Who: Vaishnavi Sarathy, Elite Chemistry Coach (Portland, USA)
In just about 4 months of working with me Vaishnavi
- Had shifted gears completely from ‘just teaching on the side’ to having a full coaching business
- Has a new website that reflects who she is and how she truly helps her students
- Increased her rates 2x
- Moved from the uncertainty of one-session-at-a-time bookings to creating high end packages that benefit both her and her students
- Is booked with her 1:1 tutoring – and has had to start a waiting list!
- Is preparing to launch her first online course
Prior to this Dr Vaishnavi Sarathy worked at Intel in a challenging role as an Environmental Engineer. It was commensurate with her background – she holds degrees in Chemistry from some of the best colleges in the field (a PhD from Oregon Health & Science University, a Master degree from University of Delaware and an MSc from IIT-Bombay.)
But after her son was diagnosed with Down Syndrome and Autism, she stepped back from her career to work with him full time.
“After my PhD I was working at Intel as an Environmental Engineer. I left that to work with my son full time. My son is diagnosed with Down Syndrome and Austism. I wasn’t satisfied with the development or care he was receiving. I decided to take it on myself and homeschool him.”
Pretty soon after that she started teaching grade level Chemistry and Math to friends’ children. By the time we started working together, Vaishnavi had been tutoring on the side for more than 5 years.
“I have a PHD in Chemistry. I used to think of myself as an elite student…. but some of that confidence chipped away over the years.”
“It didn’t even occur to me that I could I have something working from home.
… It (the tutoring) was just a side thing; there was no value to it.”
“…Whenever I introduced myself to people, I’d say I homeschooled my son full time. I’d forget to say that I’m also a tutor. I’d add that in later.
That’s how much respect I gave myself and what I do.”
How it all changed once we started working together:
“Now I don’t even bat an eyelid! Not only do I remember.. I VALUE the fact that this is a business and I want to get to a certain place. I deserve that.
I’m no longer just earning spare change on the side!
That I can actually do something worthwhile; that I’m extremely good at AND can turn it into a valuable business.”
“When I started working with you – I would not talk about where I’d studied (or my PHd, or my other achievements).
I behaved as if people were doing me a favor letting me educate their kids.
That has completely changed. Flipped over 180 degree now!!!”
About why she chose us to create her website:
“Before working with you, my idea of a website was that it’s just an online business card. After our initial sessions I realized there’s so much more to doing a website. You need to know who you’re going to reach out, what you’re portraying and how … and so many things.
When I’m not very clear about that myself.. how is a general website designer going to know? Just another web designer won’t cut it.
I needed somebody who can guide me through the process of how to position myself, how to brand myself.”
And how her website made her feel:
“Having a really good website ……It’s like wearing a very nice, expensive dress. It just makes you look so much more professional.”
“It has boosted my confidence immensely! Just being able to tell people go visit http://plumpuddingchemistry.com feels so good on my tongue!! And once they visit, they’re usually blown away!!!”
And then we had THAT conversation – the one about money – the one about charging what you’re worth. It still blows me away how much women undervalue themselves.
Vaishnavi also had this struggle, much more so than some of my other clients. Given her background, her achievements and more than that the value she was bringing to her students, I was taken aback at her current rates. Our conversation kept circling back to her rates for almost a month.
I helped walk her through exactly how to talk to her existing clients, how to talk to new clients etc. I got her to practice. It was painful. But it worked.
About 2 months after her website was up, her 1:1 tutoring was booked FULL and had a waiting list. All her older students had continued AND she’d signed up 4 new students at her new rates.
“I’d been at those rates for a very long time. I was afraid to be perceived to be greedy or even ungrateful, or unworthy. All of those things really.
I don’t know if those things were true. But when people have gotten used to valuing you a certain rate, and then there’s a sudden jump, it is unsettling. For them and for me.”
The key to it all was getting Vaishnavi to truly recognize the value she brings to her students.
“I have always been very invested in each student. I teach them how to learn….
“How to Learn” is simple statement, but it is a huge thing.
I strongly believe that everybody can learn chemistry. Not just chemistry, but any sciences and math.
It just has to be taught in a certain way depending on the person’s (learning style).
If a person doesn’t learn, it’s usually not their fault.”
“Richa, what you do for me…. is what I do for my students 🙂
I teach them to be confident and to actually understand their worth.. through chemistry.”
Watch her talk about her journey in this video:
- Why she made the difficult decision to step away from a promising career [2:22]
- How she couldn’t just ‘sit at home’ and instead combined her love for Chemistry and for teaching [3:00]
- Why women don’t talk about their achievements and instead suppress them [4:20]
- #HowMomsWork – the part so many moms will identify with [5:50]
- Why she didn’t take her tutoring seriously at first ie for the first 5 years [7:30]
- How our work together has changed not just the way she sees her business – but the way she sees herself [9:40]
- How just our first session completely changed the way she thought about websites [13:25]
- How her new branding and website make her feel about her business [15:50]
- How she struggled with the very idea that she could charge more – and then went on to double her rates and sign up 4 new students. [16:50]
- Understanding her real value, her USP. It’s not really about teaching Chemistry. [19:15]