Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in software development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Marc Zimmerman, CEO of Brighten Learning, located in Encinitas, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Brighten Learning is a publisher of multiple software programs and a provider of Professional Development. Our programs serve schools, organizations, and families worldwide. Our suite teaches students how to be successful in and out of the classroom by offering solutions that help learners with Social and Emotional Learning, Mental Health, and Career and Life Readiness. We deliver our content through interactive high quality animated videos and comprehensive curriculum. Our users range from 3 years old to 22 years old.

Tell us about yourself

I am not an educator; I am a former touring rock musician who has played all over the world. In 2001 my wife and I were blessed with identical twin boys. A few years later, the boys were diagnosed with Autism, and that changed everything. As they entered elementary school, we knew we had to help them with Social and Emotional Learning, but there was nothing "fun" that we found to help them make friends. We took it upon ourselves to make a program for them with the help of superstar educators. The program was called The Social Express. Once we saw that they were learning from our demo version, we knew we could help so many people who also had social struggles. Our vision is to help people live better lives. There is no shortage of people who have a disability or just need help socially. Our work never ends, and when I see great testimonials from our users, this motivates me to continue to invent meaningful programs for a community that needs that extra support.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Wow, this is a tough one to answer as I have conquered many barriers to be where we are today. I would say the biggest accomplishment as a business owner is to stay in business! We are now in our 11th year and growing every year.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing about being a business is the old 80/20 rule, spend 80% of your time doing what you are good at. Unfortunately, as business owners, we often find ourselves spending our time in the 20% column and doing things that we are not very good at. Time waster and not the way to grow your business.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Do your homework and make sure there is a market for your business.
  2. If you are raising capital, always raise more than you need.
  3. Hire Fast & Fire Fast!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Work hard, play hard. Don't get so consumed in your business and neglect your personal life.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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