Entrepreneurs and COVID-19 - Interview with Amber Scotchburn of Tutoring...With A Twist (Nanaimo)

Please share a bit about yourself as an entrepreneur and what your business entails - brick and mortar store, online, product, etc.

I am the founder of Tutoring…With A Twist and Parenting…With A Twist. I had over 25 years in the education field as a social worker, teacher, curriculum writer and program designer. The With A Twist success system was designed after I became a parent. As a parent, I know there are many competing struggles for time, energy and financial resources. I am also aware that most parents endlessly question if they are doing the best for their child. I help parents simplify their lives.

Tutoring…With A Twist is a full-service tutoring agency that guarantees success beyond the classroom. Our team of Twisted Tutors not only help Twisted Learners advance in academic subjects such as Math, English, French and Science, but they also help Twisted Learners enhance their life skills by utilizing a collaborative approach to develop individualized Twisted Tutoring Plans.

Parenting…With A Twist is a self-help parenting manual to empower parents to raise hopeful, thriving, engaged and confident children. Building a great relationship with your child, and making them success-ready, is an important part of allowing them to become self-sufficient and happy.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, how did you work with your regular clients and reach out to new ones. What type of marketing worked best for you?

Pre COVID-19, our Twisted Tutors mainly worked with students out of the public libraries and/or their homes. We still work with our Twisted Learners face to face; however, it’s now through a computer screen. We worked tirelessly to ensure we were able to deliver the same Twisted service online that we did in person!

Our main geographical location was Vancouver Island and our marketing was largely done through our website and through word of mouth. We are now exploring Facebook as a means of advertising.

Pre COVID-19, our Parenting…With A Twist manual was on the back of the shelf (so to speak) as time didn’t allow for me to promote the book. The book was designed to be a Parenting Course. To that end, I had written the script for 18 videos to accompany the book. It’s with great excitement that I now have time to record these videos. Stay tuned as this unfolds!

How has the social isolation required to combat the spread of COVID-19 affected your business? What about this has been hardest for you personally?

Our Tutoring…With A Twist families weren’t all able to continue on with us due to financial or technical constraints. This has been hard as we are quite invested in our families. If I could, I’d offer them all tutoring for free and still be able to pay our tutors!

Hardest on me personally is finding the balance of it all. I want to ensure everyone is taken care of. Everyone for me is our tutors, our families, my family, my extended family, my neighbours, my friends, and the list goes on. I am a feeler by nature, so when I was a social worker, I wanted to take everybody home with me in order to give them the best chance at life possible. As this was frowned upon and emotionally quite weighing, I switched from social work to education! With something like a pandemic happened, I’d now like to take the whole world home to give them the best chance at life possible!

Have you found new ways to interact with your customer? Have you developed any new products or services as a way to help your clients through this time, or to fill a new need you see?

Yes! As mentioned, we worked tirelessly to offer the same Twisted Service online as we did in person.  As well, our Twisted Tutors stepped up and are offering free activities for learners online. Through our Tutoring…With A Twist Facebook page we have a French-English book club on Tuesdays, an English book club on Thursdays and a Family Fun day on Fridays! I’m also providing Homeschool Help tips for parents around the world doing their best to parent and teach their children on our Facebook page.

In understanding that parents are feeling overwhelmed in parenting and in wanting the best for their children, I’m excited that our Parenting…With A Twist course will soon be available online!

What type of marketing seems to be working best for you in this time of social isolation?

We are predominantly using Facebook. I feel like I will be an expert soon ;)!

Anything you'd like readers to know about you and your business? Any last words of encouragement you'd like to share with everyone?

Stop what you are doing!

Find your heartbeat, be it through your chest or your pulse in your neck or wrist. Breathe in for a count of four, hold, breathe out for a count of four – all while concentrating on that beat.

Remember, if you can do this, you are winning!

So, no matter what moment or series of moments that you find yourself in during this time, take the time to find your heartbeat.

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