“I’m very dedicated and not afraid to fail”
Meet Josi! Recently she shared with us some of her inspiring experiences on her journey to building a successful business. Check it out!
Who are you?
I’m Josi van Ogtrop-Sambou from Amsterdam. My dad is from Gambia and my mom from the Netherlands, so that makes me a mix. I moved to Barcelona in 2015. As a background, I’m a social worker and I have a Bachelor’s degree in social work. I’m very passionate about caring, basically! When I came here I wanted to be a nanny at first, since I had done that a lot before. But when I arrived here I had the ambition to start an agency instead!
That’s a bit of who I am. I’m a Dutch social worker and entrepreneur!
Describe yourself with 3 words:
Sociable, dedicated and caring
What do you do?
I’m the CEO and founder of The Nanny Line. We have a team of interns and business partners who are actively involved in customer relations and business development. I manage all of them and I make sure we’re going in the right direction. My focus is on growth, strategy and expansion. I also keep a close eye on the quality of our service. I’m basically on top of it all!
About my business more specifically, The Nanny Line is an international nanny service here in Barcelona, Madrid and Ibiza. We work together with nannies at homes, hotels and events.
All the nannies are personally screened online and we then are in contact with the parents online. If they want to meet us in person it’s no problem either, but the parents we work with are very hard-working and often busy. That’s why they usually prefer to do all of the procedures online. We arrange all their childcare needs so they don’t have to worry about it.
The nannies are multilingual – they speak over 26 languages! What differentiates us from the rest is that we are modern-thinking. We want to unburden parents as much as possible, and most importantly – we appreciate our nannies a lot!
We support, educate and train them. This means that they are paid a better hourly rate than other nannies. They are educated, experienced and enthusiastic about their work, and because we find this so extremely important, we also want to appreciate them equally as much! Happy nannies means happy families, as I always say. That’s why we’re higher priced than our competitors. The families we work with appreciate the nannies and what they’re doing. In the end, they are taking care of the most precious thing in their worlds.
What do you aspire to do?
I always dream big! I’m very ambitious because of the Dutch and Gambian flavours in me. The tribe I’m from in Gambia, they are known for doing good business and for celebrating life at its fullest.
When it comes to my aspirations for the business, we’re aiming to provide our service worldwide. We want to expand slowly, but surely.
We’re now in three cities in Spain. We are developing an app to make the service more efficient and fast for parents who need it the most; and also for the hotels it can be very user friendly.
We’re very excited about that! With this app it will be possible to expand faster throughout Spain first, and then across Europe – in Italy, Germany, the UK and France. Ideally, we want to be able to expand to the US, Asia, Singapore and the Middle East. I would love to have well-appreciated and educated nannies all over the world!
What have your struggles as an entrepreneur been so far?
I’m very dedicated and not afraid to fail. However, sometimes I could have said ‘no’ to some opportunities and keep my focus on what I want from this service. You can easily get distracted, you start with a specific mission and then life throws you all these other amazing opportunities. My mission is to support expat parents in Barcelona, Madrid and Ibiza whose children have had to say goodbye to everything they’ve ever known. And come to a new country where they don’t speak the language or know anyone. So, my initial thought was to support and help these families with nannies that speak their language and know their culture.
But then, you start networking and having all of these crazy new ideas. I think the struggle is keeping your focus, to sometimes keep your enthusiasm a bit more grounded. What happened to me was that after two years of very intense enthusiasm, the third year was tough. My batteries were down and I had to pick myself up again. It is not easy, running a startup. There are a lot of uncertainties and challenges. You need a lot of dedication and energy to keep the train going. But I can’t be happier with what we’re doing and what we have accomplished at The Nanny Line! Wouldn’t trade this experience and adventure for the world.
How have you been coping in the pandemic?
The first few weeks were full of mixed feelings. You’re in shock and fear for your family’s health and for your own; and then comes the fear for your business. Our biggest clients are hotels, but they are closed until further notice. And the tourists are all at their homes.
So we started with online tutoring services for children. There are classes in many different topics – dance, gymnastics, math, language, general homework, arts and crafts, etc. We offer this in 5 different languages – English, Spanish, French, Italian and Russian at the moment.
This new turn has been amazing, and I do think that parents will need it a lot more in the near future. In September schools will reopen, probably for 50% at home and 50% in school. So, parents will need that back up and help in doing homework, in the end they’re parents and not necessarily teachers.
And let’s not forget that parents go through the same emotional rollercoaster as their children. Especially in Barcelona and Madrid where families live in apartments where a balcony is just not enough!
How do you feel about the Planet Venus community?
I love it. It’s always great to have more support and training for women. I feel that we are in a massive uplifting period where there’s a lot more equality between the genders. I also believe that women should always stay educated, empowered and continuously develop themselves through training and supporting one another. I love the cause of Planet Venus!