I’d like to thank the pre-teen series of books called The Babysitters Club for helping me become the entrepreneur I am today.
For those of you not a female approximately my age, let me give you a quick rundown on the books. Basically five young friends start a business babysitting the kids in their local area. They market, they service clients, they come up with initiatives, they manage junior staff later on down the track. Basically they run the whole gamut of being an entrepreneur and all before they turn 15.
It may not sound too riveting, but as I discovered in a catch-up with girlfriends the other day (where every one of us was obsessed with the books) this colourful collection of pre-teen tomes was like heroin to us 20 plus years ago.
While our adult selves might more closely relate (or at least wish we did) to a Carrie or a Charlotte (ala Sex and the City), our pre-teen selves all had a corresponding character in the Babysitters Club. For those of you familiar with the books you won’t find it surprising that everyone immediately pegged me as a “Kristy”. She’s the creator, the president, the loud and bossy one. Hmm, ok, it’s a fairly close approximation.
But Kristy taught me just as much as some of my favourite business biographies have. She taught me the challenges in managing a team, how to systemise, the importance of structure and order. And what’s more, she opened my mind to the fact that running a business was possible at a young age.
Now Kristy and her gaggle of friends might be nothing more than words on a paper, but they helped spark something in me: Something aspirational and something that inspired action in me.
It makes me so thankful as a mum that my girls (3 years and 8 months) already both love to read. Who knows, they might read The Babysitters Club when they’re older and be inspired by Claudia to be an artist instead of following my route! I don’t mind – inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places if you’re open to it.
Kirsty Dunphey is the founder and director of Elephant Property. She is also an author, avid blogger and property investor.