Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kiva Schuler, CEO of Jai Institute for Parenting, located in Boston, MA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are the world's leading Parent Coach Certification program. Our students are parents, educators, health care providers, and professionals looking for a career with more impact and flexibility. We teach them to coach parents to define their values, model emotional intelligence, and parent through communication and collaboration with their children instead of using punishments, threats, or coercion to change unwanted behavior. This means that children get to journey through childhood with their self-esteem and confidence intact.
Tell us about yourself
When I was just a teenager, watching my younger brother receive harsh punishments, I made myself a promise that when I became a parent, I would do whatever it took to parent fairly and compassionately. Of course, when I had my own children, actually living up to that promise was harder than I thought! I was already a trained life coach and set off on a journey to bring together the leading experts in Peaceful Parenting. My desire for a different experience for myself as a parent and for my children led to what is now, 12 years later, a deeply fulfilling business sharing our methodology with equally passionate parents and leaders.
Every time a new student enters our program, I know that at least one child's life is going to get better. I am on fire with our mission to change the world by changing how we raise our children... the future leaders who will solve the real problems we face.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building a business that is a living, breathing testament to our values of integrity, treating people (customers + team) with honor, and delivering on our promise to train our students to be confident and capable parenting coaches. When I read the impact this work has on families, it is so humbling. I am proud to have created something that truly makes a difference in people's lives.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It's all hard. So many people want the freedom and rewards of business ownership. But that freedom isn't free. It comes with an insane level of responsibility. I've had to constantly work on my own growth as a leader to be able to handle the weight of it all...
When your monthly payroll is more than most people make in a year, the fear is very real. Learning to live with that fear and not allow it to drive decision-making has been a huge lesson for me this last year.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start small... one small win leads to the next.
- Build a business with your desired lifestyle in mind, knowing that you're going to have to exert 10x the effort you think you will to reach your desired lifestyle.
- Focus on customer results: If you can duplicate your ability to create results, then you have the ability to scale.
- Oh... and embrace your role as a marketer. I see too many business owners trying to outsource marketing too soon. Marketing is the #1 priority that we have as business owners. We need to understand it fully before handing it over to a team member or outside agency. This is vital.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Failing is required. So see failures as a necessary step forward instead of viewing them as evidence that you can't succeed. Every successful business owner I know has failed far more than they have succeeded. But we learn so much from this. So try to fail MORE. It's how you can speed up your journey.
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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