The Association of Nanny Agencies – why I choose to be a member
I first started my agency in May 2013. I had spent the last 10 years working as a qualified nanny and nursery nurse, both in the UK and abroad, and it had always been my long term goal to start an agency. The time seemed right – I was working two nanny jobs at the time, one 4 days per week, and the other 1 day per week. Dubious of how things would work out, I handed in my notice at my 1 day a week job, with the theory that if the agency didn’t work, I could still cover my mortgage!
Once I made the decision to set up my agency, I was a little deterred by my how many friends followed my news with “I had a friend that started an agency” or “I tried that, it didn’t really take off”. I was determined that Rosebud Nanny Agency would not fail!
I spent the next year working 40 hours per week as a nanny (if not more, as my employer often worked away, requiring me to do 15 hours days/overnights) and spending my evenings, Fridays, and weekends meeting nannies for registration with my agency. Oh, and on top of all that, I was planning my wedding!
I honestly don’t know how I got through that first year – I was busier than ever, and had literally zero free time! My lovely boss put my youngest charge into nursery freeing up my mornings & giving me an extra 12 hours per week to work for myself. This really helped but by putting more time into my agency, it only got busier. Eventually, I made the difficult decision to leave them in February 2015 and work for myself full time.
This was a really scary yet exciting time for me – I now had the freedom to set my own hours, fit my agency around my other commitments, and it made it much easier to meet nannies and parents. But I was now fully responsible for my own income – if I didn’t make placements, I simply couldn’t pay myself! Finding a work/life balance was tricky.
This is around the time I joined ANA – the Association of Nanny Agencies. I had always been aware of ANA, and had looked for the ANA logo (and all it represents) when seeking my own nanny work through agencies. I hadn’t joined the association before, as I didn’t think it was an option for my little old me! Now my agency was well and truly established, I gave them a call. They invited me to attend their AGM and see what it was all about and to find out more. Looking back, I am so glad I went along.
Sat at the Association of Nanny Agencies AGM, I had fully intended to quietly listen and take it all in, but surprised myself (and the other ANA members I think!) by being really passionate and opinionated. I enjoyed getting involved & contributing to the various discussions as much as I could without being a member (I was unable to vote but could say my piece and add my experiences and viewpoints.)
I was really on board with everything ANA stands for – promoting good practice in nanny agencies, ensuring everything is above board, all nannies are interviewed face to face, documents checked, references followed up, with agency insurance and data protection in place – and was pleased to find out I had been doing everything an ANA agency should anyway. I joined on the spot, and was delighted to display their logo on my website, proudly showing nannies and families alike that I adhere to ANA’s high standards.
For me, the best thing about joining ANA has been the support from other agencies and developing relationships with like minded colleagues that run similar ventures elsewhere. Any time I have had a question or an issue, I have contacted ANA and there has always been someone able to help me. It has been an invaluable resource.
I have shared a few jobs with other agencies. If anyone has a role they are struggling to place, they are able to contact other member agencies to see if they have suitable applicants, and agree to split the placement. I have successfully split a placement with another local agency, and work with her on other jobs from time to time.
I have my own agency profile and can advertise all my jobs on the ANA website for free, which is visited by around 700 people per month, and the website is being improved and developed in 2016 with exciting things to come.
I have found being part of the only trade association of the nanny agency industry invaluable. The committee of ANA had noted my interest and contributions, so they asked me in September 2015 to help shape the future of ANA. Without hesitation, I agreed to participate as an ANA subcommittee member; my role is mainly to help new members and also to help ANA grow, develop and increase its membership and to help raise public awareness. The role is voluntary, and I help as and when I get free time.
I am really looking forward to seeing plans evolve in 2016, and in the years to come.
January 15, 2016
by Abigail Plested
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