Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in consultancy but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Stephanie Stollar, Founder of Stephanie Stollar Consulting, LLC., located in Cincinnati, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I support educators in learning how to get better reading outcomes. The Reading Science Academy is a membership community for learning how reading develops, why some students struggle with learning to read, and how to prevent and intervene in reading difficulties.
Tell us about yourself
I have had a variety of positions in education over the past 30 years. I left a VP position to start my own business, so I could have more flexibility and control over how I spend my time. I have always focused my career on reading. The low literacy rates in the US are appalling, especially given that most reading problems can be prevented. Typical teacher preparation programs don't provide training that is based on reading research, so teachers and administrators are implementing ineffective reading instruction. I am motivated every day by the response I receive from my members who tell me they not only learn the reading research through the Reading Science Academy, but they feel supported to try new instructional approaches, and most importantly, they are getting results.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In two years, I have exceeded my previous income, doing work that brings me joy. I knew nothing about running a business when I started. The learning curve has been steep, especially related to technology and social media. I am proud of myself for taking risks and working through the challenges.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
For me, the hardest thing about being a business owner is moving forward in uncertainty. It is difficult to make decisions when you don't feel you have adequate knowledge and skills. It takes courage to trust yourself to keep moving forward, even when you feel afraid.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Focus on the intersection between your talents and the problem your customers need to solve.
- Know your limitations and seek help as soon as you can afford it.
- Find mentors whose experience you can draw on for guidance.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I am grateful to live in a country where starting a business is possible for anyone. If I can do it, literally anyone can do it. I appreciate all of the entrepreneurs before me who generously shared their knowledge in podcasts, videos, and blogs, who created products and services that support my business, and who demonstrated that you don't have to be perfect; you just have to start.