This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can find my full disclosure page here.
It’s time for a bit of honesty about my past. I used to LOVE The Babysitter’s Club books by Ann M. Martin. Or as they’re commonly known, the BSC books! Do you know which series I’m talking about?
Kristy, Claudia, and the rest of the gang. I think I read all of the books, devouring them as quickly as I could.
They were simple to read. I could grab one and open it up anywhere and figure out what was going on. Hours of mindless reading folks.
I got rid of my collection a few years back, and haven’t opened one of those books since.
But as I was browsing Amazon recently for books for my kids,I saw that a new BSC book was released a couple years back, a prequel. It’s called The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before.
Seeing this got my mind wandering. It brought back all of those BSC books I read over the years. And as I was thinking, I realized I learned a lot about being an entrepreneur in all those pages.
This group of young girls ran a legit business. And they thrived – needing to hire new girls to help them as their business grew.
So here are the five lessons about running a business I learned from the Babysitter’s Club.
1. You Must Invest in Your Business
The babysitters all paid dues on a regular basis. Even though they complained at times, everyone in the club knew it was important.
They used that money to buy new items for the club, and to take care of advertising expenses. They also used it to purchase snacks for meetings, you know, the essentials!
By having this money on hand to cover expenses, the girls didn’t have to worry about not having what they needed. They were able to take opportunities as they came, instead of having to wait for the finances to come in.
All entrepreneurs should heed this advice. If you don’t put money back into your business, it isn’t going to grow. Investing back in yourself is important.
What you purchase will probably be different than what the babysitters bought. Perhaps you decide to invest in a new course to help you grow your blog traffic. Or a course on freelance writing so you can offer a new service.
Do you need to hire a Virtual Assistant (like me?) to take some tasks off your plate?
Or invest in a blog makeover to make your site more professional.
No matter what you spend your money on, you have to invest some money back in your business or it won’t grow!
2. You Must Think Outside the Box
When the competition came to town in the form of other babysitters, the BSC didn’t give up on despair. Instead, they got creative.
Hello Kid Kits!
Those special little boxes full of toys the kids all wanted to play with helped set the sitters from the Babysitter’s Club apart. They showed they truly cared about the kids and wanted them to have fun while their parents were gone.
Likewise, freelancing and blogging are both busy fields. The marketplace is crowded. And you’ll always have competitors.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying. It doesn’t mean you should close up shop and decide it’s too hard.
It just means you need to be you.
What creative posts or solutions can you bring to the table? Can you create a course? Can you offer a different spin on a service? Do you come up with amazing blog post topics that no one else it thinking about?
What makes you special?
Think outside the box because there’s something you have that no competitors do: you!
3. Word of Mouth Is Essential!
The BSC did a little advertising with flyers in the first few books, but they got most of their business from word of mouth.
Parents who were happy with their service told other parents. Those parents called to utilize their services.
That meant they always had to do their best.
As an entrepreneur, you need to do your best too. Recommendations from others go a long way towards landing future gigs.
So build yourself a community of people who love what you do!
Meet your deadlines. Turn in quality work. Give your audience what you need, and always over-deliver.
You never know when you’ll be recommended for a gig because of something you’ve done in the past. Connections matter. In fact, they may be one of the most important things when it comes to being an entrepreneur.
If you read the Babysitter’s Club Books, you might remember those large Super Special editions.
The premise behind many of these was that the girls had said YES to different situations.
A couple of sitters went with the large Pike family on vacation to the shore. They went on a cruise. They took on gigs that were outside of their normal realm and had a blast.
None of these books depicted business as normal. Instead, they explored the new in some way.
The same is true as a freelancing entrepreneur.
You need to explore the options a little bit.
Don’t get so settled in a single niche that you never take a break to explore something different.
Your next passion may be lying out there somewhere waiting to be discovered with a yes.
It may be different than you’re used to. But different doesn’t necessarily mean bad.
I’m not saying to say yes to everything! But evaluate the situation as it arises–what benefit will you receive?
When I first launched my writing business, I had no idea that I’d eventually add Virtual Assistant services to the mix. Or that I’d shift gears a bit and really fall in love with growing my own blog.
But, I kept my mind open to possibilities, and moved on decisions I thought would work. I’m so thankful I didn’t just stick to freelance writing, because I would have missed out on many different opportunities. I never would have met so many of my amazing readers. Or learned to see the value in what I provide.
5. Have Fun!
I loved how often the girls got together for a sleepover. Often, they just hung out together to chill and relax.
They didn’t let themselves get so burned out that they forgot to take time to build relationships, recharge, and have fun.
That’s essential for entrepreneurs.
It’s easy to throw yourself into work and forget about boundaries. But, your family and friends want some of you too.
Don’t give everything to your business at the expense of what’s most important. You really need to take time for you, and have fun. One of the biggest perks of being your own boss is loving your business.
If you’re no longer in love with it, it’s time to brainstorm ways to change. What can you do to tweak your current business plan and make it better for you?
Can you add a new service or launch a blog?
Should you ditch some crazy clients and find better ones?
What do you need to do to get some more fun in your life?
Did You Read the BSC Books?
Alright, it’s time for you to share. Did you read the BSC books as often as I did?
Have you ever heard of them? Did you hate them? Tell me your thoughts below.
This post originally published in 2015. It’s been updated and refreshed!
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.