In Conversation with Karen Wilson of ChildNEXUS
Describe your business in a few words?
ChildNEXUS is a web-based platform that connects parents whose children struggle with learning or social-emotional issues with professionals who provide psychological and educational support services. Our goal is to educate parents, empower teachers, and help students achieve their full potential.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I was invited to join a colleague’s business and wanted more autonomy. So, I started my own. Then, I wanted to expand my reach and have a bigger impact, which led me to create ChildNEXUS.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I was a college professor, a clinical supervisor at UCLA and a clinician in a group private practice.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No. But, my grandmother was an entrepreneur. So, I think it was in my genes!
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
When I started ChildNEXUS, my strategy was to just tell people about what I was doing, connect with colleagues and get feedback regarding what families needed and what the professionals who serve them wanted in terms of support.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I stayed with the developer who created my site for too long because I was fearful of the tech aspect of the platform I was developing. I learned to get guidance on other options available to me and to discuss pain points with those who could connect me with others who could provide assistance and the support I needed.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Building a community of allied professionals committed to serving students who struggle.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
How do you deal with uncertainty?
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
My private practice closed for three months and it created an opportunity to provide support to families through webinars and virtual town halls under the ChildNEXUS brand. That work led me to launch a podcast in November 2020.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
We plan to grow our community of providers and connect them with more families that need support; we would like to grow nationally and then globally. At the same time, we want to continue to increase understanding of the learning and social-emotional challenges that many children and adolescents face so that we can help more students reach their full potential.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
That sometimes a pause, creates an opportunity.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
The importance of collaborations and interpersonal connections for growing a business.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
Spending time with immediate family, staying connected with extended family and friends, staying in prayer, and taking time to walk outdoors so that I have the space to think and breathe.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I think that work-life balance changes according to the seasons in your life. It won’t occur spontaneously; you have to be intentional about making time for the things that matter.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I used to be afraid of public speaking.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Get up before everyone in the house gets up so you can get a jump start on the day – distraction free.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly.
- Set boundaries around your time.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means that I am passionate, committed, and unapologetically ambitious, willing to do what it takes to grow my business and make an impact at the same time.