Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nadine Ruzzier, Founder of Nadine Ruzzier Consulting, Inc., located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the founder of Nadine Ruzzier Consulting, Inc., which provides professional development for educators in literacy instruction. I collaborate with administrators, coaches, and teachers in order to strengthen classroom practices. Additionally, I work with school districts to provide webinars for teachers and parents focused on literacy and social-emotional learning.
Tell us about yourself
I started my career as a teacher, thriving on my time spent with students in NYC classrooms. After several years, however, I longed to expand my reach and expertise. I began working on my doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University. While I was completing my degree, I was a supervisor of student teachers in NYC classrooms and an instructor in the pre-service teacher education department. I loved being back in classrooms, collaborating with student teachers and their cooperating teachers at a wide variety of schools.
My enthusiasm for teaching and passion for learning led me to work as a literacy consultant. I love collaborating with teachers, schools, and families. I'm motivated to contribute to school improvement efforts so that ALL children can receive the education and support they deserve.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has been taking control of my own destiny. I've worked with a couple of agencies that liaised between myself and schools. When work was scarce during the pandemic, I found that I was able to draw upon the connections that I'd built over the years. The agencies had few opportunities during the pandemic, but I was able to continue working based in large part on the relationships I'd built with principals and school districts over the years.
This was a wake-up call for me. I found it empowering to realize that I didn't need an agency. I can do this for myself. I also discovered that I am way more versatile than I ever realized. I now offer virtual webinars to educators as well as parents. It's really expanded my reach and enabled me to work with educational communities outside of my own geographical region.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Self-promotion can be challenging. I'm basically a low-key, humble person. I'm highly educated and have a great deal of experience in my field, but it can feel awkward touting myself as the literacy expert that I am.
As a business owner, I've come to realize the importance of self-promotion and have become more comfortable advocating for myself and my work on social media and beyond.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Grant yourself grace. We all make mistakes, and it's best to use these mistakes as opportunities to grow and learn.
- Challenge yourself. I have experienced the greatest joy and success in doing things that initially felt uncomfortable and overwhelming.
- Embrace a growth mindset! It's never too late to learn something new. Just because you can't do something YET, doesn't mean you can't prevail after putting in a bit of effort.
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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