When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Russian Oligarch

The Russian Oligarch Hustle

There’s been a lot of interest lately in Russian Oligarchs because of the banking troubles in Cyprus, a small country in the Mediterranean. Apparently, Cyprus became a haven for many rich Russian Billionaires to stash their money. And, when the banks in Cyprus came upon some money trouble, it caused massive concern since Cyprus apparently holds a significant amount of wealth from European countries. So, not just Russian Oligarchs are affected, but European corporations as well.

All of this interest in Cyprus, a tiny country of only 1 million people, got me interested in the Russian Oligarchs. What is an Oligarch? Who are these Russian Oligarchs.

So, I did some research. And, it turns out, they have a lot to teach us about hustle, how to work super hard, and have it pay off in billions of dollars. While we may not all turn out to be Russian Oligarchs in the end, we can learn a lot from how they’ve conducted business.

Boris Berezovsky

Boris Berezovsky came to the business world of Russia by an odd route. He was a software engineer. He was born and raised in Moscow and received a high quality education in electronics and computer science at an institution that was involved in the Soviet space program. Berezovsky went on to graduate school at Moscow State University where he earned the equivalent of an American Ph.D. in the 1970’s and finally a Russian Ph.D. which is more advanced than an American Ph.D. in 1983 at the age of 37. He worked for twenty five years at the Soviet Academy of Science in the field of decision-making and in the field of computer automation of industry.

He decided to enter the business world. At the Academy of Science he had worked with the Avtovaz, an enterprise the Soviet government had set up to produce automobiles for the mass Soviet market. The Soviet government contracted for the Italian automaker Fiat to build a large scale auto plant 700 miles east of Moscow. The city in which the plant was located was named Togliatti after the head of the Italian Communist Party. The plant was not a technical triumph. It was vastly overstaffed and the quality of the product was low. The labor productivity was approximately one thirtieth of labor productivity in the American and Japanese automobile industries.

Berezovsky Hustle – What We can Learn

Berezovsky proposed to Avtovaz that he provide help to the enterprise for automation and computer control of operations. The structure of the arrangement was that Berezovsky would set up a company in Switzerland that would create a joint venture with Avtovaz. This would gain the benefit of the Soviet government program set up to encourage foreign investment in the Soviet economy. One special feature of a joint venture is the foreign partner could take some profits of the enterprise out of the country.

Once the legal structure for the foreign partner in Italy, Logovaz, was set up Berezovsky became involved in operating a car dealership to sell the Ladas produced by Avtovaz. Car dealerships extremely profitable and were a favorite target of organized gangs demanding protection money. Berezovsky arranged his own protection from the Chechens and tried to keep out the other gangs demanding a shakedown.

The Russian gangs were not easily discouraged. Gang warfare raged. Berezovsky left the country. When he returned he was the target of more than one assassination attempt. The most serious one involved a car bomb. Berezovsky was riding in his chauffeur-driven Mercedes with his bodyguard. As his vehicle passed a parked car a bomb in that car was detonated. The chauffeur’s head was blown off, the bodyguard was severely injured and Berezovsky was seriously burned. There was other assaults on Logovaz’ operations, but when the leader of the Russian gangs was killed by a car bomb the assaults stopped.

The car dealerships were extremely profitable, in part, because of a process Berezovsky called the privatization of the profit of a state enterprise. Avtovaz produced Ladas at an average cost of about $4700 but sold them to auto dealers at $3500 per car. The dealers then sold the cars for $7000 each. The under pricing of the cars by Avtovaz came as a result of the control of its management. Thus Berezovsky moved the potential profit of the state enterprise out of the enterprise and into the private enterprise of the dealerships. Since such a money-losing enterprise would not have much market value it would be cheap to buy ownership. This is the scenario proposed by Berezovsky.

So, he bought really low, and sold really high. He focused on margin and set up the business to maximize his profits. Simple, but it shows hustle.

Vladamir Gusinky

In his twenties during the 1970’s Vladimir Gusinsky started his business career as a cab driver, one without official sanction and thus called a gypsy-cap. He also engaged in black market trading. But by the 1980’s he developed some close ties in the Communist Party. He organized events for the Communist Youth League. Gusinsky also developed a working relationship with Yuri Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow. The City of Moscow was not just a city government. It owned an controlled an extensive system of economic enterprises. Under Luzhkov these enterprises functioned efficiently and profitably.

In 1989 or shortly thereafter Gusinsky created a bank called Most Bank, from the Russian work for bridge. As result of the connection with Luzhkov, Gusinsky’s Most Bank was a very important institution in the Moscow economy and one of the biggest conglomerates in Russia. To protect his interest Gusinsky created a security division employing about 1000 people, many of them formerly employed by the KBG.

Once Gusinsky had created the basis for his financial success he began to create a media empire. In 1994 he had a newspaper, a weekly news magazine, a television guide magazine, a radio news station and the crown jewel of an independent television network.

Learning from Gusinky

Gusinky teaches us the importance of networking. Who you know really matters and learning to work with others is key to success.
 

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

As a child Mikhail Khodorkovsky had humble desires and wanted to be a factory director when he grew up. Factory directors were probably the most powerful figures in the lives of ordinary Russians. But being a factory director was not just an idle dream of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He pursued his career goal rather diligently. He showed focus by studying engineering in Moscow and simultaneously was active in the Communist Youth League, called the Kommosol, to the point of being deputy head of the Kommosol governing committee for his educational institute. He learned the protocols of dealing with Communist Party functionaries and he developed connections in the Party organizations.

Lesson 1 from Khodorkovsky: He had a goal and he set a course to obtain the goal.

Despite his careful preparation Mikhail Khodorkovsky was denied the opportunity to work toward a directorship in the Soviet defense industry. He felt it was because of the Jewish origins of his family. He then decided to enter the private sector. His enterprise was named the Center for the Scientific-Technical Creativity of Young People, which was soon abbreviated to MENATEP. It first existed as a cooperative, the only officially sanctioned form of private enterprise, but later became a bank. Like many other entrepreneurs Mikhail Khodorkovsky sought the quick, high profits that could be gained by importing and reselling computers. MENATEP also engaged in various currency exchange transactions.

Lesson 2 from Khodorkovsky: When met with adversity, bounce back quickly.

Although some in the Communist Party blocked his road to becoming a factory director Mikhail Khodorkovsky was on good terms with many Communist Party officials and went into business with their approval. He was appointed as an economic adviser to the prime minister of the Russian Federation in 1990, in the days before the collapse of the Soviet Union. This was a prestigious position and one that gave him important contacts.

Lesson 3 from Khodorkovsky: Make important contacts and nurture relationships.

 

Alexander Smolensky

Alexander Smolensky grew up poor and didn’t come from normal Russian roots. His mother’s father was an Austrian Jew who fled Vienna for political refuge in Moscow. But Stalinist Russia did not treat such political refugees as true comrades or true Russian brothers. Because of his ethnic and religious lineage, his mother was scared that they would receive tremendous persecution.

As a consequence, she was right. So Alexander Smolensky’s mother, who had been born in Austria although she was raised in Moscow, was excluded from most jobs and opportunities for training. Life was very hard for the family especially since Alexander Smolensky’s father divorced his mother and left her and their children to survive on their own. Alexander Smolensky developed a lifelong resentment and defiance of the system. He seemed constitutionally incapable of cooperating with the system.

When he applied for his official identification document, the Russian version of the American Social Security Card that the Russians call the internal passport, he could have listened his nationality as Russian on the basis of the nationality of his father but he chose instead to designate himself as Austrian on the basis of that of his mother. This was a clear act of defiance and by doing so he excluded himself out of any career other than as an entrepreneur. But entrepreneurship in the Soviet Union was illegal and Smolensky lived a hard life.

Lesson 1 from Smolensky: Make you decisions and stick to them, despite the consequences.

He then served a two year service in the Soviet Army in Tiblis, Georgia. He fought the system in the army but while doing so he and a friend used their access to the army newspaper’s printing facilities to start an underground business in printing business cards. The business was not much but it enabled them to learn type-setting and the crafts involving in printing.

Lesson 2 from Smolensky: Make good friends and use ingenuity to create value.

After the army, Smolensky continued in the printing trade. He found a job as a supervisor of the printing department of an industrial ministry. He had to work two jobs to survive and was on the lookout for ways to make money. He realized that in the days of the Soviet suppression of unsanctioned literature was an opportunity that perhaps had a market.

People were publishing writings by the laborious process of typing documents a few copies at a time, one original and as many carbon copies as the typewriter could produce. In addition to being tedious this was dangerous but people were willing to do it. Access to a printing press relieved the underground writers having to type and retype works. Smolensky printed Bibles among other things. Bibles were not technically subversive material but it was a criminal offense to use State facilities for private enterprises as Smolensky was doing.

Lesson 3 from Smolensky: Find a better way to do something, and find a market that will pay you.

During this time Smolensky developed and refined his skills at finding and acquiring materials. In the socialist economies shortages are chronic and there is no problem selling production but gathering the raw materials is the limiting factor. So that while the salesman is the key figure in western businesses it is the raw material acquirer, the procurer, in the socialist economies that is the key figure.

Lesson 4 from Smolensky: Understand the supply chain well, and optimize it.

Smolensky’s illegal printing operation was reported to the authorities and he was arrested. He was sentenced to two years of work in a construction crew outside of Moscow and prohibited for three years of having access to money and valuable materials. His career as a printer was effectively ended, but his introduction to the construction field was a valuable substitute.

After his sentence was served Smolensky continued in construction. His ability to get things done earned him an acceptance as a valuable, effective construction operator. In part, his effectiveness in construction depended upon his skills in acquiring the required materials for construction. Although authorities recognized that Smolensky was a rebel against the system they realized that his organizational skills were valuable for them to have access to.

Later, the Russian Government made into law that individual labor activity was permissible. This opened the flood gates and made entrepreneurship accepted and allowed. It was now officially permitted for people to set up stands on the street to sell goods. It was not a free market revolution but it was a step in the right direction.

It would be alright for a group of people to engage in enterprise if they constituted a cooperative. The drafters of the 1988 Law on Cooperatives did not place as many restrictions on the nature of the permitted cooperative enterprises as might be expected. In particular the Law allowed for the creation of financial services cooperatives.

Smolensky built a cooperative that procured construction supplies, reduced lead times, and obtained better pricing structure. Smolensky’s cooperative eventually overtake the current government-run program of materials procurement. Smolensky effectively wiped out a competitor – the government. From there the cooperative went into the business of building such things as country houses, dachas. Business was good.

Lesson 5 from Smolensky: Find a quicker and cheaper way to do something, and money will follow.

He eventually created a bank and years and billions later, he’s a famous Russian Oligarch.

Vladimir Potanin

Vlaminir Potanin was fortunate to be born into the Russian hierarchy. In this respect, he didn’t show hustle – he was handed success. But, later he did show some courage and initiative. Vladimir Potanin started two banks, the Onexim Bank and the MFK. Many of the state enterprises transferred their account to these two banks which became the third and fourth largest banks in Russia.

In 1995 Potanin saw an opportunity. The Russian Government badly needed funds. So, with support from other oligarchs, he proposed a “loans for shares” plan to the Council of Ministers of the Russian Government. This plan traded ownership interest in unprivatized state industries in exchange for loans. The Russian Government welcomed the plan because they badly needed cash money.

Learning from Oligarch Potanin

Get super lucky and be born into a powerful and rich family.

Vladimir Vinogradov

Toward the end of the Soviet era Vladimir Vinogradov, then an employee of a state bank, established in 1988 a commercial bank, Inkombank. Vinogradov and his friends bootstrapped a bank operating on a shoe string until they secured a number of reputable investors. Among these investors were Sokol (the association of aircraft manufacturers), Transneft (a gas pipeline operator) and the Plekhanov Institute. These investors gave Inkombank enough credibility to apply for credit from the Central Bank of the Soviet Union. Against all odds, Inkombank did obtain 10 million rubles in credit.

Lesson 1 from Vinogradov: Sell the product first, then create it. True Entrepreneurship.

Over a ten-year period Inkombank grew in deposits and acquisitions. By the time of the financial debacle of Russian in August of 1998 Inkombank had become the second largest private bank in Russia in terms of private deposits and third largest in terms of assets. It played a significant role in financing Russia’s foreign trade. Under Vinogradov’s direction Inkombank engaged in some high flying financial transactions. Inkombank acquired financial control of some of the businesses that made investments in it, including Sokol in aircraft manufacturing, Transneft, the gas pipeline operator, and Magnitagorsk Steel.

Lesson 2 from Vinogradov: Acquire cash rich business, and then grow them.

Mikhail Friedman

Mikhail Friedman came from the western Ukrainian city of Lvov, a formerly Polish city acquired by Soviet troops in the partition of Poland by Stalin and Hitler in 1939. Mikhail Friedman came from a Jewish family, as did four of the six other oligarchs. Mikhail Friedman enter a Moscow institution of higher learning in Moscow. In the 1980’s, the declining years of the Communist system, the necessities of life were available without much effort.

The Theater Mafia

This period of a low level of responsibility combined with the assurance of the necessities for survival is one that some look back on nostalgically. While the luxuries of life were unavailable there was the leisure to read and discuss literature and the arts. In the Soviet system there was support for theater  dance and so forth, but the tickets were distributed on a political basis rather than through the market. People who wanted tickets had to have contact with someone who could obtain them or who could wait in line to acquire them from the official sources. Some students were making money by acquiring tickets and reselling them or waiting in line for other people. The students engaged in this black market ticket business were known as the Theater Mafia. Mikhail Friedman saw the opportunity to systematize these processes. He made the black market ticket operations into a real business.

Lesson 1 from Friedman: Find an informal lucrative workaround and systematize it and profit from it.

He not only acquired valuable business experience but he made business partners that joined with him in forming the Alpha Group, a conglomerate dealing in oil, finance, and industrial goods trading. He also learned to payoff the political establishment to get the things he wanted.

The Alfa (Alpha) Group was not formed immediately. Instead Mikhail Friedman was involved in small business ventures in the form of cooperatives. Cooperatives were permitted under Gorbachev’s perestroika policy. One of the first major successes was in providing window washing services for state companies. No one had thought to create such a business before. From this success Friedman and his associates moved into importing and exporting. It was very profitable to export oil since the purchase price of oil in the Soviet Union was far below the international price. It was also very lucrative to import computers.

Lesson 2 from Friedman: Expand your horizon by finding other adjacent and lucrative opportunities.

Dmitry Rybolovlev

Rybolovlev began his career in the medical industry. He and his dad developed some magnetic gizmo that apparently did well. It well, but instead of remaining in that field, he chose to move to Moscow and learn the art of stock trading.

This was perfect timing because he was the first person to earn a license to trade. He opened a financial services firm, raised money, traded, used his profits to buy up other companies, and now he’s a Russia oligarch.

He eventually got into the Potash business, which is a form of agriculture. I have no idea what Potash is, but it made him billions of dollars. I guess Potash is a form of salt used in most fertilizers. Who knew? Anyways, pretty amazing and shows that money can be made from areas most people didn’t even know existed.
 

Roman Abramovich

Abramovich is known for his ownership in the Chelsea Football Club, which is one of the best soccer teams in Europe. His story is fascinating because it shows true hustle.

His parents both died before he was 4 years old. He began in entrepreneurship by first selling gasoline to other soldiers while he was serving in the Russian army. Later, he got into the smuggling business, bringing in goods from elsewhere and selling them in Moscow for a huge profit. He operated like this for a while until the privatization of Russian government assets.

At this time, Abramovich was able to legitimize his smuggling business. So, he opened a factory to build plastic toys and virtually owned the plastics toy category in Russia. He used his wealth to invest in other companies. And now, he’s a massive billionaire, but he started out poorer than some of us can imagine.
 

Oleg Deripaska

Deripaska is apparently worth $14 Billion Dollars. That’s a lot of money. He runs a company called Basic Element, which is a holding company that has businesses in energy, manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, and construction.

He started from humble roots as a small metals trader. Over time, he had accumulated ownership of 20% stake in a Siberian aluminum factory. That’s where he got his start; from there, he moved into adjacent businesses, but with the same gusto and hustle as when he first started in business.

Mikhail Prokhorov

Prokhorov owns the Brooklyn Nets, among other things. He made his billions by taking advantage of the unregulated privatization of Soviet assets, such as nickel and palladium mining, as well as in acquiring and running smelting companies.

He then later went onto Banking, where he made the rest of his billions.
 

Vitaly Malkin

Malkin made his fortunes in banking. He and his business partner founded Rossisskii Kredit, which later became the third largest bank in Russia.

Malkin is one of the top 30 wealthiest people in the world. He was a Russian senator, but recently resigned from the Russian senate.

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Career Advice for Students: 5 Questions with Neil Patel of Kissmetrics

Neil Patel Interview: Career Advice for Students

Often the best help for those in High School or College is someone that can provide clarity and vision for what the heck is at the end of this super long road we call formal education. I’ve found out that the best sources of clarity are to hear and receive advice from those that have done it.

So, in keeping with our goal of helping students, tutors, and parents, we’re starting a new series where we pose 5 questions to successful business people, politicians, and those that have “made it”.

Our first interview is with Neil Patel – a person who is very well known in internet marketing circles and in entrepreneurship in general.

But don’t let his baby face and young age fool you: He has successfully started and ran 2 companies already. His School of Hard Knox training can teach the rest of us a thing or two.

1. Hi Neil. Can you share your background with the audience and what you’re up to currently?

I’m a serial entrepreneur who just enjoys solving problems for the marketing world. I’m currently 27 years old and when I am not working I enjoy watching some TV or just hanging out with friends.

As for what I am currently up to, I spend all of my time focusing on KISSmetrics, which is a customer analytics platform. We show companies what people are doing on their website and what causes them to make a purchase or even ask for a refund.

2. Thinking back to your time in High School and College, what classes or training do you suggest for students aspiring to become entrepreneurs one day?

I don’t think there are any classes that can help. Or at least there weren’t any that helped me. The best way to learn is by doing. I recommend you just go out there and participate in things like Startup Weekend. And if you like what you see there, you can always jump right in and start a company.

3. So, a tutor is kind of like a mentor. What mentors did you have and what affect did they have on your career or life decisions?

My main mentor is a guy by the name of Andy Liu. He taught me a lot about business, how to find good deals, negotiation tactics, how to raise money, and countless number of other things.

He had a huge impact on my life, I actually even moved to Seattle because of him. Over the last 7 years he has made me millions of dollars.

4. Did you ever need help from a tutor? Can you share your experience?

I have. My mentor (tutor) guided me through tough parts in my entrepreneurial career such as lawsuits or how to get things done when you are strapped for cash.

5. Any final career advice for the budding entrepreneur in High School or College?

You just need to go out there and do it. Stop spending you time in the classroom trying to learn about entrepreneurship as that’s the wrong place to do so. You’ll learn a lot more by doing.

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Adventure Trek: A Tutor Outdoor Activity for Elementary School Children

The activity for today is what I like to call “Adventure Trek: A Tutor Outdoor Activity for Elementary School Children”.

Let’s face it. As a tutor, your main job is to teach and help your client improve their performance. Sometimes, especially if the client is a child in elementary school, part of the job is babysitting. Yes, it’s a fact and I know you know what I’m talking about.

So, to help you, here’s a simple outdoor activity I call The Adventure Trek.

Adventure Trek: A Tutor Outdoor Activity for Elementary School Children

Purpose

Get out in the environment. Break up the monotony. Get some exercise.

Age Group

This activity is good for kids  in 1st grade to 4th grade.

Required Materials

  • Towels
  • Sheets of Paper
  • Throw Pillows
  • Couch Cushions
  • Old Clothes

Activity Instructions

You need to use make believe here. Remember when you were a kid and you pretended that the ground was lava? This activity is like that.

  1. Choose your peril – snakes, lava, whatever. Use your imagination.
  2. To escape danger, you and your young adventurers need to place stepping stones across the hazards. The stepping stones can include the towels, pillows, etc.
  3. As the kids try to get around, they can extend the path by adding more stepping stones.
  4. Encourage creativity by helping the kids create a story.
  5. Penalty: This is a bonus. If the kids fall into the lava, then make the penalty something related to the subject in which the child is being tutors. For example, if the child falls in the lava and you are tutoring them in Math, then have them do an extra couple of math problems. You get the idea.

Have fun.

 

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I Got a C in 9th Grade Math, Now What?

In 9th Grade Math, I got a C, now what?

This is another article by my daughter, who is a Freshman in high school and is in 9th grade math. Here, she shares her story of when she got a C in 9th grade math and what she did to learn from it and then to turn things around. I hope you find the article interesting and helpful. Thanks for reading – and, if you’re interested, she wrote another really interesting article on Organization Tips for High School Students.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what the picture of the Afro to the right is all about, I have no idea. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now an Afro on a post about Math seems just really random. Oh well.

This past term in school, I got my first C. Devastated by this I’m determined for it to not happen again. But what went wrong this grading term? Let’s make it into a lesson for us all.

One factor that went into my C is that I did not understand things we learned earlier and so when we added upon that knowledge I was doomed to fail because I hadn’t understood before.

Lesson 1

Make sure you understand what you’re learning before you move on in the lesson. You can’t afford a gap in your learning and understanding. Another factor resulting in my bad grade was that I didn’t reach out and receive personal help that I needed to help me understand what I didn’t. I did not ask for a tutor or even ask questions that I should’ve.

Lesson 2

This was a fatal mistake and I know I don’t need to be afraid to ask questions or get homework help-often it’s the only way you’ll learn. I often leave school at school and seem to forget about it at home. Instead, it would have been beneficial to me if I had laid out what I needed help on and done some practice at home. Even reviewing notes would have been better than forgetting about school when I stepped into my house.

Lesson 3

Take some time at home to do school work and review. It’s all for your benefit anyway.

Conclusion

By figuring our the factors that played into my bad grade, I learned some crucial things I need to be doing in order to get good grades, but not only that: I learned things needed as habits in order to get the most out of my education and be more prepared for things ahead including college.

Key points learned:

  • Make sure you understand what you’ve learned before moving on
  • Ask questions and reach out for the help you need
  • Take some school home and review

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Student Stress Tips

The kids at the local high school by my house are taking the SAT Test and the ACT Test this week. Here’s the crazy thing: a few of these kids go to my church and I could actually sense a visible and material signs of stress in their faces, voices, and in their mannerisms. In sum, these are some stressed out kids.

Now, if you take my experience and multiply that by the tens of thousands of high school kids worrying about the ACT Test and the SAT Test, but also the college students stress from their classes – the cumulative effect of all of that stress cannot possibly be good for anybody. Certainly not good.

Now, I’m an expert on meditation or anything, but I have some experience with stress and have meditated through my practice of martial arts. And, keep in mind, I graduated from Brigham Young University in 3 years while I worked 20 hours per week to support my wife and 2 kids. Later, I graduated from a top 5 graduate school while trying to juggle being a husband and dad to 3 kids. I have stared stress in the eyeballs and have won that staring contest!

So, here are some suggestions from someone who has dealt with stress and isn’t actually very stressed much anymore:

  1. Close your eyes and Breathe: Simple, I know. Seriously, turn away from what ever you were doing, close your eyes, and breathe. Breathe for several minutes by inhaling through your nose and exhaling out your mouth. Here’s an important tip – when you inhale, do not stick your chest out, instead stick your stomach out. That’s how babies breathe. Try it for several minutes. It will help you relax.
  2. Exercise and Sweat: For real – get up and do something. When you are exercising, you are breathing. And, oxygen in your body is good. And, when you sweat, you are also releasing toxins (don’t quote me on that one). Believe me – exercise is good. It will help your mind relax.
  3. Drink Healthy Herbal Tea: I like chamomile and apple spice, but you can drink any healthy herbal tea. Warm tea will help you relax and the herbs will revive your mind.
  4. Go some place high: Go on your roof or on top of a tree or on top of a hill. If you can see the landscape and broad land beyond you, you will gain perspective. And, when you stressed, gaining the proper perspective will neutralize most stressful situations.
  5. Pray: If you are religious, then pray to your God. If not, then pray to something higher than yourself. It will bring you a sense of humility and help you realize that there’s more to this world than your problems.

Give these student stress tips a try. I hope they help you out.

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Homeschool Tutors in New Orleans

Homeschool Tutors in New Orleans

This post is the first of a series I’m calling: Subject by City. What I mean is that I’m going to highlight tutors that teach a specific subject in a city. Make sense? Okay, here we go.

Today’s subject of the day is Homeschool. And the city is New Orleans. Hence, Homeschool Tutors in New Orleans, or, people that homeschool within 20 miles of zip code 70119.

Feel free to see the rest of the Homeschool Tutors in New Orleans area.

A Quick Observation

So, I’ve noticed that there is quite a bit of inbound traffic from people looking for tutors that homeschool in the New Orleans area. I have a hypothesis. From what I know, and I could be totally wrong, New Orleans doesn’t have the best public school in the state. If that’s true, then I’d imagine a large number of parents wish to homeschool their children because they might feel that by doing so their children could receive a better education than from the public school system.

Here’s what I think is interesting. Again, Google, through their search prowess, is describing a social phenomenon. They can predict I believe accurately which states are more likely to homeschool their children based on search data.

How cool is that!

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Tutor Interview Questions: Part 1

If you want a job as a tutor, you need to be ready and prepared to answer the questions that potential clients will want to know.

Tutor Interview Questions: An Introduction

This means you need to do your homework on the following items:

  1. Who is your customer?
  2. What is their motivation for seeking a tutor?
  3. For them, what does success look like?

1. Who is Your Customer?

If a client is seeking a tutor, that client is most likely a parent who is looking for a tutor for their child. So, the “real” customer here is the parent.

2. What is their Motivation for Seeking a Tutor?

What does that mean for you, the tutor? A few things:

  • The motivation for the parent in seeking out a tutor is that their child is not performing well in school, or that they could perform much better.
  • Another motivation for a parent is that a standardized test is coming up such as the SAT Test or the ACT Test, and the parent would like their child to be completely prepared to take the test.

3. What Does Success Look Like?

These in general are the motivations that most parents will have. So, this means, then, that you need to convey the following:

  • I am a tutor that will help your child perform better than he is performing right now.
  • I am the tutor that will help your child get an amazing score on the SAT or ACT test.

If you convey the two items above and demonstrate in the past how you’ve done that for other clients, then you’ll be very competitive and will likely be receiving a job offer.

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Organization Tips for High School Students

Organization Tips for High School Students

Okay. So, I asked my daughter, Kameron, who is a Freshman in High School how she stays organized in High School. And, being the awesome daughter that she is, she went ahead and wrote this article. Now, you need to know something about Kameron: she is very organized, is a member of Key Club, is really involved in Church, and help her 8 younger siblings with everything. She pretty much rocks the house. I hope this article helps you as these tips have helped her.

Do you ever have trouble staying organized with school? And with school moving so fast, do you ever feel like by Wednesday you practically don’t know what’s gong on? Here are some tried and true tips to help you stay organized.

Tips for Getting Organized for High School Students

  1. Go through your binder after receiving every report card. Since you’ve already gotten your report card you can get rid of old assignments. Go through all your papers and notes and toss what you don’t need. If you’re not sure about something, just keep it. It won’t hurt to carry that around.
  2. Clean your room weekly. Have you ever let your room get so dirty, you can hardly see the floor? How did you do that week at school? Likely not very well. If your room is cluttered, your mind will be too. Do a weekly deep clean of your room. The first time it will be rough, but after that it will just become routine. Make your bed, clear your desk, dust…now you are ready to take on the world, let alone school!
  3. Make lists. It will help you to stay organized if you make lists. Make a list of homework assignments to do, a list of after school activities, make a list of things you want to do in general. This will help you remember all you need to do at a certain time period.
  4. Get enough sleep. This will keep you more awake during the day and aware. You will be ready to do the tasks assigned to you and have a more pleasant day. It will also be easier to wake up in the morning. I know that when I wake up late it starts my day off on the wrong foot. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready in the morning and don’t forget to eat breakfast!
  5. Plan your weekends during the week. Throughout the week, think about and write down all the things you wish to get done on the weekend. Then you can have that goal in mind and you are less likely to forget all about school the moment the Friday bell rings.
  6. Plan your week on the weekends. Sometime during the weekend, plan your week ahead. What do you want to get accomplished this week? What days will you be absolutely swamped with activities? What days will you actually get some time to yourself? By doing this, you can start your week off right and know what to expect.

Acting on these suggestions might be difficult at first, but after awhile, these will become habit and much easier to apply to your life. And you can see your life changed as you become more organized!

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Basic Needs of Children

What are the basic needs of children? And, why should we care as they relate to education and in succeeding in school, or in need of an elementary math private tutor (random subject, I know)?

I’m not an expert parent. Not even close. I am experienced, however. Being a parent of 9 children has made me age and mature faster than normal. I pretty much look like I’m 90 years old, but I’m mid 30’s.

What I’m trying to say is that I have gained some wisdom along the way, and that’s what I’d like to share with all of you parents today, keeping in mind, of course, that while I’m speaking to you, this lesson is also for me.

Again, I’m not an expert parent – none of us are – but I am a parent that has had some experience and one that is happy to enter into a dialogue with other parents so that we can learn from each other.

So, here we go.

Basic Needs of Children

  1. Respected
  2. Important
  3. Accepted
  4. Included
  5. Secure

My experience tells me that when these needs are met, it leads to an emotionally healthy child. Knowing these critical needs are important because they can serve as a guide during those difficult moments we all have as parents; it can serve as a roadmap to guide our actions.

In subsequent articles, I’ll highlight each of these critical needs that children have and how we, as parents, can better and more intentionally meet the needs of our children.

This is important, especially as we seek to help our children become successful in school. If we do not meet these basic needs, our efforts on the school front will be influenced negatively.

So, stay tuned to learn about each of the critical needs that our children have and how each one will help them be successful in school – elementary, middle school, and in college and beyond. Heck, forget school – meeting these needs will help them succeed in life, and that’s what it’s really all about.

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GED Test in New York: Online Tutoring

Here’s a little bit of news to folks in New York interested or are planning on taking the GED Test in New York – She Be Gone!

Yup, the GED Test will be replaced by an exam that will be developed by McGraw-Hill, who will create their own version of the High School Equivalency Exam.

I guess in January, the state of New York won’t offer a free version of the GED Test. Instead, New York will offer a test called Test Assessing Secondary Completion, or, TASC, for short. It’s a test developed by McGraw-Hill. If you ask me, I think the acronym GED is much cooler than TASC.

TASC, SHMASK. That’s what I say.

In terms of content, the test will appear the same and will cover GED Reading, Language Arts, Math, Science, and GED History topics. And, the test will last up to 7 hours. Awesome.

I suppose what motivated the New York State was increasing costs. For the state of New York, it costs $6 Million to administer the GED Test. Representatives from the state of New York claim that the new version of the GED will cost less.

Just a little info for New Yorkers that were trying to figure out how to pass a GED or its equivalent exam this year!

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