Childcare is one of the hardest commodities to find these days, especially since the pandemic. We get so many emails and DM’s on social media asking for a list of companies. Which is why we’re pleased to let you all know about a new nanny placement agency in town: Career Nannies & Household Staffing! This little gem was founded by Lake Bluff born and raised entrepreneur and 10-year career nanny herself, Allison Korpai. Get to know Allison and what makes Career Nannies and Household Staffing far above the competition.
– Allison Korpai with husband Casey
Hi Allison! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from, where do you live now, what brought you to your current town.
Hi! I’m Allison Korpai, owner and founder of Career Nannies and Household Staffing. I was born and raised in Lake Bluff, and I currently live in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago with my husband, Casey. After attending the University of Alabama, I moved to Europe to live and work as an Au pair for almost 3 years. While that was an experience of a lifetime, I always knew I wanted to move back home to Chicago to be closer to my friends and family and explore all the opportunities the city had to offer.
What’s one or two fun facts about yourself?
I am a huge soccer fan and my favorite team to support is FC Bayern Munich.
I have lived in Hungary, Germany, and England.
When did you launch Career Nannies and Household Staffing? What was the inspiration behind the formation of your business?
I launched Career Nannies and Household Staffing in June of this year. My biggest inspiration in starting my own small business was realizing the great need for my services. As a 10-year career nanny myself, I was constantly getting calls from friends and family all over the country asking if I knew any nannies looking for a new position or advice on where and how to find a nanny and what that process looked like/entailed. After years and a lot of personal time spent guiding friends and family, I saw firsthand just how overwhelming and stressful the process of finding compatible, trustworthy, and reliable care was. I felt strongly that it shouldn’t be so difficult for families to find the help that they needed, especially with so much on their plates already. Realizing I could turn my passion, experience, and knowledge into something formal that would not only help build a future for myself but help my community as well really motivated me to start my agency.
What has been your proudest moment as a small business owner?
My proudest moment as a small business owner has been turning my dreams and passion into a reality. Being a career nanny has been so rewarding for me in more ways than I count. From getting to help children grow into independent, healthy, and happy people to all the amazing connections and long-lasting relationships I’ve made all over the world. It really has been such a great opportunity for me and for it to all come full-circle and be able to help other caregivers and families succeed in the same ways really means the world to me. That is my proudest moment.
How do you find your nannies? Please describe the rigorous interview process you use to obtain the best talent.
We find amazing candidates in many ways. The most typical ways candidates come to us include referrals, recruitment sites, social media, nanny groups, and since we are still so involved in the community, connections. We actively recruit for each family we work with, so each situation is unique. We get many applications but only the most experienced and qualified are accepted. To be considered, our candidates must first meet the following criteria:
- 21+ years of age
- Have the legal right to work in the US
- Possess 2+ years of professional childcare experience
- Provide at least 3 current and verifiable references with contact information
- Provide at least 2 letters of recommendation
- Possess a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record or state ID
- Ability to pass criminal background checks
- Be CPR/FIRST AID certified or willing to complete
We take the quality of care we offer as well as the safety and privacy of your family extremely seriously. Our candidates go through a rigorous multi-step screening process so you can be confident you are welcoming an experienced and trustworthy caregiver into your home. We make sure no stone is left unturned when it comes to vetting our candidates as do our partners at True Hire who administer our caregiver background checks. Our thorough process combined with our extensive industry knowledge ensures red flags are caught and only the most qualified candidates are presented.
Here is a look at what our screening process entails:
- Complete a formal application
- Phone screening
- In-person or virtual interview
- Online presence check
- Detailed reference checks
- Background check: Social Security Trace; National Criminal and Sex Offender Search; County Criminal Search; Previous County Criminal Search (up to 2); Motor Vehicle Report
How are you dealing with the work/life balance as a small business owner? Any advice for future entrepreneurs out there?
Finding the right work/life balance can be a struggle. The months leading up to our official launch were particularly difficult especially because I was still working my full-time 50-hr/wk. job as well. While I was working non-stop, it really helped that I was building something I was passionate and excited about. It didn’t feel like work. I also had an amazing support system behind me that helped pick up the slack and encouraged me the entire time.
Self-care has also been a big help in maintaining and creating a healthy work/life balance for me. Listening to my body and mind, knowing when I need to rest and take a day off. You can’t care or help others if you don’t care for yourself first is a lesson I have learned and try to live by.
So, to the new and future entrepreneurs, I would say my best advice is to turn your passion into a business-it won’t feel like work. Create a good support system around yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Lastly and most importantly, make time for self-care-nothing or no one is ever more important than your health and well-being.
What was the most difficult road block you encountered with regards to starting this new business?
The biggest roadblock I faced while starting my business was honestly fear of the unknown. I had been wanting to open my own agency for years but never followed through because while I know the nanny industry inside and out, I knew nothing about business and that whole side of it. How was I supposed to open an LLC, get business insurance, a business license, create a website, open a business bank account, create service agreements and much more. It was very overwhelming for me and took months and months of research, outsourcing and lots of hard work but once I put my mind to it there was no stopping me. It also gave me such a deeper respect for business owners in general and all that goes on behind the scenes. So, while having faith in myself and all the unknowns were roadblocks at first, they have also made me so much stronger, confident, and proud of myself and the business I have created.
What’s on the horizon for Career Nannies and Household Staffing?
My goal right now is to really focus on making amazing, genuine connections between families and caregivers in the Chicagoland area and then hopefully expand into more of the Midwest including Wisconsin.
I also hope to soon get involved with, and be able to give back to, organizations that work to create more affordable and accessible childcare options for families and organizations that support the rights of domestic workers.
Who would you like to thank for making the formation of Career Nannies and why?
First and foremost, I would like to thank my husband, Casey who has supported me in so many ways and has never stopped believing in and encouraging me. I couldn’t have done it without his help.
I would also like to thank my mentor Stephanie Bauchum, of the Mtoto Agency and her amazing guidance. I am so thankful she is willing to share her knowledge and experience with me through the nanny agency cohort she has created. It has taught me a ton about the industry and introduced me to so many other wonderful agency owners on the same journey as me.
I would like to thank my dear friend, Patchouli Ritchson of Venture Social who helped me create my website and has also been my confidant and go-to for advice on so many different levels.
Lastly, I would like to thank my cousin, Scott Grant and neighbor Maryellen Gatewood who have and continue to offer great advice and support whenever I need it.
Where can we find you to start a conversation about finding a nanny?
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