Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rebecca Cuevas, Founder and CEO of Learn and Get Smarter, Inc., located in Riverside, CA, USA.

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

I'm an educational consultant providing learning design coaching, consulting, and courses. I help creative experts and entrepreneurs build transformational online courses that deliver real value to the people they serve.

โญMy ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป is to help you fulfill your mission through teaching online.
โญMy ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป is to light up the planet, one mind at a time, by making it fast and easy for people to learn what they need to learn so they can do what they need to do.
โญMy ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ด๐˜† is to help the quiet founders of movements build transformational online courses using learning design best practices.
โญMy ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ฑ is my research-based Course Design Formulaยฎ which delivers the "minimum viable learning design" needed to create online learning that's engaging, effective, and enjoyableโ€ฆ fast.

To accomplish this, I provide the following:
๐ŸŽฏMy book
๐ŸŽฏMy website and blog
๐ŸŽฏEngaging social media posts and content
๐ŸŽฏPrivate course-design coaching
๐ŸŽฏA cohort-based Master Course including hands-on practicum and workshop
๐ŸŽฏSelf-paced courses
๐ŸŽฏA community of mission-driven experts who become trusted colleagues and peers
๐ŸŽฏA weekly think-tank focusing on how to survive and thrive with online courses and online business in these challenging times
๐ŸŽฏAn annual summit focused on the state of transformational online learning

Tell us about yourself

I have always been a teacher. After my first day of kindergarten, I lined up all my stuffed animals and taught them everything I'd learned in school that day, and I've been teaching ever since. I have a BA with honors from Harvard and two Master's Degrees in Education. Over the past 40 years, I've taught everyone, from toddlers to senior citizens, about subjects ranging from meditation to languages (both English and foreign) to wastewater treatment. For many years I designed, developed, and delivered classroom and workshop-based education programs for public agencies in California. My programs reached thousands of students and hundreds of teachers in multiple school districts and won regional and national awards. Around 2007 I started noticing that I was tripping over digital whiteboards in every classroom I went into. I was excited about the idea of putting my in-person education programs online. But when I tried to do that, I discovered that it doesn't work to take a lesson or workshop that is engaging as an in-person experience and just put it on digital media. The results are not engaging at all. That realization sent me back to school for my second Master's degree (my first is in curriculum development, and my second is in instructional technology). Developing my master's project afforded me the opportunity to discover what work to create online learning that is highly effective and engaging. What works is to start with a very clear learning goal for the transformation you want the online learning experience to deliver. ๐—œ๐˜โ€™๐˜€ ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ธ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ณ: ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐—น๐—น ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐—œโ€™๐—บ ๐—ฐ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ณ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฎ ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐˜ ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—น๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—œโ€™๐—บ ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ? Then use research-based principles to design the learning activity to accomplish that. The ๐—–๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ป ๐—™๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—บ๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฎยฎ I developed guides you through the process of doing that, one step at a time.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is seeing the world-changing results my course-design students and coaching clients are achieving with their businesses by using the Course Design Formulaยฎ.

You can read interviews I conducted with some of my students and clients and see the transformational results they achieved for yourself:

Interview with Debra Cady, founder of Silver Linings International

Interview with Happi Leopold, founder of Easy Finance Academy

Interview with Sophie Lechner, creator of The Client Magnet Lab

Interview with Mark Ainley, Contemporary Feng Shui expert, Principal, and Consultant with Sense of Space

Interview with Alison Heller-Ono, founder of Worksite International and creator of the Ergonomics Training Academy

Interview with Rhonda Lauritzen, creator of

There's nothing better than hearing feedback like this from Tana Plewes, creator of the Possibility Processโ„ข. Tana wrote:

"This week, I facilitated a full-day interactive planning retreat. I've delivered this workshop in person many times since 2004, but this was the first time online. Thanks to Rebecca's Course Design Formulaยฎ, the content IGNITED the team into action like never before! I always got excellent feedback for this retreat, but participant action post-event is off the charts!"

Results like these speak for themselves. The true test of my business success is the success and impact my students and clients are having with THEIR online programs and businesses. They really are the "quiet founders of movements." They are creative thought leaders and outside-the-box thinkers who are quietly changing the world. Together, we really ARE lighting up the planet, one mind at a time.

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

Everyone goes into business to share their unique "secret sauce"...the thing they do well and can use to add value to the world, most efficiently and effectively. That's the part I LOVE about being a business owner... getting to do that for myself and getting to help my students and clients do that for themselves (helping them "bottle" their secret sauce for distribution to a wider audience).

The downside, though, is that running a business requires MULTIPLE skill sets, and not all of them ARE your secret sauce. To me, the hardest thing is figuring out how best (and most cost-effectively) to manage all the things I'm NOT ย an expert at that I still have to do to make my business run. The list of things I don't love includes accounting, marketing, analytics, etc. (you'll notice that usually, math is involved, lol).

I'm a people person. I love interacting with people and hearing what's important to them, and helping them optimize the things that are important to them. So the converse of that is that I ย (and every business owner) also have to take care of the things that are NOT important to us personally but that still have to get done to support the things that are.

Sometimes you can overcome that by hiring or working with other businesses for whom ย YOUR unfavorite thing is THEIR secret sauce. That's an ideal solution. That's really what business IS, after all: providing products and services that others would rather pay YOU to do than have to do themselves. And vice versa.

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

The addition of "today" gives me pause because, having been in business myself for the past seven years, I'd say that "today" is one of the most challenging times I've seen in terms of the business climate. The pandemic and its aftermath, inflation, war, climate change, social justice issues, and more are contributing to a volatile stew of unpredictability and (let's call it what it is) chaos.

That said, many creative ventures emerge from and thrive due to chaos. The early days of the pandemic were GREAT for my business and those of my students and clients, as there was a large push towards online learning along with government financial aid to help people out. The current period of inflation and belt-tightening is less supportive of creative ventures as people focus more on the bare essentials of life (food, rent, etc.).

So given that background, here are my three tips:

  1. Have a strong REASON for starting your business, and know what it is. Your vision for what you want to accomplish will serve as your "north star" to guide you in steering a straight course through challenging times.
  2. Remember that a "straight course" is often OFF course much of the time. Your vision for the positive change you want your business to make in the world will keep pulling you back on track if you start to drift off course. It's ok to tack if need be, and sometimes it's necessary to pivot entirely but stay true to your vision and purpose for what you are trying to achieve.
  3. Don't get distracted by shiny objects. None of us has the time, money, or energy to do "ALL THE THINGS ."Figure out which things, products, trainings, platforms, etc., are ESSENTIAL to running your business and focus on those.

To sum up my advice: What are your non-negotiables for what you are here to achieve with your business, and what it's going to take to make that happen? Focus on those with a steely, clear-eyed vision, and don't get distracted by anything that's not in alignment with your highest vision, purpose, and goals.

I hope that's helpful!

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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