From corporate job to childcare business — why this local woman loves her new career

Megan Poelaert had been thinking about making a change for a while. After six years of sitting behind a desk, working her corporate job in the healthcare industry, she missed the hands-on care she used to give people as a nurse. But she might never have made the leap if it weren’t for her own childcare problem.

With a shortage of providers in the Alexandria area, where she lives, Megan and her husband were struggling to find reliable care for their two- and four-year olds. “From 2016 until 2020,” she says, “We went through four daycares. That’s basically a daycare a year.”

It was time for a change.

Eventually, Megan started thinking about opening her own childcare business out of her home. It would get her out from behind her desk. It would solve her family’s childcare problem. And it would help others in the same boat.

So she started doing research, and in April of 2020, just three months after she applied for a license, “Little Treasures Childcare” was born. She waited a few more months, nervous to take the leap and leave her corporate job, but when she finally opened her doors, she was flooded with requests.

“There’s a huge shortage right now.”

“I quickly found out that I shouldn’t have been worried about filling my spots,” says Megan. “People really come out of the woodwork, especially when you have an infant opening. I probably get calls or text messages every other day asking if I have openings. There’s a huge shortage right now.”

Soon after she started Little Treasures, Megan knew she’d made the right choice. Instead of emails and performance reviews, her days were filled with walks to the park and kids arguing about who loves her most. She thinks back on her old job, and can’t imagine being there.

“It’s just so much fun.”

“I don’t miss it at all,” she says. “Honestly, I feel like it would be really hard to go back to the corporate world. I think about my old coworkers at their desks, while I’m over here having a dance party with my kids. It’s just so much fun. I feel like this might be where I’m going to be until I retire.”

“I think about my old coworkers at their desks, while I’m over here having a dance party with my kids.”

An added benefit is the built-in community that comes with running a childcare. “One of the most rewarding parts of my job,” Megan says, “is the bond I have with the kids and the families. I mean, that’s priceless. All of them have literally become like a second family.”

Megan acknowledges the days can be long, and it’s not easy to keep a wide age-range of kids busy. But there’s no place she’d rather be.

“I like to tell people,” she says, “it’s a little bit of chaos and a whole lot of love.”

Thinking of starting a childcare business?

We’re here to help. There’s a huge need for childcare providers in the Alexandria area right now, and we’re offering grants to help you get started. We also offer free business coaching to help you launch and run your business successfully, and we’ll connect you with the local organization (Sourcewell) that can get you trained and licensed. Connect with us today!