You have to move quickly to catch 34 year old mom Sarah Konecy. Sarah is one fast moving, list making, referral creating machine! With her never ending “to do” list, Sarah not only keeps her life together, but also coordinates the lives of her clients. Owner of “Trusted Friends Referral Service”, Sarah’s goal is to save you time! Once a week, Sarah sends her clients an email with open slots for her team of experienced and loving babysitters. Not looking for a sitter? Need a tip for a good photographer, cake decorator, or handy-man? Sarah can set you up. Think of her as your very own interactive “Angie’s List”! Smarties, get to know Sarah, she has more contacts than a toddler has tantrums!
When not arranging sitters or solving problems, Sarah uses her degree in Child and Family Development from UNCC as a preschool teacher at Myers Park United Methodist Church.
Sarah is a warm, upbeat, and caring soul. I’ve loved using her service and getting to know her!
Charlotte, meet Smarty Mom Sarah . . .
Where did the idea for your company, “Trusted Friends Referral” come from?
After years of building my name and reputation in the Charlotte area as an experienced sitter, I was finding myself telling Moms “no, sorry I am booked” over and over. I realized eventually these Moms would simply stop calling me and I was going to be out of luck when I needed them. On the other hand, I had friends saying, “I wish I knew as many people as you do…I would love to work as much as you do.” I realized, with some encouragement from one of my long time clients (Thanks Cathy Austin) maybe I could help out both sides by being the connection between the two. Viola, Trusted Friends Referral Service was born!
How did you come up with the idea of a referral company?
As a Mom I know how hard it is to figure out who to trust. I also know how time consuming it is to try to fill a sitting (or other occasional) job. Who has time to make call after call until you find success? The referral service was a way to solve both problems for moms like me!
Okay, so how does it work?
You contact me if you need an occasional service provider (sitter, errand running, handyman, cake prep, cleaning lady, photography, etc). If I am unavailable to do the job I will set you up with your choice of one of my providers. They are all personal friends or friends of friends so you know you are going to get someone great! The first referral is FREE and after that you can choose to pay $2 per job filled $10 for a 30 day period of unlimited jobs filled or $100 for 12 months of unlimited jobs filled (plus with this option you get a month free). Once you’ve had a job filled by one of my service providers they have first dibs on any future jobs with you unless you request otherwise. This gives your family and my service providers the consistency we all love. Oh, and I’m a pro at filling a last minute job! I once had a Mom come to me about needing a sitter at 7pm; she had a sitter at her house by 7:42. In addition, if you refer your friends you earn a $10 credit to use with me.
How do you feel a referral company can assist busy families?
One of my greatest strengths is being SUPER efficient. One call/email/text to me does it all! No more researching and spending hours calling around. It’s the quickest way to quality life saving solutions.
In addition to your company, you teach preschool at Myers Park United Methodist Church (The Children’s Circle). What do your students teach you?
Flexibility! Since the children I teach are so young (12-18 months) I have to be able to teach to where they are. Every day is different and exciting because everything is new to them. Their joy is so pure in the littlest things it really puts things in perspective. I have to go with their flow.
Any advice for moms of preschool aged children?
Let them do it. If a child can do something they should do it. I think these days we feel like we have to do so much for our children that we hold them back. I have 14 month olds that can clear their place after a meal and put away their dishes! Don’t take away their pride in the ability to do things for themselves. Want to reduce stress in your life? Expect your children to do more. Independence is a skill that will take them far in life and you too.
What is the most important lesson you have learned since becoming a mommy?
To stay flexible….life with a child is all about making it all work however you can. If you are open to changing your plans at the drop of a dime and to doing things differently than you used to you can survive anything. Tackle one task at a time and it will all get done…eventually.
You are a self-proclaimed “go getter” with a full schedule! How do you manage a business, job, and mommy-hood!?
My planner and my net book….I use every second I have to accomplish and cross promote. Some people find that compartmentalizing works for them but I find that doing small tasks from whatever section of my life all day long gets me to the final goal. I never have time to accomplish one focused task but I always have an extra 10 minutes to get something done.
SUV or mini-van?
Neither…..I still rock a sporty sedan but I can still get 3 car seats in the back.
What is your advice to any “mommy” wanting to start her own business?
You need to understand that when you own your own business you are the end of the road. Any problems, issues, or emergencies are going to be your problem. Are you ready to handle that? You can’t clock out when the biz is yours. You have to be able to handle what comes up with the business on top of your life, and do it all with a professional level head.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Wow that is a hard question…..I think I will still be teaching but I think I will be delegating more of the other “hats” I wear. I would like to be able to focus more on myself and my family and work less…..but wouldn’t we all like that?!
What is your favorite kid-friendly restaurant?
Zoe’s….I don’t know what they put in those white beans but they ROCK! My daughter thinks it is the best grilled cheese in town too.
Favorite thing about being a mother?
The everyday comic relief from the things my daughter says….she has a BIG personality. Everyone knows her everywhere she goes. I love that she is as “famous” as I am. Everyone has a story about her.
Could not live without my…
Planner, real time traffic GPS, caffeine and Polka Dot cupcakes!