Ewa Harr – Founder of ASAP Sitters

[quote style=”boxed”]Ideas bring momentum along with them! It’s just a matter of figuring out how to put theory into practice.[/quote]

Ewa received her B.A. in psychology from the College of William and Mary. After a short stint in New York, she moved to San Francisco to pursue her master’s degree at The California Institute of Integral Studies. Ewa worked at the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center (SFCAPC) for several years as evening coordinator of the therapeutic Children’s Playroom. As the playroom coordinator, Ewa supervised, trained, and supported staff and volunteers in understanding children’s social and emotional development. She also assisted parents and children in navigating developmental issues. Ewa worked as an intern at SFCAPC conducting child, family, couple, and individual psychotherapy and milieu therapy, and she was trained in crisis intervention on the child abuse telephone hotline. As an intern, Ewa also conducted individual and group therapy at Hayes Valley Care, a senior residential care facility.

Ewa received her licensure as a marriage and family therapist in California and returned to the DC area in 2007. She became a proud mom that same year. Ewa founded ASAP Sitters in 2008 and has continued to own and operate the company. In 2010 she was elected co-president of the board at Spring-Mar Cooperative Preschool in Burke, VA, and in 2011-12 she served as president.

Currently, Ewa is busy managing the growth of ASAP Sitters and planning the company’s future. She and her husband and their son spend their time between the DC area and Charlottesville, VA.

What are you working on right now?

ASAP Sitters has been steadily growing since I started it in 2008. Right now we are working on meeting the growing demand for services in the DC metro area and beyond, while still maintaining a personal connection with our families and sitters, along with a commitment to outstanding childcare.

Where did the idea for ASAP Sitters come from?

I started ASAP Sitters when I became a mom. I realized how difficult it was to find a great sitter. My professional background included working with children and families as a therapist, teacher and counselor, so I wanted to use the experience I had to start something new–a service that turned out to be in high demand in this area! ASAP Sitters filled the needs of local families looking for occasional, qualified and pre-screened babysitters, as opposed to permanent nannies for which there are already several local services.

What does your typical day look like?

There are no typical days! Running ASAP Sitters means being “on-call” a lot for last minute sitter requests, inquiries from new families, and coordinating sitter availability with each family’s needs. At the same time, there is enough flexibility so that I can work around my son’s preschool schedule and my husband’s 12-hour shifts at the hospital.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Ideas bring momentum along with them! It’s just a matter of figuring out how to put theory into practice. Sometimes it may feel like you’re reinventing the wheel, but seeing an idea come to life keeps you motivated.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I love how easy connecting with people has become through the internet and social media, and how community on-line translates to community and friends in the neighborhood in no time!

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I’ve had some great ones, especially while in high school and college–telemarketing for the Fairfax County Police Department, doing sales for Barry’s Farm Market, and handling prep in the “meat room” at my college cafeteria. But I never thought of any of them as the “worst” job. When you do the best you can at whatever you’re doing, you’re sure to walk away from it a little wiser.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I’d have gotten an M.A. in business instead of counseling! I’m kidding, but it would have come in handy.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I am so grateful to the Small Business Development Center at George Mason University. Their mentors have been a source of inspiration, wisdom, experience and encouragement. If you are starting your own small business, find your local SBDC! They are there to help.

What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest setback was not knowing how to find the IT help I needed and thus hiring someone who wasn’t qualified to complete a project. It’s thanks to the SBDC that I was able to network and find the right person. Now, ASAP Sitters has partnered with Bernard Ferret, founder of The Green Job Bank, for our web guru needs–and we’re doing great.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Embrace the unexpected. Once of the best pieces of advice I ever got was not to be attached to one specific way things need to happen. It might not be the way you planned it, but if you love and believe in what you’re doing, keep at it!

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

Wow, that’s a big question. Honestly I would decrease suffering in the world. It would have to start with breaking the cycle of ignorance, violence and cruelty–by teaching kindness, empathy and compassion. How do you do that? I don’t know. You try to practice it in your daily life and do what you can to help others. On a world-wide scale? By working together with people who have the same ideals.

Tell us a secret.

“Doily” is my favorite word. It’s hard to say without smiling.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

Facebook is great for connecting with friends, acquaintances, clients, and sitters. I’m still figuring out the Twitter-verse and Blog-o-sphere. I really love having a visual connection to the person with whom I am communicating. Skype is awesome too.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I Am A Pole (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert. Why? Because it’s important not to take yourself too seriously. And because I’m a Pole(ish-American). Or anything by Ken Wilber. You can start with Boomeritis: A Novel That Will Set You Free! It’ll open your horizons.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

Charlie Sheen. Paris Hilton. Lindsay Lohan. Isn’t that what Twitter is for? (Ha ha.) For the best DC metro family events, follow supernovamommy1. For local news? GeorgetownPatch. For mom’s night out? DCLadies.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

My husband always cracks me up! Usually he is the one who makes me laugh when I’m stressing about this or that, trying to meet that deadline or finish a project. But today it was my almost-5-year-old son who was with me while I was running errands. At the post office, as we were waiting in an endless line, he was admiring a stand of cutesie birthday cards and found one with a picture of a cat jumping in mid-air. “Look, momma!” he said to me, delighted, “It’s a kung-fu kitty!”

Who is your hero?

My mom. She always thinks she’s right, and 99% of the time she is.


ASAP Sitters on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/asapsitters
ASAP Sitters on Twitter: !/asapsitters
ASAP Sitters on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ASAPSitters
ASAP Sitters website: www.asapsitters.com