Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in training and education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Monica Burns, Founder of Class Tech Tips, located in Jersey City, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm Dr. Monica Burns, and I help make EdTech easier for teachers and educators. My business includes a few different offerings, including professional development, marketing services, and resources for educators. I have a blog, podcast, books, and membership site, which are all designed for educators who want to stay on top of what's new in EdTech. My goal is to help educators use technology to empower students as creators, design meaningful formative assessments, and reach every learner. I support educators as they leverage the power of technology in the classroom strategically with in-person and virtual professional development opportunities.
Tell us about yourself
My teaching career began in a classroom with chalk, textbooks, and an overhead projector — and it looked pretty much the same as when I was a fifth grader. But within a few years, we traded overhead projectors for iPads, and that's a big part of the reason I've developed my business. I credit the start of my journey with a phone call from an organization that wanted a teacher (me) to tell just a couple more teachers about ways to use technology with students. I showed up to an event that wasn't "just a few teachers" but a few hundred educators looking for help as they navigated the fast-changing world of education technology. So I jumped on stage in front of a packed house and started sharing the ways my students and I used technology in our classroom. When the teachers who showed up that night started asking for the name of my blog, my Twitter handle, a link to my presentation… I didn't have an answer. I hadn't thought that my knowledge or experience was worth sharing, that it could help someone else, or that just maybe my tips, strategies, and EdTech favorites would be useful to a larger audience. That was 12 years ago! I am motivated every day to develop professional development resources - like my podcast, blog, books, membership site, and workshops - to help teachers save precious time while engaging learners with EdTech.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am very proud of the blog and podcast, which have consistent new content each week. My blogging journey started over ten years ago, and the podcast is quickly approaching the 200-episode mark.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is deciding how to allocate your time best. There are so many directions to go in and things to take care of throughout the week. You have to prioritize, delegate, and decide what to skip.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First, ask questions and listen to the answers. You can do this by reaching out to others inside and outside of your industry to gain perspective and take action. The second is to locate high-quality resources with consistent, updated content. This could include a great podcast or two, a new book, or an online course. Thirdly, say no to things that aren't in your area of expertise or the best use of your time. I have found that saying no to certain things has presented me with lots of opportunities to say yes to things that are the right fit.
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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