Stanford University - BA
University of Virginia - MA, English Literature
Jodi Teti spent six years studying English literature and was knee-deep in her PhD program when she realized she was on the wrong career path. She loved teaching, but couldn't stomach the department politics and parameters. Her solution: combine her love of teaching with being her own boss.
Consequently, Jodi founded LSAT Preparation, a company that helps prepare students to take the Law School Admission Test. In her role as founder and director of marketing, Jodi spends her days doing everything from writing web copy to planning ads and prep curriculum. The variety and challenges keep her invested and loving her work, and then, when it's time to call it a day, a picture of her daughter on her computer screen reminds her it's "okay that it's time to go home."
You must love what you're doing, because nothing else will justify the hours you're going to need to put in ...
We heard you became disillusioned with the academic environment while you were a graduate student in English, which ultimately led you to where you are now as an entrepreneur with your own bustling business. Can you tell us more about that journey?
After six years studying English literature, I was in the PhD program and I realized I didn’t enjoy the departmental politics. I loved teaching, but I wasn’t enjoying working for others within the parameters they set. I was supplementing my stipend by teaching test preparation courses and ultimately realized that I could combine teaching with being my own boss. This led me to found Blueprint LSAT Preparation, a company that prepares students to take the Law School Admission Test to go to law school.
What does your typical job schedule and day look like? Does that change at any point during the year?
One of the best parts of my job is that there's no typical day. One moment I might be writing a copy for a new web page; the next I’m thinking up ads for a local university; then it’s on to writing curriculum for our LSAT course. I find it extremely energizing to be able to develop and exercise so many different skill sets, rather than being locked into a particular space.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
The day someone from my very small hometown in Washington enrolled in a class. We'd become big enough that even people from tiny towns knew about our prep course. It was an exciting moment.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
The concern of always staying one step ahead of the competition. As an entrepreneur, you’re ultimately responsible for the bottom line and it’s up to you to anticipate market changes and make the necessary adjustments.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
I found a work/life balance to be particularly difficult during the startup phase of the business when working a 16-hour day was standard fare. However, I almost always enjoyed the work. Whenever I found I didn't, it was time to take a break. My no-fail tactic whenever I felt that way was to take a walk. Upon returning, I would focus on a different job for awhile. This always re-energized me so that when I returned to the original project, I could do so with renewed vigor.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Know what matters.
If you don’t love it, outsource it to someone who does.
Take care of yourself so you can take care of others and your business.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful as an entrepreneur?
You must love what you’re doing, because nothing else will justify the hours you’re going to need to put in for your business to be truly successful.
What advice do you have for women who aspire to walk in your shoes or even to take a jump into a new industry?
Don’t be scared! Life is long and allows for lots of mistakes.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
As the largest LSAT prep company in the nation.
What’s a common misconception about being an entrepreneur?
Many people jump into owning a business because they’re good at a certain thing. For instance, someone who’s great at baking might open up a pastry shop. However, an entrepreneur has to be good at every facet of the business; from baking cakes to marketing the cakes to balancing the books to hiring employees. Being responsible for all these tasks is a wonderful challenge, but be aware that there are many things involved with launching a business -- not just producing a product or providing a service.