I loved it because I never lost a client to a friend. My friends loved me because I got them work. And now that I'm a mom, I know my clients loved me because I took the hassle of scheduling a sitter away from them.
Seriously, having a roster of sitters isn't enough. You also have to be able to get a hold of them, and find that magic day when they're available at the same time as you.
I've started just telling the sitters to call me when they're free and want to work. We're flexible. We'll go out anytime. Heck, they could just show up on the stoop and say "Go, I'm here." and we'd go.
Oddly, only one sitter has ever called out of the blue to say she was available and wanted to sit. And she only did it once. Maybe we scared her with our desperately quick acceptance.
Since that whole "wait until the sitter just shows up unannounced" thing wasn't really working for us, until recently we had a system of sorts set up. M had a sitter's info in his phone, I had two, we'd take turns trying to get them scheduled, and more often than not we'd end up on the couch watching a movie and eating take-out Chinese food.
Sometimes, if we were really desperate (are you sensing a theme here? we love our kids, but we love being without them too.) I'd hop onto Facebook and BEG for a sitter. (That actually worked once...)
And then I met Heidi Rielly in a completely circuitously way. First there was the BlogHer babysitter debacle, which actually let Heidi to find me on Twitter. Then, after I checked out her company, I interviewed her for the column I write about local mompreneurs for the local parenting paper. And then? At a friendly gathering at the local Farmer's Market, she stopped by to say hi and I discovered that she's my friend's next-door neighbor.
It was the perfect storm really. And, as it turns out, the answer to my babysitting woes.
No, Heidi isn't a babysitter. She's the brilliant mastermind behind a company called SitterScout, a priceless (no really; it's free!) gem that handles scheduling your babysitters for you.
It's easy. You sign up, put in your sitter's emails and phone numbers and, when you want to schedule a job, you let SitterScout do the texting/emailing to everyone. The first person who replies with yes gets the job and you get this:
|SitterScout Job Accepted Text|
It's amazing to me how such a simple process can make everything so much easier. And it's even more amazing to me that I'm once again looking forward to going out instead of considering the whole process just another chore.
I'm glad I met Heidi and excited to count her among my friends today. It's thrilling to watch SitterScout take off and wow everyone who tries it. Even better, it's awesome to use it so Heidi and I can go out and celebrate our new friendship!
SitterScout is a client of Splash Creative Media, for which I am a partner. Obviously this post is 100% my thoughts, words, and hysteria.