How This Teacher Left the Classroom to Start a 6-Figure Business

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  • Stacey Keller commenced a organization named Ponyback Hats in 2020 and stop her teaching occupation before long right after.
  • In 2021, her first whole 12 months in business enterprise, Keller booked additional than $875,000 in revenue.
  • Keller defined how lecturers can utilize their classroom skills to entrepreneurship.

One summertime afternoon though her young children ended up napping, Stacey Keller sat at her eating-space table and minimize a massive hole in the back again of a baseball cap. She required to make the hat adjustable to suit her ponytail.

She experienced zippers, snaps, and buttons, but none of individuals would get the job done for the closure. Then the refrigerator magnets caught her eye. She remembered that her sons’ Magformers toys contained tiny cylindrical magnets, which were being the fantastic dimension for her experiment.

woman wears her hair in a Ponyback baseball cap

The Ponyback hat Keller created.

Starra Pictures

Whilst her little ones were still seem asleep, she grabbed her husband’s tools, pried the toys aside, and inserted the magnets into the back again of her cap. Now the hat opened and shut with relieve for whichever hairstyle she selected.

In the 10 years she’d taught enterprise to large-college learners, Keller had dreamed of launching a startup. She just hadn’t identified the plan that obtained her “coronary heart going,” she claimed — until eventually her dining-table Diy moment.

“This is it,” claimed Keller, who’s based mostly in Ontario, Canada. “Some thing in just me, I just knew.”

Keller intended her initial hat in 2018, introduced her enterprise, Ponyback Hats, in June 2020, and continued educating part time through the stop of the 12 months in advance of focusing on her business complete time.

In 2021 the firm produced additional than $875,000 in income, which Insider verified with documentation.

Keller described how she produced the jump from trainer to entrepreneur and how she repurposed her classroom capabilities for her enterprise.

When the entrepreneurial bug hits

Keller loved training so considerably that even her spouse was shocked when she told him she planned to stop. The classroom gave her autonomy and a artistic outlet, but she could no lengthier deny that her entrepreneurial spirit craved adjust and finding out new points.

“I appreciate pushing myself, and I am very ambitious,” she stated. “Those people parts of myself ended up emotion a tiny bit exhausted and discouraged with educating.”

After she’d built her prototype, Keller’s initial main obstacle was landing a company. She explained she received a good deal of rejections telling her the style and design was too “unusual” or too “innovative.” The good thing is, a networking relationship directed her to the excellent match.

“They ended up happy to acquire a prospect on me,” she claimed. “They have an understanding of that’s likely to help them keep at the reducing edge.”

She instructed that when suppliers tell you no, talk to if they know anyone else — and change to Facebook groups and online queries. “Google your coronary heart out!” she reported. “You hardly ever know when a relationship will pay out off.”

Stacey Keller crouches on floor wearing Ponyback hat and shows peace sign with her hand

“Entrepreneurship is all about finding out, trying, and testing new factors,” Keller stated.


Academics are lifelong learners and challenge solvers

Keller stated there are quite a few similarities amongst top a classroom and managing a organization, like the have to have to adapt to change and learn rapidly. Her faculty was closely focused on new know-how, so location up an on-line shop and navigating e-commerce tools for her business arrived uncomplicated to her.

“I felt so much a lot more ready,” she reported. “Entrepreneurship is all about finding out, trying, and tests new factors.”

As a instructor, she was always increasing her curriculum to support her learners. Now, as an entrepreneur, she applies the same issue-solving capabilities to give her clients the ideal knowledge. She mentioned that when some men and women instructed her the sizing did not accommodate all head shapes and dimensions, she established new dimensions and despatched them to all those clients who’d presented her suggestions to make confident they labored.

Keller hasn’t absolutely let go of training. She mentioned she could see herself offering her company a person day and returning to the classroom to impart her firsthand knowledge to her college students.

“I hope which is how my tale will conclude,” she stated. “I assume that would be rather cool.”