Wow! It’s been 1,826 days and 43, 800 hours since launching Family First Household Staffing Agency. That’s FIVE years y’all! When I started Family First, I was set out to change the world. I wanted to bridge the gap between families and nannies in a healthy way. I dreamed of eliminating nanny burnout by empowering nannies and educating families on how to be employers; knowing this would help create consistency, and a thriving balance for all involved.
We have found that listening to each party, leading with empathy, and staying solution minded makes all the difference in this process. It’s taken a lot of personal growth, self-reflection, sacrifice, teamwork and let’s be honest therapy, lots of therapy to get to this day. Despite a worldwide pandemic – WE MADE IT!
We certainly don’t take this job lightly and I am proud to say that we are making big strides in all the areas above.
We live in a world where social media is chalked full of pretty, sparkly things and mostly the “highs” in people’s lives. I want to share the “highs” but also celebrate the mundane, the in between, the late nights, the tears, the truth about being an entrepreneur and how I could not be here today without my incredible team, agency mentors, friends, and family.
Being an entrepreneur is hard. It’s both freeing and complex. It takes grit and grace. You get to be your own boss, make your own hours, set your own goals, work anywhere you want to…but you are also responsible for others. You have a responsibility to connect with family and friends and a responsibility to invest in your team while you are still growing. It’s hard to balance that in an ever-changing world. Let’s take a look at the last 2 years.
In 2020 Family First was picking up momentum, catching up with competition and on track with our mission. Then all at once everything came to a halt, a Global Pandemic. I will be honest; it did not look good for the company. Most of our clients stopped their searches leaving us in an incredibly uncomfortable financial place (like the rest of the world). I started to realize I wouldn’t be able to utilize or pay my team like before.
Maggie Hohne, our now full-time placement specialist believed in the company so much that she offered to put her services on hold and come back when things got better. During that time, I launched Ready. Set. Recess a virtual playtime company for kids needing social connection. I made some incredible new connections with kiddos outside of NC and re-connected with incredible teachers and nannies who chose to lead these virtual play times with kids ages 3-10.
Shortly after RSR took off, every family on the planet seemed to need either a nanny, tutor or private educator. So we asked Caitlin Anderson (Mrs. South Carolina 2020) to be our Educational Advisor. She joined our team so we could accommodate the needs of our clients regarding education and asked Maggie to come back! Family First continued to flourish. We broke record after record and are still growing even through quite a lot of pain.
Flash forward to 2021: During the pandemic, life didn’t stop. While doing our best to carefully support a rapidly growing company and the needs of our clients we also experienced deep pain and loss. My MIL, SIL, Mom, Grandma and Papa all got Covid around the same time and were hospitalized. All of them thankfully recovered except my incredibly loving Papa who passed away after 53 days in the ICU. He was my constant and a huge resource/guide when it came to business and leading a life with love. During this time my MIL was diagnosed with breast cancer and shorty after Papa passed, his sister died of Cancer. It’s been a long painful journey.
Around Christmas 2021 our entire team got Covid, and I was running our company on my own at its busiest. When our team returned after 4 weeks, I then fell ill with Covid and was out for a month and once recovered we finally were able to celebrate the life of my Papa with a service.
As I am writing this, I am having to take deep breaths! What a scary ride it has been. It’s also been an extremely beautiful time.
You see, through the pain, through the mundane or tearful moments I noticed that people all around us started showing up. Agencies and nannies offered to help us with admin work while the team was out to support us. Meals started showing up at our door. Money started showing up in our Venmo accounts from friends, cards started showing up in the mailbox…we received texts and phone calls from people all over the country sending support…the list goes on.
You see, community is the number 1 thing that is important to us. In the past we got it from the International Nanny Association Conference, International Nanny Training Day, Association of Premiere Nanny Agencies Conference, in person playdates and workshops with local nannies, trips with our families and more. Losing all of this during the height of the pandemic was so hard but community kept showing up in different ways. Drive by birthday parties, virtual game time, each way mentioned above…and also right in front of us.
We (at least I was) were so focused on our impact and connection nationally before 2020 that we missed what was right in front of us. My eyes and heart slowly opened, and I started focusing on the Charlotte community. Neighbors and some amazing nannies became some of our greatest friends, our team’s relationship grew, marriage became more vibrant, old friendships rekindled, creativity was sparked…it’s been hard, but I have to say I am eternally grateful for the incredible community that surrounds us and glistens with new hope. I feel a new season coming. I don’t expect things to be perfect, but I do see a refreshing season filled with kindness, true connection, and clarity ahead. Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years. We could not be here without you.