Georgia Meek has developed an app that's bound to have parents around New Zealand rejoicing, it's called The Babysitters Club and it connects users with reliable Babysitters in their area. Georgia, who lives in Mount Maunganui (a beach town next to Tauranga in New Zealand's Bay of Plenty), is a qualified teacher and nanny herself and created the app after seeing similar products in America. The Babysitters Club service is currently available in Auckland, Wellington and the Bay of Plenty but Georgia has big global expansion plans. She gives Livelihood some valuable insight into creating an app with no prior experience and talks about where her inspiration comes from...
How do you make a living?
Georgia Meek: I originally started by working part time as a nanny and every other hour on The Babysitters Club business. In December 2016, things got a bit too busy so I made the decision to work full time on my business. That was possibly the one of the scariest moments of my life, but ended up being the most beneficial for my business. Although I don’t earn much at the moment, I love waking up every morning knowing that I am making a difference in the world.
What is your background in business?
GM: It's a learn as I go process! I'm a qualified teacher and I have no official experience in business, I personally feel that business is common knowledge and it's all about understanding the target market.
How did you come up with the idea for your app?
GM: I was actually in business with a friend at the start and we were trying to figure out how to grow the business to make it sustainable. We had already seen an app in America called Urban Sitter but I had a meeting with an app developer only to find it would cost hundreds of thousands to make something similar. We left the idea behind, until someone said to us ‘you could be an Uber for babysitting’. My friend left the business but I was still fixated on this whole ‘Uber for babysitting idea’ so I got planning, created the flow for how I wanted the app to work (which is completely different to any babysitting app that is currently in the market) and then went from there.
Did you have any experience in app building at all?
GM: No, I am not the most technical person in the world. I have to admit, it really scared me when transitioning into being a ‘tech’ business but tech is the way of the future, so I would be silly not to move forward with this. I am more of the UX/UI (User Experience) person and I let the tech experts take over the development and technical side of things.
What was the process in building the app?
GM: Lots of planning! Lots of talk of user experience, branding, discussions about The Babysitters Club’s values, wire-frames, testing, feedback/adjustments, development, testing... and more!
Who are the other millennials in business that you look up to and why?
GM: Jake Millar is one person that really does inspire me - the content, exposure and growth he has achieved to date is unbelievable at such a young age. I just love people who do cool things, people who don’t let anything hold them back and just get on with it.
You work from Mount Maunganui, what is the millennial business community like there and do you think technology is making it easier to live and work away from major cities?
GM: A couple of friends of mine have actually just started a group called ‘Wellness Wednesday’s’, where girls who are in business get together and network, whether that be yoga, cocktail nights, tea and chat nights and pot lucks. It has really allowed a community of millennials who are doing really innovative things to be formed. These girls, although not in the same line of business, make me feel inspired and connected to the business world. I do travel up to Auckland occasionally for meetings and for events through ‘Company of Women’, but apart from that, I could live anywhere that I wanted with my business. All I need is a computer, reception and a cellphone.
What does a typical day look like for you?
GM: I wake up early, go for a walk up the Mount (sometimes sleep if my body needs it); get a coffee then go to my office which is down the road. I usually have a list of things that need to be done and have set days that I do certain tasks... Monday’s are admin days, Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays are babysitter recruitment, marketing and meetings days and Thursday are financial/numbers days. I am not strict with this, as you can’t really be when you are a one man band, but it does help me to really focus on what needs to be done and provides a good routine.
Do you have any words of advice for others looking to create an app?
GM: MAKE SURE YOU GET GOOD DEVELOPERS! I didn’t have the best experience with my first developers, they were not that experienced and committed to something a bit beyond their depth. Although super nice people, nice just doesn’t really cut it at the end of the day when you are dealing with technology. Don’t go for the cheapest option, as it ends up costing double the amount if it's not done right. Alongside this, I would advise knowing exactly what it costs, because it isn’t cheap to maintain and run either.
What's your ultimate goal for the Baby Sitters Club?
GM: I want to become a global company eventually. This will take time but aim big and shoot for the stars I say. I have full faith that The Babysitters Club provides child-care/service beyond any other childcare service out there so have no doubt it will go far. The fact I am where I am today through mostly word of mouth just says everything. We actually genuinely care about every person interacting with our services and that is the difference.
How do you think we can encourage more women to get into app development?
GM: I would advise women to talk to others who have created apps before. Talk to people who have been successful in business - do market research and see whether it is an idea worth pursuing. There is so much opportunity out there, you just have to make sure you have a good understanding of who your target market is, what you are trying to achieve and ensure your target market see your product/service as a need also.
How can people download and use the app?
GM: You can download the app by searching The Babysitters Club or TBSC through the Apple App Store. Or you can visit our website www.thebabysittersclub.nz and download the app from there.
We are in the process of getting our website and android app developed to integrate with iOS app, which is super exciting. Booking a trustworthy, experienced and interactive babysitter will soon be the easiest thing in the world. We can wait to help many more amazing families, children and babysitters.
How to use the app:
1. Log the time, date and number of children you require child care for and see who is available to babysit within your area.
2. Select 1 babysitter from up to 5 that have applied for the position.
3. Make a payment via secured payment network and your booking is confirmed.
Thanks Georgia! Find out more about The Babysitters Club and download the app at www.thebabysittersclub.nz.