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CareFinder Sixth Anniversary: Chat with the CEO
CareFinder Founder and CEO Megumi began the company while she was working at a large Japanese organization and pregnant. She realized that working and busy parents in Japan did not have the resources to find quality, affordable childcare. That was six years ago and now CareFinder is the largest bilingual babysitter matching site in the country.
Megumi answered a few questions to tell us more about the process of starting and running her company over the course of six years.
When you first started CareFinder, what was your long-term plan/dream?
When I first started CareFinder, I wanted to help working parents build strong relationships with caregivers they can trust. CareFinder aimed to support more women in the workplace, so that they could contribute to Japanese economic growth and at the same time have a good impact on their children.
Did you envision your company would look like it does today?
I didn’t expect when I started CareFinder to find that so many non-Japanese families and Japanese families would be looking for foreign language speaking sitters.
Being an entrepreneur, especially while also raising small children, is inherently a difficult task. In the six years since beginning CareFinder, what has been the most unexpected struggle?
As I became an entrepreneur and new mom at the same time, everything became an unexpected struggle! I didn’t expect balancing work and raising children would be so challenging. Also there are so many other things you need to do being an entrepreneur such as setting up a company, finance, accounting, sales, marketing and HR tasks.
How did you deal with it?
I attended many seminars to gain more skill sets for managing a company. Also I attended many networking events to meet other entrepreneurs to get their advice. Of course, I was also helped by many trustworthy babysitters so I was able to find time to build CareFinder.
What was the most surprising victory or high point?
I didn’t expect to help foster such deep relationships between sitters and families. Every time I hear a story about babysitters becoming almost like family members and having a positive impact on children’s lives, I feel that CareFinder is successful in its mission.
Also, CareFinder has been able to create intercultural experiences for people. Many foreign babysitters can interact with Japanese culture in ways they couldn’t before. Japanese children bond with sitters from parts of the world they wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to. CareFinder has been able to help broaden people’s perspectives of the world we live in. This is a high point for CareFinder.
What do you think sets CareFinder apart from traditional agencies, or some of the similar companies that have popped up since you started six years ago?
CareFinder is very unique and diverse international community where families can meet qualified babysitters with different backgrounds and skill sets. Because the CareFinder team puts lots of effort into creating this community, we are very proud of it. Our community distinguishes CareFinder from other services.
CareFinder babysitters aren’t just there to look after children to make money in their free time. They actually want to bond with children. CareFinder creates unexpected connection between people. The relationship is an enriching experience for everyone, not just a transactional one.
What is your favorite part about going to work every day?
I love working with my team. They love CareFinder, are all caring people and working very hard supporting families and eager babysitters in finding their match and maintaining good relationships. We work together to solve issues and enjoy successes as a group.
What is your least favorite?
Sometimes I am too focused on my work. Being an entrepreneur, I am in charge of my work hours, so I can end up working non-stop on many occasions. Balancing work and life is still difficult. I would like to enjoy quality time with my family more.
Any newsworthy updates about CareFinder to share?
We are currently working on improving our job agreement system and implementing an internal payment system through our platform. We believe these updates will help busy parents use our service easier. We are continually finding ways to enhance our platform and I am looking forward to releasing the latest updates soon.
Where do you see CareFinder in the next six years?
CareFinder will be the go-to place to find qualified care.
My aim is to have many families that will experience cultural exchange through CareFinder, helping to improve children’s soft skill set to communicate with people from different backgrounds and culture. I believe this kind of skill set is very useful for in the globalized world the children will live in.
We plan on expanding the business beyond Japan as well!