Step out of your comfort zone and become an entrepreneur as early in life as possible. If you make a mistake while you’re young, there’s plenty of time to reflect, recover, and rebuild.
Lifespan Development Centers was launched in 2014 by Founder and CEO Tricia Howarth. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, this child care center services families and children as young as 6 weeks old through pre-k as well as providing before and after school care. Lifespan Development Centers provides children with a positive nurturing environment. Teachers implement an age appropriate curriculum in a warm and nurturing environment for children to grow and learn.
Tricia has been a resident of the Delaware community all of her life. There was never a question in her mind of the career path she would embark upon. One summer solidified her certainty. Her journey began at age fourteen when she volunteered her summer caring for young children attending a local summer camp. The experience led her to start her education studying early childhood education.
Tricia continued her career in early childhood education by applying for positions with centers who were familiar with her skills, her passion and leadership qualities. As she continued to educate herself, she had the opportunity to work with children through her studies at University of Delaware. She was able to observe many methods of teaching and education from mentors from all over the world.
Her success continued as she began working for a private early education facility as an Assistant Director. Tricia was responsible for managing a staff of 12. In another project adding to her experience, a non-profit organization had a request for someone to find locations within the community that could be set-up as childcare for pre-school children. As that project came to a successful close, her augmented experience provided her with a second project to organize locations for after-school programs. Much to the benefit to the community, this project was successfully completed as well.
Tricia jumped on the fast track when she was hired as the Director of a national corporate childcare facility. She began to shine when she became one of the top facilities across the nation for her achievements of financial goals and superior leadership year after year. As she maximized her understanding of finance and operations, Tricia knew that she was more than capable of running her own business in the field which she had proven to be so talented. With all of her passion and drive, she created Lifespan Development Centers.
Where did the idea for Lifespan Development Centers come from?
The concept of Lifespan Development Centers came from the culmination of both classroom and work experiences. I research early learning methods from all over the world. The components that created Lifespan are a composite of my learning experiences from different mentors, instructors and learning theorists.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I set two main goals for each day for myself and I delegate the remainder to others around me. Each day is different so this can be sometimes difficult. I have managers, employees, partners and even my children who can complete tasks that free up my ability to grow the business.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It is a mental Rubik’s cube. Everything is processed based upon who can do what job. I see everything from each angle and come up with the solutions. Then it is just a matter of making it happen.
What’s one trend that excites you?
It excites me when I meet people who want to enter my profession as owners of child care centers. I am optimistic when young women express interest in owning their own childcare facility. There are many passionate directors out there, but very few are passionate about owning their own likely because of the financial and legal burdens that come with ownership in addition to numerous other responsibilities.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Identifying the strengths of each employee at Lifespan Development Centers and maximizing that talent by delegating workloads according to each person’s ability.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Step out of your comfort zone and become an entrepreneur as early in life as possible. If you make a mistake while you’re young, there’s plenty of time to reflect, recover, and rebuild. I should have done it rather than spending 15 years being a director for someone else.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
John Dewey once said, Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself. I believe it is not the education and credentials that make the people who they are in this business, rather it is the passion and love for educating and nurturing children that make them who they are. It is how they interact with their customers. It is their people skills. It is their passion and compassion. It truly comes down to their combined values and abilities that makes a person standout NOT their credentials.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Continuously question if I’m doing the right thing for the right reasons. Staying focused on the path I have set for myself and not allowing distractions to skew that focus.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Speaking with people and networking with your clients professional confidants. There are a lot of lifelines with clients. When you have maintained positive business relationships and remained transparent with your contacts and clients you can get a lot done. Previous clients, mentors and partners may be able to help. Remaining in the same area where I live and own my business has allowed me to tap into a vast number of resources who support me and the growth of my business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I use a three-phase plan for my business, Lifespan Development Centers. I have successfully executed the first phase. In the past I have shared my ideas, and unfortunately, I was not as careful as I should have been in sharing. This learning experience taught me to be more judicious with sharing business information and to exercise more discretion earlier on in business relationships.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A mandatory parent boot camp. It will be suitably called “How to Say NO to your Child and YES to Real Life”. Parents are in denial about saying no to their children, and they must be taught that saying no can actually help make them a better parent.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Personally, I bought another pair of my Asics for running. My present pair has little tread remaining after 400+miles run in them. For the business, I purchased a teacher’s treasure chest full of goodies and supplies the school director can distribute to her staff as she wishes. Teachers need rewards too.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use YouTube on my laptop and audiobook. There are many conferences and seminars that I can access remotely. I also get a lot of ideas and a wealth of knowledge from YouTube about the business. I use it as a tool to coach and educate my staff as well. QuickBooks is my go-to for finance.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
What is your favorite quote?
My enemies are the instruments of my destiny. — Lao Tzu
• We take pride in the accomplishment of helping families raise their children
• My passion are the children who are left in our trust and care
• Children should have the opportunity of experiences with our guidance
• Parenting is the hardest thing that you can do but we are here to help one another
• Teach children to be bold. Challenging yourself is okay.
• The reward is in the possibility. The achievement is in the doing. The glory is in the finishing.