Company Website: www.JumpStartTutors.com
Chrissybil Boulin is the Founder and President of Jump Start Tutoring, an at-home and online private tutoring company that serves students in grades K to 12 with test prep, college entrance, and educational consulting in South Florida and across the U.S. We caught up with Chrissybil to find out how her company had progressed since she participated in the Founders First accelerator program.
Can you tell us about when your business was founded and what was the inspiration behind it?
Jump Start was founded in late 2018. I started Jump Start literally with $500, no prior business experience, and no co-founder. I had degrees in political science and development economics, but throughout my life education has always been a key role that has influenced me—in really big ways. So, my first time tutoring was when I was 12 years old. I never really got a traditional job like working at a supermarket or a restaurant, although I wanted to. I spent most of my free time tutoring peers.
I remember the first time that one of my friends’ parents called me. I was so confused wondering why they’d be calling and they basically told me that my friend had been struggling in school and that my teacher actually recommended they reach out to me.
And so that’s kind of how my journey began at that time. I never really put a label on it, like calling myself a teacher or educator, but I just knew that I loved seeing my friends build their confidence and I loved being a part of that journey to facilitate.
Has your business been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Did you have to pivot at all?
Yeah, COVID was really hard on us. We started in late 2018, so we didn’t even have a full year and a half under our belt before COVID hit. As a small business we didn’t have a lot of savings. I actually only had a one-page website. I had 66 followers on Instagram. And I really did all of my marketing face to face, meeting people face to face going to schools and libraries holding workshops for parents. And that was completely unacceptable because the schools were closed. So we really struggled to stay afloat.
The first thing we did was build up our branding kit. Then we started to build out our website, increase our following on social media, and start building out our team to include help with marketing and SEO. We also got a grant writer and that really is what saved us because we were able to win about $40,000 worth of grants from companies like Facebook and Springs and Scissors and the United Way of Broward County.
So, there are definitely a lot of opportunities out there, but without really building a team and just being so focused on staying afloat, we wouldn’t have made it, but thank goodness we did.
And, looking back, all of those challenges really inspired us to take our next step, which is the next big pivot into ed tech. We want to expand our offering because we understand that not all students can afford private tutoring, but still, there is a need for customization and access to that and so that’s really why we’re moving forward in that direction.
Recently, we’ve heard the great news about your nomination on the Forbes 30 under 30. Would you say that would be one of the most recent accomplishments or milestones for your business, and can you share anymore on that?
I mean, my life so far actually. I remember just being in college and looking at the Forbes list and just looking at the people, particularly who were in the education category, and thinking about how cool it’d be one day to be there. It’s an incredible honor to represent my family to represent the Asian American community, all of our partners, our students, our tutors. It’s amazing and that’s definitely an incredible milestone for us, especially now as we’re looking to fill out our $1.3 million seed round in order to launch our product and really capture market share.
It’s an incredible honor to represent my family to represent the Asian American community, all of our partners, our students, our tutors. It’s amazing and that’s definitely an incredible milestone for us, especially now as we’re looking to fill out our $1.3 million seed round in order to launch our product and really capture market share. So it’s an incredible honor.
Jump Start has had a lot of great milestones, and entrepreneurship is definitely filled with ups and downs, but we’ve worked with over 2500 students and helped students save hundreds of thousands of dollars of college tuition costs just this year.
We have a network of partners extending from libraries, schools, and NGOs…. And we’re really allowing kids not only to do well on a test, but really empowering them to have access to college entrance without having to take on piles of debt. We serve students in grades pre-K through 12, so I’m hearing success stories from elementary school and middle school branches as well. It’s just been incredible to see this dream come true, and to hear about all of the lives of the students we are positively impacting. I would say that it’s always been my goal to find a way to do good in the world while also doing good for myself, and it just feels really great to see that happen.
What kind of advice would you have for the next up and coming entrepreneur out there?
Grit is number one. I mean there are so many ups and downs. This time last year we were just grateful that clients were starting to come back and so to be here really is an honor. But you have to be prepared for that. You have to be prepared for the fact that entrepreneurship is going to have ups and downs. You have to have grit and tenacity, but ultimately doing something that you are passionate about is what’s going to make it worthwhile. It’s what’s going to inspire you to keep going when you do have to have those 75 hour work weeks, and you do have to have those leads, and you have to sacrifice time on other things that you love. So, find something that you’re truly passionate about, especially if you’re a young entrepreneur. Find something that is a natural talent for you and look at ways that you can use that talent to solve a problem that people have better than anything that’s on the market.
And so I’d say believe in yourself. I literally started off with 500 bucks. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. With the internet, you can get freelancers, you can do so much, you can learn so much for free.
Keep learning. I’m reading eight books this month and I think that it’s necessary because I just want to make sure that I’m leading my company and everyone that depends on us in the right direction. So keep learning, have grit, find something you’re passionate about, and dream big.