KBW Member Spotlight: Jennifer Carney of Carney’s Tutoring

Photo Credit: Houston Studio

Meet Jennifer Carney of Carney’s Tutoring in Kingwood, Texas!

I was born and raised in The Woodlands, so I am a native Texan. I met my husband in high school at The Woodlands High School. We have been together ever since. I went to Texas A&M (Whoop) majoring in Education (middle school math and science). After graduating in 2006 my now husband and I got married. We originally lived downtown while I commuted back and forth to Kingwood as I got a job teaching at Riverwood middle school. After a year of that we decided to move to the Kingwood area and start our family here. We had our first child a beautiful baby girl Addison in 2008. Since then we have had two more kids Blake and Luke.

Did you always know that you’d be in your current industry? Tell us your story of how you arrived at your current success.

I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a child. I used to play school and teach all the kids on the street. My neighbor was a teacher, and she would always give me her schoolbooks and supplies. My dream has been to make a difference in people’s lives, and I feel I can do that through teaching. After being in classroom for five years I felt that I could help students more through tutoring. I took the leap of faith and opened Carney’s Tutoring in 2011.

Photo Credit: Houston Studio

Many of us have worked either for another business at some point in our professional careers. How do you go from being an employee to a business owner?

Working as a middle school teacher I saw the need up close that students needed more one-on-one help. Our classrooms have way too many kids in them, and teachers are overworked. The combination of those things that some children are being left out. I wanted to fill that gap and make sure students could get affordable help when they need it. Children shouldn’t feel lost or not confident.

A healthy work/life balance is important. What’s your take on it?

I take care of myself first and don’t apologize for it. No one around me and my business will not be successful if I am not taking care of myself. Of course, it is a huge struggle especially in the very beginning. Finding a schedule that works and asking for help when needed are keys to success. Once I came to terms that I couldn’t do it all and needed to tag in some help and hire people to help me was a turning point in my business.

Photo Credit: Houston Studio

How long have you been in business or the industry you are in now?

I have been in education for 16 years and have had my tutoring business for 10 years.

Where are you located? Does your business serve the Lake Houston area and/or online?

2606 Bens Branch Dr (near the Kingwood library). We do serve the Lake Houston area; we offer in person and online tutoring.

What was your drive to become a business owner?

Seeing that students needed more help, and some students were being left behind and just pushed on. If students don’t master material and get pushed on it will eventually catch up with them and they will struggle more and more. I wanted to help students in the moment and help guide them to be successful.

Photo Credit: Houston Studio

What is most crucial to you in a business?

Honesty and Integrity

Has networking been an asset to developing your business? and How?

YES, my business grew on word of mouth alone. When I first started, I didn’t have a lot of money for advertising. I attended many events and talked with so many people, passed out coupons for free tutoring because I knew once I got them in the door, they would see the value in what I had to offer.

What greatest success have you ever had in the business industry?

Seeing a student go from a failing student that lacked confidence to a straight A student with all the confidence in the world. Personally, I have won The Woman of Achievement award for Entrepeneur and also won Top 4 people under 40 in the Lake Houston area.

Photo Credit: Houston Studio

Other than a double shot espresso, what method or tools do you use or attribute to your increase business productivity?

I schedule time! I live and die by my calendar, but I have to put time on my calendar, so I see it and know I have a time frame to get certain things done.

What digital marketing platforms have you utilize and how did it make your company more profitable?

It really has just been me and boots on the ground. Asking people to share with their friends or bring in their friends. We have grown on that alone. We also support the kids that support us, so we sponsor schools and sports teams as our way to give back.

You’ve done great things professionally to get you where you are today! What are some of your professional achievements?

Woman of Achievement for Entrepeneur and Top 4 under 40 in Lake Houston.

Photo Credit: Houston Studio

Knowing what you know now as an entrepreneur, what would you tell your younger self?

Don’t get stressed when plans change, or things go wrong. Those are learning experiences and actually may turn out to be something good that helps your business. Also don’t sweat the small stuff.

List your favorite software programs/tools, apps, automation software, scheduling, or methods that you use for business or industry that make your work day flow a lot easier.

Canva, Hootsuite, Mailchimp

Photo credit: Houston Studio

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