Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in career development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sabrena Doherty, Co-Founder of Inglés Con Killian, located in San Juan de Alicante, Alicante, Spain.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My husband and I run an online English academy on the east coast of Spain, and our clients are businesses and professional individuals who need to improve their spoken English for their work and career opportunities. We run company classes which include one-to-one focused classes for high-level managers or individuals in the company who need to improve very fast, and we run small group classes for the staff. Besides this, we run small groups of maximum 4 students, which focus on fluency, confidence, correction of mistakes, and 100% speaking.
We also have an online learning platform with courses, challenges, masterclasses, and workshops, so all our students can follow a programme to improve as quickly and efficiently as possible from home. This platform is also useful for students who cannot attend class (for financial or time reasons) as they can practice online in a very flexible way with our support. In this way, we can cater to everyone regardless of their level of income - from international CEOs to students or people looking for work - which is something that is very important to us.
Tell us about yourself
We moved to Spain from Ireland in 2011, and we started working as English language teachers with Vaughan systems, a prestigious language company here in Spain. As time went by, we became freelance workers and developed our own style of teaching, which focuses on helping students to reach fluency with the language, feel comfortable in business settings, and correct their errors. Our focus is on getting people to speak and teaching them how to bring English into their lives so they can learn faster and more naturally, as traditionally, students learn the grammar and to read and write English but don't have the opportunity to practice. I love what we do because we have been able to show students that it is possible to improve their English fluency and work in English, which increases their confidence and their career opportunities.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishments are to have created a business model that incorporates all economic levels. We teach in companies, and we help companies to use their training budget allocated to them by the government - this means that all of their employees can access English training with little or no cost to the company. We teach small groups of 4 students - small enough that everyone practices their speaking but big enough for us to be able to keep the cost at a minimum for the service provided. We also run an online learning platform that includes a learning roadmap to follow as well as conversation groups to join at a very reduced fee - this makes English language learning accessible to those who need flexibility and those who cannot afford our group or individual classes. We have been able to develop a business model that has excellent value for money, and for this, I am very proud, and I continue to try to improve on a daily basis.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The organisation! Trying to organise everything, and keep on top of all the things to do, has been a challenge. As we have grown, I have tried to put processes in place to keep everything running smoothly and to ensure that everyone receives the same personalised service from us as they always have.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I would say to someone who wants to start a business that you just have to do it. We said yes to every opportunity, even if we didn't know how we were going to do it - this made us learn fast! However, it is important to be very organised. We also put procedures in place to cope with everything and to keep track of everything.
- Think of the client first - try to give the best service you can to your client and think of what they need and how you can deliver it.
- It is also important that you charge what you are worth - this way, you will remain motivated and try to give 100% at all times.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.