As a stay at home mom, Joy Anderson struggled to create side income participating in MLMs and selling thrift store finds on eBay. When she left a failed marriage, she knew she needed to provide full-time income to support herself and her three kids, so she started a preschool.
Now, at Start Your Preschool, Joy helps parents just like her stay home, create consistent income, and make a difference in their children’s lives. She shares a proven, step-by-step blueprint used by thousands of women over ten incredible years.
Today, Joy joins the podcast to tell the story of finding the courage to walk away from what wasn’t working, get paid what she knew she was
- How Joy knew her life as she knew it wasn’t working – and the radical action she took to change things.
- How the preschool business model allowed Joy to stop pursuing ineffective side hustles and earn real money for the first time since having children.
- What to do if you’re looking to take the leap and start a membership of your own.
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- “Courage is really just fear in motion.” – Shelli Varela
- “There is knowledge that you have that you don’t know you have.” – Joy Anderson
TranscriptRead The Transcript
Shelli Varela: Joy Anderson, welcome to the It’s a TRIBE Thing, podcast. Buddy, how are you?
Joy Anderson: I’m doing great. Thanks so much, Shelli, for having me.
Joy Anderson: Our absolute pleasure. You, my dear, are an innovator of sorts, and that you’re combining all of your life skills and all of the things that you’ve experienced to solve a problem, which is what amazing entrepreneurs do. But before we get started and unpack all of that, would you mind starting with who you serve and what you do?
Joy Anderson: Absolutely. So, I serve moms who want to stay home with their kids, but they still need to create income with their family. The one income isn’t cutting it, they need that extra money in their budget. And so, I helped them start preschools, not daycares. If you think about a daycare, daycare is typically for 12-long-hour days for all ages. And instead, we, actually, mothers don’t like that, we want our energy back, and we don’t want to be exhausted at the end of the day.
And so, instead of doing daycare, we do preschools for teaching children ages 3 to 5 for just a couple hours every day, whether we teach locally in our homes or in another building or we teach online preschool as well.
Shelli Varela: Brilliant. We were talking before we started recording and you have a really interesting story that I know that many of our listeners are going to find super inspirational and I’m sure see themselves in. Can you take us back to who you were before you ever had an online business? And where did this all start and come from?
Joy Anderson: Absolutely. So, the online business has definitely been a thing for the past 11 years or so, but 12 years ago, that’s really where my story begins. At that time, I was a stay-at-home mom, I’ve been a wife and mom for eight years, I had three young kids, ages 6, 4, and 2. Our income actually wasn’t enough at the time because my husband worked full time, But I didn’t create income much.
And so, I’ve always tried to create income on the side, Pampered Chef or taking my kids’ clothes or toys over to a consignment store or even going to a consignment store, finding really cool stuff and then selling it on eBay. I know that was a thing back then, now Facebook marketplace or whatever people maybe do currently to resell items. But that was my life, like, if we needed a couch or if we needed a vacation or if we needed any fluff in our life, it was kind of up to me, like if you want anything above the necessities, well, then Joy will bring in the money.
And so, I always tried to create some income, but I never was able to make more than like $200 to $300 a month, like that was even on my putting in so much massive effort. And I remember at those times, especially doing all my work on the computer and such, I would be trying to make the couple $100 a month and I’d be sitting at my computer, like for hours with my little kids at home and they would come up to me and say, “Mommy, can you play?” I’m like, “Not right now, mommy’s working.” Because in my head, it was so important to be able to create this extra income to make sure that we didn’t have debt and just try to add more income to the budget, but that’s all I could do.
I did have a degree in English, but I wasn’t teaching. I wasn’t a certified teacher. I wasn’t doing anything with my degree for those past eight years. I truly was just loving my time as a stay-at-home mom, but I didn’t want to get a job, like I refuse to go work for somebody else. In fact, my last job that I had was when I was pregnant with my first child. And I actually, had some iron deficiency. So, I left that job in my pregnancy. And I never went back to full-time employment. It was just what can I do on my own?
So, that’s where my story kind of begins is at that precipice of needing all this extra income, but how do I do it? And also, things were really deteriorating in my marriage. There was a lot of things going on. I do remember one very pivotal day. It was a Sunday and it was, like I said, 12 years ago, so I was eight years into the marriage and my kids were young, 6, 4, and 2.
And it was a Sunday and I had just taken them to church. And we came home, ready to eat the roast that had been cooking all day long. And I came home with me and my kids and we came through the front door and I was met with a barrage of the F word and a steady barrage of gunshot sounds. And as I entered the door, now I’ve been living in this household for several years, I knew what was going on. My husband was playing Grand Theft Auto, while we were at church, he was doing that.
And here I come, ready to go, have a nice family experience. And I asked him, “Hey, can you please turn that off? We’ve got our 6, 4, and 2-year-olds.” And his response was, “No,” and I’m like, okay. And so, I took the kiddos into the room, “Hey, go get changed out of your Sunday clothes.” I’m preparing the dinner, the lunch we’re all going to sit down to and it’s like, “Can you turn that off?” “No.” And I’m like, okay. So, me and the kids sat at the table listening to this whole thing around us. And it just was a quick reminder that I don’t enjoy being in this environment, where I am not treated as an equal. It’s just this experience where I live in this household with somebody else. And our marriage had really come to a breaking point, through these several years.
Anywho, I had the kids go back after we quickly ate dinner. \I had the kids go back into their rooms saying, “Hey, go play toys for a second,” and I went into my office, I shut the door, I sat down on my computer chair, and I’m trying to get away from the noise, quite frankly. So, I sat down, I had this realization come to me. Now, I have thought for so many years that my life was going to change, things were going to be different, that our marriage would improve, and we would have happiness again. And that just, quite frankly, all the things that had been going on would be different. I don’t want to get into a lot of the details there, but I sat down and I had this realization that I had never had before. And it was this and this came to me as clear as I could hear the words, “Joy, this is your life and it will not change.”
And in that moment, that is when I realized for the first time in eight years, tomorrow morning, I’m going to take my kids and I’m going to leave, I will leave my marriage, I am done. I thought things would change, but they they’re not. So, it was the weight of what like that was not part of my plan. With that weight, I took my kids out to the park immediately and I just wanted them to have one experience, one experience to be able to still be a kid before the next day their entire life was going to be up in a pebble.
And I took them to the park and I sat on the park bench and I watched them play. And I just had this weight of how in the world am I supposed to provide for these kids? I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, haven’t had any job history, how am I supposed to create that full-time income for them? I have no clue how to do it, don’t want to get a job. They need me, I can’t put them in daycare right now. I don’t want to start a home daycare and try to share myself with my children and everybody else’s children for 12 hours, like they need me. And I was just at a loss for how in the world I was supposed to move forward in life. I knew this is what I had to do, but I had no clue how to do it.
And it was at that moment when I had this second realization that reminded me of, okay, if you don’t want to start a home daycare, do you remember that time you taught co-op preschool, where you would have a couple of the neighborhood kids come to your home and you would teach preschool to them for a couple hours, ages 3 to 5, and then they would go to the next person’s home the next week, we would swap homes and it was free. And we just did it with a couple friends. And I was like, I remember that. And do you remember that they didn’t enjoy teaching preschool after a while. What if, Joy, you took all those neighborhood kids and you taught the preschool classes and you charged a tuition. What if that?
Oh my gosh, instead of doing 12-hour days, we’re only doing a couple hours. Instead of all ages, I’m only doing 3 to 5s. And I could create a full-time income. And I was like, Oh, I sat back on that park bench. And I knew at that moment, this is what I’ve got to do. I look at my kids. And I’m like, I can do this. And then the next day, I sent my kids to school like normal, the older one. And the day was going to be normal. And with no warning at all, as soon as the husband went off to work, I went right back into the school, took my kiddo out and we took our belongings and left.
And that is that is where I come from. It was at that moment that my whole journey with starting a preschool and in future subsequent things, helping other women start preschools, but what really hinged and I’ll just speak to this really quick, what really hinged to me wanting to share my message with other people is because when I was sitting on that park bench, nobody in my past had told me if you ever want to create income, Joy, as a stay-at-home mom, maybe you should start a preschool. Like nobody had ever talked about that to me, everybody talks about, oh, get a job, put your kids in daycare or start a daycare. And I realized, I can’t let any woman go through that exact same experience of not knowing that this is a viable option for her. And that’s where my other passion comes from as well.
Shelli Varela: Oh my gosh, Joy, okay. So much to say here. I love that you were talking about at the beginning, you had this education in English and also just, when you follow the roots and the pathway of all of the things that you paid attention to, all of the things that you were doing, it kind of makes sense in a way. You had the education and then, you always had that entrepreneurial spirit, you talked about Pampered Chef and just always being in a problem-solving mode, like instead of I can’t, it’s how can I. And I think that is partly the emancipation of the stuckness, if you’re able to have that mindset.
But one of the things that you said that I found super inspiring was you were talking about when you were at home that day and you heard that voice saying, Joy, this is your life and it’s never going to change. There is such power in listening. Oftentimes, when we’re feeling that pain or that angst or whatever, the best option is to distract and to be busy. And I so want to acknowledge the fact that you just got quiet for a hot minute and you’re like, okay, what is going on?
Because for everybody listening, too oftentimes, the answer is sleeping in the question, we just have to be quiet long enough to listen to what we’re trying to be told and into which way we’re trying to be directed. And I just love that it became a what is the non-negotiable for you? And such an inspiration to all of the people listening because everybody is going through their version of that. And if we’re able to look back through, what are all of the things that draw my attention, what are the things that I’m good at, or what are the things that I do easily?
So, for you, like problem solving and you knew that your kids and staying home and being present, not just being with them, but being present for them and to them, not just your kids being two of the 15 or three of the 15 kids that you were there, but actually a priority for you was being there and being present for your kids. So, for everybody who’s listening, it really is a matter of, if you’re looking for your next big idea or if you’re looking for the thing that is going to be your life’s calling, oftentimes, if you get quiet long enough, it will speak to you.
Joy Anderson: Yes.
Shelli Varela: I love that. What has it meant to you to be able to create something that, like when you look back at all of the things and all of the gifts that you have this incredible tangled amalgamation of awesomeness with your thoughts and your diversity. And again, what drives your attention? What does it meant to you to be able to give that gift of all of those areas of curiosity that you have to other women so that they don’t have to go through what you’ve been through and so that they can create this income in a way that also allows them to be home with their own kiddos?
Joy Anderson: Oh, absolutely. I think it reminds me of leaving a legacy, quite frankly, like, how am I going to leave this world? Whose lives have I touched? I always come through this entire experience through service. How can I serve these women? The money will come at some point, the money is not my driving force, it is how am I going to leave this world and how many lives can I touch and truly wanting to have no woman not know about this experience? I want every woman to know that a preschool is that third option that it might be the best option for them. And just to be able to help them, like to feel that confidence and learn that they are enough, I mean, so many people go through this thinking, I don’t have the right degree, I don’t have the right experience.
And this is for anything, it’s not just speaking to preschool, this is for anything that you want to go do. You have that voice in your head saying, “I’m not good enough, who would choose me? I don’t have that degree of experience.” And it’s reminding them, I didn’t have it either. Okay, I was not a preschool teacher, I didn’t have the right degree and I still did it. Let me show you how you can do it, too.
So, it’s reminding them that 100%, you’re enough and you have to draw back into your history, like you said, find those moments that will help you for your future calling and then nurture those and then get the help in the things that you don’t have. We all have inadequacies, that’s fine. Guess what? We’re not 100% of like, knowing everything at every time. So, all we need to do is go find the people who do know the things that we don’t know, plug into them and then allow them to mentor us, allow them to lead us. And trust the process and stop like getting so scared. And that’s the biggest thing I think with everyone is that when we are scared, we just stop and we let our anxieties overwhelm us. So, that’s my goal always with my membership is to help them get out of that because everything else is just a step, we just have to overcome the anxiety.
Shelli Varela: Right. It’s so easy to think, here’s the to-do list, here’s the things we have to do, but oftentimes, and that’s the gift of having a membership is, it’s not just the to-do list. There is a human being that has to do the to-do list and it’s dealing with the person as well as the problem. I always say that courage is really just fear in motion. And for the people that you are serving and helping and just allowing them to have a different level of freedom, not only financially, but to be able to be there to sculpt and shape the kind of humans that their kids are going to be. What is the best piece of feedback that you’ve received from your community?
Joy Anderson: That’s a great question. Could you speak to that a little bit differently?
Shelli Varela: Yeah. So, I mean, you have these incredible women that you’ve offered this opportunity for them to be able to stay at home, what’s the best or favorite piece of feedback you’ve received from one of your members?
Joy Anderson: I think just to follow the process, like, I think that something that I’m really known for is the step-by-step process. And so, the best feedback for them has always been, how can you just break this down, like, teach me like, I’m a 5-year-old, break the process down step by step. And I think for anybody teaching anyone anything inside of your membership or a how-to or even just getting them from A to Z, how can you break it apart into manageable little, tiny wins and walk them through the process so they don’t get overwhelmed?
Like, here’s the big vision, but we’re only going to focus on this piece right here because that’s your first step. So, I think, not knowing all the steps that need to come, but just seeing, here’s the first step, just take that one and then we’ll talk about the next one.
Shelli Varela: Well, it also speaks to your skill for how can I, like problem solving and it’s like, how is the best way to go from where we are to where we want to be in the least amount of steps and with as much ease as possible, but it’s so incredible, the way you just flow through that so naturally because that is probably, I’m assuming, why you’re so good at what you do. If you were to give somebody some advice who’s potentially sitting on the precipice of that time when you were in your room, you got quiet, and you said, “My life is not going to change, what am I going to do now?”
And they maybe have an idea or they’re thinking about at least the fact that they’re not happy with where they are and they’re hearing this podcast and thinking, oh, wow, a membership is a possibility. I listen to Joy’s story and maybe my version of the story is possible, too, but they’re scared. What advice would you give that person who has something to share but is just looking at taking that very first step?
Joy Anderson: I’m going to go straight back to my experience when I was trying to launch my membership and the whole reason why I’m here today is because of Stu McLaren. And following him, just doing what Stu says, that’s exactly what these listeners need to do. There’s so many times when we think, oh, well, what if I have this idea? And maybe I have this idea, but we don’t know the staircase, we don’t know the first step to take. Just put me on a conveyor belt, now, I’ll move forward. I have some ideas, but like, I don’t know how to put them all together, like, the TRIBE course and Stu McLaren, that is like 100%, where I would suggest people to go simply because that is the next step for them.
So, back then, 12 years ago, I didn’t know about this, I wish I did and that would have been awesome, but I also still had to cultivate my own knowledge and experience and things like that. And I know though, I do know, like, nobody would think, like, oh, you can have a membership teaching people how to start preschools, you can have membership about anything, quite frankly. And this is what I would say, there is knowledge that you have that you don’t know you have. And I would ask you to think about what do people come to you for, like when they get your advice? What is that? What is the thing that people always come to you that you think come so naturally and effortlessly and easy, but everyone else is just like that, is such a gift? Like That is amazing. That’s something you could teach somebody.
Shelli Varela: You’re right. I think there should be some sort of hashtag that is what would Stu do.
Joy Anderson: And do what Stu says.
Shelli Varela: Yeah, truly, he definitely has a gift for making the impossible possible through TRIBE and his lived experience and his ability to crush limiting beliefs and all of the things. So, I agree, I would absolutely recommend anybody who’s even considering a membership site to go through the TRIBE program.
If people are looking for you online, if there are individuals at home or in the car or wherever listening to this podcast and they’re thinking, maybe staying home with my kids and learning how to start a preschool might be for me, where’s the best place they can find you online?
Joy Anderson: I’ve got a free book, they can go to freepreschoolbook.com.
Shelli Varela: Amazing. Joy, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for inspiring our listeners and we appreciate you showing up and sharing.
Joy Anderson: Thank you so much, Shelli.
Shelli Varela: Have a great day.
Joy Anderson: You too. Thank you.