Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Christian Heath, Founder and Owner of Love the SAT Test Prep, located in Austin, TX, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I help high school students get massively higher scores on the SAT and ACT tests with increased confidence on test day! My customers are the parents of ambitious, college-bound 10th through 12th graders.
Tell us about yourself
I was working for someone else in my early 20s, and I realized that I got paid the same amount no matter how much I produced, while on the other end, the owner received more and more profits the harder I worked for him. It simply clicked at that moment that I needed to be working for myself. No resentment, just a simple moment of clarity. From there on, it was a matter of learning by getting started as quickly as possible. Through journaling and experimentation, I uncovered a niche that overlapped my unique skills, interests, and personality with a service that other people really needed.
My motivations have evolved over the years, but I'm lucky to absolutely love teaching and working with my students in SAT classes and 1-on-1 lessons. It's just simple fun & satisfaction to see them have those "a-ha" moments of insight and also to be able to find ways of relating to my students with all sorts of different interests and personalities. I'm also motivated to support my family and move toward my personal financial goals. Plus, setting my own hours (to some degree - you can't always choose when customers and employees need your help and attention!) is awesome, and I try to always remember to appreciate it!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Gotta be the collection of positive testimonials and reviews I've received from students and parents. Either that or putting out my two-volume "SAT Math Mastery" textbooks on Amazon - nearly 1,000 pages of material that I wrote, edited, published, and promoted completely on my own.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Putting out endless fires. Whenever there's a problem, the buck stops with you. There's literally no one else to fix things except yourself. You'll get good at making decisions quickly (with limited information, plenty of risks, and always having to compromise) and taking action to bring that decision into reality. Luckily, this also helps you grow as a person outside of business :)
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Thriving businesses are built on what OTHER people need to buy - not on what YOU want to sell them. Someone has to get out their credit card and willingly pay you - easier said than done. The most common mistake I see friends making is imagining they can start a business based on their own pet projects and whims. Instead, you MUST craft your offer from a buyer's point of view. People just won't give you their hard-earned cash unless they really need what your business is selling. It's got nothing to do with your personal dreams and desires - it's all about them.
- Keep it simple and highly focused. You only need ONE great product or service to succeed. It's much easier to promote and sell a single, focused product. Don't spread your eggs across a lot of baskets. It's complex and difficult, and you'll always have a single product or service that outsells your others by 5 to 1 or more. Find that single winning offer as soon as you can, then build everything around it (think McDonald's and hamburger meals - simple, famous, profitable).
- Despite what I've shared in my first two tips, there's one more thing. If delivering this product or service doesn't fill you with fiery joy and excitement, don't even think about it. This whole project will take much longer than you expect. It will be much harder than you can imagine. The only thing that will get you through is if you love what you're doing. I cannot overstate this. Burnout is one of the biggest risks of starting a business. If you don't love your daily work, you will burn out and fail.
All three of these tips need to be followed, or you are in for a world of pain down the line. But get them right, and you'll be gliding on rails.
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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