We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley DiMercurio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I left my traditional job as an elementary teacher when my son was two years old. At that time I was working for a popular multilevel marketing company and making a few hundred dollars a month. I realized that I didn’t love having to depend on others to grow in the company and I really missed teaching. On a whim, I applied for an online teaching position with VIPkid teaching English to students in China. I got that job and I fell in love with teaching online. This position opened the door to online education for me. I started researching teaching online and looking to see if anyone was teaching reading online. That opened a whole new world to me. I decided to start my own private tutoring business so I could set my own hours, and my own rate, and be fully in control of my time and the growth of my business.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
When I first launched my tutoring business, Your Reading Tutor, I only had 1 client. It was my niece! She lived in a different state than me and I wanted to be able to help her with her reading skills. I started sharing what I was doing with my friends and family and I was able to quickly take on 2 more students. I decided to set a goal of 5-7 students. I was still doing this part-time because at that time, my husband worked full-time in a corporate job and I was a stay-at-home mom to two kids under 5. I was growing my business through organic social media marketing and was now getting more inquiries than I had space for in my limited schedule. I was proud of the business I was growing and felt good adding that extra income to our home.
I still remember the moment everything changed, I was standing in my daughter’s preschool and my husband called to tell me he’d lost his job. Effective immediately. I panicked! Moments ago I was feeling confident and proud and now I didn’t know how we were going to pay our bills.
People offered to help me find a teaching position again or a similar full-time job in public education. Instead, I decided to bet on myself, and I went all in with my business. In the next 6 weeks, I doubled my client load and my income. In my first full year in business, I grew it by 150% and that was all the momentum I needed to keep going.
I think part of my success in those early years was due to the fact that I had the external motivation of supporting my family after my husband lost his job. I also have a strong work ethic and put in a lot of hours in those first few years. It wasn’t easy, I had a lot to learn about growing an online business. I did a lot of work on my mindset through reading personal development books, I joined other communities for virtual teachers and I leaned on my support system of family and friends.
I learned to fight my anxiety about being an entrepreneur by taking action and celebrating wins along the way. That gave me more confidence to keep going. I learned to look for the lessons in the things that didn’t go well and I just never quit.
Over the last five years, I have worked to grow my brand beyond tutoring to develop multiple income streams. I have been a featured speaker at virtual summits, launched The Reading Project podcast, created digital products, and hosted a virtual summit called Teachers Make Money Online. I get to tutor students all over the country and work with other educators that want to grow an online business. I am doing work that challenges me and that I love. You can’t beat that!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this to my husband, Sam. He is my biggest fan. He has always encouraged me as I build my business. He is a hands-on father to our children and pushed me outside my comfort zone when I need that nudge. Behind the scenes, he has edited videos, and podcasts, and talked me through difficult business situations. He is my in-house IT guy and always makes sure I have the best internet and tools to do my job. I couldn’t do it without him.
Other: https://www.instagram.com/yourreadingtutor/ https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-reading-project/id1550177356 https://yourreadingtutor.com/teachers-make-money-online-summit-sign-up/