Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with David Baldwin, Founder of Didikanku (My Education, My protege), located in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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

Didikanku (My Education/Protégé) is an education company that specializes in coaching and mentorship programs for all stages of life. Our clients range from high school students, parents, young professionals, and executives/business owners.

Our services include:

  • Helping teenagers to build a well-rounded student profile for college applications. Coaching helps clients identify what subjects they are passionate about exploring, and then we connect them to mentors who work in those fields.
  • We help fresh graduates, and young professionals create a career development path and use our business network to provide them with more job opportunities.
  • We have clients who are company executives or business owners and help them identify areas that may be holding back or new ways to increase productivity and Profitability.

Tell us about yourself

About me, I found my purpose during my last year of university in Indonesia. I was offered a job Teaching English Part-time. I was majoring in psychology and thought it would be a good experience to understand educational psychology better, so I started out teaching children and teenagers, then teaching adults; I then moved to China and took a position as service manager for a language center and gained experience in training and mentoring, also managing not only student but also staff experience, expectations and complaints from students, service staff and sales staff. I then moved back to Indonesia and took a position as project manager for opening new learning centers and then as National Sales Director; I then had a falling out with the CEO due to empty promises regarding fair compensation based on performance, so I decided to change companies and took a position as Business Development manager overseeing Indonesia and Philippines Market for an education consulting company based in Singapore, I then had a disagreement with the CEO when he was asking my team and me to lie to clients and university recruiters, which when I brought it up that it was unethical and unfair to put people in a position that made them feel uncomfortable, the response given by the CEO was, and I quote “You work for me so you must do as you’re told even if you think it’s wrong, and if you don’t like it, you can go start your own business,” My response to that was to hand in my resignation and was determined to start my own business.

I then sat down and started to write down what all my first-hand experience had been in various positions as a teacher, trainer, manager, director, and consultant and came to a realization that in all these positions, I enjoyed what I did because I was helping people develop themselves, whether it was teaching English, training staff to be better or teaching them new skills and techniques that will add value to them in any job, managing communication, expectations and responsibilities between departments and stakeholders to achieve a common goal, being able to sell a service and sell with confidence passionately was because I believed that that skill learned would help improve one’s quality of life and provide more opportunities in the future. However, I also considered my last CEO’s words, “Do what I tell you to,” and realized that those are the main methods we use when teaching, training, managing, and selling; we are telling people what to do for either our own purpose or because that’s what the company wanted.

In all my experience, what made people learn a new language or skill or even accept new company policies faster was if they came to their own conclusion that it was beneficial for them; the same with having different departments, vendors, and stakeholders complete a project is if they all realize that it benefits them and will make their life easier and make the learning process or working process more efficient and effective this is when someone really develops and understands when they are involved in the thought process and believe in a product/service.

This is what then led me to explore coaching and then become a certified coach. When we coach, we don’t tell, we ask deep questions that make people have to use critical thinking, and then they really become more responsible and accepting of what needs to be done for their own benefit. That is what motivated me to start my own company and build a network of coaches and mentors who, like me, are passionate about developing people and providing them with solutions as a way to help improve their quality of life. What continues to motivate me is when a client engages in our services, and I see them when they accomplish their goal how it affects people around them and provides a positive impact for others around them and for me to know that I am doing something that I believe in and don’t have to compromise my ethics and beliefs.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is that now my company is about to partner with a global company with proper infrastructure and our own platform for providing educational, language, and coaching services online without limitations. To start something from nothing and then see it grow and attract other people who believe in what you’re doing is positive, and the fact they trust my company which has only been established since 2020, is encouraging to know that there are others out there willing to help you grow and develop because they have the same vision as you and believe in you, it really doesn’t get better than that? Well, maybe it will; we’ll see.

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

The hardest thing is believing in yourself and that you can make it happen if you are willing to put in the time, effort, and sacrifice. For me, I was second-guessing myself from the moment I resigned; I was worried there would be no monthly paycheck anymore, and I have two kids to support. What happens if I don’t get any clients, I would be putting all my savings on the line, and if I fail, I am the only one to blame, although for me, that turned into motivation; I wrote down my plan was convinced that my past experience and the current network was enough, I mean I had a plan, I did well working for others, why would I fail? Then doubt set in again when registering the company and hiring your first staff member and the commitment that comes with it, again I had to convince myself that it was either risk having a bad boss or risk finding out I am a bad boss; I decided if those are my choices I’d rather bet on myself and at least if I do fail I’ll learn more about myself. Then you start making calls and meeting people to promote your services and get hints of interest, but no one has given payment yet; I had experience making sales, so I brushed it off; hesitation and rejection are part of the sales process, then a month goes by no one has made the payment, two months still no payment. My self-doubt by this point weighs so heavily on me that I start writing up a new CV and checking job postings, then midway through the 3rd month, I get a call from an old student I had, I position my services as coaching done in English, and I’d do it bi-lingual to ensure it was focused on coaching and could have the added benefit of practicing English. She signed up for a six-month program priced at $5000 and made a full payment that day, and that’s when all my doubts and fears turned into excitement, also I am happy to say she is still a client to this day and has even had me do coaching for her staff.

The first couple of months of no money coming in were torture, and it was all because I kept doubting myself; however, I always tried to use that doubt and fear to push myself to work harder and make more calls, so in a way, it was necessary and made me work harder, and now I have sales people I use this to encourage them to

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

  1. Make sure you have a business plan and know your finances. Have everything budgeted and make sales forecasts.
  2. Make a schedule for yourself and your staff; you need to know how many meetings you can do and what calls you can make. Then put a very conservative conversation rate that is realistic, not optimistic.
  3. If you have made up your mind to start something, don’t ever give up; there will be doubt. Use it as a motivator for you to work harder and be more creative with how you’ll promote your product or services. Know yourself and your skills, and take courses to learn more about anything you worry about; the more you learn, the more confident in yourself you’ll be.

Where can people find you and your business?


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