Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in training and education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kym Kent, Director of eXtend Homeschool Tutorial, located in Bowie, MD, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a twice-a-week homeschool tutorial providing a la carte core academic and extracurricular classes to homeschool students in grades 1 through high school. We support homeschooling families as they educate their students in a supportive, vibrant, non-traditional learning environment.
Tell us about yourself
As a mom of six homeschooled children, eXtend Homeschool Tutorial began as an idea when my two youngest children were in 2nd and 4th grades at an all-inclusive tutorial in our area. Modeled in part after other area middle and high school tutorials, I envisioned a differently structured environment that would allow homeschooling parents of elementary and middle school students to choose only those classes they needed, thereby creating a homeschooling program that met the needs of their individual child. These classes would provide a level of rigor and excellence, equipping students with fundamental skills to succeed in whatever future endeavors they pursue. Additionally, I envisioned a program that fosters a nurturing and grace-filled environment, a true community of families, that provides resources and support for the families that would walk through our doors. Finally, I was committed to providing a program that is financially accessible to any family whose heart it was to homeschool their children. This is how this program began. Over the next six years, I watched in amazement as we grew and added grade after grade until this most recent year, when we extended into high school. Providing this exceptional and unique program is what motivates me every day. Knowing that we are accomplishing this in ways that far surpassed our initial expectations, seeing students and families thrive as they meet their goals both educationally and holistically, THAT'S what motivates me. The results of students and families who are engaged in learning and are succeeding both educationally and in life, reaching goals of graduation and success beyond high school, provide the fuel for me to continue the work of this program.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Truthfully, this is. My previous answer really spells it out beautifully. There's no way I could have ever envisioned eXtend taking off as it did. I simply saw a need for my own family and responded by creating a program to not only meet my children's needs but to help others in our community. Now, we have an incredible team of tutors/instructors serving over 180 students and their families on two campuses (elementary/middle and high school), and our impact has gone far beyond the classes we teach. eXtend also exists as a resource to area homeschoolers through the annual homeschool fair and used curriculum fair. We envision an even greater impact in years to come as we seek to expand our outreach to meet the needs of homeschoolers in our area and beyond.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I don't know that there necessarily is a "hardest thing." Being a business owner creates multiple opportunities for personal and professional growth as you face and overcome challenges as they come. Ultimately, there will always be challenges; there will always be hard and seemingly hardest things. The question really is how you respond to those challenges in a way that causes you to grow and get better. How you answer that question determines the trajectory of the life of your business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Tip 1: Have a vision that goes beyond yourself, one that you can clearly articulate, and one that has at its core helping others.
Tip 2: Build your business with a team of people that are committed to your vision for the long haul. That is soooo important.
Tip 3: Create a model that is compassionate and sustainable. It's possible to be sustainable and not exploit the people you are serving (that's a pet peeve of mine... sorry, not sorry.)
BONUS Tip 4: Be courageous (or crazy) enough to believe in the impossible!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Sooo, I am the one who has crazy faith to believe that anything is possible. I also am the one who believes that your best work comes when you take yourself out of the equation and think of how you can best serve others.
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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