In this Escape Velocity Series Podcast and Video on Small Scale Life, I have the honor of interviewing Kris Geissler. Kris saw a need to provide driver’s education in her community, and she started the Northfield Area School of Driving to help teach students how to drive safely.
Helping people: that’s what drives so many entrepreneurs. These brave folks have talents, skills, ideas and most importantly the gumption to get up and address needs in their communities.
Who is Kris Geissler? Kris is a single mom and has a background in special education. She went from the St. Peter Security Hospital to teaching. She wanted to help students who were struggling in school in an effort to prevent them from going down a dark path. Kris has a passion to help these students succeed in school and life.
Northfield is a community south of the Twin Cities and home to St. Olaf College, Carleton Collage and Malt-O-Meal. It is far enough from the Twin Cities that it is beautiful bedroom community with small town charm, but it is big enough that there are needs for students and people that go unfulfilled.
One of those needs was driver’s education. There were no driver’s education classes available to local students. Kris saw that need and started her school to address that need in the Northfield area, especially when Community Education said “no.”
I have known Kris for over a year and have the honor to regularly present at her driver’s education class. I am excited to hear that there might be a satellite office to help address needs in other communities. I know it will be a great success because Kris does a great job with her students. I do really enjoy presenting at her school and appreciate the students’ questions as they play “Stump Tom the Train Guy.”
Hall of Heroes – Gratitude
“It’s hard to have a bad day when you START your day with gratitude.”
These folks have reached the Hall of Heroes for this episode of the Small Scale Life Podcast:
- Kris Geissler for being a great teacher, for inviting me to present to her classes and for being on the Small Scale Life Podcast.
- Glen Tate for inspiring me to start the Small Scale Life Patreon Account.
- For Maria the Intuitive Energy Healer and Julie for assisting me with some stuff and things. It is always good to clear some negative energy and vibes, and I appreciate their positivity.
Thank all of you for listening to this podcast episode, and if you want a shout out in our next Hall of Heroes, get active and participate on Small Scale Life.
What are you grateful for? Maybe you should tell that person or that organization (or favorite podcaster). Give it a try!
Do You have a Side Hustle or Business?
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Send a message to me using the Contact Us page on smallscalelife.com. This is your chance to teach us as we continue to learn, do, grow and be a little better everyday!
Lessons Learned – Amazing Driver’s Education in Northfield, Minnesota
Time to go to school! What lessons can we learn from Kris’ story about starting the Northfield Area School of Driving? We can learn the following lessons:
- Identify a need. In this case, the students had a really difficult time getting their driver’s license because there was no option available. Kris saw that need and developed her school to service those customers.
- Have a positive accountability partner. Whether it is losing weight, budgeting, or starting a business, we need someone to check in with us and make sure we are on track (in a positive and encouraging way).
- Offer a unique, customized experience to customers. Customers (in this case students) get lost in bigger corporations, stores, organizations and institutions. They check in and check out, essentially slipping through the cracks. Small businesses can offer unique and customized service that engages the customer and treats them like a real human (not like a walking ATM machine). This has worked well in the Northfield Area School of Driving.
- Use a Website and Word of Mouth Marketing Strategies. Being online allows customers to find your business with a simple keyword search. Word of Mouth is a key marketing strategy because good referrals spread like wildfire (and are free). Bad referrals can spread like wildfire too, so be aware of that as well!
- Use technology to make your job easier. Kris found a vendor who build websites for massage parlors and Driving Schools (strange combination to be sure). The key is that the technology allows self serve shopping and makes administration/book keeping easy! The website takes orders and payments and is automated to provide reminders and get testimonials once the class is done.
- Be open and put yourself in the right place; opportunities will present themselves to you. Kris has been serving the growing Somali population in Faribault, Minnesota, and there may be opportunities to have a satellite office there. It is exciting to see growth when you are open to new opportunities (even though they might not be in your immediate location).
Kris also identified a significant need for small businesses:
Small business owners desperately need a health insurance solution.
One of the big drawbacks to starting a full time small business is insurance, especially for single parents. This can kill a small business idea in its infancy since medical bills can crush any budget and savings account. A solution is needed, and this will be a topic of future Small Scale Life Podcasts. We need a solution for this problem.
To find Kris Geissler and the Northfield Area School of Driving, please use the following links:
Connect with Kris! She is a great teacher, and the bonus is….you get to hear ME teach a class on safety around railroad tracks! I am a regular guest speaker for her Driver’s Education classes, and we have a good time. I promise I won’t sing like I do at the end of this podcast episode (maybe).
For Small Scale Life Podcasts, I would like to thank Sean at Osi and the Jupiter for the intro song "Harvest." Sean wrote this specifically for us, and I really enjoy all of his work. You can find more Osi and the Jupiter at their Bandcamp site: https://osifolk.bandcamp.com/
I would also like to thank Austin Quinn at Vlog Vibes for the intro and outro music. For more information abut Austin and Vlog Vibes, please see the Vlog Vibes YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY80LeqtJf-YBzJy2TWKpDw
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