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Exploring Life & Business with Molly Smalley of Nounou Neighbors

Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Smalley.

Hi Molly, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My husband, Cary, and I live in Overland Park. We have two boys, Garrett, who is eight, and Oliver, who is six. The reason I decided to create this babysitters’ club website is because several years ago, I accidentally booked my regular sitter for the wrong date-Friday instead of Saturday! After I realized that I had given her the wrong date, I found out that she wasn’t available Saturday because it was prom, and none of her friends were available either! I knew there was NO WAY any of my friends would willingly share a sitter (let’s be real folks… it’s like asking your friend if she could spare her arm for you!)

Several years later, after I’d built up a pretty good list of sitters, quite a few of whom are on our website, I decided it would be awesome to start a website for other parents in need of reliable and responsible date night sitters. We decided to solely focus on date nights and summer nannies with the majority of our sitter’s college age and highly qualified high school students. We needed a name for the business and I decided to look up what babysitter was in French and found Nounou, meaning caregiver and pronounced New New. Then I quickly thought of Neighbors. And it stuck!

We decided to start with a website that only cost us $2100 and charge the families a subscription fee to be a member on the site. We wanted the cost to be low enough that families would stay with us even if they didn’t need a sitter every single month. We were adamant to make start-up costs extremely low and see if this thing was actually going to work. For a long time, I was cranking the wheel and we had what I called a babysitter request sign up sheet and I was setting up each family with a sitter for their job. And slowly but surely, we were actually growing and I realized in order for this to grow to a large company, I needed a more efficient way for the families to post a job. We needed the sitter to be able to apply for the job and the family to be able to see their profiles and directly text the sitters to book them without me involved at all. So from there, we found someone to build a text messaging system where the families would post their jobs and it would be texted out to our 200+ sitters. And then the sitters would apply through their texts and the families would receive their texts. We had major tech problems and our tech builder actually ghosted us! So there was a point that I had to go back to cranking the wheel and we almost lost the business. We gratefully posted on Craigslist and found an amazing affordable tech builder in Miami! Yes, we were afraid that Dude from Miami wouldn’t be able to do the job. We had never met the dude in person! He got us fixed up and the text system was working great but it was costing us a fortune for the texts!

So we then realized we needed an app to bring down all these costs and use a push notification process through the app. So we had Miami dude build the app. It worked fantastic! We were really rockin and rollin! And next thing we know Miami dude ghosted us! So now we are in a full panic because we are too big for me to crank the wheel and make it at this point. So we quickly posted up on Craigslist AGAIN…and we found a guy in San Francisco! So we hired him and he got us all fixed up at a very reasonable rate. We also have never met this guy either but he’s been fantastic! So as of now, we have the app for our sitters and we are currently building the family side to the app with our San Francisco guy! Then came the pandemic shutdown and I wondered if we would make it. There was a time that we dwindled down to numbers that were extremely low and I realized I might really have to let the business go. My heart was so heavy. But the customers who stayed with us needed sitters to help in their homes while they worked from home. So we made it through! Now fast forward to today and we have just over 800 vetted sitters and we are back to pre-pandemic client numbers and rapidly growing! It has been a journey for sure but I’m realizing it’s more about the things I learn along the way than the goal of a flourishing business!

We’ve been impressed with Nounou Neighbors, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
What sets us apart is that we don’t charge the sitters anything to join and we don’t take any of their sitting fees from them. We have a registration fee and a monthly subscription service we charge the clients as our only revenue. It’s $55 for first-month registration fee and $15/month every month after that. Or $185 for the entire year. We also allow all phone numbers to be exchanged instead of going through the system immediately for text to text contact. We also allow all sitter payments to go directly from family to sitter and we do not collect any of their hard-earned fees.

As a brand and a company, our #1 goal is to serve our clients and their children with the best and most efficient babysitting service to meet their individual needs at an affordable rate.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
My favorite childhood memory was my very favorite babysitter Danielle who played with me the entire time she babysat and she would always style my hair and make up like hers! She was my idol. And guess what?! Her daughter was a babysitter on our site for her college career! Life is so crazy like this and I just love watching it unfold!

Pricing:

  • $55 for first month and $15/month every month after that
  • $185/year

Contact Info:

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