Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey as with an E-Learning school, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tara Bradley Williams, the co-founder of Pronto Spanish. Tara has over 25 years of Spanish and ELL teaching experience at the high school, community college, and corporate training levels.
Tell us all about your business...
Pronto Spanish offers occupational Spanish materials in the form of print and eLearning courses. We have courses for 14 different occupational areas, including Spanish for Construction, Spanish for Educators, Spanish for Health Care, and Spanish for Manufacturing. Our "Pronto Guides" is a quick study reference that includes a list of words and phrases common for various industries. The eLearning courses have more depth, including language, culture, and grammar tips, audio files, and various practice exercises. In addition to these resources, we offer 1-on-1 tutoring that supplements eLearning.
Participants learn the vocabulary at their own time and pace and then practice with native-speaking Spanish tutors for the listening and speaking part. Our customers include individuals who want to learn targeted Spanish for their job, but we also sell our materials to companies who want their employees to reach a certain language proficiency level to help employees better do their job when with Spanish-speaking clients, patients, or the public.
What's your background and motivation to get into the solopreneur life?
My entire career has been focused on languages; Where I have taught Spanish and English Language Learners in private and public schools (7th grade - community college), taught English overseas in Spain, and coordinated international exchange programs. Most recently, I was the English Language Learner (ELL) Coordinator for a public school district. I first started Pronto Spanish as a side gig when I was a stay-at-home mom, 18 years ago with doing Spanish Immersion Weekends to keep me involved in the language field. The company has morphed over the years, including adding a Spanish conversation textbook series, onsite Spanish and English as a Second Language course at businesses, and eLearning courses. I left teaching two years ago to focus on Pronto Spanish full-time.
As a business owner, what does success ultimately mean to you?
I am proud of the many partnerships that I have developed with other entrepreneurs. I focus on what I am good at; Which is teaching content development and instructional design. I work with others who are strong at sales, social media marketing, and web services. As a solopreneur, I have learned that I can do most things, but as my business has grown, I am spending more time doing the things I love and partnering with others for aspects I don't necessarily care for.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Time management. There is always something to do. It is finding a balance. I love the flexibility of working for myself on my schedule and creating the life I want. However, because it is up to me, I have to stay very focused on how I want to spend my time and what is most crucial for the success of my business.
What are the top 3 tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run or grow a business today?
- Find a niche you enjoy that could earn money. You don't have to make a million dollars - just enough for the lifestyle you want to lead.
- Partner with others. You don't have to do it all! There are lots of other solopreneurs that you can swap services with.
- Network! Reach out to your SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and or get involved on LinkedIn. They have helped me tremendously when I do not have the next answer. There are always new things to learn, and both the SBDC and LinkedIn have helped me find the answers quickly and efficiently.
If there was one thing you could do repeatedly to help grow your business, what would it be?
Determine you are customers are and continually go after this demographic. For a while, I was trying to be "everything to everybody." I have since focused on what I want my business to be and am marketing to the customers that want what I have to offer.
Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs and best business resources/books?
In general, I love reading about stories of social entrepreneurs who give back, such as Jerry Greenfield and Ben Cohen (Ben and Jerry's ice cream), and Blake Mykoskie (TOMS Shoes). Recently, I have been inspired by Dr. Robin Sargent and Devlin Peck because I am adding freelance Instructional Design to my offerings. (I love content development and designing eLearning!) Last year before I left my job, I read "You are a Badass at Making Money" by Jen Sincero. As I have always had a nonprofit/"give away the farm" mentality, this book changed my whole perspective.
Where can people find you online?
If you like what you've read here and have your own solopreneur story that you'd like to share then email firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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