15 Mar The People in Your Neighborhood Ep. 003
Jeremy Lott (00:04):
Welcome to the people in your neighborhood show. Remember that skit on Sesame Street from when you were young, where they would come on screen and they would sing a happy song about the people in the neighborhood, and then they would introduce you to some of the different people. That's what we do here. We introduce you to some of the people. So once again, welcome and enjoy learning about some of the people that work in your neighborhood.
Jeremy Lott (00:53):
Hello, to all our listeners, readers and watchers out there. I'm Jeremy Lott and I am with Foundation Accounting and Consulting. And I'm the host of The People in Your Neighborhood Show today.
Today we're talking a little bit with Evelyn Knight from Childcare Business Professionals, and we're going to talk a little bit today about the unique solution that she has come up for with, for the industry that she's in, that sets her apart from her competition and helps her to be able to really help the industry. So, Evelyn, do you want to introduce yourself?
Evelyn Knight (01:18):
Sure. Again, my name is Evelyn Knight. I am the CEO and founder of Childcare Business Professionals, which is a company that helps childcare owners and directors learn how to run a childcare business, the business side of things. We help them find success while maintaining high quality standards for the children. I am also the host of the Childcare Business Coach Podcast, and I am a childcare center owner, I'm here right now in my childcare center. What really makes me different in my field is that I am a center owner and I have worked every position in a childcare center. Like my childcare center now, most consultants and coaches do not have that owner-experience or they have past center experience, but they don't have that current hands-on experience. And I I've done it all. I've opened a center, I've built one from the ground up. I have taken over an existing center. I've reopened a center that was shut down for licensing purposes and I've even had an in-home childcare center. I have a lot of experience and I've been a director for a corporation. So I have a lot of experience in this industry.
Jeremy Lott (02:30):
Well, that's fantastic. What is the unique solution that you provide for the industry?
Evelyn Knight (02:38):
So what makes me makes me unique is that I am in the field, but what I am very similar to other owners in that I was once in the field and I thought, “Oh, it would be fun to open a childcare center and own my own.” I thought I knew what it would be like after just running programs and working in a program. I thought, you know, how hard can this be? And so, without any business knowledge, I opened my first childcare center. I really quickly realized it's not as easy as you think. And as directors, moms out there who think they know, even other business owners, I've also seen other business owners go into the childcare industry thinking, well, I know business, I can do this, but this industry is unique that you really have to have a good knowledge of business and the childcare industry. Without the two, it's very, very hard to find success. So that's what makes me different. I bring that to the table where I teach you how to run a business and how to be a business owner while running a childcare center. So just bringing those two worlds together in order to find that success in childcare centers.
Jeremy Lott (03:53):
That's fantastic. Yeah. It sounds like a common E-Myth problem that you were facing and a lot of moving gears, a lot of moving parts. You have to figure out it's not just swinging the hammer, as I like to say. So tell us, at some point you had this grand revelation about how to fix things and how to help out the industry. Before that, tell me a little bit about where you were, what was going on, what you were doing?
Evelyn Knight (04:26):
Well, I was actually facing bankruptcy and things got so bad for me and my business that I actually had an eviction notice on my childcare center store, my business, that I was leasing, we were actually facing eviction. And so I basically had 30 days to figure out what are we going to do? I can't lose my business. Everything my family had was put into this business. I had actually sold my first childcare. Well, I closed my first childcare center, moved into the one I'm currently in right now. And so, I was facing losing everything, everything I have, my house. And I just kept thinking, I can't let my family down. I have to do something and not let my family down. So that's when I realized I had to gain knowledge that wasn't in my wheelhouse and I really had to just learn how to be a business owner. So I basically just started to study and look at coaching programs and/or consulting programs in order to learn what to do.
Jeremy Lott (05:31):
Well, what were some of the coaching programs and consulting programs that you looked into?
Evelyn Knight (05:38):
Well, what really made the biggest difference for me was I did find a Profit First Professional and she came in, really went into my business, helped me reconstruct and really just turn things around. That was the big thing for me was just working biggest number one thing that saved my business, the Profit First. And I had to leave my industry to find it, which, you know, at first I was looking within my industry, but they just, they focused so much on the childcare, the systems within like classroom management, but nothing on how do you run a business? How do you manage your money? And I think that's one of the biggest things business owners miss is they don't understand that just organizing your money is so key. And it's such a huge reason. So many businesses fail because we just don't even know how to organize our money.
Jeremy Lott (06:31):
And I didn't even pay you to say any of that.
Evelyn Knight (06:35):
No, because I'm living proof. I wouldn't be in this building right now if I didn't learn how to do all of that.
Jeremy Lott (06:40):
Right. So what was it that you were faced with that made you resolved to find a difference?
Evelyn Knight (06:53):
It was facing bankruptcy and letting my family down. And also I had 18 employees and over a hundred families enrolled in my center and just the thought of were those children going to go that I just knew that they had nowhere else to go. And my staff, it was also during, like when we had a really depressed economy. So this was around 2012. And, so the economy was horrible. My County was facing a 27% unemployment rate at the time. So I just kept thinking, if I shut down my staff, they're not going to find jobs there. There's no jobs out there. And then I was thinking for my family, I'm going to have to find a job. What am I going to do? And now my family put everything into it, including my house, was on the line. So I just knew there were so many families, including my own relying on me that I just felt so much pressure. I just, I could not fail. I had to find a solution.
Jeremy Lott (07:53):
Right. I can appreciate that. A little bit of my story, as I've already told, is dealing with bankruptcy and, and all the feelings and emotions and all of the repercussions that come with that.
Evelyn Knight (08:14):
Yep. And I had filed bankruptcy in the past. So that was my thing too, is facing a second bankruptcy in my lifetime. It just felt like it was huge, you know, just like, Oh my gosh, I'm going to have to do this again. Really? What am I? I know exactly what you mean, the feelings and the years of waiting for that to leave your credit so you can move on with your life. Yeah.
Jeremy Lott (08:35):
So you found this Profit First Professional and started working with her. And what were some of the obstacles that you had to overcome as you started to learn about how to run a business?
Evelyn Knight (08:52):
I think the biggest obstacle to me, if I'm going to be completely honest with myself, is my mindset. It was my mindset. I think going in, so many of us owners think we know what we're doing. We know how to run household finances really well, so we can win and think it's the same thing with a business, but it is so incredibly different. So basically I had to take accountability and really tell myself, like, you really don't know what you're doing in this situation. You know, business finance and household finance are completely different. And I also had to really change my attitude from one of having a victim mentality on like, I have no control over this, it's my industry, it's what's coming at me, it's the market. And I really had to take charge of my mentals in that. No, I can make a difference, but I need to change the way I am doing things. Basically I had to be open to what she was telling me to do.
Jeremy Lott (09:55):
And I've heard a little bit of that story in the past. What are some of the things that you had to do?
Evelyn Knight (10:03):
Well the biggest things I had to do was work on my bookkeeping. When I first met our mutual friend, I brought her, I had a big box of big Amazon box and it had all of that was my bookkeeping—a big, big, just empty cardboard box. And I have like bank statements, receipts, and everything's in it. And I literally was like, here you go. So it was getting set up on QuickBooks, getting my finances, organized, getting like an actual process in place. They had to go back and audit years’ worth. I feel so bad when I think about it now. So it was definitely that bookkeeping aspect. Also just that organizing your money. I mean the Profit First book, if anybody's read it, they know that Mike Michalowicz would suggest the five different bank accounts or however many each company needs.
Evelyn Knight (10:56):
That was just a crazy idea, just setting, the percentages and whatnot, but amazing to me how that money organization it's crazy because we didn't even really change. Like my revenue really didn't change, but just the fact that we went in and just organized my money that way, and also going through the accounts and looking for areas I could cut. My audience knows, I've told this story before, when I first started working with a profit first professional, she sent me a home. My first assignment was go and cut 10%. And I just walked through some and she told me how to do it, but I was just like, there's no way, I'm already running so slim. There is no way I can find 10% to cut, but I did it anyway, but you know what, I'm paying her, I'm going to do what she tells me to do. That was actually my husband's contingency. If you're going to hire this woman, you need to do everything she says to do. So I did. And I came back at a 17% cut. Like, I didn't think I would be able to hit 10% and we came back at 17%. And so that was another huge one is just getting organized. Cutting, moving the dates the bills are due who would have known, moving your due dates would help out. And then just learning about what is cashflow, right. I didn't even know what is cashflow and you know, just learning that I have to really protect my cashflow. Those are a lot of the big things that just shifted for me and changed my business around.
Jeremy Lott (12:32):
Oh, great. So tell us a little bit about that moment. That aha moment when you realized, “Hey, I get this stuff and other people need it.”
Evelyn Knight (12:44):
Well, so what ended up happening for me is that I took what I was learning from Profit First and applied it to my entire business. I changed my hiring model. I changed how I deal with employees. I changed everything. I created processes and systems for everything. You know, how Profit First has a system for finance. I applied that to every aspect of my business. So what happened was my state ended up noticing that my business completely changed. It even went from a two-star quality center through our state rating up to, we actually scored high enough to be a five star center. So, yeah, so they saw, and that was only within an 18 month period. They saw this huge transition in my business. So I started getting contracted by different counties and childcare centers. The state was starting to call me to be on different boards and, it really got the attention on that shift the whole business made. And so I suddenly had all these people saying, “Hey, we'll pay you this to come in and fix this.” And, and I had all these people soliciting me and asking, being willing to pay me to go and fix their childcare centers. And I've even had government agencies pay me to go and fix childcare centers. So that's when I thought maybe I should start packaging this and selling it. And I can save a lot of owners, the pain that I went through, and I just realized I've got something very valuable here. I can save a lot of people, the pain and suffering, I went through the financial hardships, so I might as well start a consulting business.
Jeremy Lott (14:34):
That's great. So what are some of the things that you did to plan and implement your new solution?
Evelyn Knight (14:41):
Well, I hired a coach. Having a consultant and having a business coach after my experience and how it transformed my business, I don't think I will ever not have a business coach. I will always have a consultant that I'm working with. It is well worth the money. And now I realized that at the time, I didn't think I could afford her. Like when I first started this journey, and now I realize I can't afford not to, it has to be in your budget. Now is my business successful. Yes. I own two successful companies. I'm doing very well. I have a successful podcast, but there's always somebody doing better than me out there. And I want to get to that level. So what I do now is I just find that consultant who can take me to the next level, so you won't always be with the same one. You are going to graduate from one program and get to the next and the next, but you always have to keep ‘one-upping’ your game. And the only way you're going to really achieve that next level of success is to work with the people who have the tools you need.
Jeremy Lott (15:48):
Gotcha. So how did you start implementing your solution then?
Evelyn Knight (15:55):
So I started working with a company who has a business model that I want to emulate, basically. And she just basically teaches how to duplicate her model. So now I just go in and we do it. It's kind of exactly what I do for childcare centers. I've basically created a system where they can duplicate my model. So I went and found a business that I could duplicate their model. And that's basically what she does. She teaches us how, so that's pretty much all the things, my podcasts, my weekly shows I put in place is all where it came from. And, I guess my number one thing is I wanted to come from a place of service first, where I gave back to my community first, and then whatever residual I get from it is great. But that's pretty much how I really started to create my businesses. I found an expert who knew what they were doing and let them lead me on how to do it.
Jeremy Lott (16:51):
Gotcha. That's great. What are some of the steps that you go through with your clients?
Evelyn Knight (16:57):
The first thing I do is start everybody on time management, because I think you know, you're a consultant. You probably hear the same thing. Everybody always says, “I don't have the time.” So the first thing we do is, well, let me teach you how to have the time, because in reality, we do all have time. We just don't know how to manage it. I show them I'm willing to teach you how to make time to do what you need to do. The next thing we really work on is vision. I really have my clients work on, like, you've got to know where you're going. Your vision is like your destination. And, I give the example that when you go on a road trip, you always know where you're going. You have a destination in mind, so you plan your trip based on that ultimate long-term goal. So we work on goals so that we know where are we going with this, right. And it helps with passion too. And then we really dive deep into your systems and processes. And we come up with policies and procedures for everything. I always explain to owners, you think you have policies and procedures, but you don't, you haven't seen an employee handbook with all the little boxes checked, but you do not have real policies and procedures. And so we kind of dismantled their business model and just create duplicatable systems that are just really easy for somebody else to come in and just see like, oh, this is the procedure for this and a procedure for that. And so we just go from there.
Jeremy Lott (18:27):
That's great. Love that process makes it easy to duplicate, like you said, yes.
Evelyn Knight (18:34):
Yep. Got to make yourself duplicatable.
Jeremy Lott (18:36):
Right. So what are some of the results you've seen from implementing your strategy for yourself?
Evelyn Knight (18:46):
For me? Well, I'm not married to my childcare center anymore. I mean, I used to work 60 to 70 hours a week and I was going bankrupt. So now I turn a pretty healthy profit. I'm able to pay my staff a lot more than I used to. I can give back a lot more to them. The quality that my childcare center puts out there, again, it went from a two to a five-star quality. And also I don't have to work so much. I mean, honestly, I'm here now as an owner, I'm only here five to 10 hours a week. When you get those duplicatable systems, you can basically train people to become used. You don't have to do it then that's why I can have two businesses. Right. And it's funny because I'm actually planning with a friend, a third business that we'll be launching in the next two years. But I'm only able to do that because I create these duplicatable system. I can duplicate myself once they're created. And so yeah, it frees up your time and it makes money. There you go.
Jeremy Lott (19:51):
Which is ultimately the whole reason...
Evelyn Knight (19:53):
Yes, we go into business. Right.
Jeremy Lott (19:57):
Well, what results have you seen from implementing your strategy for others?
Evelyn Knight (20:02):
The same kind of thing, especially during the pandemic, what I saw was a lot of childcare centers were facing bankruptcy and the pandemic really created my industry is in huge trouble right now. So I was really able to go in and help a lot of owners gain their life back and keep their centers from closing. Literally. I mean, that's basically it, just saving their business is really what I've seen. And the stress level, so much anxiety out there. My clients usually end up saving their companies, loving it again. I see a lot of burnout. So they go from having this passion for childcare to just wanting out because it is a tough industry. So I help them regain their passion. I've seen them avoid bankruptcy and become profitable and just really alleviate that stress on their plate and be able to not work 60 to 70 hour weeks,
Jeremy Lott (21:00):
Which is a fantastic thing for business owner. Well, what has changed most about your business through this whole process?
Evelyn Knight (21:11):
Probably the quality and what we put out into the world. So my personal mission and vision in life is to make sure that all children have the opportunity to be in a high quality childcare setting regardless of their socio-economic status. That is my life's mission. And so that's something I've been able to accomplish here. You would never know, but like at my center I'm still profitable and I'm still successful with over 30% of our children normally couldn't afford to be here. And then I also help other owners now through my consulting company, I help other owners do the same thing. So I'm spreading that vision now throughout the--I'm actually international now too, I have an international customer base—so I can actually say I'm spreading that vision through the world because, you know, just helping other owners find a way to remain profitable, but give all children the opportunity to get that high quality childcare.
Jeremy Lott (22:13):
Gotcha. Okay. So what has changed most about you personally through this process?
Evelyn Knight (22:20):
My mindset, for sure, absolutely. Positively my mindset. If you talked to somebody who knew me 10 years ago to the person I am today, I am a totally different person now. Again, I was stuck in that life happens to me mentality, and I've definitely pivoted and changed to know I can control what is happening in my life. And, you know, we can't always control situations. We can't always be in control, but we can take command of things that happen to us, but it doesn't mean that we have to just sit back and let it take its course. We can take command of situations. And before I would just kind of sit back and just like, it's just going to happen. You know, I can't avoid it. All these bad things happen to me. But now I just came to realize life is 50/50, 50% good, 50% bad. It's going to happen to us all. Instead of focusing on that 50% bad, we have to focus on the good. And we also have to take that 50% bad and kind of engineer the outcomes. And I think that's where my mind shift has absolutely changed the most. I used to focus on that negative and I used to think that I had no way of taking command of situations. And now you can find, you can manipulate those negative situations sometimes and turn them into something good instead of just letting it happen to you all the time.
Jeremy Lott (23:43):
Right. That's fantastic. What a great story. It's been so great to hear a little bit about how you've come from facing bankruptcy to all the way to having two successful businesses. And I love hearing about how you've implemented your different strategies for other people in you're helping them to be able to find all kinds of success and peace and freedom in their lives. We'll have you introduce yourself one more time and then sign off.
Evelyn Knight (24:19):
Okay. Again, my name is Evelyn Knight. I am the childcare business coach. You can find my podcast on all the popular platforms. I'm even on Alexa. So excited about that. And I'm the CEO and founder of Childcare Business Professionals. You can find that at www.childcarebusinessprofessionals.com and you can email me at Evelyn@childcarebusinessesprofessionals.com.