The Hello Duetto Journey – Part II
Part II of Hello Duetto’s journey takes us to a different type of childcare model – a nanny/daycare hybrid. (In Part I, we started with babies in a boardroom and ran into a whole host of issues). A nanny/daycare hybrid model came to me at 3am in the middle of the night when I thought all else had failed. And the reason why it came to me is because I was still thinking like a lawyer. I needed to plug the holes. Fix what wasn’t working. Prepare a solid defense. At the time, I thought that by addressing what wasn’t working in my previous model, I would be able to find something that would work going forward.
With a nanny/daycare hybrid model, we had created the best of both worlds and would be able to capture the interest of most families (our approach provided the one-on-one care of a nanny and simulated the socialization of a daycare). In addition, our service would now be offered in the home instead of at the office (avoiding the need to build out a daycare location). And it wouldn’t affect day-to-day operations at a company. All seemingly good things.
But there were other things that we didn’t see coming – a limited supply of super nannies, high costs (a result of the limited supply), and companies that didn’t think our ROI was justified. It’s like we fixed one set of problems only to create an entirely different set of problems without ever getting at the root of the issue. (And of course I couldn’t see any of that in real-time because I was so burned out and overworked).
So there we were again – trying to figure out how to proceed. But this time, I had faith that another ah-ha moment would come.
And as luck would have it, it was our customers who nudged us in the right direction. You see, in addition to providing childcare, another element of our business model was making it easy for our customers to connect to good resources – people/products/services like doulas, night nurses, parent networks, pediatricians, kids hair salons, classes & activity centers, parent blogs, etc. And funny enough, our customers resonated with this part of our business even more so than the childcare itself. We were getting comments like “the nannies are all well & good but taking things off of our plate is really what’s most helpful.”
That was the first time we realized that our business was not about providing a better form of childcare. It was about something bigger: improving quality of life. What if we could add back time to our customers’ lives? Would extra hours for the people & things that they love keep them coming back to work? And make them happier? We were ready to explore…