Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shanava Saintolien, Owner of Saint Tutoring, LLC., located in Miami, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Saint Tutoring, LLC. is a tutoring company focused on providing quality math tutoring to students of all ages and academic backgrounds through individual and small-group instruction.
We provide tutoring in math courses ranging from elementary-level math (arithmetic) to college math courses (trigonometry, calculus, GRE prep, etc.).
Tell us about yourself
I birthed the company from my love for education. As a Miami native born to immigrant parents, I realized the importance of education early in my studies. Though I recognized this, I also learned how many students (myself and my peers included) could benefit from additional academic support outside the classroom.
I began tutoring my peers in chemistry and mathematics in high school, then earned a B.S. in Mathematics (with a concentration in Secondary STEM Education) from Florida State University. Following my undergraduate studies, I obtained a Master's in Public Administration. I am now studying business administration in the Professional MBA program at Florida International University.
Though Saint Tutoring is a for-profit business, the company's backbone is a social cause. I strive to impact education with each client through a live lesson, video creation (on YouTube), scholarship opportunities, or connecting students to people in my network that can aid in the college application process. I aim to enrich the lives of all students and parents (both academically and personally) that come through the company.
A percentage of all bookings goes towards the company's community resource fund, which is used to host free community events such as SAT and ACT workshops, provide scholarships to black and brown women planning to major in STEM or education, or even offer a free tutoring package to a family in need. Ultimately, I want to show the next generation how much ownership can change your life—in every aspect (ownership of your education, energy, and physical assets such as property and businesses).
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner would be the progress every single client has made by working with us. 100% of our clients have improved academically since working with us and would recommend our services to friends/family. In addition, though Saint Tutoring is based in Florida, we have serviced students/families in 5 states since our founding (NY, NC, FL, GA, and MS).
I didn't imagine being able to reach students outside of the state, so seeing how many students I've been able to touch outside of F.L. is a true testament to how strong the support is for the company (friends posting/sharing on social media or with family, client referrals, etc.).
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest part of being a business owner is finding a way to block out the noise and focus on your craft. That noise could be: unsupportive friends/family, the adversity of life, seeing other entrepreneurs on social media reach milestones you want to accomplish and feeling like your time will never come, etc.
What I've learned, though, is that the noise is just that... NOISE. So I put my headphones on and blocked them out. I remember my purpose, and what God has for me is MINE and will happen in His time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- READ! Read often. This could be news within your industry, in general business books, or on business blogs.
- Build a team! We go farther when we have a support system. You can still use 10, 20, or even 50 people. Start small. Hire an assistant (virtual or in person), an intern, or a volunteer, and grow at your own pace.
- Remember your why! There may be times you feel like giving up on entrepreneurship because it's hard and sometimes very lonely, but remembering your why can refuel you so you can keep going another day, week, year, and so on!
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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