Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christina Lazar, Founder of Lazar Center, located in Charlotte, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the founder of the Lazar Center. We offer individualized tutoring for students in grades K thru 12, which includes reading and math support, executive function skill lessons, and test prep for college entrance exams. In simpler terms, we cover everything related to academics, from Kindergarten to Calculus.
Tell us about yourself
I taught in the classroom for several years and always offered after-school tutoring services. While on maternity leave, I continued to provide tutoring services at the local library. I love supporting students in a way that creates breakthroughs and identifying their strengths and struggles along the way. I saw the need for my services on a larger scale and was able to open my first location in Charlotte, NC, in 2007. We've been operating at this location for the past 15+ years and opened our second location in Tega Cay, SC, just last year!
We focus on providing a consistent, relevant, and enthusiastic atmosphere that students are excited and motivated to attend. I absolutely love what we do and what we are able to offer the community.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am really invested in my students and, on more than one occasion, have helped advocate for students to school administration and special education teams. I even volunteered as a substitute teacher for a math class where several of my students were struggling, and there wasn't another qualified person available to step in at the time. My brain can quickly assess a student's situation and know if and where support is needed. I have seen several students who were not only struggling with grades but were also lacking academic confidence and feeling completely lost do a complete turnaround. Seeing those students thrive is why I do what I do each day. That- and being invited to weddings of former students so many years after they have left the Lazar Center. That is the most touching thing I never expected.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Balancing and managing family, fun, and self-care while running a business with multiple locations and a team of 20+ employees are some of the hardest things that come with being a business owner. Every entrepreneur knows there is never an off-switch. Often my family will find me taking late-night phone calls from worried parents or an 8 am IEP meeting for schools struggling to implement accommodations in the classroom, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I even plan to open additional Lazar Center locations in the future.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start small- but START. If you wait too long for all the stars to align before making big decisions, you'll never make them.
- Be genuine and begin with what you do best. When you are ready to hire employees- hire for your weaknesses first, and always be prepared to jump in and handle anything and everything that anyone on your team does. Oh- and make sure that your team feels appreciated and valued because they are the backbone of what your company does and the impact it has.
- Make sure you've got a great hairdresser to deal with all the gray hair. Jokes aside- be sure to lower your expectations about how glamorous being your own boss is. There are a lot of incredible opportunities it comes with, but there is also a significant amount of sacrifice.
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.