#SelfStarterStories: From professional dancing to launching a tutoring network
This week's #selfstarterstory features Hannah Ogahara, Founder of Love Learning Tutors.
#PickYourselfUK caught up with Hannah to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey.
What was your last job?: After graduating from UCL where I studied Chemistry, I followed my passion in dance. When I became a professional dancer I needed to supplement my income. I worked for Alexandra Soveral, an organic aromatherapy skincare company and did various tutoring jobs (privately and for agencies).
I found tutoring to be very rewarding and enjoyed sharing what I found exciting about Chemistry in new ways. Where possible, I'd get my students to stand up and move around the room, using dance, movement and singing to get ideas across.
Seeing my students grow in confidence and achieve better results at school made me understand that not only do these methods help students understand the concepts, but the fact that they were having a great time in our lessons changed their mindset towards a subject that they may have disliked previously.
When did you choose to PICK YOURSELF instead of waiting to be chosen by someone else?: I began getting more private clients than I could handle alone, so I set out to create a team of fun tutors with a contagious passion for their areas of expertise.
Students learn by traditional methods at school and this doesn't cater to everyone. Having the luxury of one-on-one time, our tutors create sessions where students can learn through play and can connect concepts with real-life examples (which may not be on the curriculum) for deeper understanding. Most importantly our students enjoy the process which means they engage with the material more.
What was the most challenging part of starting a business?: Doing most tasks ourselves and becoming proficient in new areas such as marketing and finance.
What is your favourite business book and why?: Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki. His can-do attitude is inspiring.
Do you do everything yourself? What do you outsource?: No, I have a partner and an intern.
What is your favourite marketing tool ?: Ahrefs
How do you market your business?: We have tried many different methods of marketing, none of which can beat word of mouth. Unfortunately, word of mouth isn't something we have much control over. The most we can do is ensure that we are providing the best service possible.
When you first launched, how did you get your first paying customers?: Through my personal clients' referrals.
How did you get your first traffic to your website?: Adwords
Nominate one person/friend who believed in you from the start, and what would you like to say to them today?: Ryan Ramirez - Thank you for believing in us and being my rock on this Love Learning Tutors journey.
What would you say to someone who is toying with the idea to start a business but haven't yet?: The first year is the hardest. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Many people start but give up before things pick up. Remember that things take time, so put in the work and be patient.
If you could have dinner with one entrepreneur, who would it be and why?: Bill Gates. Not only is he hugely successful in business, but his philanthropic work is second to none. He has saved more than 6 million lives through his charitable work. He is a hero. I would like to make the same sort of impact on the world.
To stay up to date with Hannah's entrepreneurial journey, please find her on her social media channels below:
Hannah has qualified for the #PickYourselfUK Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award 2018. If you'd like to enter yourself or nominate a small business entrepreneur for this award, please submit your story below.