7 Questions with Lauren Mansell, Mom and founder of Hello Sitter
Today we talked to another inspirational #workingmom in our community, Lauren Mansell. She is the founder of Hello Sitter and shared with us the story behind her app and how she balances working motherhood. She developed an easy and safe way to help find the perfect babysitter for you and your family in NYC, to ensure your total peace of mind. Use the special promo code MiteraVIP to get 25$ off your first booking!
1. Tell us about your business! How did everything begin and why did you want to start Hello Sitter?
Hello Sitter came from a personal need and it made me think if I am having this much trouble then surely other parents are too. As parents we always have something going on, whether it’s something that needs doing or fixing or buying and I found the whole process of finding a sitter stressful and painful. My dream was to not only eliminate that stress but also the ‘parent guilt’ we get when we leave our children, enter Hello Sitter. An on-demand app that lets you instantly book fully vetted sitters that are matched to your children. Safety is one of our most important aspects, with every sitter going through a rigorous application, including an in-person interview, extensive background check, providing 3 references and a social media sweep. All you have to do is select your required date and time and the app matches you with the sitters that best match your child based on their age, whether they have special needs or allergies and a curated list of personality qualities that best suit your child. You are able to view sitter profiles that contain all the information you would want to know along with a video and then you hit book and you are confirmed. All of the sitters are part of a 10-year membership only agency which as a result means you are getting a luxury service but in the convenience of an app.
2. What was your own experience with babysitters while your daughter was little?
I am very lucky in that we have had the same nanny since Ady was 4 months old (she is 4 years now!) so when she was very small she only stayed with Hsiu. However, the moment I looked for help outside of that I found it very difficult, it was stressful trying to find sitters on the bigger sites and I spent a lot of time searching and interviewing only for it to not work out. When I did find a sitter they were never available when I needed them and then would disappear entirely or were only suitable for when Ady was sleeping (due to lack of engagement). That was the reason I founded hello sitter - I wanted to make it easier for myself and every other parent.
3. How does the vetting process go and how do you guarantee the sitter’s expertise and qualifications?
One of the most important things to me and what in fact differentiates hello sitter is that we have such an emphasis on vetting. Not a single sitter is on-boarded onto the platform until all the steps of our application are completed. Every sitter is interviewed in person to discuss their experience, this is verified with 3 previous childcare references, a thorough background check (sexual offenders list, terrorist watchlist, criminal database, DMV records, SSN validation, screen on last residence) and to complete a social media sweep. After this I personally on-board every single sitter which means I have complete control over their profiles so that everything is accurate and relevant. In addition, we are a service and not a piece of technology – I am at the end of the phone or on email if anyone ever has questions or concerns and regularly speak to a lot of my families.
4. Are you planning on introducing your app to more cities?
We are currently focused on New York but yes definitely in the future we plan to expand to multiple cities.
5. What are three things that come to your mind when thinking about your pregnancy?
- This overwhelming feeling wash over me that it was meant to be
- That I had it easy (I had no morning sickness, traveled and worked out until my 8th month!)
- The temper tantrums I used to have each time I outgrew a piece of clothing
6. How do you balance being a mom, wife and entrepreneur?
I don’t - no I’m kidding (kind of!)! It’s hard and sometimes I struggle but I try and have dedicated times for each role and in each of them I try to be present.
On one hand it is hard running your own business because the majority of the responsibility lies with you, there is no end time and always something I could be doing (hence why I am writing this at 11pm!)
However, on the other hand it allows you to set your own schedule meaning I can be at Ady’s school whenever I want to be or be there when she has a playdate. I have the ability to swap an hour in the day for one in the evening and for that I feel very grateful!
In regards to being a wife I am incredibly lucky that my husband is my best friend and biggest supporter. We make sure we spend time together away from our laptops and phones every Saturday afternoon - 5 hours of us time, amazing what you can do in 5 hours when there are no little people around to herd!
7. What advice would you give any mom who wants to start her own business?
To not be afraid and to just go for it if it is something you believe in. It can be incredibly daunting and fear can prevent people from ever trying but my belief is that you will never know unless you try. Worst case scenario is that you fail, but what is failure? Surely the fact you tried and took that risk is less of a failure than being too scared to do something you believe in. You have to be brave and believe in yourself and your idea and just work work work.