Photo by Maggie Worthington
1012 iBabysit Birmingham
Maggie Worthington, founder of iBabysit Birmingham, with two-year-old Ellie Morrow.
Maggie Worthington, 24, has been babysitting since she was 12 years old. In college, she was too busy to take on all the babysitting offers she had as she tried to stay ahead in Samford University coursework and sorority life. Eventually, Homewood moms began contacting Worthington just to see whether she could recommend someone to sit for their family.
Being an informal babysitting broker was a time consuming process. She would text babysitters who might be interested, relay the message back to parents and field questions about the sitter from the parent. To streamline the process, she created a babysitting list, but it would become outdated and sitters – Samford students – were being contacted years after graduation. This time-consuming process became more problematic as Worthington began pursuing a master’s degree in occupational therapy at UAB.
Eventually, Worthington created a Facebook group called Birmingham Babysitting Club. The page simply facilitated the connection between moms and sitters through social networks. Moms posted on the group’s wall when they needed a sitter, and sitters commented saying that they could babysit at a certain time. Because of the integration with Facebook, all sitters were alerted when a mom wrote on the wall. The group grew to more than 100 members in a few short weeks.
“Facebook could not be any more convenient,” Worthington said. “Whoever is a member can instantly see the alerts, so there’s no lag time waiting for a phone call.”
Soon after, Worthington transformed the idea into a working business. She formed a business plan for iConnectivity LLC and the Birmingham Babysitting Club became “iBabysit Birmingham.” After launching, it quickly earned recognition in the Samford/Regions Business Competition and received attention from an Angel Investing group. iConnectivity is looking for investors to fund technological advancements, growth in other markets and explore the need for connections in tutoring.
“I never expected to turn this into a business,” Worthington said. “It just kind of happened that way. I enjoy helping the families when I can’t be there myself.”
The service, which caters to Homewood moms and Samford and UAB students, compares to competitors like the popular Care.com. Using her background in occupational therapy, Worthington has built connections with babysitters who can be trusted to work with children with special needs. Before a family or sitter is accepted into the group, they must submit an application, references and agree to have a background check to ensure safety. Only members can see the activity online, so there is no worry of a loss of privacy.
iBabysit Birmingham is actively seeking more Homewood moms and sitters to join the more than 40 members in the group. For more information on the service, search for “iBabysit Birmingham” on Facebook or visit ibabysitbirmingham. webs.com to sign up.