Marina Jarova, co-founder of Integral Academy, was a career educator when a side-job grew so much that it forced her to decide between her career and launching a business.
"I was the Flagler County district curriculum specialist for math," she said. "I was tutoring on the side for a friend only because she asked a favor to help her child. Another friend and another asked, and by the time summer came, I already had 10 students on the side and I couldn't say no. The load was overwhelming with my full-time job and my own family of three children. I had to make a decision to quit my job or not. It was a tough decision, and at that breaking point I met Galina Stingel, who is now my partner. It was scary to start this business because I had to quit a good job to do so."
Jarova and Stingel launched Integral Academy, an after school program for children of all ages from kindergarten to college, in 2015. Now the business has 11 teachers instructing on all subjects.
"We are a hybrid of existing tutoring services," Jarova explained. "We do have private tutoring but we also have different programs. The programs are really for students who can attend consistently. For those who attend consistently, most of our kids are now in advanced classes and were able to move two levels in math to skip two grade levels. Your child doesn't need to be struggling to participate. We teach advanced students and advance them even more."
Jarova and Stingel's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to start slowly. "We had clients and customers and students and parents who knew me and trusted me when we launched," she said. "Our advice is start slow. If you are hair stylist, then work out of your home first to build your clientele so people get to know you. Then once you've developed a reputation, build out a space."