Empowered Women International sat down with Caryn Reitkopp, a recent graduate of EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success program and owner of “Paws for Peace.”
Check out her interview below where she celebrates sowing the well deserved fruits of her labor and how EWI had a hand in EMPOWERING ONE MORE WOMAN!
Tell us about your business.
While in the EWI’s Entrepreneur Training for Success(ETS) program last year, I developed the Paws for Peace curriculum for preschoolers to teach social skills, empathy, and promote humane education and kindness towards living things. We use animal themes and puppets, to make connections with the children. We also work with parents teachers as part of an all-inclusive program. I am in the process of waiting for approval from the Maryland State Department of Education to have my teacher training workshops qualify for continuing education credits for teachers. I think what I’m teaching is a timely due to all the violence in the news and bullying behavior starting younger.
Congratulations are in order. We understand you just got your first real client.
Yes – I am very excited! This summer I will deliver 11 weekly classes to this preschool’s 29 children ages 2-5. They have chosen my Amazing Friendships Unit which we will end with a meaningful bake sale to raise funds for an animal charity of their choice. The children will have baked home-made dog biscuits and other items to sell. I’ve given my customer a discounted rate because this is a pilot and I need to get my name out there. I’ll be able to take photos and testimonials that will benefit my marketing efforts. I hope to sign schools up for fall too.
How did you find your client?
I found her during cold-call marketing when I was in ETS. She had shown interest in the idea and was open to piloting my program. After the ETS class ended, I called her again several times with no return calls and then finally e-mailed. I just didn’t give up. It took some work to reach her. She had given me some ideas on an early call and I was able to incorporate her ideas which pleased her. I had to make a LOT of cold calls and she’s the only one that was enthusiastic and seemed really interested. I can see that patience is needed!
What advice would you give to other EWI entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to stay on your path. Accept feedback and change what needs to be changed. You find your niche by trying different things. Believe in yourself. Do odd jobs if you need to so you can earn money while giving yourself time for your business to catch on. The worst thing that can happen is that you will fail, but you will have given it your best shot. And new doors always open when you have the courage to take chances.
How did the ETS course help prepare you?
The ETS course helped me put my idea down on paper and make it happen. I had been dreaming of doing a business where I combined my love for animals with my background in early childhood education for over 10 years. Each session was a step towards completing my business plan which had felt like too big of an undertaking before I took the course. I also enjoyed the networking with other entrepreneurs and supporters of EWI. In addition, I found the social media information to be really helpful since I am even new to Facebook.
How can other EWI supporters help you?
I appreciate connections or introductions with any daycares, preschools, children’s programs, museums or other venues. Just help me spread the word!!! My website is www.pawsforpeaceprograms.com and my phone number is 301-502-4167. I can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Caryn’s family at the beach