How to Network as a Childminder

an image of board pieces on a piece of paper that has dots connected to each other If you decide to become a self-employed childminder, you need to promote yourself to parents who work full-time. Since advertising is expensive, the best way to get yourself noticed is to network early in your career. Networking is an essential step if you want to succeed at working for yourself. If you do not know what networking is, it is the process of connecting with potential customers and making them aware of your services. This is necessary if you don't have any experience and/or you have just completed your education in the child care field. Consider the following ways you can successfully network to develop your reputation as a childminder.

Word of Mouth

Letting your family and friends know that you are becoming a childminder is an essential first step. This is one of the best ways to get the word out about your childminding services. There will be many potential clients within the circles of the people that you know, which can extend the reach of your services. Give recommenders details about your services that shows they are informed. This can include the age range of children you will care for and your experience. Ensure that existing and previous clients are satisfied with your services. If so, ask them to recommend you to other parents. Remember that recommendations from a known person will often be trusted more than those from strangers. Accordingly, this method is an effective way to grow your business.

Social Media 

Many people spend significant periods using social media, so take advantage of this to network. Setting up a Facebook business page, for example, will allow you to help parents while promoting yourself as a childminder. Create helpful blog posts and share articles containing parenting tips to give visitors some benefit. At the same time, you can provide full details of the childminding services that you offer. Using LinkedIn to present yourself as a childminder may also help you to network. By connecting to existing and previous clients, you will also be visible to their connections. This will also be the case when connecting with other acquaintances. On any platform you use, note that it is not advisable to share photographs of any children.

Directories  

Take advantage of the various directories that can be found on the market, whether online or offline. Search engines are often the first port of call for parents seeking a childminder. Therefore, including your details in online business directories is an important way to advertise your services. Whether through a Google business directory or a dedicated website, include full details about your service. Make sure that you are easy to connect with by including complete contact details. Clients will often be able to leave reviews and these can influence others to engage you as a childminder. It is important that you regularly check reviews to ensure you keep on top of any issues. Positive reviews can help make your listing more favourable in the search results.

Business Cards

Though the world is becoming dependant on technology, there are still benefits to traditional networking methods. One of these is the use of business cards. You can get business cards printed quite cheaply. You will also not require a significant quantity, so it will be a small investment. They offer an easy way to provide parents with relevant information about your childminding services. Use it to outline your qualifications and experience, which may not be relayed by word of mouth. It is a simple way for potential clients to understand what you do. Leaflets can be used in the same way and are perfect for attaching to fridges or noticeboards. These will remain in the parent's awareness.

Getting a Qualification

Even though it is important to be registered as a childminder, and hold a paediatric first aid qualification. Another qualification you should consider, is the Level 2 Certificate for the Children & Young People's Workforce. This qualification can be gained through online distance learning, meaning you can study at your own pace. And help is only a click away. If you are childminder, then this qualification will give a much added reassurance to a child's parent. It shows you possess the necessary skills and knowledge to look after a child in a professional and caring manner. Thanks for reading. If you're a childminder, why don't you leave a comment below to let us know your preferred networking method. Featured image: Pexels
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