At TextNow, we believe that when opportunity calls – you need to have the right number to answer it. That’s why we support small business owners and side hustlers with a second phone line, a dedicated business number, and the ability to create a professional voicemail message – all for free. This month, we’re speaking to some of our amazing customers who are working hard to make their dreams a reality.
“I started my business to give back.”
A pre-med and biology grad from Los Angeles, California, Deijane Banks wanted to put her knowledge to good use and earn money while studying for med school. With parents and students trying to figure out online classes, virtual tutoring service My Heart for Learning was born. We spoke with Deijane about starting a business during the pandemic and juggling helping students and being a student.
Tell us about My Heart for Learning.
I started offering virtual tutoring in August over Zoom. Most of my students are in first or second grade, but I also have a few students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade – and even one in kindergarten. I help them with a variety of subjects, including English, history, and science. This semester I’ve had a lot of students who need help with math.
I have a degree in biology and pre-med, and I’m currently taking phlebotomy classes as part of my post-doc. My goal is to go to med school and become a doctor. I wanted to start my own business to pay for school, and the pandemic created an opportunity for virtual learning.
I started out by putting up flyers in schools and promoting my services on social media, and my first set of business cards are in the mail! Classes are every day starting around two o’clock when school ends, and then go to classes myself of weekends.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I wanted to start my own business to give back. I remember growing up, I had tutors, but I felt like they didn’t really get me or understand the classes I was taking. They would explain things and run through a lesson plan, but they didn’t try to get to know me or what I needed help with. I feel like I’m still close enough to being a student that I can relate to kids and help them with their schoolwork, but also be someone for them to talk to.
I also wanted to help parents who are struggling during the pandemic trying to work, teach their kids, and keep up with their other responsibilities. Tutors are expensive – I wanted to offer a more affordable option for people in our community who needed a bit of help with their kids’ classes.
What have been some of the biggest challenges of starting a business during a pandemic?
There were the normal challenges of figuring out where to start. I knew I had a great idea and a service people wanted but finding students was difficult at first. Social media was a great platform for getting the word out, and I also put flyers up at a local school. From there, I had to figure out what they were learning and develop lesson plans to help them.
The biggest challenge caused by the pandemic has been breaking the ice with kids over Zoom and not in person. It’s harder to create a connection and build trust over a computer than it is in person.
How does TextNow help you with your business?
Having a dedicated phone line for my My Heart for Learning helps me keep my business and personal life separated and more professional. When my TextNow number rings, I know it’s a business call. It’s also an easy way to stay in touch with parents about the lessons and their kids.
Having a TextNow number lets me maintain my privacy when I’m distributing flyers or handing out business cards in public. I feel safer knowing that it’s not my primary number.
What’s the future of My Heart for Learning?
My business has been gaining a lot of traction on social media and I’ve been hearing from a lot of parents who are interested in getting their kids tutoring help. As the business grows, I’m going to bring on my sister to help with teaching. I’m also working to register as an LLC.
How can people reach you online?
The nice thing about virtual tutoring is that I can help students anywhere, not just in Los Angeles. if you would like to talk about tutoring services, parents can email me at [email protected]. You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter.