Sep 13, 201208:00 AMIn Her Business
Genevieve Thiers and her Dream for SitterCity
Recognized by President Bush at the White House as the Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur Champion of the Year for 2006, Genevieve Thiers’ companies have won over 16 major awards. She is a writer for Crain’s Chicago Business and on the board of the CEC. Genevieve’s latest venture was having identical twins, which occurred in late 2011. Her first company, SitterCity is America’s first company to take caregiving services online. Read on to learn more about her amazing journey.
Genevieve Thiers has founded several companies in the Chicago area. Her first company, Sittercity.com, is America's first and largest network to connect parents with child, pet, senior and home caregivers, with millions of caregivers internationally. Sittercity.com now has millions of users nationwide, and serves clients like the U.S. Department of Defense, Avon, Mastercard, Monster WW and many others. With new locations in the UK and Canada, it is an international success.
Q.What drives your passion for your business?
With seven kids, my mother did not go out a lot when we were small, and this was hard for her. I was a sitter most of my life, and I always remembered the relief that most moms seemed to feel when someone else took over. I remember wanting to make sure that moms had a choice between a $2,000 nanny agency and being on their own. That choice became Sittercity.
Q.What is one significant challenge you have faced in growing your business?
When I first began Sittercity, I had a lot of investors laugh me out of rooms. I heard "My wife handles that," "It's a babysitters club," and many similar things. I could not get funding for it no matter how hard I tried.
Q.What are some ways that you addressed this challenge?
· I took a full time job and began funneling anything I could towards the company
· I hired two college friends to build and design the web site
· I got 20,000 flyers and flyered the city of Boston to get the first 600 sitters
· I talked to any mom that would listen to me
Q.What advice do you have for other women business owners?
Just keep things simple and good enough and get them out there. Don't try for perfect. It's not possible and will just hold you up.