One Tuition Business Taught Me Nine Lessons

The Background

In 2012, after working two years for a tuition centre as centre manager, I finally had enough, and left the job. In the next 4 years, I tried starting a centre, and had to close it down when I could not cover my rent. I did home tutoring, freelance tutoring, and online tutoring. All the time I was running a one man show.

A few of my ex-colleague from my previous job came out to start a centre of their own. They did pretty well after two years, and were thinking of expanding to a second centre. That was when they thought of me. When I knew about how well they were doing – they were having fully packed classes, had a waiting list of students, a nicely renovated centre, and were each taking home about 2-3 times of what I was earning – I was excited. I felt like I was headhunted.

In 2016, we agreed to inject funds to start a second centre, using the same brand name as the first centre. The second centre would have 5 partners, including the three original partners from the first centre, and two new partners, including myself.

I thought my career was finally flourishing, after struggling for 4 years. I thought I had a dream team as business partners, as I knew all of the partners were nice people and dedicated teachers. However, a few months down the road, I started to discover that things were not as rosy as I thought it to be. There were many differences in the way we worked, and the way we approach the business of running a tuition business.

Working with the partners in the business proved harder and harder. After 4 years into the partnership, I finally mustered the courage to ask to exit the partnership. To my surprise, all other partners wanted to exit the partnership too. So we ended a 4 years partnership, and lost about close to $90k, all in all.

The end of a supposed “dream business” was painful. Apart from the loss in time, in money and in relationship, I want to learn something from this failed venture. What you will be reading in my subsequent posts, is the consolidation of the lessons I learnt from the failed venture, so that you and I do not need to repeat the same mistakes I had made.

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