Wednesday, August 22, 2007

MommyMixer - How To Make Money Matching Moms And Babysitters

MommyMixer is a networking event that brings together selected university students and parents who need babysitters. A cost effective alternative to childcare agencies, the events allow parents to interview a number of candidates in an informal setting. Parents pay a USD 100 entrance fee, or USD 75 if they've attended a previous mixer. On arrival, they're handed a 'nanny notebook' containing resumes of all potential hires attending the event, including references and their schedules for the upcoming academic term. After brief introductions, parents and babysitters are encouraged to mingle and get to know each other. Attendance is limited to twenty to thirty moms and/or dads and the same number of candidates.

Students don't pay a fee, and MommyMixer doesn't take a cut of their pay—parents and sitters negotiate hourly rates. The main advantages for students is access to a group of potential employers in one go, instead of time-consuming and potentially unsafe interviews with individual families. Besides babysitting, many students work as 'family assistants'—running errands, driving kids to after-school programs, planning birthday parties, etc.

MommyMixers was founded in 2003 by a University of Texas graduate who nannied her way through college. She was regularly approached by parents looking for educated and reliable sitters, so knew there was a demand for a service that could bring sitters and parents together outside traditional placement agencies. The company got started in Austin, Texas, where 42 mixers have been held so far, and MommyMixer has recently expanded to 18 cities in the US, with plans for continued growth. Mixers in each city are organized by a team of two women: a city manager who organizes and hosts events and corresponds with sitters and parents; and a campus representative who creates awareness and recruits sitters.

Both personal and efficient, face-to-face networking events like MommyMixer are a smart concept to set up elsewhere, either focusing on babysitters or other (casual) employment niches.

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