Neshni Naidoo is a curator and creator of learning experiences. As the owner of Edu-Coach she shares a real passion for Maths and Science and helps countless learners achieve their educational goals. We chatted to Neshni about her former life as a Chemical Engineer and how she took the leap to kickstart a career in education.
Neshni’s love of education is contagious. Her business is all about giving back, empowering youth and helping them realise their untapped potential. On a personal note, Neshni is also a writer who shares her transformational journey through poetry and short prose. She has been married for 25 years and is mom to 3 boys and is passionate about her writing, music and creative art.
What did you do before you started Edu-Coach?
I worked as a Chemical Engineer but left in 2004 to be at home when my first child was born. However, I needed a challenge and to make a difference so I became active within my spiritual organisation. I was blessed to be given the opportunity to not only serve but to develop skills as a speaker, teacher and leader. In 2010, I ran an Experi-Buddies franchisee where I taught Science as an extra-mural activity to learners from Grade R to 3.
So how did Edu-Coach come about?
When my eldest was in Grade 4, he struggled with Maths. It was difficult for us as parents since both my husband and I have a scientific background. When searching for an alternative, creative way of teaching Math, I came across Vedic Maths (a method of mental maths). In 2013 I partnered with Vedic Maths Forum India to promote Vedic Maths in South Africa and provide academic support for Maths via Online Tutoring. In 2018 I rebranded and Edu-Coach was born.
The objective of Edu-Coach is broader than Maths tutoring. While our core focus is Maths and Science, we also support students with study skills and assist with other subjects. To complement the tutoring, we also provide students with resources to aid their understanding of the concepts and for extra practice.
What has been the biggest challenge running a business?
Initially , there isn’t enough money to pay an assistant to support you or a specialist to implement the ideas you have. You end up doing everything yourself which puts a strain on you, physically and mentally. Your business growth is much slower than anticipated.
What is the one thing that you’re most passionate about when it comes to your business?
To me teaching is about shaping a child’s mind and helping them reach their potential. It is not just Maths or Science that they learn, but skills such as planning, study techniques and how to stay motivated. I feel joy when I see my students become confident and independent learners; they have that “light-bulb” moment or their eyes light up when they have accomplished a task they thought difficult.
What has been some of the benefits or rewards of working for yourself?
The biggest benefit is that I have time with my children – I work around their schedules and I can be there for them to attend school activities and support them with their schooling and help them develop their talents. My business is a reflection of who I am so it is built and developed around my values and beliefs. I don’t have to compromise on this. I have developed skills and grown in ways that would not have been possible if I was employed.
Do you have a favourite quote?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
What motivates you to keep going?
I love what I do – it brings me joy to share what I know and to encourage and inspire young minds to grow and develop. It has been a long journey to where I am today but the positive feedback received from parents and students tells me that I am on the right path. I am making a difference in their lives which is my ultimate purpose.
Three things you can’t live without?
Solitude, books, music.
What tips can you offer to someone wanting to start out in this industry?
Identify your niche or what makes you different to other tutoring businesses. Start with the area you live in and work on securing clients there. Make sure that your clients are happy with your service and are your biggest supporters. They will help spread the word through referrals. Word of mouth advertising is free! It is built on trust so be true to customers – what you offer should match what you provide.
Any exciting projects or business developments you have in the pipeline going forward?
Extra tutoring has become a necessity in South Africa. It is however expensive and therefore not accessible to the communities who really need it. I have been looking at other more affordable ways to support students.
I have been providing a WhatsApp support service to a few students. The plan is to expand this service. It is helpful to have a “Tutor on Call” especially in the evenings and weekends.
My other big project is the “Education Portal”. The purpose of the portal is to provide academic support to learners through tutorials, videos and exercises in one space.
Find out more about Edu-Coach online at www.edu-coach.co.za. You can also check them out on Facebook and Insta and connect with Neshni on LinkedIn here: