Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Samantha Woods, Founder and Director of Kaizen Education Services, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Since its inception in 2013, Kaizen has become a recognized and well-respected authority on executive functioning skills, the brain-based skills that enable you to set goals, plan, and accomplish tasks. When people struggle with executive function, it significantly impacts them at home, school, and in life. Kaizen has validated a significant need to educate students and adults that are currently underserved by traditional systems of learning or working. I successfully created a niche coaching approach that has helped thousands of people thrive in learning and life. Our customers are:

  • Parents of children who struggle with executive functioning skills (aka ADHD)
  • Educators who want to learn more about supporting students in developing executive skills
  • Adults who struggle with executive skills in the workplace

Video about my story can be found here.

Tell us about yourself

Thirteen years ago, I had an “ah-ha” moment while working with students who supposedly “couldn’t learn.” I soon realized that my students’ struggles were due to nothing more than the underdevelopment of their executive skills, which could be taught! Through my neuroscience research, I discovered that children are not inherently born with these skills but have the capacity to learn and develop them, no matter their age.

As I began to coach my own children, ages 12 and 8 at the time, along with my teenage students, it quickly became apparent that a unique and customizable approach decisively showcases the need for people to understand how their unique brain learns best. By focusing on building skills and not pushing curriculum content, my student's confidence began to soar! Together, we created a roadmap of how to learn, not what to learn, and great things began to happen.

Since 2013, Kaizen has continued to grow and evolve while empowering others with practical research, expertise, and an individualized approach to brain-based coaching. Kaizen students and adults not only excel in academics but, more importantly, in the skills they need for a peaceful and successful life.

I am motivated each day, knowing that my team and I are building services and products to remove traditional barriers to learning and career success so that ALL brains can thrive. I am passionate about 'being the change,' and if I know I am planting a seed to grow much-needed change in traditional education and workplace cultures, I find I have a spring in my step each day. :)

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Working to make 'good change' (this is what Kai-zen means) happen for me, my amazing team, and the clients we serve each day. My largest accomplishment is building Kaizen from a small home-based business to one that is becoming international in its reach.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

SO MANY things are hard! It's hard to choose :) The hardest things, ironically, are also the best things - the level of responsibility I feel for my team and my clients on a daily basis can be tough. Decision-making fatigue can set in quickly if you aren't careful - so many decisions to make each day that range from branding colours to website software systems to keep current on the latest research in our field. The diversity of the 'job description is like no other - there are many hats to wear.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Prioritize your physical and mental health.
  2. Get out of the weeds as fast as you can. As a start-up business owner, you have to do EVERYTHING. As soon as you can 'kind of' afford to delegate some of the day-to-day, do it! Your business will grow as you begin to focus on the big picture.
  3. Build & maintain healthy relationships and surround yourself with amazingly authentic and positive people (and eliminate the ones that bring you down).

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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