Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Naomi Banta, Founder of Connected Planet Learning, located in Fort Collins, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Connected Planet Learning LLC is an educational company that is dedicated to the creation and distribution of free/affordable quality, standards-based educational workbooks, lesson plans, and resources for homeschooling parents and students in grades PK-6, as well as teachers of students in grades PK- 6.
In addition to being differentiated, skill-based, and multi-disciplinary, our "back to basics" curricular approach is rooted in "organic" learning that is aimed at nurturing respect for ourselves (valuing our roots and unique cultures), respect for others (global citizenship), and respect for the earth and creatures that share our planet (environmental responsibility).
Our curriculum and resources are also unique in that they are created in a CYOA (Choose Your Own Adventure) format so that students can learn skills and access standards via individualized learning pathways. Each week students are provided with three learning pathway (topic) choices through which they will learn that week's skills. Lesson plans provide specific and scripted guidance on how to teach via these pathways, and workbooks provide materials tailored to each learning pathway.
Our educational resources are designed with student voice and choice in mind, thus giving students agency over their own learning, stimulating curiosity in the world around us, and establishing a joy of lifelong learning.
Tell us about yourself
Education is my purpose and passion. This is what motivates me daily to do what I do. I imagine using technology to not only provide digital curriculum and educational resources for homeschooling parents, students, and educators for grades (K-6) but also to level the educational playing field by providing equal access to free/affordable, quality, and inclusive education. I imagine providing a differentiated, skill-based, and multi-disciplinary curriculum that is rooted in "organic" learning that is aimed at nurturing respect for ourselves (valuing our roots and unique cultures), respect for others (global citizenship), and respect for the earth and creatures that share our planet (environmental responsibility).
I imagine partnering with global technology companies, humanitarian organizations, and communities to bring quality educational resources to remote/underserved locations worldwide. I imagine building an educational community in which young students know who they are within their families, communities, and cultures while actively seeking to become better global citizens and caretakers of our planet. I imagine being able to network and collaborate with local teachers to create a culturally immersive curriculum for students in various languages.
I imagine an elementary school curriculum that provides access to essential foundational skills, supports critical thinking and provides a means by which students around the world can communicate and collaborate with one another. I imagine students discovering their own hidden and untapped talents through knowledge. I imagine giving voice to that talent in a way that encourages the formation, creation, and sharing of innovative solutions to community, national, and world problems. I imagine empowering young people so that each can say with conviction, "I have value. I matter. I am believed in. I have a voice. I can make this world a better place." I imagine!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is learning how to use the various technologies at my disposal to create digital products and share them in a user-friendly way. While it has been challenging, this has also been extremely rewarding.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
In my opinion, the hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is allowing yourself to set protected boundaries around family time. It is easy to get so focused on running a business that one forgets to prioritize work/life balance.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Identify your purpose/passion/dream and find a way to make money with it in a style that is uniquely yours.
- Identify mentors and surround yourself with a support/accountability system of people. Make sure they can also give constructive feedback. You want people who can handle hard/reflective conversations honestly and sincerely.
- Persist. Growing a business takes time. Don't give up.
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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