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Josi van Ogtrop - Sambou | Spain | Network To Collaborate

I graduated with my Bachelor's in Social Work in the Netherlands. During my studies I worked as a volunteer at a young women and children’s shelter. I then completed a 2 year internship in a home for people with psychiatric problems followed by 2 years working in childcare with families in need of support. I was then offered a full-time Family Manager role by Jeugdbescherming Regio Amsterdam, my employer during internship. Here, I focussed on creating a positive environment within families for children who needed it the most. Although I found this greatly rewarding, the work was not easy and required intensive training in family therapy, child safety, communication skills and juvenile justice etc. The organizations I worked at taught me so many life lessons and communication skills. One of them is listening very carefully to what people are telling you and always looking for noble intentions. A healthy family lifestyle is so important for children. That's why I started The Nanny Line. The Nanny Line was founded especially for international parents who just relocated abroad - Europe. It's a big step for children to leave their home, family, friends and school behind. Our nannies are here to help them get comfortable in their new home and in their own language.

What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?

How did the idea for your business come about?:

When I relocated Barcelona, the intention was to work as a nanny for 6 months and work under more calm and happy circumstances. But when I arrived there were no nanny agencies I felt appreciated or comfortable with. The hourly rates were all very low and the agencies didn't have an ear for who I was. It felt like I was just a number instead of a new talent. So I decided to work in a call center - a new Google project. But there were no calls.. zero. So I started writing, first a journal and that ended up as a business plan to start my own agency with only nannies who were enthusiastic, educated and experienced. Especially the HR department needed to feel comfortable and low key. Like joining a family. Happy nannies equals happy children and happy parents.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?:

Starting a nanny agency sounded easy for me. But when I started I realized that it's way more than just placing nannies with families. Where do you register? Logo? Website?! How do families find you? How can they trust you? How do you keep track of your finances? Contracts? Legal aspects? Wow!

What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?

To be honest I'm more a do-er than a reader. I get my knowledge from failing, standing up and trying again. Also talking with others about your project/business helps a lot. Mentor programs, peer2peer groups, networking I would recommend to every entrepreneur. You always get new insights from sharing your thoughts and struggles with others.

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?

How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

This is a super good question! Because convincing family and friends that The Nanny Line will take over the world was one of my biggest challenges. Especially my mother. My father saw it happening but my mom.. She was super worried, how was I going to support myself? Did this also mean I was never coming back home etc. But in the end she's my biggest fan and when I'm down she's most definitely there to pick me up.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

Persistence and using your network to collaborate. Use your creativity and make it work. There are always ways to join forces and grow together with other businesses. You are each other's content.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

Enjoy the journey! It's something not everybody will experience and you'll grow and develop immensely every day. There were days that were so dark and hopeless. Because I was broke, depressed and stressed out. But looking back I'm hoping to enjoy it more in the future. The good and the bad days. Because also the bad ones are the ones that are so meaningful. You learn a lot from them for the future, cherish them.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?

Do it! And let nothing stop you. You'll learn so much about yourself and your strength. You'll be proud of every accomplishment and that's what counts the most at the end of the day. Being happy with the work you do and the service you deliver. Never underestimate customer service by the way! Giving service is the way to win your customers and clients. Even if they have a bad experience, make sure they leave with a smile. Be humble, kind, listen to them and stay professional.



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