How being a teacher has helped me as an entrepreneur
September 24, 2012
Well, I’m about six months into this entrepreneurial business thing, and I have to say, its been quite a ride. The day we had our first dayhome sign on, I literally ran across the room and JUMPED on my husband in a full body hug I was so excited! Then there have been the days when my inbox is empty, no one comments on Facebook and one of our dayhomes cancels their registration. Less jumpy.
This year has felt very similar to my first year of teaching in terms of the learning curve. And as I said about that year, its less of a curve and more of a vertical incline practically straight up! Starting something new is hard and scary and exhilarating, and I have definitely learned along the way. Thankfully, I have found many of the skills I learned in the last 10 years as a teacher have helped!
Numero uno – be organized. I think being a teacher, planning for the needs to multiple kids in multiple classes and across multiple grades forces you to be organized. I am always needing to think a day or two, at a minimum, ahead of both my classes and my business. I also have long term plans and goals. Where do we want to be in a week, a month, six months and at the end of the year. I have a large desk calendar where I write down my ideas and goals and “To Do” lists so I can see, at a glace, what needs doing when. I follow the exact same pattern for www.dayhomeregistry.com. This also allows me to go back and see what we accomplished and what I might need to modify for next time.
Be Flexible! Organization is great and important, but if you can’t change quickly to respond to the needs of 32 teenagers on any given day, as a teacher, you are sunk! Too true with a small business as well. We constantly ask for feedback from dayhomes and parents about what we are doing, and try and make changes accordingly. Its been really interesting to look back at the list of what we thought we needed from a year ago, and compare it to what has revealed itself as a need right now – they sure aren’t all the same! I’m sure that 3 years from now, it will be different yet again.
Give yourself a break. There are days when my 32 teenagers are just NOT into learning French, no matter how much I want them to be. There are lessons that bomb, classes where everyone has ants in their pants, and I go home with a headache. These are not the norm, but they happen and I have learned to let those days roll off my back (mostly). With the business, I have to constantly keep reminding myself that we have only really been in business for about 4 months, and that the growth we have seen so far is awesome! I sometimes get really down when I compare us to other small businesses that have hundreds of clients and are generating significant revenue. Usually, they are in their 3rd, 4th or moreth (is that a word?) year of business. On those “less jumpy” days, when things seem bleak, I have to take a step back, take a deep breath and remember we are still so young in the business world.
Keep learning. The world these days changes at a drastic pace, and we need to keep up, as best we can. I have to keep abreast of what is current in the teaching world in terms of best practices, and what is current with my students. The same is said of business practices. The way business is done now is VERY different than the way it was done even 10 years ago. I have been learning all about Facebook pages, Twitter, accounting, marketing, technology, etc. I try and book one block of time a week for reading or watching in order to do better with Dayhome Registry. Sometimes the tips are great, sometimes they really don’t work for us, but even when a new idea bombs, I still learned something new!
The previous four points could be applied to your life as a fellow enterpreneur, dayhome provider or parent, and are four traits I’d really like to instill in my children as well. As we continue along this journey as entrepreneurs, I’m sure I will have to keep reminding myself of them, especially on the hard and hectic days.
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