Malena Jackson is the Founder and CEO of Family Ideals Group, a North American based company focusing on the education, empowerment and well-being of the modern family. Its brands include: The Nanny Factory, My Preschool Fair, The Preschool Journal, Family Planet365 and Teen ConLA.
Below Malena shares about her journey into entrepreneurship and some insights she’s gained along the way.
I remember back in the early 2000’s when I wanted to hire a nanny so badly. Back then, the nanny industry hadn’t quite picked up. They’re weren’t nanny agencies on every corner like there are today and hiring a nanny was expensive.
Seven years later, I opened my own nanny agency. I was determined to create a space that would support moms and dads by providing quality, in home childcare. After five years of owning and operating The Nanny Factory, the brand is undergoing a transition, into the tech space. We’re creating a childcare app to support families worldwide. My days are pretty busy with other aspects of the business. I play in the family industry space, as I like to call it.
Five years ago, I started offering an annual preschool fair in the city of Santa Clarita. The preschool fair was created to serve as a resource for the families that we serve through the nanny agency. Often new moms would come to us asking for preschool recommendations, when their toddlers turned to preschoolers.
My idea of having all of the TOP area preschools and family friendly businesses under one roof for a few hours has proved to be the ultimate solution for families.
Just this year, we started traveling with the preschool fair, serving communities like: Conejo Valley, Encino and Santa Monica.
The preschool fairs are so much fun to produce and attend but like anything, it does come with its challenges like attracting the right preschools and securing corporate sponsorship. The key in anything is persistence and passion. These are the elements that keep me going. I won’t stop.
I first got the taste of entrepreneurship while I was completing my Master of Science degree at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. I fell in love with journalism at a very young age and was on track to climb the ladder or network news as an anchor. News was everything to me.
While in the graduate program, I became a first time mom. That changed everything! Three months after having my first child, I learned that a second baby was on the way. I never had plans to give up my career for the sake of motherhood, instead I was on a mission to find a healthy mix of career plus motherhood.
For my master project in graduate school, I sought out other high powered working moms to interview. I wanted to know how they did it. From my research and reporting, they all had one thing in common: they started their own businesses. I interviewed five moms for the story based on their professions, not knowing that the majority of them were entrepreneurs.
After interviewing these mompreneurs and learning about their journeys, the path was simple. I decided that after grad school, I would start my own public relations firm. I created Republic Media and worked in the public relations industry for four years before starting the nanny agency.
As a public relations strategist, I enjoyed working with other businesses and helping them garner media attention for their brands. The beauty of it all was that I had the luxury of setting my own hours and being more present with my family.
Let me be clear, becoming a business owner hasn’t been easy. Rewarding, yes but NEVER easy.
The biggest challenge for me is cultivating relationships. Understanding that you CANNOT be great going at this alone. You need good people around you. Everything is about relationships. I’ve never been one to care or focus on “competition” so to speak but I’m really big on who’s in your circle.
As I grow my businesses, I’m really about scaling the brand. I want to be around smart people, who understand that we are in this together. It’s not about what I can get from you or what you can get from me. It’s about how do we help each other win?
The advice I would give to myself 12 years ago when I started this journey would be to hire a thorough bookkeeper from the start, find and cultivate a good support team and always play full out.
You can find Malena on Facebook to learn about the next upcoming My Preschool Fair events.