Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Allison Barchichat, owner of East Cobb Tutoring Center, LLC., located in Marietta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
East Cobb Tutoring Center is not like other “shopping center” tutoring places. When you walk in, you will not see students sitting around a big table trying to get the attention of one or two tutors. We utilize mini-classrooms to eliminate distractions, and as teachers, we understand the unique learning needs of our students. We get to work at the very first appointment and use the materials students come in with (we also have a ton of teacher resources for students that come in empty-handed).
We will not waste your time (or money) with diagnostic testing – the kids do plenty of that at school. Instead, our data comes from what students have already produced – work samples, progress reports, and anecdotes from parents and teachers. The work we do is specifically tailored to each student – we don’t use a cookie-cutter curriculum for any age level. We offer weekly private tutoring with the same teacher every time or appointments as needed, either way, there is no contract.
Finally, our tutors are real teachers! It takes more than just being “really good at math” to be an effective educator. The tutors at East Cobb Tutoring Center are highly specialized and experts in their teaching fields. The pandemic changed the way we do business in a good way. We are now able to offer tutoring online as an option for regular tutoring or as a backup plan for our in-person clients.
Tell us about yourself
In 2010, I had three babies (really) and a teaching career in Cobb County. With the kids in daycare, I would have been cash-negative. Anticipating a return to teaching high school math, I started tutoring in my house to keep up with the material and maintain relationships with my colleagues. It didn’t take long for word to spread, and I quickly ran out of time in my day to tutor students. Telling a parent that I couldn’t help was the worst feeling. I was taking calls from parents stressed beyond capacity because they were feeling the academic stress of their kids. It was time to get some help.
The first person I hired, Doyin Ayoola, is still with East Cobb Tutoring Center. It was important to me to find another teacher to help with tutoring, and Doyin added experience teaching elementary school in Cobb. Before long, we both had full schedules, and we grew organically from word-of-mouth referrals from our raving fans.
With each new classroom teacher added to the staff, I was able to increase our course offerings as well as our availability. Today, we tutor just about any content area for kids as young as kindergarten and as old as college. I have maintained my standard of only hiring teachers, and we have been able to help thousands of families reduce their academic stress.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
There was a time when I was working by myself and running the show out of my basement! Now with a brick-and-mortar, incredible web presence and a team of nearly 30 classroom teachers alongside me, there is no stopping us.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are always ideas buzzing around in my head - sometimes it's hard to turn that noise off and focus on other things!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Never stop learning, hire a coach, and don't give up!
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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