I just met one of the most dynamic young entrepreneurs in recent memory….Lee Ingram from Madison, Mississippi. Lee may have found his “niche” in life, even before he completes his academic journey. We just crossed paths with the businessman here in Oxford.
HottyToddy.com: Lee, tell us first about yourself before we dive into your exciting business concept.
Lee Ingram: I am currently an accounting and a grad student here at Ole Miss. I will be completing my academic work in August, which will then make me eligible to sit for the CPA exam.
HottyToddy.com: Your tutoring business apparently has taken off faster than you could have ever anticipated. How exactly did this come about?
Lee Ingram: I started tutoring in the summer of 2015. I had no idea where this would lead. In just one week, I had 16 students as clients. All in all since then, my team has assisted about 250 students with over 1,000 hours of tutoring.
HottyToddy.com: Unbelievable! Especially in such a short time. You said “team”?
Lee Ingram: I currently have four tutors working with me. We were as large as 14 at one point. I only seek out the best and the brightest students to work with me.
HottyToddy.com: Are you focused strictly on accounting courses?
Lee Ingram: We do our best to have a tutor available for any subject that a student needs help in. Other subjects we serve include finance, statistics, math, biology, chemistry, physics, and Spanish.
HottyToddy.com: Who is your customer and how do you go about finding them?
Lee Ingram: Basically students who are either struggling or students who want to reinforce their grade as going from a B to an A. We quickly analyze their objective and determine what we need to do in order to attain it. A lot of our marketing is word of mouth coupled with distributing fliers and professors allowing me to make pitches in the classroom.
HottyToddy.com: You must be doing something right to get this far so fast.
Lee Ingram: Of all our customers, I would say 99 percent are satisfied with our service as we’re extremely focused on giving them the best experience possible. And I would also estimate that 80 percent of our B students coming in were able to achieve an A as a result of our services.
HottyToddy.com: Haven’t you had some success recently besides your tutoring accomplishments?
Lee Ingram: I just won the Gillespie Business Plan Competition on campus, which the prize was $10,000 and office space for one year in Insight Park on the UM campus. I competed against 16 other students at the beginning of the competition. On May 12, I will be competing nationally in Silicon Valley for a prize of $30,000. There will be approximately 10-15 competing. My mentor and MBA professor, Clay Dibrell, will be joining me on the trip to advise me and consult.
HottyToddy.com: How expensive are your services?
Lee Ingram: We typically charge $40 to $50 an hour and are flexible in working with the students as much as they need us. In some instances, we tutor a student two to three times a week for an entire semester. By students working with students, we can overcome the “stigma” of looking like a tutoring session is in process. We meet in the library or wherever the student is most comfortable.
HottyToddy.com: What have you learned as a young entrepreneur?
Lee Ingram: It takes a great deal of hard work to succeed in business. You have to first identify who your customer is, next determine what their problem or objective is and then figure out how to solve it. Building a business is all about improving people’s lives.
HottyToddy.com: I bet the parents love you.
Lee Ingram: We have an outstanding relationship with parents. There is a great deal of stress with grades and maintaining GPAs for scholarships. The cost of attending a university is significant.
HottyToddy.com: Where do you go from here?
Lee Ingram: This fall, we’re planning to expand to MSU and LSU. I currently have two technical programmers working on our website collegiatetutoring.com. It should be ready to roll out also by fall.
HottyToddy.com: How do prospective students, clients as well as tutors, get in touch with you?
Lee Ingram: My email address is Lee@collegiatetutoring.com or they can even go to the website now and will be directed to an application.
HottyToddy.com: Do you work with the Greek organizations?
Lee Ingram: Absolutely! Many of our clients are affiliated with fraternities and sororities.
Lee is a perfect example of the apple falling not too far from the tree as his sister, father and grandfather are all CPAs. This young man may never leave Oxford as the grass could not be much greener in other pastures! The Madison Central grad has come a long way quickly as he’s raising GPAs on his journey!
Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at email@example.com or call him at 985-852-7745.