Startup Stories: Becoming Location Independent with Tutors Nirvana

Startup Stories presents Tutors Nirvana! Co-Founder, Dona Athavaria

Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.
Tutors Nirvana is an online software and marketplace that helps tutors grow and market their private tutoring businesses. With this software, tutors are able to list their profiles in a searchable marketplace, create assignments, keep track of scheduling and invoicing, as well as manage students with ease. In addition to providing professional software, Tutors Nirvana aims to be a resource for tutors by sharing insightful articles on their Facebook page, Twitter account, and blog! To put it simply, Tutors Nirvana is about supporting tutors.

What inspired you to launch your business idea?
I have worked as a tutor on and off for years. But when my husband and I relocated to British Columbia without jobs, I fell back on tutoring to pay the bills. But being new in town and having no contacts, I quickly found that the only way to be a successful tutor was through tutoring agencies. The local agencies took a high commission and used outdated methods of booking, billing, and matching services. I was frustrated that they controlled my hourly rate and working hours, and I knew that I could create something better. And so the idea for Tutors Nirvana was born. Tutors Nirvana aims to make the tutoring experience better for everyone.

I also wanted to create a lifestyle for myself and my family that would allow us to travel without being tied down to a pay check coming from a 9-5 kind of job. Running an online business gives my family the freedom and flexibility to explore the world without having to worry about vacation time!

What problem does your business or organization solve?
More and more students are in need of tutors! With education cuts and increased competition for higher education in North America and abroad, the global tutoring market is expected to reach $102 billion by 2018.

Students are in need of qualified tutors, so that they can grow and succeed in a competitive environment. Tutors are in need of a professional and affordable solution, so that they can build successful businesses, and in turn, reach the students who need their help!

What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how are you working to overcome it?
Marketing has been a big one for us. Like so many self-funded start-ups, its not enough to just have a great idea, the challenge has been getting our product and name out to the right people. We’ve done the social media route, with Twitter, a Facebook page, and a blog, but it’s taken a lot of hard work to gain followers. We’ve realized that the best way to get our product out there is through the development of relationships with high profile bloggers, reputable organizations, and influential individuals who people trust. So that’s the path we’re taking now.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
I love reading the other stories of other women who are busting their butts to live their dream. As a stay-at-home mom I find myself feeling quite alone and isolated in the business world. But Project Eve reminds me that I’m definitely not alone and I find strength in knowing that there are other mom’s out there who have managed to find a balance between family life and building a business.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or startup story.
Successful tutors are not only knowledgeable about their subject matter, but they’re excellent communicators who relate well with their students. With an increase in the demand for tutors, there will be more competition in the industry. Professional and personable tutors who invest in developing their teaching skills and expanding their knowledge will stand out in the tutoring industry.

Company: Tutors Nirvana


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