Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Niche Nannies: How to Stand Out in a Crowd

Traveling Nanny and Newborn Care Specialist Donna Robinson

I first heard about niche nannies when I met Donna Robinson who markets herself as The Traveling Nanny at an International Nanny Association conference. Donna is an expert in Newborn Care and was the first nanny I ever heard of marketing themself as a Travel Nanny. 

When I asked her how she got the idea to be a niche nanny she shared, "I was a full-time nanny when the Internet came out. I saw parents advertising for nannies on their own. It gave me the idea that there might be a market for a temporary nanny to help parents until they could find the right full-time nanny."

"One of my temporary nanny jobs was with a newborn and a family that wanted to travel. I was able to travel the world with this family and realized while it could be a stressful situation, I loved helping families create great travel memories," continued Donna.

Donna explained, "I asked myself, what is your true passion? What makes you excited? I knew that I loved the adventure of travel. I love the idea of taking parents who are anxious about travel and ease them to a comfort level that allows them to truly enjoy traveling again."

With the help of Clelie Bourne, The Temporary Nanny, and her web designer Rhonda Bartlet, Donna  created www.thetravelingnanny.com

When I asked Donna how being a niche nanny has helped her nanny career she revealed, "I realized a long time ago that I work better in a constant changing career. While I enjoyed my years as a full-time nanny, I found myself getting restless after a year. This niche I created for myself has kept me constantly learning and every job is a challenge."

Donna says that being a niche nanny, "allows me to make changes without changing careers. For instance, two-years ago I decided I didn't want to do temporary nanny and just concentrate on newborn care and travel nanny jobs. For the first time in my life, I didn't want to change careers after three-years!"

When I asked Donna how she markets herself as a niche nanny she said, "That's a tough question as marketing is one of the most difficult aspect of being a niche nanny."

She told me, "I have my web site which does well on Google."

She contiued, "When I decided to drop temporary nanny jobs and concentrate on newborn care and traveling with families, I knew that I needed a newborn care web site. There are so many great newborn care specialists (NCS) and while there is work for all, I wanted to concentrate on a more modest market of parents. These would be parents whose goal is to be hands on parents and financially could only afford. I wanted to do a few things not normally covered as NCS and when you work for yourself, you can do this! So I created www.ohbabynewborncare.com."

When I asked what advice she has for other nannies wanting to market themselves as a niche nanny she recommended nannies give some serious thought who their market is and where that market would look for a niche nanny.

Donna recommends, "Having a web site is probably crucial, even if it only gives you three jobs a year, those three clients are also future referral jobs."

She further explains, "In the beginning, a web site will not be enough to get your career moving. If you are friends with other niche nannies you can let them know you have a web site and that you would appreciate a referral. Most of us already have a small circle of niche nannies we work with but it never hurts to ask. Don't get insulted if they don't refer you as there are only so many jobs each of us get."

Next, Donna recommends, "Put together a letter or a flyer that you can send or email to any parent you have worked for in the past."

"If you want to work locally in your city, put fliers up where parents frequent, says the niche nanny.

Donna also recommends contacting your local newspaper to see if they have a feature that  entrepreneur or if you can write a column about advice for parents.

She admits, "This is not an easy field. You will have great clients for the most part but there are some difficult situations you may encounter too."

Donna encourages nannies, "Ask yourself if you have the type of personality that can deal with any situation? Can you deal with strong personalities? Can you bring the love to any job and are you capable of taking the "high road" if a job is difficult? How secure is your own ego?"

Donna concludes, "It is important to remember every parent you work with has the potential to limit your job offers. This is a career where how well you deal and understand parents will determine your success as much as your child care skills."

Be sure to check out Donna's web sites www.thetravelingnanny.com and www.ohbabynewborncare.com and feel free to ask her advice on how to be a niche nanny.

5 comments:

Tobago Nanny said...

I have considered being a travel nanny but I need a full-time job to pay my rent and my bills. I want to ask if Donna is married or of retirement age and not need a steady income because I'm scared to do something like this because it might be hard to have a steady income. Could we ask Donna that?

AuPairDebbie said...

I have thought about working just with newborns but then you have to change jobs so often and that's scary. If I can stay from birth to college that would by my perfect job! Although I love newborns!

Donna said...

Re: Tobago Nanny. You have hit the major obstacle on the head when considering niche marketing. I do happen to be married and since my income does not pay the mortgage or major bills, I don't have to hyperventilate if jobs are not there. But I would say most of the niche nannies are single. You make sure all debts are paid off except rent/utilities/taxes. It helps to have 3 months expenses in a savings before venturing into this. Then you do you homework, plan your advertisement, keep your day job but be prepared to move when you get that first email or phone call. If you have worked in the same area for awhile then you might have great contacts to get started.

But it is scary. you are walking into stranger's home, hope you made your contract air tight, learn from mistakes when you missed something, and you just have to love people/parents as much as children.

It helps when you get started to be willing to do temporary nanny jobs as well as your special area. Just to keep all options open.

I think I was just lucky as I started when no one was really doing it so wasn't much competition in the beginning. Parents were always surprised people like me existed. Now it's no big deal to google and come up with 10 of us!

Good luck in whereever life leads you, Donna

Donna said...

AuPair Debbie: I admire anyone that can stay with one family from birth to college. I know a few extraordinary nannies that have done that and I have nothing but admiration for their indurance! Just goes to show there is a special place for everyone! Donna

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