The Joy of Babies: QuickSit Founder Joy Kendle Wants to Connect Families and Babysitters
Imagine you are a parent in need of a babysitter for the weekend, or if you’re a college student who babysits part-time and wants to know where to look for work. Joy Kendle’s QuickSit app is the platform for either party: an app that allows parents who need a babysitter to connect with ones in the area looking for work. Her business plan – to develop a method for connecting parents with sitters – was born from a life of loving and caring for babies and children.
QuickSit is an example of a practical business solution based on the connection of passion, experience, and action. Read on to discover someone who expected a standard career path but who ended up founding her own company and doing what she loves.
Joy’s Lifelong Passion
Joy has had a lifelong passion for babies.
Her mom noticed it when she was young: Joy would dig into all her mom’s baby supplies, like diaper bags, trying to pull things out. At age 12, she was already babysitting.
In college, Joy did a lot of babysitting. She had a big network and everyone wanted her help. Nonetheless, she found babysitting to be a job that could balance well with school. Discovering, though, that there was a great need for babysitting, and that it was a great part-time job for college students, Joy knew there was a need to connect the two.
This realization led to the next step in Joy’s career. For any individual it is a great blessing and dream come true to take such a lifelong passion and turn it into a career – and that’s exactly what Joy did.
“I've always loved kids. After I graduated from TCU I didn't think that I would nanny by any means. But after I had a corporate job that I did not enjoy I just started babysitting to make some money and [be] a place saver as I figured things out and then I ended up doing it longer than expected.
“And so finally, I was like, ‘Okay, if I'm knowledgeable in this area and I'm passionate about this area and have, you know, years of experience working with these families, what can I do to kind of combine all of those things?’ If you had told me that I was going to start a business or be nannying after college, I would have laughed because that's not something, either of those things, that I thought I was going to do.”
While Joy did not expect to be running a babysitting business after college, it yet was reasonable because of her love and interest, since childhood, of babies and baby-care. It started with that initial kernel of an idea:
“I wanted something that would help families find sitters and I wanted something that could help college students find part time jobs[.]”
From this a business and network of support would grow.
Joy Kendle’s experiences have given her a keen understanding of the two stakeholders she was going to serve with QuickSit: the parents and the sitters.
“I have a lot of experience babysitting then I have the experience babysitting while I was a college student. And then when I was nannying I spent basically every day in somebody else's house, with the parents, with the kids, with the grandparents. So I think the last four years, specifically, have helped me understand the dynamics between the families and the sitters and what each side needs and what they want. Because it is an important relationship with the family who's bringing a sitter in and the sitter who's taking care of the kids.”
Joy majored in Communication Studies, with a double minor in Sociology and Psychology of Leadership. This field of education further bolstered her understanding of people.
“I feel like I understand people more and that's obviously been beneficial as I work in households and learn to manage a team of people as I work to build the business.”
Knowing more about the people you serve and understanding how to work with them and provide them value can be a lifechanging inspiration. For Joy, the people she connects with through QuickSit are more than “random users.” They become consistent contacts she can reach out to.
“You know, I have contacts in my phone of the sitters and some of the families where they know that they can reach out to me if there's a problem or if there's an issue. … I don't think of them as like nameless people like I know a handful. I know almost all the sitters’ names. And so I do care about them. And I do want to continue to help them.”
“I would say I think the greatest motivation would be the people that I’ve been serving … I’ve gotten to know families that we’ve been serving through the app … I've gotten to know a handful of the girls that are on the QuickSit app and I even reached out to them during the pandemic. I think the end of March or beginning of April I texted each one of them and just said like, ‘Hey, you know, how are you, this is what's going on with the app, you know, just checking in on everybody.’
“So I think just remembering that I'm meeting people's needs, whether that's the parents who need help with the kids or needs somebody to pick them up from school, or it's the sitter, who is struggling to pay for their books for school and needs extra money to put towards that.”
Developing QuickSit wasn’t just a business venture. It was an opportunity to connect with several new people with whom lasting relationships were formed. This kind of creator-user connection can be a source of inspiration and motivation for small entrepreneurs.
Building a Team
It was also an opportunity to build a team. It’s very different to approach someone with your idea, not as a customer, but as someone you want to recruit. According to Joy, it’s a process with “some highs and some lows.”
One of the customers she was working for had founded a business and knew that Joy was working on a business plan. When Joy was babysitting for the family one time he asked to take a look at it. His ensuing support was the turning point for Joy.
“So from there I was researching mobile development companies. I just started Googling DFW ones and found one in the Plano area. And again, the people that I spoke with were parents and so they understood from that perspective as well [that] this is always going to be a need and you can definitely do something with it … I think moms for sure get it and are supportive of it.”
She started building her team, which was “a slow process.” The developers she connected with were only assisting with the mobile app, so Joy didn’t have anyone technical on her team.
“[O]ne of the mistakes that I made was not bringing on somebody in the technical role on my side, you know, the developers were technical, but they weren't on my team. They were just assisting with the mobile app.”
But onward she went.
“And so then, from there, I brought on somebody to help with social media. And they were passionate about it. I actually picked up an intern at TCU who wanted to help spread the word on campus and I also had a UI/UX designer who … is actually helping redesign the app right now … [O]verall building out the team has been a slow process. I thought it would be a little bit faster. But I would say that everybody has had positive things to say about the idea about where it could go in the next couple of years, and everybody's been pretty supportive of it.”
Teambuilding wasn’t the only area Joy initially encountered obstacles in. She didn’t know many other business owners in Fort Worth before she started work on the QuickSit app. Thus, she had to begin intentional networking.
“For me, specifically, I wanted to find people who had made mobile apps or launched mobile apps, because it was a new space to me and I knew that that was something I could connect with others on. So over the course of probably the last two years I've met multiple other entrepreneurs who have mobile apps that have been helpful, just because they understand the challenges and the frustration sometimes with it. You can vent to them and they know exactly what you're talking about.”
She also isn’t afraid to ask for help.
“I'm definitely not afraid to pick up the phone or send an email … one of the things I do the most is asking, ‘Can I get your perspective on this?’ Whether it's an older mentor or it's one of my other business friends in the same space or not, I always am wanting to get a second opinion … I think sometimes it's hard to see everything when you're right in the middle of it.”
This is why connecting with business owners who are not in her same space has been fruitful for Joy. Their fresh, different perspective can support the business-side of QuickSit and teach Joy new things she hadn’t thought of before.
Feedback: The Two-Way Dialogue Between Creator and User
The feedback users provide has allowed Joy to create conversation with them and consider her app in new lights.
Technology and software companies communicate with their users with setups like beta-testing or simple functions like feedback forms. As in the games industry with online experiences or with platforms like Windows, new and continued iterations come out with updates based on the user feedback.
In one section of the QuickSit app, users can type in feedback that goes straight to Joy. The most helpful came when she first launched. Joy has been surprised by how often sitters and families use the feedback function. Sometimes the complaint can be as minor as a button not working, but other times the feedback isn’t even a complaint at all.
“…I've also gotten feedback from sitters of, you know, kind of what I mentioned earlier of ‘thank you for creating this because I'm new here, and I don't know any families, and this has, you know, created an opportunity for me to get to know other families in the community.’ And [it helps them] get to know the area better because now they have to drive to those houses and they get to kind of explore Fort Worth and the surrounding areas more.”
Joy is currently working on a redesign of the app that “hopefully will roll out in the next year,” though the pandemic has altered the timeline. The feedback she has been getting for the redesign created a two-way dialogue between herself and the userbase.
“We would show them [the users] some of the screen views of what the redesign would look like. And they would say, ‘Well, what would happen if this was here? What would y'all do if I wanted this?’ And I'm like, oh, now you're asking me questions, I was trying to ask you questions about the redesign!
“It's definitely a two-way dialogue. A lot more than I thought … which I love because, you know, again, it's different perspectives. They can see things that we can't see because we're right in the middle of it and they're … playing a different role in the business. They are the user. I'm technically not the user. I'm the owner and so it's hard sometimes to take off my owner hat and put on my user hat.”
Once again the importance of another perspective has helped Joy design the app so that it meets families’ and sitters’ needs. Continual feedback from external sources has proven vital.
Knowing There Will be Challenges
The greatest inspiration for Joy has been the challenges she has overcome. The first greatest one was putting together all the pieces she needed to make her business work, whether it was finding an accountant or a company to conduct backgrounds checks. To reach out, she had to overcome timidity.
“[A]t the beginning, when I started putting the pieces together between 2016 and 2017, before it went into development in 2018, I didn't even like to make phone calls, like, to people that I didn't know, and as I'm going about this. I'm like, ‘Oh, okay, I need to get business insurance. Well, I'm gonna have to talk to somebody.’ So I'm going to need to get over not enjoying talking to a stranger and feeling just kind of small and timid of being like, ‘Oh, I'm, I'm trying to start a business, and I don't really know what I'm doing.’
“To the point where now I'm like ‘This is my business and I worked so hard to build this.’ So it's interesting to look back to see that that I was able to connect all of those pieces [.]”
This confidence has come from surmounting challenges. Doing so has fundamentally changed Joy’s perspective:
“And I've also gotten used to knowing that there's going to be challenges … I used to start out the day and be like, ‘I hope nothing goes wrong today, I hope everything goes right.’ And now I'm like ‘Okay, something's going to go wrong today and it's going to be okay. And I'm going to figure it out because I do this every day by putting out fires’.
“I feel more confident because I know that I've worked hard to create something … And now I can say I made it through a pandemic in my first year of business. So, I mean, I can go through anything now. I'll be good.”
For more on Joy’s experiences with the pandemic – during her first year of business – give the podcast at the top of the story a listen!
Joy directed a lifelong passion towards a practical idea. She discovered a network, built a team, reached out for help, persevered through challenges – even a pandemic – and has become a successful entrepreneur.
Her story illustrates that the essential ingredient business success needs is a spark of passion. A love for babies and a young start in babysitting is the heart of QuickSit. Whatever venture you undertake, if it has a heart, and you have a will, it will go somewhere.
Note: The quotations may have been edited for grammatical purposes and to remove chit-chat phrases ("you know", etc.) or repeated words ("and, and", etc.). The audio in the podcast may have also been edited to remove chit-chat phrases, repeated words or long periods of silence.