Joelma and Nelson Columbano of Millersville talked about starting a business after getting married three years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that they combined their talents to launch a day care center out of their home.
It was a lengthy process that included multiple home inspections, health and safety certifications and other licensing requirements.

But the couple felt it was the right small business for them.

“One of her natural talents is dealing with kids and having that Super Nanny instinct,” Mr. Columbano said. “Meanwhile, I could apply my natural marketing talents.”

The first thing the couple did was educate themselves about the business.

“My first step was to take a class on operating a day care,” said Mr. Columbano, who took a semester-long course at Anne Arundel Community College that dealt with getting his home ready, writing contracts and providing customer service.

While he was in class, Mrs. Columbano worked at a day care for on-the-job training.

Neighbors who had seen the couple gutting and remodeling their new home began to ask what was up. That helped the couple spread the word.

“Neighbors walking by would stop by and chat,” Mr. Columbano said. “Before we opened, we had a waiting list.”

Now, Mr. Columbano is helping with the business side of the center. He has kept his job as a project manager with an IT firm.

“My role here is the billing, writing the policies, doing the advertising and managing the Web site,” Mr. Columbano said.

Mrs. Columbano, meanwhile, not only works with the children, but also the parents.

“I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and raise my son,” Mrs. Columbano said. “I also wanted to offer parents what I wanted in a day care – customer service.”