BREAK INTO THE BABYSITTING GAME
Ok. I am about to turn fourteen and I’ve been wanted a babysitting job since I was like, seven ’cause I LOVE kids but of course that is toooo young so I’ve had to wait. But now that I am old enough, I can’t find anyone that needs a babysitter! I put flyers in the library and the local grocery but nothing is working! What should I do?
First things first: Congratulations you on your entrepreneurial spirit–making your own money is one of the greatest feelings in the world!
Now, to find you a summer job. While your instincts are right in wanting to get the hire-me-I’m-awesome-with-kids word out to the community, you might find more success by tweaking your approach. People are usually willing to buy a couch or used BBQ from a stranger via a flyer. But when it comes to leaving their kids with someone? For that, they often look to people who are already in their circle and can trust.
So, to break into that circle of trust and get a gig watching the neighborhood rug rats, try a different style of networking:
- Talk to people who already know how awesome you are—like your parents’ friends, friends’ friends, teachers, coaches and community members–about finding a gig. Ask everyone you know if they know someone who needs help watching kids. People are more willing to hire someone if their friends can vouch for them.
- Seek referrals from people in your community who are already jumped into the babysitting game. This could be a friend, friend’s older sister or someone who goes to your church. Offer to help them out with one of their particularly challenging babysitting jobs and do it gratis. Next, ask them to refer you for jobs they can’t do. After they see how good you are with kids, they’ll feel good about referring you to families that they may no longer have time for.
- Hit up a few community organizations that offer babysitting services. If no one will consider you for a job without prior experience, offer to pitch in and help watch a group of kids at local gyms, parks and rec centers or pools on a volunteer bases once or twice. Again, after the head honchos see how brilliant you are at taking care of kids, they’ll be more likely to hire you for future events.
Erika Stalder is the author of The Date Book: A Girl’s Guide To Going Out With Someone New and creator of the DEAR ERIKA advice column for ABC Family’s Secret Life of The American Teenager.
pst: Do you have a burning question? Handle it! email handlethescandal at pstol.com
ILLUSTRATION BY KERRY MEYER