Who would have thought that in today’s social media driven world, life changing resources could be found while routinely scrolling through your Facebook feed? For Joy Clore Willis, owner of A Kids Gym Learning Gymnastics Academy in Florida, her child care business transformation began when an ad appeared in her Facebook newsfeed for Kris Murray’s free book The 77 Best Strategies to Grow Your Early Childhood Program. After reading the book, Joy felt inspired and was hungry for more so she quickly signed up for Live Enrollment Bootcamp Challenge (going on now) and later joined the Child Care Success Academy after having a revitalizing strategy session with Coach Brian Duprey.
We asked Joy to share her story of transformation and business growth since working with the Child Care Success Academy so other child care owners across the world can be inspired by her results.
Before I joined the Child Care Success Academy, I was lost in my business. Now magically, I’m found. I told Kris that joining was like magic and I was meant to be in the Academy.
I have been in the business 20 years. I originally started a ‘Mom and Me’ motor development gym, but I quickly realized that our program and early childhood preschool would be a winning combination. I would be able to reach a much broader range of students and for longer amounts of time. I am a little different than many center owners in the fact that my background is in dance and P.E. I found my passion for teaching at a summer dance and baton camp right out of high school. I realized I really enjoyed teaching, and opening a center also meant that I would be able to take my own children with me to work. It took some time, but I found a 3,000 square-foot building and opened my Mom and Me gym.
We quickly started growing, we moved a few times and doubled our size twice. We are now a 3500 square-foot gym and 7000 square-foot school. Then last January 2018, I was just at a loss, I was exhausted, we were expanding doubling in size (but there is still just one of me, right?) which meant I doubled my work load AND had to cover all new expenses. I was overwhelmed and exhausted! I felt like I was literally falling apart. Sometimes the stress would overtake me. I would drive to the center and pull up to the backyard. I didn’t want to go in. I would sit my car and just cry for hours.
At that point fate stepped in. I was scrolling one day and saw an ad on Facebook for a FREE BOOK The 77 Best Strategies to Grow Your Early Childhood Program. I signed up for the book. Then googled Kris Murray and I listened to every podcast and read everything that I could possibly read within a week. Kris was starting the February Enrollment Boot Camp, so I quickly signed up for that. Then I had a free strategy call with Brian Duprey and he just knew me like no one else. It was like he was the only person that completely understood who I was, what I needed, what I was going through – and I signed up to join the Child Care Success Academy right then.
Right away, I was given a direction. I felt connected and knew I wasn’t going to quit. I now had support to help me know what to do next. Kris was able to lift me up right at the time I absolutely needed to be lifted. She helped me understand why the things that I was doing prior weren’t working anymore.
I got busy implementing all I was learning. I was trying to build our culture, I was trying to get the phone to ring, I was trying to hire, I was trying to keep the place clean, and pay the bills. I did as much as I could. Then, I went to the Denver mastermind meeting where I learned even more and piled more onto my plate than I knew what to do with. I was trying everything, but still felt overwhelmed. I hit my breaking point.
I didn’t know what I was going to do. Thank goodness for amazing coaches! Jennifer Conner calmed me down and said, “Ok, you need to do this, this, and this.” I had a plan and I started to implement it. I had to get creative with my finances because I was losing money, but I still came to the Summit in Dallas. While there, we added some partner services to take some of the burden off my plate: So Tell Us, Childcare CRM, and Grow your Center for Facebook.
When I got back, we gathered reviews and we did community events that had some really good turnouts. I even had a serious, heart-to-heart meeting with my Frontline team to get them on board with the plan. I told them “look this is it it’s Do or Die, we are at the end.” I have an amazing team. We have gained 19 new students (9 FTE) since November, with 3 more tours while I was in Clearwater (we need 16 total FTE by March)
I am still nowhere near the growth and development that I need to be, because I can only go so fast. However, I see it now, I have the capability to reach my goals. It’s getting easier, and everyday I am getting closer to having more personal time freedom. The systems and processes I am setting up now will allow me to “let go” while my business runs the way I want it to – even in my absence. I never dreamed that was possible before.
So, thank you Kris Murray, Brian Duprey, Sindye Alexander, Jennifer Conner and all of the CCSC team for being the hope, the reassurance and mostly being there so I can realize and re-connect with my reason: the joy of seeing children be happy.