Kisha Provo of Toronto, Ontario didn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic get her down.
This energetic entrepreneur decided to make her long-held dream of starting a French tutoring business a reality. She used her time during lockdown to write up a formal business plan and learn as much as she could about running an independent business.
A self-starter, Kisha, enrolled herself in every online business class she could find.
In May of 2021, Kisha launched FunFrenchTutoring.com. Her full-service, online French-language tutoring company serves students between the ages of four and 17.
I decided why would I work for someone else as a tutor when I have the skills and resources to do it for myself?
“I had always wanted to have my own tutoring service and support students struggling in French and youth who wanted to learn French as a second or third language.”
“Students have the option to work on school homework, or to develop their oral, written and reading skills with material we provide. We have parents who sign up their children to maintain their first language if they have moved to a predominantly English-speaking area or country.”
“My tutoring service is also great for parents whose kids are in French immersion and feel lost when their kids need support for schoolwork. We also have students in core French who need tutoring support in specific areas.”
Diving into digital
Determined to open a well-run business that could scale up as her client base grew, she knew she needed to get online.
“I would see ads and commercials for GoDaddy, and it seemed easy to use and affordable. At the end of the day, when you are funding your business with your own money, you need something realistic to start with. So I said, ‘Let's do it!’”
“I found the domain name first, and then decided to use the GoDaddy’s website building tool. It was straightforward and easy to navigate. Everything was just at your fingertips, and you could play with it. Choosing the colors and themes was easier than I thought.
The tool gives you suggestions and ideas and I found it so easy to build the business website myself.
“I chose a .com instead of .ca for FunFrenchTutoring.com because I knew that I wanted the website to reach everybody worldwide. Online means we are not limited, and we can work with anyone, anywhere.”
“Now, when I hear from other people wanting to register their business, I say ‘Go to GoDaddy,’ because it’s easy and affordable. I even have a friend who wants to open a dessert business, and I told her GoDaddy has a template for that kind of website!”
Going for growth
She emphasizes how crucial the website has been for the growth of Fun French Tutoring.
Word of mouth referrals have now been surpassed by referrals that come in through her company website and social media. Kisha has seen her business evolve from working exclusively with locally based students to providing tutoring for students internationally in the United States.
To ensure flexibility of choice, Kisha has hired a diverse range of native French speakers.
European French speakers, Quebecois French speakers and African French speakers are all available to relay their knowledge and cultural experiences at Fun French Tutoring.
“The landing page on my website is my first point of communication with parents. The Contact Us box has been how parents reach out to me most of the time. The pop-up box that can get added to any page is where I added my offer of a 30-minute free French trial lesson. The feedback has been terrific and has been used by a number of parents.”
“With kids having gotten used to online learning, parents are also comfortable with the online format. They love that they do not have to drive their children anywhere after school to get the support they need in French.”
Moving into management
These days, Kisha no longer has the time to take on her own tutoring students, as she is busy managing the expanded scheduling of tutoring sessions and intake of new students.
As a Black and Indigenous woman, Kisha knows how important it is for BIPOC students to have instructors students can identify with. She is also passionate about supporting her community through the establishment and support of Black-owned businesses.
I grew up attending predominantly white French schools without teachers who looked like me.
“That’s why supporting my culture and ensuring Black and Indigenous students have the same opportunities as other students is very important to me.”
Hearing back from families who have benefitted from her business’ native-speaking tutors tells her she IS making a difference in the lives of the students and parents she works with.
“When I receive copies of report cards, when my students are excited to share their grades, and hearing parents happy that their child is reaching fluency — all of these things are markers of success to me. I’ve been having more and more parents who are interested in learning French so they can now keep up with their children!”
Success is sweet
Kisha has also started selling t-shirts and merchandise with her company’s logo on it through her website. This came about when parents and students started asking for swag they could show off with to celebrate their hard work.
Success to me means everything I have wanted for my business will have or is coming to fruition.
“I actually wrote an online French children’s book about my real-life dog Jax called ‘Le Petit Chien,’ so I am also an author now, too!”
She advises those starting out in business to be patient and to have a solid business plan.
“Take it one day at a time and do your research. There are a lot of free and low-cost resources in the community that will teach you what you need to know about starting a business. Remind yourself of your goals and remember that each move forward means growth!”
Book your free 30-minute trial at FunFrenchTutoring.com.