Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Evelyn Corley, Founder of Thrive International Academy, located in Athens, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Hello, hello!! I'm elated to tell you that my business, Thrive International Academy, is changing the world through 1 to 1 online tutoring, homeschooling, and mentoring. We serve students K through College for their diverse learning needs, and we serve them from the comfort of their homes. We serve families needing something different and fresh in education- whether your learner is neurodivergent or bullied or if your family loves to travel, there is a safe, loving space for you here at Thrive.
Tell us about yourself
Absolutely! So, I actually taught in traditional public schools for 12 years, and while I loved every connection with my dear students, I hit overwhelmed and a breaking point. When over half of my 8th-grade language arts classes were reading on a 2nd and 3rd-grade level, I knew there was a brokenness in the system. All students deserve individualized, 1 to 1 attention, with a teacher mentor who sees them, hears them, values them, and loves them. I knew traditional education wasn't cutting it - and isn't cutting it - for any learner who happens to be different.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Wow! I'm so proud of every time one of our students grows as a reader; I have to say. However, my biggest shining accomplishment was winning Meta's 2022 Changemaker Award in Washington, DC, at a conference in which Meta selected 500 businesses around the United States to attend. This honor changed the trajectory of my life, and I'm forever grateful.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Feeling lonely! At first, when my teacher, friends, and learners went back to traditional school that very first year of my business (2019), I felt so lonely and broken. Was I doing the right thing? What if I fail? What if I have made the wrong decision here? I'm incredibly grateful to say that these feelings are long gone, as I now have a team I work closely with that I call my sisters. Sydney Morales, Jen McMullen, and Jasmine Brown, you are all angels. Thank you for loving me, working with me, and serving our students and families with grace. We are who we are at Thrive because of all of you. I love you.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don't go it alone. Find your tribe.
- Know that you are worthy, and if this is your dream, you are feeling this light and fire in you for a reason. Follow that drive.
- Do what makes your heart sing! Don't be afraid to outsource something if it isn't your jam.
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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