I often stop to think how our business got up and running, and not only does it put a smile on my face but I feel extremely proud of what we have achieved and learnt throughout this crazy ride. Both of us, Angela Hadzipasic and myself, Donna Sheppard, have raised our own children as stay at home mums, and then returned to work in the Early Childhood environment. We are both at the same stage in life with our youngest children (3 children each) completing and graduating from school in 2015. Our worlds have merged just at the right time in our lives. The success story for us is the ability to work together, having very different strengths and also gaining confidence, encouragement and strength from each other. We have very different reasons for why this business venture has started, and I wanted to share my story with you.
It all began when Angela and I were teaching together, there was many a day in our teaching lives when Mums would drop children off to our care in tears having had a rough morning, and we would support, offer our guidance and continue that follow up as long as they were a part of our classroom family. Angela and I talked about why there was no one within our industry offering that practical advice. Teachers are so down to earth, living through real life scenarios and using techniques that work because we do it every day. The seed was planted and each time advice and guidance was offered in our daily work environment, we thought about the potential for a business.
What would two teachers know about entering the cut throat world of business? Well at first nothing. Both our husbands are very successful business men in their own fields but we made it very clear that this was our venture and we wanted to make mistakes, we needed to learn our way and enjoy the ups and downs along the way and that we did. So 2 crazy mums, teachers full of enthusiasm, took that step off the cliff. We sat in our office at BOT Headquarters (my house), and looked at each other and decided that we probably needed a strong coffee to let those brain waves evolve.
2014 we took that step. It felt like we were embarking on something so foreign, frightening and yet exhilarating at the same time. Having taken time to seriously ponder the reasons for embarking on this venture, I have narrowed it down to 3 reasons why I personally took this leap of faith.
1. I guess its one of those things that I see an idea and think ‘wow’ that is so clever. A girlfriend and I would laugh about how we would start a business called the ‘Gunnas’ because we were always going to start but never really had a good idea and plus it was just fun at that stage thinking up all different ideas and having a laugh. So this business Back On Track. Early Childhood Professionals was the ‘Gunnas’ becoming real, and I refused to die wondering if it could actually work - which brings me to my next point.
2. In 2013 after a serious health scare from my husband and then me being diagnosed with breast cancer, you get to a point in your life when you feel that you are older, wiser, more experienced in that what you are offering is truly valuable to others. It was also that nudge off the cliff to say, Why wait. In fact why wait for anything anymore. Live a full life, offer and help others and in doing so, helping myself along the way to fully recover from the physical and mental anguish of cancer.
3. I wanted to share some examples of interaction with families that cemented my decision. One of our gorgeous parents picked up her 4-year-old boy from Preschool and strapped him into a papoose. Please just try to picture the scene, because it still brings a smile to my face with all arms and legs dangling. I had to explain that it was very age appropriate for a child to hold your hand whilst leaving kindy, to walk and carry his own backpack and save the poor mums back along the way. And the mother who told us that her children who normally went to bed at 11pm wouldn’t go to sleep at daylight saving til after midnight, no wonder her child was always tired and lacked energy for learning. The mother had wiped her hands saying it was too hard, but never really realised that she was setting her child up to stop learning, engaging and being a nice friend with others.
Children are not born with a handbook and the rapid growth of development means that routines change drastically and quickly. Making the realisation that child development does not come naturally or easily to some parents is where our business is growing. Empowering parents, carers and nannies to reach their full potential so the children in their care can be set up for success in school, life, relationships and beyond.
There have been some rocky and rough moments along the way, but mostly enjoyable, fun and lots of laughs We would like to share our story of the highs and lows with you which we will do through our blog posts, so stay tuned. .