Want to Work for Yourself? How PAMP Helped 3 Moms Launch their Business
This is for all of you parents solving epic problems every day – from closing the final snap on your toddler’s onesie to lifting your little person out of a nuclear meltdown because his food keeps falling out of his spoon. If you know there’s a better way, then please share it with the rest of us!
It only takes one little step at a time. That’s how Roovillage came about – our website that connects families with temporary openings in daycares and preschools, so you can book drop-in child care. And it’s thanks to the safe space we share: our PAMP community.
Many stars aligned for us to start Roovillage but PAMP was our Milky Way.
What?!? I need to pay for daycare that I’m not using? An idea is born.
Our story starts when I had to pay for a whole month of daycare that we didn’t need. My in-laws were in town, so they watched my son, but we needed to keep paying our daycare to hold our spot. It was hard to get over.
In truth, I never got over it, and that’s how our idea was born. I thought, what if another family filled the spot? How could that change things?
After some research, I learned that it could help take pressure off daycares that are worried about keeping their staff fully employed, which could then lead to breaks for regular families. But most importantly, this would mean that families could find and book drop-in child care at regular daycares. Finally, flexible, reliable child care!
The stars align: A meeting of moms
Our little idea took a huge leap the day I met Anne, another PAMP mom. We both showed up to a PAMP-subsidized soccer class with our 23-month old boys – with the same problem: did they belong in the toddler class or the two-year-old class? …
Nevertheless, our boys hit it off, and we quickly bonded over our struggle to find moments to get the simplest things done as parents of young children. We were also rather lonely — working out our new identities as mothers and professionals, and that’s what brought us to PAMP in the first place.
More than a meeting of moms, it was a meeting of minds. Anne went to Yale, and her resume included Google and Facebook, and she was an experienced entrepreneur. I had a PhD in mass communications and knew how to apply the Web to help solve social issues. And Kim, our co-founder, had a master’s in early childhood education and was a head teacher at a Stanford child care center. She was a mom of two little boys too. But importantly, Anne was the piece we were missing because she knew how to navigate the world of startups and PAMP brought us together.
Tip: Find a Partner
Forming our founding team was the most important step because it validated our idea. You may want to shift your idea if you can’t find a partner or champion after a while because it’s your idea’s first big test. Our team also brought together complimenting talents, forced us to organize, and even divided costs. But most importantly, it created an in-home cheering squad that pushed us to keep taking the next step.
PAMP Family Day 2016: Feedback from families
After our team came together, we did our research, talked to families, and came up with a plan. We still needed to talk to a lot more families though. So, when an email about PAMP Family Day appeared in our inbox, we knew it was our chance because we had attended with our kids the previous year.
Thanks to our tent and the space provided by PAMP, we talked to families about our idea – their encouraging words told us that we were on the right track. (Thank you, if you were one of the families!)
PAMP Family Day 2017: Hello world!
After a year, we were ready to go, with a website and a host of wonderful daycares and preschools signed up. When ads for PAMP Family Day popped into our inboxes again, we knew where we needed to be, so we set up our tent and shared Roovillaeg with PAMP families. (Thank you, again, if you were one of the families that stopped in to learn about us and to enjoy our water tables.)
To infinity and beyond!
This is just the beginning of our story, but it happened because we had a safe space made up of families that encouraged us along the way. As families with young children, we know how it feels to be stretched, to juggle, and to long for a hot shower, so we hope to bring you some peace of mind knowing that we’ve got you covered when it comes to finding reliable and affordable child care when you need it.
We are pushing the message that access to child care must change, and our first step is to open the precious few daycare spots to more families and more flexible schedules. We have a long way to go to improve access on a societal level, especially with urban areas facing severe child care shortages which harms young families that are already stretched, but we’ll get it done one step at a time with you by our side.
As our closest community, please visit roovillage.com and tell your friends about us. Let us know how we can serve you better along the way too.
We’re looking forward to seeing you at the next PAMP Family Day!
Yukari Schneider, PhD, MPH
Tip: First Steps to Launch
The first steps are simple, but they get you going, and it starts defining your style and team dynamics. Choose your company name
Come up with a logo
Create first promotional materials – business cards, flyers, and simple website that explains your idea. They help when you network and start building interest.
Put yourself out there! It’s a harder step, but you just made beautiful promo materials, so you have a message to share. The PAMP website and events are great places to start.