Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in training and education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Venkates Swaminathan, Founder and CEO of LifeLaunchr, located in Santa Rosa, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
LifeLaunchr provides expert coaching to help students find their best-fit college and get in. Our coaching has helped students get into top universities in the U.S., U.K, and Canada. One client said it's like having a "professional counselor in the family."
Our proven process is based on intensively researched templates for every step of the process: college selection, academic fit, extracurricular activities, essays, financial aid, scholarships, recommendations, and more. For each student, our credentialed coaches create a personalized task plan that coaches and students update as they work through the process. Students receive text message reminders of key deadlines in the process, including tests, applications, and scholarships.
Students, coaches, and parents use LifeLaunchr's tools to find the best-fit careers, majors, colleges, and scholarships.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Venkates "Swami" Swaminathan, and I am an expert on the college admissions process. We help students find their best-fit college and get in. I am the founder and CEO of LifeLaunchr, whose coaching has helped students get into top universities in the U.S., U.K, and Canada. One client said it's like having a "professional counselor in the family." I am a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling and the Higher Education Consultants Association. I am also part of the Admissions Practices Committee for the Western Association for College Admission Counseling.
LifeLaunchr was founded based on my experience with my daughter Grace going through the college admissions process. I am an immigrant who came to the U.S. from India. But I am also a highly educated entrepreneur. As we went through the process, I realized how complex and confusing the college admissions process is and how difficult it is for students to find the best fit.
We realized that her high school counselor, who was doing a great job, was nevertheless overwhelmed by her big caseload. Upon some research, I realized that the average high school counselor has a caseload of over 470 students. With that many students per counselor, most students cannot get the advice they need. And since the admissions system is complex, students can lose options without knowing it.
I also experienced the anxiety and stress about costs that many families share as the cost of college for many families now approaches $120,000 after financial aid. Helping families navigate this process and find colleges that balance affordability, the likelihood of admission, and a great fit has become a passion.
I decided to start LifeLaunchr to help parents and students navigate the system and get the information they need when they need it. That's why LifeLaunchr combines a virtual coaching system with text-based alerts, monthly priorities, and real-time answers to questions with highly experienced, credentialed coaches.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I take pride in helping students find great outcomes. To me, my biggest accomplishment is that we have helped thousands of students find their best-fit college and be able to afford it. I'm happy when students navigate the process without too much stress and in a way that maximizes their outcomes.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a business owner, you're in charge of everything. You have to play so many roles - technologist, coach, manager, salesperson, and support person - that it can be challenging to keep your long-term focus. Keeping a sense of perspective and building a working system is critical to success.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Ask yourself many times over, "Am I solving a real problem?" The biggest reason for business failures is that they aren't addressing a real need.
- Make sure you take the time to understand your customers. What do they value in the solution you're offering? How do they see the problem?
- Get as much experience with real customers early as you can. If you're going to fail, fail quickly so you can learn from your failures and develop and grow.
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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