How TeacherEntrepreneur.com Began
Thank you for visiting the blog of TeacherEntrepreneur.com.
I am a Teacher Entrepreneur!
I am Craig Sloan, the sites founder. I am a Teacher Entrepreneur, which is simply a Teacher who is a small business owner. I have spent the last 15 years as a teacher and administrator in the public schools of Northeast Indiana. I have also spent the last 9 years engaged in a number of business ventures, most notably the ownership and operation of a rental property business that has grown from 4 units to 75 units during that time. I am not unique. There are Teacher Entrepreneurs in virtually every school in the United States and they are involved in almost every business you could imagine.
I should take just a moment to define what I mean by the word Teacher. When I use the term Teacher I am using it broadly, to encompass classroom teachers, counselors, school social workers, and administrators; people who hold a professional educators license. Though our roles differ, we are all teachers at heart. I believe my small business ventures have been a huge blessing in my life and in the lives of my family members. I know many teachers who are intimidated at the thought of starting or owning a small business. They think things like:
- I’m not a risk taker
- I haven’t been to business school
- I’m just a teacher
- I don’t know where to start.
I also know many Teacher Entrepreneurs who understand, it’s not rocket science. Yes it takes planning, common sense, people skills, budgeting and time management, BUT those are skills that most teachers already have. Keep in mind, you are an educator, you can LEARN the things you don’t currently know. To give you a little encouragement about your odds of success in small business ownership I’ll share a little bit more about my background. The extent of my formal business training consists of one high school Accounting class, in which I earned a D (my counselor put me in the class because I needed an elective) and a high school Intro to Business class, in which I believe I earned a C (also placed in that class because I needed an elective). As a high school student I knew almost nothing about business, didn’t think I would ever be in business so I did the bare minimum to get by, as you can tell by my grades.
In college I studied Education and not even real education, I majored in Physical Education. I don’t say this to demean anyone, I say it in jest. We P.E. majors know what the rest of you educators think about us. You are secretly jealous that we get to come to school in shorts and sweats and “play all day” while you have to dress more formally and “work.” In addition to my PE major, I had minors in Health and Psychology.
After teaching for a few years, I realized it was really hard work and it didn’t pay very well. My wife and I wanted to start a family and we both wanted her to be able to stay home with the kids, so I had to figure out a plan where I could work less and earn more, then it hit me. I’ll become an administrator! As all good educators know, the only people that work less than PE teachers are the administrators that sit around the office, talking and drinking coffee all day!
I completed my Master’s degree a little while later and set off to look for my first administrative job. I was fortunate enough to obtain a job as a High School Assistant Principal just a few weeks after completing my licensure requirements.
Early in my career as an Administrator, a friend gave me the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. That book introduced me to the concept of buying assets, spending your money on things that make you money. As a result, I became very interested in business, business ownership, and investment real estate. Rich Dad Poor Dad changed my life, much to the dismay of my beautiful wife. In her eyes I went from being a stable person focused on being a life-long educator, to some crazy person that wanted to start businesses and own “rental properties.”
I shared all of this personal background to say, I am not a Harvard MBA. I have the same training and the same background as most educators. My greatest asset in becoming an Entrepreneur is that I am a nerd. I love to learn. I have spent the last decade reading, listening to audiobooks, completing home study courses and most importantly, engaged in various business enterprises.
Why Am I Blogging?
It has been almost ten years since I first read Rich Dad Poor Dad, and the interest it piqued in business is still going strong. Over the past decade I have learned many lessons the hard way, through trial and error. I would have benefitted greatly from a network of Teacher Entrepreneurs that I could have used as a resource, but no such network existed. Recognizing the value such a network would offer to teachers and Teacher Entrepreneurs alike I founded TeacherEntrepreneur.com.
I believe I can be a valuable resource to other Teacher Entrepreneurs and more importantly, I believe I can develop a national network of Teacher Entrepreneurs that can be a valuable resource to all teachers. If you are a teacher but not a Teacher Entrepreneur, please support Teacher Owned Businesses whenever possible. If you are a Teacher Entrepreneur, please support other teachers by giving discounts when they patronize your business. Let’s all find ways to work together and support each other.
My goal in starting the website is to create a supportive community of teachers dedicated to helping each other. It seems like there are so many people working against teachers right now, I want to be someone working for teachers. I became a teacher, because my life was impacted by great teachers. All through high school I was a kid who didn’t like school and didn’t perform. My parents didn’t think I would graduate from high school and think it is amazing that I became a teacher. I was smart enough, I just didn’t care, but I had some great teachers who did care. Because of them, I became a teacher. I know what it feels like to be that kid sitting in class who hates school and just wants to quit. I became a teacher, to help that kid. As I have talked with colleagues over the past several years, I now see teachers sitting in classrooms, who hate coming to school. They feel trapped in a career that has changed dramatically in the last decade and is now sucking the life out of them. They got into teaching to help students, to contribute to their communities and to make a difference. Teachers still love working with students, but they are frustrated by things like:
- High stakes testing
- Political agendas
- Merit pay
- Unrealistic expectations
- The list goes on and on.
I became a teacher to help students struggling with school. I understood how they felt and wanted to be a source of help and encouragement. Now, I have created this website to help teachers struggling with school. I understand how they feel and I have the same frustrations as many of them. Again, I want to be a source of help and encouragement.
As a result of my experiences as a Teacher Entrepreneur, I feel I can help frustrated teachers struggling with school. Being a Teacher Entrepreneur has given me a sense of freedom. It has made me feel like I am not at the mercy of politicians, school districts, angry parents and a host of other people that feel like teachers are not doing enough. I have a life outside of education and my income is not dictated solely by my job as an educator. I can serve people through my business in much the same way as I serve students at school, but I make the rules, I don’t have them dictated to me or forced upon me.
Please don’t misunderstand me I am not here to try to say that teachers should start a business so they can leave education. Our country needs great educators now more than ever. I am simply saying that I believe teachers lives can be improved through entrepreneurship. I believe:
- Teachers can start and run successful businesses
- Teachers can be a great resource for each other in business
- Teachers can find some freedom through entrepreneurship
- Teachers should support each other’s businesses
- We can create a supportive community of teachers dedicated to improving each other’s lives
What Will I Be Blogging About?
I will be blogging about all things Teacher Entrepreneur. I will be blogging to support and promote Teacher Entrepreneurs as well as their businesses. I would like to have guest bloggers and other Teacher Entrepreneurs contribute content about their businesses, lessons learned, mistakes to avoid, etc. I would also like to use the blog to provide a resource to teachers and Teacher Entrepreneurs.
I would like to stimulate discussion about how our lives can be improved through the development of a national network of teachers and Teacher Entrepreneurs. As educators, we all understand the value of constructive dialogue and debate. There is much to learn from our group and as the numbers grow so too will the value of those discussions. Finally, I will be blogging to support our website.
I want TeacherEntrepreneur.com to become the premier resource for Teacher Entrepreneurs and a great online community where teachers can interact, find and support each other’s businesses, act as resources to help each other start, grow or sell their businesses and most importantly be a place where teachers feel valued. It is my hope that TeacherEntrepreneur.com will provide an avenue for those considering starting a particular business to network with other Teacher Entrepreneurs in the same business so they can act as a resource for each other. For instance, if Joe the fifth grade teacher in Baltimore wants to start a Screen Printing business, he can contact Jill the senior English teacher in Kansas to get some advice based on her 10 years in the Screen Printing business.
How Can You Leave Feedback?
Please leave feedback by clicking on the link at the end of each post. It is my hope that we can act as a resource for each other. If you are knowledgeable in the subject of the post, please contribute, if you have a question, please ask it. It is my hope that the blog will grow to the point that it would make sense to begin a discussion forum so much of the conversation could be reader directed. There is only one of me, and I am happy to share what I know, BUT according to Census Bureau statistics there are seven million teachers in our country. Let’s engage as many of our colleagues as possible to create a supportive community that will be a great resource for all teachers! Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog post. I’ll look forward to seeing you at TeacherEntrepreneur.com.