We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Long and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Three years ago I never imagined starting my own business. I had a great corporate career and loved the work I did. And then life changed when I became a mom. I couldn’t imagine spending 12 hours a day, 5 days a week away from her for the next 20 years. I knew there must be a different solution. So I started my journey to find a business that could give me a good income while also allowing me the flexibility that was most important to me.
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is Twinkle Toes Nanny Agency of West Cobb. We offer full and part time nanny services as well as occasional and event babysitting services for families in West Cobb and West Metro. We service from Mableton to Marietta as well as SW Atlanta and Midtown. Our agency differs from many in the area because we don’t charge any upfront fee for our services. You only pay for the hours the nanny works. We also take pride in making sure we make the best family-nanny partnerships. We know a nanny can become like family and we take special care to make sure we spend time listening to our families and our nannies to make perfect matches. I’m one year into my life of entrepreneurship. The first year was good. I had amazing referrals and my revenue exceeded $200k. But then March hit and the world was turned upside down with a pandemic no-one could have predicted. My business immediately experienced a 65% reduction in revenue. For 8 weeks all I saw was families canceling and no new business calls. I wondered, whew, did I make a mistake. But then the phone started ringing and customers began calling. I’m having to rebuild but my brand is still strong and my clients and nannies are amazing. The road is not easy but I’m sure I can make it. As for lessons I’ve learned along the way, the main one is keep trying. I have a saying on my bathroom mirror that says, “she persisted”. Entrepreneurship is hard but you have to keep persisting and stick to the plan. Consistency pays off. At Twinkle Toes we pride ourselves in being “second to Mom”. We provide families with the peace of mind of knowing that our nannies can be “mom” when you’re not there. We also know how to pivot in uncertain times. Knowing that summer camps may not open up this summer we created summer camp programming that our nannies can do at the families home. This will give kids a summer they won’t forget while giving parents the peace of mind that their children are safe at home.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Wow, where do I begin, there are so many amazing places in the metro-Atlanta area. We’d definitely go the Aquarium, World of Coke, and Civil Rights Museum. While downtown we’d eat at Bocado and Busy Bee, two of my favorites. For desert and a view we’d go to The Sun Dial to have fried pies. Depending on the time of the year we’d check out a Hawks or Falcons game and maybe have a late night snack at the Varsity. We’d also do some shopping and walking at Ponce City Market and the belt line. I also can’t forget to take them by the Atlanta University center to see the rich history of the city’s historically black colleges and universities. We’d definitely spend some time in Cobb checking out some of the cool bars and restaurants at the Battery. We’d eat at Ted’s Montana Grill or Stoney River. If there was still time we’d venture a little farther out of the city to check out Yona Mountain Winery or Chateau Elan. They’d probably be tired after all of this but I think they’d love my city as much as I do.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout definitely goes out to my parents. They have been my biggest cheerleaders my whole life. I was nervous about telling them I was going to leave my amazing secure job for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship all while caring for an infant. But as always they had my back. They fully supported my decision and were on board 100%. I know I wouldn’t have had the amazing career and life I’ve had without their steadfast support. In addition to my parents, my extended family has stepped right in and been there to refer my business, help out with my daughter, and even provide financial support when COVID-19 hit and the business took a huge downward turn.
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