Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Eppie Lopez, Founder and CEO of Student Mental Health (R.I.S.E), located in Rio Rancho, NM, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Student Mental Toughness and Health. BE LIFE READY with R.I.S.E (Resilience. Inspire. Self-Empower). Students gain resilience and grit to tackle and achieve goals by demonstrating personal actualization skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision-making, and relationship skills. Our product is for anyone from students to adults who want to learn practical, real-life strategies for success in school and life.
Tell us about yourself
Having returned from teaching in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, I am currently in my home state of New Mexico teaching the R.I.S.E Courses with Albuquerque Public Schools and have created the online course, which is being utilized by people throughout the world.
It all began when I was much younger and saw that many people who had good academic talents and many things going for them in their lives didn't do well and slowly began to quit. Many became involved with substance abuse or just didn't have the "stick to it ness" that it took to succeed. I noticed this in my friends and family members; people who you would think would have the tools and talents just weren't reaching their potential.
I applied this question throughout my studies and applied what I learned to my life, especially in times of extreme difficulties and challenges. And what I learned is that resilience is a skill that can be developed. We all are born with this ability, much like our capacity to learn math, language arts, sciences, or any other concept. Resilience just needs to be developed much like this other knowledge. It's essential for success. This is what motivates me to share this information in a free format with R.I.S.E. Students, or anyone for that matter can learn the tools and strategies which are not only necessary but essential for success.
I was awarded Teacher of the Year in Durango, Co., inducted into the Who is Who of American Teachers, and awarded the Ray Romer Teaching Fellowship from the University of Southern California (USC) while receiving my degree in Masters in Art of Teaching. It's my continuous dedication to public service which has inspired the development of the R.I.S.E Curriculum to be given to the world for free in our non-profit organization.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'm proud to see the analytics of where our program has been and is being used. I look at the world map through our program and see most every area of the world has been using RISE with good fidelity, and many people in many countries throughout the world are learning the tools and strategies for success which RISE teaches. RISE has also been made available statewide as a resource by the Public Education Department of our State of origin, which affects more than 300,000 students. RISE was also recognized by Google Nonprofit and awarded a $10,000 per month Grant, which allows us to share this information throughout the internet.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The most difficult aspect of being a business owner thus far has been securing large government contracts for our program. It's easy for me and many like-minded people to see the value of resilience for all and the benefits it brings to lives and society as a whole; however, I would hate to think there are some who may have other ideas about empowerment for students who may have been disenfranchised within a current system. But with any business endeavor one is involved in, there must be love and belief in what you do, especially if the product is more of a cause that can not be necessarily measured in dollars and sense immediately.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Effort, Dedication, and Resilience. Steve Jobs, in his commencement speech to Stanford graduates, mentioned loving what you do in your profession and your relationships and not settling for less. I believe it's necessary to have this dynamic to propel them and sustain them through the many hours, weeks, and years of effort necessary for success. You'll need to put in the effort to reach your goal, but if you love what you're doing, then the reaching is just as rewarding as the goal achieved.
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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