Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Virginia Horan, Founder of The Centered Student LLC., located in Babylon, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a college professor who noticed students struggling more with getting work done despite having access to all the latest technology. It turns out today's students don't really know how to manage their time. I created a time management workbook - a planner with instructions and weekly success tips - that also links to short video tutorials that provide academic and emotional support.
Tell us about yourself
This project evolved out of my concern for students I was teaching in a college seminar class, which is a ten-week extended orientation type of course. Their phones don't teach them time management, and the "seek and find" aspect of using a digital device to manage schoolwork slows them down as well. I taught one class how to use a paper planner, and they said it was "life-changing." That led me to create a planner with a superior layout compared to other academic planners that are little more than notebooks, and I decided to produce and sell the planners and accessories on Shopify. It is a passion project for me because I am also an academic chair and teaching professor.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
More than tripling our sales, realizing that there is a need for this product and that our customers rate it highly and rely on it. It's making a difference in the lives of students who use it.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Distinguishing your product and marketing in the internet age. It's extremely difficult to break through, and the nature of social media goes against the kind of reading and understanding that would help customers understand that this is not "just" an academic planner but an academic success system.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Don't assume social media will result in instant success (Be very careful with how you proceed). The customer is always right, even when they are upset. Take a breath before responding. Give it time and be flexible and open to new ideas.
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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