Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Desiree Panlilio, Owner of Encouraging Teens, located in Saint Petersburg, FL, USA.

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

At Encouraging Teens, we help teens achieve academic and personal success through personalized coaching and an accountability structure that includes engaging parents to build stronger relationships with their teens. Our customers are tweens, teens, young adults, and parents.

Tell us about yourself

I am a parent. I have two amazing daughters. But like every parent here, we can all agree that the teen years are challenging. To add to our challenge of raising teens our daughters attended three different high schools, from Connecticut to Florida to Bahrain. I quickly realized my girls were struggling with who they were and what they needed. They were having trouble articulating what they needed to be successful academically and socially. As a parent I wondered if I was doing a good job and how I could help my daughters make the swim team, make friends, get the classes they wanted and be accepted to college. It was a daunting task and scary. I had a choice at that moment, to be the aggressive mom or take all that I have learned professionally to empower and encourage my girls by teaching them communications skills, organization skills, study skills and for them to know their values and be able to articulate who they are and what they needed. As a parent, I wanted my girls to be young adults that were self-confident, problem-solving, and resilient, able to take on the world. So I coached and taught life skills to my girls and I was able to watch my girls grow in confidence and resilience as they figured who they were and what they wanted. Watching teens grow into who they are is what motivates me each day. Watching a teen sharing that they have achieved their goals and seeing their personal growth in confidence is something I love.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Realizing that the products and courses and 1:1 coaching I do make a difference. Parents and teens share how understanding values, personal mission statements, goals, life skills, and communication skills helps them move into the future that they want for themselves.

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

Trusting yourself and taking the leap to try. It is a daunting task and you are the one making the decisions and choices that help your business to grow. Having the resilience and strength to realize your mistakes and be willing to try again.

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

Go for it. Start where you are. Your business has to be a passion that you have and build it and people will come. I am amazed every day at the outreach from parents.

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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