Our VisionPosted by Maria Knauer • September 18, 2018 • 6 minutes read
The other day I had a discussion with Christoph, why we actually do all of this…
Why do we spent a big amount of money and all our evenings, early mornings and weekends working to build up connectAuPair?
Does it pay off? Financially? Not at all. After nearly three years we still invest more than we get out, every day. Looking at it financially, we should stop it. Better yesterday than today. Definitely.
So why do we go on?
Because we have a vision!
We strongly believe that today's technology allows much better functionality and services for au pairs and host families than currently existing au pair matching platforms provide. Therefore our vision is to
Make au pairing a safe and positive experience - by leveraging the full potential of an online platform
There's still a lot to do to fully reach this vision (and it takes much longer than we thought when we started to build up connectAuPair in 2015), but we believe it's possible.
And we believe that there are many people out there who share our vision and who will join us. If not today, then tomorrow. Or next week. Or the week after. But hopefully soon enough to financially survive until then... :-)
Where does this vision come from and what are our goals to turn it into reality?
In 2013, we were looking for our first au pair. We didn’t know anything about au pairing, so we asked Google for help and finally registered at Aupairworld. We found a girl from Russia, who wanted to escape from her host family respectively her host father, because he treated her very badly and definitely not according to contract (long working hours, no language class…). She stole herself away one night (after she found out that the host father took away the passport from previous au pairs to keep them from leaving), Christoph picked her up and brought her to our place. A few days later her host father accused her of theft. Although she knew that this was a lie, she was afraid the police would believe her host father more than her and she would have to leave Germany for good. We helped her with all the paper work and interviews at the police and finally the case got dismissed.
Our au pair wanted to warn other au pairs not to work for her previous family, but she didn't know how – at Aupairworld it wasn’t possible to contact other au pairs via the built-in messaging system. She reported her previous family, the profile was deleted, but some days later the family showed up again, simply with a slightly different name.
Over the following weeks, several au pairs contacted us who were in comparable situations.
We were shocked, that obviously so many families in a “good” country like Germany either didn’t know about the rights of au pairs or didn’t feel like they needed to follow the rules.
How could this be possible? And why did the au pairs not know about their rights, didn't care about setting up a valid contract, warn each other if a family mistreated them,...?
Based on this experience, we had a first goal – we wanted to
Help au pairs to know all the rules, not get trapped with bad families, quickly find a new family if necessary and support each other – of course for free!
So far, this was pretty much concentrated on helping au pairs… But when we started searching for our second au pair in 2014, we realized, that also families would need much better functionality than what was available…
We tried again to find an au pair via Aupairworld but didn’t succeed, so we finally involved a traditional agency who matched us with a wonderful au pair from Mongolia.
So, what was wrong with online matching? And was a traditional agency really the solution?
Well, the online matching was no help at all: We were contacted by literally hundreds of au pairs who weren’t even allowed to come to Germany (because they were too old or lacking language skills), we couldn’t filter the au pairs in the matching results for what was really important for us, we totally lost the overview about who we already contacted, if an au pair was a favorite or definitely no match for us… We even set up an Excel file to keep the overview, but with by then 2 very little kids, a full-time job and feeling pressured by the short run time of the premium membership, we finally gave up.
We finally involved a traditional agency (as my company was part of a program where they paid for the au pair agency cost, we simply gave it a try). Which was basically good, but we felt that the number of au pairs they gave us to choose from was too restricted and as the agency was located in a town several hours away from us, most of the services they offered (like meetings with other au pairs) were not really helpful. Nevertheless, we involved the agency again to search for our 3rd and 4th au pair, also because we liked it that they did part of the paper work for us.
Based on this experience, the second goal became clear – we wanted to provide much better functionality to
Help families and au pairs to find the perfectMatch with minimum effort and at low cost
Being a host family for some years, we realized, that the real adventure and challenge actually starts when the au pair arrives. And that many au pairs and host families - even very experienced ones - struggle with unrealistic expectations and misunderstandings, ending up in a blame game in which both sides only lose.
That lead us to our third goal: We want to
Make au pairing a great experience for both sides by continuous support throughout the whole au pair time.
Do you share our vision?
Then it’s time for you to join connectAuPair!
And to tell all your friends, followers, colleagues,... to join connectAuPair!
Many of the described features only unfold their full potential, if hundreds of thousands of au pairs and families join connectAuPair.
Our vision will only come true, if all who believe in this vision join us!
We don’t plan to become rich with connectAuPair - that's why it’s totally for free for au pairs and also families can test us with full functionality for 7 days (this is absolutely unique on the market!) before we ask for a membership fee to help us finance the platform and the team needed to run it.
And if you help to promote us to friends or give feedback on how we can become better, we even grant you discounts and cAP points which pay for you membership fee!