Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Evans.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started Lessons On The Go on the floor of my apartment located in a rough government subsidized housing project. I was living off of $15 a week for food and at one point preparing to “move” into my car.
The first month I was there I found myself in the middle of a gang shooting and staring down the barrel of a 9mm pistol. I had just moved out on my own and here I was thinking it was all over before it ever even began. It was then I knew I had to get out. At the time I was teaching private music lessons through four different companies at all hours of the day to stay afloat. The work was inconsistent and there were many times I didn’t know where my next paycheck was coming from. It was a very scary time for me but necessary in giving me the drive I needed to start my own business and never look back.
From childhood I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. I used to sell everything from popcorn in Boy Scouts to drawings on the playground at recess. My teachers weren’t too happy about that but I always had extra lunch money! Everything from lemonade to greeting cards, you name it I made and sold it. I think no matter what, I found something magical in creating something and sharing it with others. To this day I would say that still holds true.
I picked up the guitar at age 11 and began to teach myself right away. I loved how the strings felt and the sounds I could make in certain positions. The next year I began to play in the “big band” with the adults in the church praise group and continued to hone my skills learning everything I could from much more experienced players. At seventeen I was already gigging professionally playing wine tastings, private parties, late night weekend gigs, professional studio recordings and more.
A friend of mine suggested I start giving guitar lessons to make a little extra income on the side and I told her she was crazy. For months she kept suggesting this until finally one day I gave in and decided to place an ad online. The next day I had over fifteen inquiries from parents wanting their children to learn how to play guitar. At first, I only took one because I was insanely nervous. Even though I was already a professional musician, teaching and playing are two completely different things. However, once I taught my first lesson, I couldn’t believe how natural it felt and how much fun it was to see my student’s face light up when she actually started playing. From then on it was history. I called back every single inquiry and booked almost all of them.
A week later I quit my bagger job at Kroger and have been self-employed ever since. Later on, I realized why I had such a major response to my online ad. At the time, I was one of the only people advertising “in-home” guitar lessons (I didn’t want people coming to my parent’s house) and once people saw that someone could travel to them, it was game over. This would play a major role when laying out the foundation of my company years later.
When I was 19, my dad received a job offer out of state and assumed I would come with the family. I made the decision to stay and with such short notice, did not have the income to support myself. I had about five students a week and about a weeks’ time to move out before my family packed up and moved north. This is when I moved to a very rough part of Houston and found myself in a dangerous situation. At that point, I dropped out of college and did everything I could to gain more students and survive. Finding and eventually working for several in-home companies helped supplement my own personal student base.
Working for other companies that specialized in in-home tutoring and music lessons, I learned that most of them are not locally based and are run by someone in another city or another state altogether. The people running these companies don’t understand the community they are trying to provide a service to. They simply “hire” teachers based on a one-time phone interview and hope for the best. I quickly grew to understand the needs and frustrations of the families I was working with and knew I could do better. Thus, Lessons On The Go was born. I immediately began to go to work. I was 19 years old with no sales training, business experience, or college education but that didn’t matter. I knew then and there I would find a way to bring safe, qualified teachers into peoples homes within my own community. With $700 (that I had to pay Legal Zoom in three separate monthly installments) I started my LLC and began to recruit local teachers.
Through trial and error, we started to grow within our community. I found that it was much easier focusing on the area I was familiar with rather than trying to “hire” teachers randomly across the country and spreading myself thin. By focusing on one area, I’ve been able to give teachers a much more steady flow of students as well as students many more options when it comes to pairing them with the right teacher for their needs. Also, our teachers can teach in their own communities making their drive to each lesson much shorter. Since the beginning, we have grown to a staff of 35 between three locations; The Woodlands, Sugar Land, and the Rice/West U area and Bellaire.
When people ask what we do, I like to say think of us as your local tutoring center or music school, but the only difference is we travel to you fitting into your weekly routine. On the music side, much like a local studio or school, we hold bi-annual recitals as well as other performance opportunities for our students throughout the year. You may see us volunteering at local schools in our communities or sponsoring local events for one of the causes we support. We try to be very involved in our community and give back as much as possible.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Hiring qualified teachers has been our biggest struggle. We have always had WAY more students than teachers. We have a very strict hiring process, so finding the right teachers that are also safe has been the biggest challenge.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Lessons On The Go – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Lessons On The Go specializes in custom, one-on-one private tutoring, foreign languages, and music lessons. We are student advocates first and a convenience company second. We fit into our client’s daily lives so they can spend less time driving and more time with their family. Put simply, we make people happy :). In addition to providing private tutoring and music lessons, we try to be as much of a resource as possible to our parents and students.
Every month we post helpful tips and hacks to our blog at https://lessonsonthego.com/blog/ about subjects ranging from math tutoring, to guitar lessons, to helpful parenting tools. It is also not uncommon for someone to call us from outside our area looking for lessons only to find us helping them find a reputable company where they live. We try to help people both inside and outside of our community the best we can, even if they never become a Lessons On The Go client.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Next year (2018) we are franchising after 7 years of business! This is a big step for us and we couldn’t be more excited. We are currently accepting pre-applications from potential franchisees from all over Texas and Oklahoma. This is one of the most rewarding jobs you can have and we look forward to sharing that with others. It has taken a lot of planning but with the infrastructure finally, in place, we’re almost there. That’s all I can comment on at the moment :).
- Address: 9595 Six Pines Dr. Ste. 8210
The Woodlands, TX 77380
- Website: https://lessonsonthego.com/
- Phone: (281) 401-9580
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lessonsonthego/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/lessonsonthego