Today’s Teacher Entrepreneur profile is Jason Bodnar of Engage Games. Jason is a school colleague of Maria Hallman from Thirty-One Gifts. I’m excited to be able to share his story and help him promote his business. Connect with Jason at http://www.engagegames.net or http://www.facebook.com/engagegames or follow him on Twitter @Engagegames or on Instagram @Engagegames.
How long have you been an educator and what positions have you held?
I’ve been in education in 13 years. I’ve been a high school science teacher, an assistant principal, and a principal. I’m currently back in the classroom after four years in administration.
Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
I love taking on new projects and challenges. I was excited about trying something on my own and developing my own ideas.
What is the name of your business and where is it located?
My business is Engage Games and it’s based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Why did you choose your particular industry?
I really enjoy board and card games and wanted to create something unique in the educational game space. I felt like I had something to offer by being a veteran educator and having background in what type of games are effective in the classroom.
Tell me a little bit about your business?
Engage Games is a company that develops card and board games for both the classroom and the home. Our first product is Element Poker, which helps players learn about 52 key chemical elements while a variation of poker.
What is the best business advice you have ever been given?
Start small. Entrepreneurs have big dreams and it’s easy to get in over your head and spend too much money on a massive project. Before you know it, you may be drowning in debt or have invested too much in a project that is shown to not have a viable market.
What is the greatest challenge of being a Teacher Entrepreneur?
Balance. I want to be a great teacher and that takes a significant amount of effort. But I’m also very motivated to build my business. Doing both requires extra attention to life balance, which of course is a challenge for all educators.
What advice would you give to other Teacher Entrepreneurs?
For other teacher entrepreneurs starting out, do plenty of research. Are you sure your product or service has a market? Can you use a website like Kickstarter to help establish an initial market and make sure there’s demand for your product? What Facebook groups, blogs, and forums can you build relationships with?
What is your vision for your business?
My vision is to offer several games that teachers incorporate into their classrooms and for people to enjoy playing in their homes all over the world.
How will you know when you have achieved your vision?
I’ll know my vision is achieved when my games are everywhere and I’ve built a global business.
What would you do differently if you were to start another business?
When I started I tried to make a game that was way too complicated and I spent too much money on developing my prototypes. There’s really no reason to spend a lot of money right from the beginning.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you or your business?
I just want to invite your readers to connect with me whether they’re interested in purchasing my games or simply talking about their own business ideas. I love networking and helping others out.