Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Judith Jolma, Founder of Sophia Homeschool, located in Tulsa, OK, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is called Sophia Homeschool. I teach parents how to homeschool.
My customers are:
- The New Homeschooler, who may lack confidence, will go from feeling inadequate to confidently homeschooling their children.
- The Idealistic Homeschooler, who dreams great things for her children, will learn to create a dream board for her family so she can be intentional about her children's academic, social, and spiritual development.
- The Overwhelmed Homeschooler, who has been homeschooling for years but never quite found a center whose life is a series of reactions to crises with little time to enjoy the moment and way too many regrets. It is not too late for her to become intentional and create a homeschooling lifestyle that works! I show her how to make the most out of her homeschool budget, streamline her schedule, take advantage of her community and make the home her most powerful learning tool.
- The Burned-Out Homeschooler, who started strong but can't quite get motivated anymore, discovered how to fill her cup, end the homework battles, and return joy to her child's education.
What do I offer? I teach parents how to homeschool. Through the Foundations of Homeschooling Masterclass and personal consultations. I provide training on how to get started, how to keep a successful program going, and what to do if you are ever struggling. Parents learn to work with their budget, schedule, learning style, teaching style, and resources, so each member of the family has his or her needs met— including moms! Sophia Homeschool helps them create a homeschool lifestyle that works and that does not require mom to give up all her own dreams.
We offer easy-to-follow, step-by-step training to learn absolutely everything you need to build a homeschool lifestyle that works. From how to start to how to prepare your student for college, create lesson plans, ensure you know how to choose the right curriculum for each student each year — it's all here, and much more.
Tell us about yourself
I was homeschooled K-12 and always saw my education as a gift -- a gift that I wanted to pass on to my own children. But when I talk to mothers who did not grow up this way, they struggle terribly with homeschooling. It makes sense; they have not lived it like I have. I believe all parents want the very best for their children, and they want to give them the very best education possible. But they feel a deep sense of inadequacy about taking control of their children's education because they do not know what "a good education" actually looks like when managed in the home. Many parents think they need professionals to do it all for them because they simply don't know what exactly they are supposed to be doing. If they did, they would gladly step into the role as the hero of their child's education.
I have the advantage of knowing the homeschool lifestyle from both the child's perspective and the adult's perspective. But most people don't have that. I want to channel my experience into a gift for others. Doctors get training. CEOs get training. Athletes get training. Tradesmen get training. But who teaches any of us to educate our children? (I don't mean simply teaching them to read. I mean also equipping them with study habits, thinking skills, emotional control, and social graces so they can mature into successful and happy adults.) When I look around the homeschool world, I see ample resources for students but little (if any) training for mom and dad. That is why I founded Sophia Homeschool -- teacher training for homeschool parents. Home education is a gift I can give to more than just my own children. When I see parents say things like, "This is life-changing," or "My son has stopped crying about school every day," that keeps me going. It is more than a job, more than an income. It is a way to provide financially for my family while creating a better life for other families.
As if that were not enough, this is the kind of work that actually enhances my own time with my children -- unlike many careers that may be available to mothers. This work allows me to keep my own parenting and educational skills sharp as I raise a family. They see my work and work alongside me. It is almost like another school subject for them. I am modeling entrepreneurship for them, and they are catching fire. Running Sophia Homeschool does not force me to choose between homeschooling and having a career. I get to do just as I teach: homeschool without giving up my own dreams.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I enjoy two massive wins as a business owner: The first is how I've overcome my aversion to the digital world. I consider myself a tech idiot. When it comes to digital tools, I'm simply lost. Despite that, I built my own website! It is a small thing, but to me, it was empowering to overcome such an obstacle.
The second, of course, is seeing the transformation in my customers. Their reviews always move me to tears, and I think, "How could my efforts have that much impact on these families?" It is surreal, and I am deeply grateful for the privilege to play such a meaningful role in their lives.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
When running a business, you must wear many hats, most of which fit poorly. Managing all the tech is beyond tedious to me. Marketing is another hat I don't like wearing because I loathe social media. Outsourcing is great -- when you have the financial leverage to do so. In the meantime, you have to do everything that includes things you don't enjoy and don't do well. When doing all the things, it is impossible to do them all well. It is challenging to see quality suffer because you are spread so thin. At the end of the day, Sophia Homeschool is a business, and it has to provide for my family. When a company is young and fiscally unstable, a conundrum presents itself: How do I hire the team I need to increase revenue so I can afford to pay the team I need?
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I give entrepreneurs the same advice I give my homeschool clients: Know your purpose, know yourself, know your client (or student), and know your resources. These are the building blocks that lead to clarity and keep us from being overwhelmed. The opposite of clarity is anxiety; business owners don't have time for anxiety. When we know exactly where we are going, what we can (and want to be doing), who our customers are, and the tools available, we are free to grow organically, one step at a time. Few businesses experience immediate, meteoric growth. They grow like children -- slowly and often imperceptibly. Trust the system. Move forward one step at a time. Daily check your compass to be sure you are going in the right direction. Then one day, look back and say, "Wow! Look how this has grown!"
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I mentioned that my modeling entrepreneurship has been like an academic subject for my children. Let me elaborate a bit on that. As my children watched me build my Masterclass and host live webinars, they caught the fire for this kind of work. Now they are both working on their own Youtube channels and dream of making them into revenue streams. My 14-year-old has a channel called Brickstoic. It is all about LEGO. He demos his own creations and then sells the plans! He says it's "sic." Meanwhile, my 12-year-old is working on launching a Youtube channel showing his sleight-of-hand skills and is designing custom playing cards featuring his own unique art. My daughters want to get in on the action, too (one wants to do quirky commentary on the news, and the other wants to teach how to take care of animals. But they are a bit young.). Last spring, my crazy ambitious kids decided to use their entrepreneurship to transform our family stress into a family triumph by starting a dog wash business.
Here is what they wrote up together:
We are four kids: (ages 8, 10, 12, and 14.) We are learning to run a business and earn some cash this summer. We have a big goal to wash 1,600 dogs by the end of August! Why such an ambitious goal? Well, we are sick and tired of being stuck at home and want to be able to go fun places -- like field trips and stuff. In 2020 we moved from Virginia to Tulsa. She sold her car so we could make the cross-country journey together in Dad's pick-up. Mom and Dad thought it would be easy to get a new one once we settled in. But then everything got really expensive, and Dad still drives us everywhere we need to go in his little cab. There are six of us! You have no idea how squished we are. It's becoming kind of stressful, so we kids thought we would help them out. Mom and Dad have a family policy: "We don't take on debt." So, it's going to be a looong time before we can get a new car. "I have an idea," Mom said. "If we all work together this summer, maybe we can earn enough to get a second set of wheels." She told us that it would be really hard work but that she would help us out. We are homeschooled, and starting and running a business is a great experience for us. We've already learned about building a website. You can see that if you go to Flooferdoodle.com (Cecilia came up with the name). And we are learning about money management and customer care and all kinds of important life skills. All while helping the family with a really important goal."
You might call this their first failed business attempt because they did not wash so many dogs, and we still do not have a second car. But how cool that they know that their pursuit of happiness is under their own Controle!
Where can people find you and your business?
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