Will Orr-Ewing is the Founder and Director of Keystone Tutors and is hoping to use his company as a platform to inspire the next generation into choosing tutoring as a full-time career.
Hi Will, Thanks for doing this. How are you doing today?
Very well thank you, Joseph!
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
Tall, with an autumnal shock of red hair, I live and work in west London. I was lucky to attend some fantastic schools before reading history at Oriel College, Oxford. I set up keystone tutors in 2007 and run it with my best friend and fellow Orielense Josh Pull.
When did you get the entrepreneurial bug?
The thought of working for someone else had always been dispiriting, but even I was shocked by how immediately compelling was the experience of running one's own company.
How did the idea for Keystone Tutors come about?
Working for some well-meaning - but oddly-conceived - competitors.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
Keeping all the plates spinning. I enjoyed the client-facing side, but was complacent to say the least about the invoicing and financial management. I was saved by my friend Josh, who had worked in the city and is now co-owner and co-director.
What is Keystone Tutors? And what are you trying to solve with it?
Keystone tutors is the tutoring company setting the highest standards in London at the moment. It is trying to solve the problem of complacent and/or inadequate tutoring that has been the norm in the last decade.
How have you been able to fund the company so far?
Thankfully, through profit. Very few overheads were required to set up the business.
What advices can you give to entrepreneurs looking to raise investments for their start-ups especially in the UK?
Very little, I’m afraid. Talking to entrepreneur friends, though, their problems have rarely been caused by lack of finance. They have found funding through seed, investor and government sources.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
Oh, I was very excited. And I still am.
How did you initially get traction?
We were lucky that our customers seemed to love what we were doing, and told all their friends.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow it?
Source great people: I am very fortunate to work with the people I’ve employed since the company was founded.
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Moving into a beautiful office which was a walk from home and which I was proud to show to friends, family, clients and tutors. Hearing how much our employees enjoy working for us.
What should we be expecting from Keystone Tutors in the coming months?
More professional tutors, who are choosing tutoring as a full-time career.
Lastly, what three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
1) Start when you're young and care-free.
2) Don’t get bogged down with trifles.
3) Don’t obsess: try to take time off and get perspective