Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Raymond Kimball, Founder and CEO of 42 Educational Games Coaching and Design, located in Gilbert, AZ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I work with higher ed faculty and corporate educators who want to incorporate game-based learning into their educational spaces but aren't sure where to start. I assess their classroom and institutional contexts, find an existing game that meets their pedagogical goals, and make any necessary tweaks to ensure that the game runs perfectly in their areas. And I do it all for the price of a single conference attendance! I don't focus on any one particular type of game. Digital games, tabletop games, and role-playing games all have their strengths and weaknesses. The perfect game is out there for every client. Let me find it for you!
Tell us about yourself
I'm a retired U.S. Army officer who spent ten years teaching at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA), including creating the position of Chief of Faculty Development there. When I decided to retire, I wanted to continue both the game-based learning efforts I'd started there and the faculty outreach work I'd conducted. I decided the best way to do that was to create a coaching role that helps educators see the incredible power of game-based learning and what it can do for them.
My chief motivator is seeing what game-based learning has already done for clients. I regularly see and receive stories of how educators have gotten beyond the drudgery of lectures and used games to inspire new creativity and inquiry in their learners. They are my inspiration and the chief focus of why I do what I do.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I'm proud to be a supporting member of several different networks, including the Games-Based Learning Alliance and the Reacting Consortium, that advocate for game-based learning all around the world. I think that I bring a unique perspective to each of those networks and help them get their jobs done in a way that they wouldn't otherwise be able to do.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Knowing what to do yourself and what to outsource. As a small business owner, my time is limited, and I have to put my efforts where they matter most. Sometimes, that means letting go of something that I could do but would take an inordinate amount of my time that could be better put to other purposes. The great thing about this is that I can often find other small business owners with complementary skills, and we can help each other out!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know your worth. Be candid with yourself about what your hourly rate should be, and be frank with others about asking for it. It can feel really awkward doing that at first, especially if you're coming from public service roles where hourly rates aren't really a thing.
- Find existing networks in your field and plug into them. You will find a lot of people doing work adjacent to yours that will inspire you, challenge you, and help you think more critically about your work.
- Be honest about what you want to get out of your business. If you want to grow a supercompetitor and take over the world, great! But if you just want a quiet little side business that keeps you engaged, that's totally OK too.
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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