Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Malia Phelps Waller, an educator, behavior analyst, play advocate, and homeschool mentor and evaluator based in Burke, VA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

PLAY to Learn with Malia Phelps Waller offers homeschool support for homeschool moms of high energy, hands-on learners through 1:1 mentorship, online courses, and the PLAY to Learn Homeschool Hub. The hub is a monthly membership that teaches you how to prioritize your needs and the needs of your kids. We will talk about tips and tricks to thrive in your homeschool day. Learn strategies for meeting your kids where they are in their learning and add fun to your homeschooling by bringing play to every day. The hub is a safe space to share, collaborate, learn, and grow with others.

A month in the hub looks like:

  • Monthly live masterclasses and guest expert speakers covering all things homeschooling neurodiverse learners.
  • Monthly live coffee chats and accountability challenges.
  • Carefully curated purposeful play packs for quick and easy activities to add fun to every day.

Tell us about yourself

Homeschool mama of two, licensed Virginia Special education teacher, board-certified behavior analyst, and coffee lover who is passionate about meeting kids where they are and adding play to every day.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I used to set up classrooms and teach my stuffed animals and toys. When I was 9, my twin siblings were born, and I was introduced to not only what life was like as a big sister but what it was like to grow up with a physically disabled and neurodiverse sibling.

I took my childhood love of playing school and pursued a career in education. I spent over a decade supporting neurodivergent learners in early childhood classrooms and providing assistive technology support to teachers, students, and parents before coming home to teach my own children.

I know it can be isolating when it feels like the battles you go through in learning are specific to you. I understand the challenges of meeting individualized needs and am here to cheer you on as you build the homeschool of your dreams.

My passion for meeting others where they are and having fun while doing it stems from my real-life experiences, and nothing makes my heart swell more than celebrating others' homeschooling success.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment has been being able to grow a business from scratch and support others while being able to be present and available for my own children.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The hardest thing about being a business owner is setting boundaries - both around work time and family time.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Go slow to go fast. Break things down into small manageable chunks.
  2. Build white space into your schedule for rest and creativity.
  3. Build your business around your family life rather than family around the business.

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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