Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in training and education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Renée Westlake, Founder of Westlake Educational Consulting & Mentoring, located in Bozeman, MT, USA.

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

Everything this consulting and mentoring business does revolves around student leadership. Much of the work is teacher training, how to blend student leadership into course curriculum, how to mentor students of various personalities, and how to help students mentor other students. School districts hire me to present workshops, keynote address, and work with teachers in work sessions. Teachers hire me as a coach to help them take their teaching to the next level.

Tell us about yourself

My first career was as a music/band instructor (27 years), then a school district administrator (13 years). When I finished my doctorate, my research on the benefits of mentoring student leadership in ALL students, regardless of personality, became a powerful motivator to give teachers the tools to develop the mentoring of leadership through the coursework they teach.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

By far, my business's most inspirational accomplishment has been working with tribal leaders, addressing Native American school dropout rates by developing student leadership, and tweaking our successful program to be culturally appropriate for our native students. Over the past few years of work with these tribal leaders, we are witnessing a positive decline in dropout rates for native high school students.

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

For all entrepreneurial owners who are growing and changing with increased experience, the hardest part is in taking on the right amount of clients: enough to allow the growth to happen through varied experience and keeping clients few enough to give 100% to each individual or school district.

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

  1. Have a clear vision & mission, but be willing to outgrow that vision & mission.
  2. Be genuine! There is no need to puff up what you can do to gain a client.
  3. Balance hard work with organized rejuvenation.

Where can people find you and your business?


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