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Child Care

Introduction | Checklist | Research | Story

Name: Myriam Etienne
Biz Name: Etienne's Family Day Care
Location: 12th Street, Brooklyn
How Long Been in Biz: 2 Years

Photo of Etienne's Family Day Care owners
BPL: How and why did you decide to start this type of biz?
ME: I knew what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to open a day care. I did a lot of research and I tried to save money. I was always putting some money aside.

BPL: What were the first steps you took to get started?
ME: There's an agency that I called and they sent me some resources on how to open a child care. Through those papers I got in contact with the Child Support Corporation. I didn't realize there were grants available for people who wanted to start a child care biz. I applied and received a $500 grant. Materials from Red Leaf Press helped a lot with helping me find out about licensing.

BPL: What Brooklyn organizations and resources would you recommend to others looking for help and assistance in starting a new biz?
ME: There is a lot of help out there. Anyone who wants to start a biz has to do some research. Even though I wasn't familiar with the Brooklyn Business Library before, now I am. There are also people who are willing to give you free toys and free materials.

I know Business Outreach Center (BOC) is doing the child care biz training. That's such a big help. After I finished the training I just wanted to start a biz all over again. It's amazing. That's the first step anyone should take.

BPL: What methods have you used to get the word out about your biz? How did you select these methods? Which do you think is the most successful and why?
ME: After I quit my job, I knew parents who were looking for child care. They were my first clients.

All my other clients came through word of mouth. I put flyers in the neighborhood. A therapist that works with one of the children I care for told people about my day care.

BPL: What is the best thing about being in biz for yourself?
ME: I feel very confident. And financially, I feel more stable than I used to. Financially, I have to do everything about the biz.

Another thing is that being in business for myself gives me a sense of independence. I plan my day. I know what I have to do throughout my day. I can apply myself to different tasks without having someone at my back telling me what to do.

BPL: What do you think is the most difficult aspect of being in biz for yourself?
ME: The financial part. You have to think about every single thing. When the business is not doing so well, you are still in charge. You have to do what it takes to make it work. That might mean getting a part-time job or filling in some other way. I completed BOC training last fall. It was very helpful. The training covered the biz plan, cash flow, etc. When I opened my biz, I wasn't thinking about that kind of thing.

BPL: If you were to do one thing differently in starting your own biz, what would it be?
ME: I would plan my cash flow differently. I would make sure I had enough money to keep me going for a year. This is my second year, and in the beginning, the finances were the most stressful part for me. That is where the challenge came.

BPL: What's the one most important piece of advice you would give someone else about starting a biz?
ME: I would tell them to find what it is that they truly want to do. Usually you have ideas. You have to find what your passion is. You need to find what your abilities are. You need to put all of the things together.

It's important to do the proper research about state regulations and finances, and then sit down and have a serious talk with yourself about whether it's what you really want to do.

Know that starting and running your own biz is a lot of work and a lot of time.