From Mentoring Sailors to Mentoring Students: How a Manager at the Department of Defense Found Success in the Tutoring Business

For 21 years, I served as an active duty officer in the United States Navy before transitioning into a federal civil service position in the Department of Defense (DoD). In both the Navy and DoD, I spent most of my time developing my teams of military and civilian personnel into strong leaders. It was an honor not only to serve my country but to play a role in the development of several fine men and women.

Retiring after my service, I knew I wanted to take up a role which would allow me to continue helping others develop and gain confidence. I took the path of entrepreneurship and became the owner of a Tutor Doctor franchise in an area I had been stationed at while serving – Oahu, HI. Owning and operating a franchise of the leading one-to-one in home tutoring company allowed me to use my skillset learned in the military and DoD to not only find success as an entrepreneur, but help serve the academic needs of students and families in the community.

Here are ways which my service in the military prepared me to be a Tutor Doctor franchisee.  

Find Passion in Your Product

Throughout my life, anything I have done has been with the purpose to create value or make a positive difference. While serving in the military, I was able to accomplish this through my technical expertise, but even more so through my role of developing leaders. Every day I had the opportunity to sit down with developing members of my team to not only discuss the tasks needed to be accomplished, but also provide guidance on the individual ways they could improve, such as communication and management skills. The satisfaction found in developing someone’s potential and seeing what they are capable of doing is hard to match.

Tutor Doctor allows me to similarly act as a mentor by providing the tutoring support that helps students succeed in meeting their educational goals. It also helps them to gain the self-confidence and drive to become a lifelong learner- a quality that serves them well into the future. Just as I was able to consult others in the military on how they could improve themselves as leaders, Tutor Doctor allows me to sit with students and discuss how they can unlock their potential inside and outside of the classroom. Because of the parallels to my work in the Navy and the ability to make a lasting impact on the leaders of tomorrow, I immediately found passion in being a Tutor Doctor franchisee.

Adapt to Changing Environments

Serving in the military and DoD, I found myself constantly needing to adapt to change, primarily with the continuous change of personnel within our unit. For example, a young mid-level officer who had recently been promoted and was now working with more civilian and active duty management. Adjusting into this new position, the officer needed support to improve his skills in communication and ability to put emotion aside when strategizing. In the end I was able to help him succeed in becoming an effective communicator when leading projects within our military branch. Helping this officer overcome these internal challenges not only felt rewarding because he grew as a person and a leader, but it also gave me the confidence to believe in myself when leading a wide variety of individuals with different backgrounds and values.

As a franchise owner for Tutor Doctor, I find myself continuously rising to the challenge in adjusting my leadership style to each member of my team, especially as we continue to grow. When I began, I underestimated the need for tutoring services in my community and, therefore, the amount of students who would be needing my services.  I had imagined that I would manage and retain a small set of tutors and then add to my team monthly to keep up with client demand.  I am finding I have to do weekly tutor recruitment through a wide variety of resources to try and keep pace with the client demand.  This is probably one of the best challenges to have, it means business is doing well, but matching our tutor resources to the growth pace keeps me very busy.

Find Success Through Your Support Team

Working within the Department of Defense both in active duty and civil service capacities, I am very familiar in working within a system that provides these same organizational traits, structure, established processes, and a strong support team.  I always had a team to support me in advancing the goals of my department, and the entire framework of the Navy created a sense of structure and stability that allowed us to prepare and adapt to any situation.

The framework provided at Tutor Doctor is very similar in that our corporate team gives us guidance and support every step of the way, from training to marketing to finance. In all of these aspects, Tutor Doctor has been incredibly supportive in providing a foundation, while also giving me the ability to get creative and find paths to success within my business. All of these factors allow my business to be ready to meet the demands of families and students, not only wanting to improve their academic standings, but to gain confidence in themselves.

If you want to start your own business, figure out what you are looking for in a business first.  Find a service or product that you can easily identify with, a business model that suits you and a corporate culture and value system that is aligned to your personal values.  Bringing not only your experience but also your values into your work will make it that much more enjoyable, and help you find success.

Bobbi Collins, owner of Tutor Doctor in Oahu, Hawaii, served as an active duty officer in the United States Navy for 21 years before transitioning into a federal civil service position in the DoD. Following her service, Bobbi opened her own Tutor Doctor Franchise in Oahu, HI in January 2015, and is now helping students on the island find self-confidence and academic success.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Send this to a friend