It’s been a turbulent last few years for those in the education industry.
2020 was the single hardest year of my life, but by getting through the team at LIFT Enrichment made 2022 the best year ever…and in 2023 we will not just double, but TRIPLE in the amount of workshops we serviced the year before.
“Growth mindset” is one of our core values, and here are 5 changes we made in the last 5 months that resulted in significant growth.
1. We redid our entire Chef Teacher Onboarding Process
I honestly feel like I run a part-time recruiting company because we are constantly hiring and onboarding our Chef Teachers. We make it FUN for these teachers and some stay for years, while others stay for a season.
In the summer of 2022, I spent many, many hours training our Chef Teachers on live zoom calls. I’d spend every Friday afternoon going over the same PowerPoint.
My girlfriend at the time noticed my lack of enthusiasm when I spent yet another 4pm-6pm time slot on a Friday training new teachers (which is right during Happy Hour…and she loved Happy Hour!)
Frustrated, I cut up my 2 hour training into 3-5 minute videos, put them into a google sheet and called it the Chef Teacher portal. I then recorded 30 videos of me going over every single recipe we teach. Now we have a beautiful, living document that contains exactly how to teach the perfect Chef Teacher class. Here’s a screenshot below of a portal we made for one of our clients: After School All Stars
Next we created a test all Chef Teachers must go through: the Mock cooking class. In a 45 minute zoom call, we can determine if someone can cook a recipe, keep an audience entertained, follow our protocol and teach kids about culture and nutrition. If a Chef Teacher passes, they move forward, but some don’t make it through.
Then we have them assist classes led by other Chef Teachers. And on their first day as a lead Chef Teacher, we watch their entire class live on zoom.
This process has helped us grow from 5 Chef Teachers in September to over 30 this Winter.
2. I Delegated A LOT of Sales and Account Management Duties
As we brought on new clients, I found that I spent a lot of time in sales calls AND hours behind the scenes to prepare proposals and follow-up meetings. One week, I spent 20 hours just prepping, executing and doing activities for meetings. This was a good use of my time…but interfered with other parts of the job (like writing these newsletters to keep us top of mind 🙂
In need of more time, I started to delegate a few things to our Partnership Coordinator, Roj, who is based in the Philippines.
He started to take on time-consuming by key tasks like Invoicing, updating proposals, reminding clients about meetings and more! He’d even close a few on his own.
And while he took some sales duties off my plate…
3. I hired an Operations Manager and worked on building the Operations Team
I had never had a true Operations leader and that role always landed on my shoulders. I’m good at it, but it’s not the highest level activity I should be doing.
I spoke to my business mentors and they all recommended to have someone fulfill be in charge of Operations.
In July, a buddy of mine who runs a Ukrainian virtual assistant agency helped me interview some candidate to find a good fit. I went through many, many interviews before I met Slava, who started as an Operations Coordinator and quickly proved herself capable of running the Operations team. She’s also the first point of contact for all of our clients, and they genuinely enjoy working with her because she cares about their success. Her team of 2 will soon be 5 as she aims to train and delegate as much as she can so her focus is on making sure we are staffed and ready.
4. I learned that our Chef Teachers LOVE recognition and praise
Recently, we had our first State-of-the-Union company meeting and it was such a success that we’ll be doing them a lot more often. It reminds our Chef Teachers who we are, how we’re special and where we’re going.
We added a new part called Chef Teacher of the month. The winners were:
September 2022 – Jackie Roslak, because she would teach anywhere and clients loved her
October 2022 – Lynne Woods because she has been teaching with us for over 4 years and clients love her teaching style.
November 2022 – Scott Koh, who teaches 6-8 workshops a week in Palm Springs and kids love him.
December 2022 – Angel Bowie a Chef Teacher in Idaho who has taught over 100 hours of virtual-live workshops!
Each Chef Teacher got public recognition and a $100 Amazon gift card! We will be continuing this recognition trend forever.
5. I chose better clients: Higher Ticket, Bigger Impact, Easier to work with
A few months back I shared this key post on why we will only work with grant-based programs at Title- 1 Schools.
Within a matter of months, we started closing big districts. Instead of working with individual private schools where we would teach 18 students a session, we partnered with school districts with 21 sites each where we could teach 200+ students a year! The average ticket size went from $15k a year to over $100k. Everything changed as we saw how these clients were more of a pleasure to work with and we could aim for fewer high-quality clients then tons of low-ticket size clients.
Now we work with huge districts such as:
Val Verde USD (320 workshops this Winter/Spring)
Panama Buena Vista USD (198 workshops this Winter/Spring)
I’d also like to welcome a few more newer clients including After-School All Stars of LA (who I will be training in March) and a bunch of previous clients who rebooked for Spring and Summer including YMCA of Wabash County in Indiana.
If you’re a Title-1 school who sees how LIFT Enrichment has learned from their mistakes and still provides high quality health culinary workshops as an after-school or summer program. Click here to meet with me!
And check out our last 3 Newsletters
- The 3 Most Popular Grants That Fund Healthy After-School Culinary Workshops For Students
- 5 Amazing Things About Living in Dubai
- Paris, Dubai and Your invite to a VIP Client Appreciation dinner