Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christopher Layman, Founder of Mr. Layman's Homeschool History, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

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

I am an enrichment tutor and a private teacher. I teach history and sometimes science online (and sometimes in person) and work with students and families that want flexibility and small group or 1-1 classes. I feel there is a tremendous opportunity for online private education, and I have students all over California.

Tell us about yourself

I've been teaching for over 15 years and have always been that strong teacher with an engaging class that the parents often ask if they can audit. I had done some online teaching in the past (I used to work with a boy band; some used to teach over Skype), so when Covid hit and put everyone online, I found my educational talents translated well into an online setting. I've been teaching full-time since 2020 and can't see myself returning to a traditional classroom setting anytime soon.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Working in education, I tend to measure success by way of my students rather than my business accomplishments, but just the fact that I decide how I teach and what I teach gives me control over my life and my time. I don't have 120 students anymore; I have 8. I can teach more, I'd be fine to add a few sections, but I don't have to teach 120.

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

Navigating that fine line of selling yourself without spamming your business. I'm an educator and not much of a salesman, so the scope of my business is somewhat limited simply because I don't have that sort of drive. I've been over here crafting quality lessons about the Industrial Revolution. With enough clients, I'd hire a business manager to handle all of that and my brand, but at this point, I'm content with being small.

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

  1. Make a quality product where someone can see the value in it and give it away to promote the rest of your work. I have a copy of a test that every 8th grader takes, the Algebra Placement Exam. I have it for free on my website. I have the answer key too.
  2. Be consistent with your business presence. I have a Youtube channel where I give monthly updates, but I also give fun little mini lessons about historical vampire hunting kits (that are fake, by the way) and other sorts of fun content updates.
  3. Referral discounts. If a parent enrolls their child in one of my classes and that parent does the legwork (something I'm not great at doing) of finding more students, that parent gets the discount. Let that positive word of mouth grow your business because people listen to friends far more than they listen to Facebook ads.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

You're going to be ok. Just the fact that you want to start a business means you probably have skills that you can use or fall back on if things don't turn out well. You've got this.

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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