Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Emily Cherkin, Founder of The Screentime Consultant, LLC, located in Seattle, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am The Screentime Consultant! I help families go from tech-overwhelmed to tech-intentional. I offer group learning intensives, private 1:1 parent coaching, school presentations, and professional development workshops. I am also writing a book for parents about tech-intentional parenting strategies.
Tell us about yourself
Before I became The Screentime Consultant, I was a 7th grade English teacher. I loved working with middle schoolers but noticed a growing challenge with increased access to smartphones and social media. During my first year in the classroom, none of my students had cell phones. By the time I left teaching in 2015, most of my students had smartphones. But when I talked to my students about responsible phone use, good digital citizenship, and so on, they pointed out that their parents were struggling to manage their screen use. That's when I realized: this isn't a kid problem; it's an adult challenge. Using my background in teaching and growing realization that screens were entering the classroom, combined with my own experiences as a parent navigating our increasingly digital world, I launched my consulting business in 2018. Not surprisingly, the pandemic added fuel to the fire, and I have been very busy!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am proud of the relationships I have built with my clients and schools. I have also been featured in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Good Morning, America, and The Today Show (twice)!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I find that managing all the business end of things can be very overwhelming, and I am learning to delegate and ask for help. I feel fortunate to have found a great support team to help me on the back end so I can focus on what I love doing-- teaching and writing!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My top three tips for someone looking to start, run, or grow a business are what I also tell parents about screentime challenges:
- You're going to make mistakes. That's okay. It's great role-modeling, and it's how you learn!
- You have to be willing to do the hard things. When we play it safe, we don't grow.
- Relationships matter most. Spend time cultivating the right connections, and don't waste time trying to hustle for a high follower count. At the end of the day, it's the little moments that people will remember about us!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I would love to share one of my tech-intentional tips! When you want to find a way to manage your media use better, my favorite tip is to "Live your life out loud." This means when it comes to how we use screens, we narrate what we do as we do it! It can be as simple as, "I'm reaching for my phone to check the weather" or "I'm bored, so I'm scrolling through social media." When we speak out loud about what we're doing, we're more likely to be accountable to ourselves, we're modeling how we use screens (for those children who may be watching), and we are showing how screens are more than just a single-use item-- they are tools as well as toys!
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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