very forgiving. They don't care. I mean, I was literally in a coma for a little while and the IRS doesn't care. And so that's the kind of thing I absolutely, I don't care what stage of life you're in. I do help my clients make sure that they do have that action plan and, uh, that they're ready because you just never know what to do.
Speaker 2 (42:29):
Yeah. It sounds, it sounded bias. It's good advice too, because there are times where, you know, I'm sure you've had to tell clients this too. Like, it is okay to turn your focus to something else, like life and family and all those things that, you know, take priority need your attention right now. And if you've kind of handled the business side of things properly all along, then, then it's going to be okay, it'll be there when you can turn your attention back to it. That's really good. Yes. What about, so, you know, I know we just have a couple of minutes left. I want to be respectful of your time too, Evelyn. But as you, as you kind of look forward, even maybe for your three centers, as we're emerging from COVID, and at least everything we're seeing and hearing, it seems like people are returning, returning to normal. Um, that's probably an overused phrase now, but it, I think it is true. Are you outlook for you in terms of our industry and what we've learned over the past year? Um, you excited, you, you bullish about kind of how things look for our industry. Yeah. Oh
Speaker 3 (43:29):
Yes. I'm looking at acquiring more centers and I think COVID is a great example of what I'm talking about. Right? None of us knew this was going to happen. And one of the things I tell my clients all the time is, um, disasters are always happening all around us. The only difference about COVID is that it happened to all of us at once, right. But there's hurricanes, tornadoes, personal life events that everybody's going through all the time, but COVID was a great wake up call, I think for a lot of us and for our nation or the world, I actually have international customers. So, um, that basically are going through the same thing we're going through here, but it was a great wake up call that you need to be prepared because you just don't know what's going to happen. And I can tell you that through COVID my businesses were fine because I did have that pre-planning and the preparation ready for my centers.
Speaker 3 (44:19):
So, uh, one of my center, my hometown center here, I had, I was averaging 115 children a day and we dropped from one 15 to 27 overnight, and we were fine because I had, you know, just backup plans in place. So I think COVID is a great example on, um, why it's so important to have that, you know, just be ready for anything attitude. But, um, yeah, I think I'm really optimistic and I'm ready to grow and expand. And unfortunately COVID is, uh, has created a really, um, good market for really good business owners because there's going to be a lot of centers out there to acquire. Yeah. There's
Speaker 2 (44:59):
Opportunity. We keep hearing that theme too. I've seen, you know, even in our space it's owners that are looking to expand and acquire centers, like you mentioned, um, seen a lot of really large organizations and, you know, private equity firms that are also like see the opportunity in our space. So, uh, you know, I think if, if anything, through the last year, uh, spotlight has really been shown on our industry and the importance that it, that it provides. And I think a lot of people like yourself have also been able to share like the business side of this, like it's a really meaningful line of work. It's really impactful. You get to be on mission, doing things that you're passionate about, but if you do it properly, it's also, you know, economically a really good model as well that people can come in and do well. And so if we're going to put this in our show notes to Evelyn, so people who are listening to this episode that may be, want to reach out to you or to kind of learn a little bit more about your coaching and what you do. Can you, can you just share like the easiest way for people to find you?
Speaker 3 (45:58):
Sure. The easiest way to find me would be on my website, it's childcare business professionals.com. I have more than happy for you. Email me it's [email protected] And you can also find me on Facebook. Um, I am YouTube both. I actually do a live video on top of my podcast every Monday at 9:00 AM Pacific time, which is, uh, under, uh, childcare business professionals. So, and then of course my podcast child, the childcare business coach.
Speaker 2 (46:27):
Fantastic. Well, we appreciate it. We'll put those, um, all of those sites in the show notes as well. And, uh, just kind of want to thank you again for spending time with us today. I think this is going to be, uh, you know, an awesome episode for our audience to, to take a listen to,
Speaker 3 (46:42):
Well, thank you for having me, our pleasure. Thank you so much.
Speaker 1 (46:46):
Thank you for listening to this episode of the childcare business podcast, to get more insights on ways to succeed in your childcare business, make sure to hit subscribe in your podcast app. So you never miss an episode. And if you want even more childcare business tips, tricks and strategies, head over to our resource [email protected] until next time.