Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journeybut unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Arianne Craig Jolla, Co-Founder of HYPE Academy Private School & Academic Resource Center, located in New Orleans, LA, USA.

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

I am one of fewer than 500 Black female private school founders in the United States. I travel the country speaking, facilitating workshops/panel discussions, and conducting coaching sessions for WOC who are pioneers in their families and their communities.

Tell us about yourself

I am an educator who left the classroom to start my own school- literally and figuratively. I left the public school system due to what I consider 'academic malpractice.' Instead of leaving education altogether, as most people do, I decided to start my own school. HYPE Academy Private School now has ten graduates (soon to be 12) and will soon celebrate 12 years in existence.

I didn't have a blueprint. I just knew how important it was to live out my purpose by any means necessary. I'm motivated both when I see my K-12 students do well and when I get the opportunity to help my adult 'students' overcome the barriers that stand between them and the change they seek.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I've defied the odds. Born into poverty as the eighth child of a single mother who managed to fend off mental health issues and domestic abuse, I fully embraced my mother's unspoken belief that education would be our family's way out. I'm working every single day to honor her memory by changing our family tree.

I am determined to ensure that the generations coming after me will enjoy better opportunities that they've created for themselves.

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

One of the most challenging things about being a business owner is learning on the job. I didn't have an example to show me how to build what I was building. That means that my mistakes are weightier than most.

I still take risks and make mistakes, but I believe that if I had had someone in my life to walk me through some of the basic principles of entrepreneurship, I would be much further along.

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

  1. You need people. Yes, you're the individual who signed up for the race and who actually has to do the work required to win. Just remember that, even when it doesn't look like it, there's an entire tribe of people who want to see you make it to the finish line and who will do everything in their power to help.
  2. There's no such thing as a small opportunity. Do all that you do with excellence, and people will notice.
  3. Stay in school. Some of your most valuable lessons will come disguised as pain and discomfort. Learn from it and shift accordingly.

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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