Making It Through a Period of Slow Enrollment

In May, as I was saying good-bye to my child care boy who was moving on to preschool after spending the summer with his family, I had no idea of upcoming struggle with enrollment I was about to face.  The steady stream of inquiries and interviews for child care in the spring came to a screeching halt by mid June.

I began researching marketing strategies for child care businesses.  I found that many child care providers across the country were facing the same problem I was.  Providers resonated the same solutions: hang in there and get your name out.  I printed up some flyers and put them up all over my neighborhood and the surrounding subdivisions and in town, where many people commute to work.  I requested critiques of my marketing materials,  looked at those of other providers, and made changes.  Things were getting very uncomfortable by July when I still had no inquiries.  I began to lose faith that my efforts would yield any results.

The important thing is to stay encouraged.  I know when you really can’t see the payoff in your efforts, it’s hard to do.  Surround yourself with cheerleaders.  Your family and friends will rally around you when you can’t find the enthusiasm you had once.  Gather with other business owners for networking opportunities.  Meeting with others interested in brainstorming ways to promote their business can help you stay inspired.

I was fortunate to have many cheerleaders, especially my 9 year old son who would talk to everyone about my child care business and give out cards, unprompted.  When you feel encouraged, you will be driven to take steps forward to improving your situation.  I looked at ways to improve my child care setting, paperwork, interview process, and marketing plan and implemented it.  I reached out to everyone I knew and talked about my business.  I informed the licensing agency and the child care referral agency that I was struggling with enrollment and that I was taking steps to fix the situation.  I gave them frequent updates on what I was doing.  I took free online child care courses, searched for ways to increase my knowledge about and skills with child development and having a child care business.

The absence of income from the child care business was a financial hardship.  With lots of encouragement, I took a personal inventory of skills and talents I could use to make extra income.  I ended up reengaging in my life insurance business which provided me with income and networking opportunities and a social outlet of others exuding success and drive.  It was invigorating.  I helped several people with logo designs and inquired with a friend who asked for helped with photo editing for a photography business.  I could  supplement with some cash and at the same time, increase my skills in these areas, as well.  I was taking small steps forward and I felt better about myself.

This week, some awesome things happened.  I received three inquiries and all requested interviews.  I was granted funding for classes for my CDA credential.  I was overcome with emotion.  I had seen some valleys this summer and finally I was seeing mountaintops.  I am walking away from this ordeal with major improvements in my business and in myself, which would not have happened had I not faced this struggle with enrollment.  It’s a wonderful feeling.

Feeling encouraged made a world of a difference to me and my business these last few months.   Keeping faith that my efforts would come to fruition was hard at times, but eventually that’s exactly what happened.  I am very grateful for all the people I had to back me up and cheer me on so that I would keep making forward progress.  My advice is to do what you must to remain positive, keep the faith, and do what you must to remain encouraged and driven.  For some, it is support from family and friends.  For others, it is the sheer will to succeed.  While others, turn to prayer.  For me, it was a combination of all.  Many people believe in the power of attraction and that if you put out positive energy, it will return to you.  Try it, what have you got to lose?

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