We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Lotz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jonathan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak, which I think I got from my dad, who has started multiple successful enterprises over the years. I am an independent person, and after a short stint working at Goldman Sachs in private wealth management, I knew I wanted to be in control of my own life and time. I am a traveler (I’ve been to over 50 countries), and working in education has always given me two months in the summer to see the world, which was a huge bonus for me. I have a strong academic background (I graduated in three years from Stanford and also have a master’s degree from there), so tutoring was an easy fit. I quickly learned that it took time and effort to build a brand, as there are plenty of unqualified people in the industry, as well as numerous unscrupulous corporations who care much more about the bottom line than about actually helping students. I wanted to create a business that was beneficial to everyone involved, including the families, myself, and the tutors I have working for me. Luckily, I’ve been able to achieve just that.
Work life balance: how has your balance changed over time? How do you think about the balance?
To me, there doesn’t need to be a balance, because life encompasses work and not vice versa. I view work as a part of my life, not a zero-sum game that sucks away time from some idealistic “life” I’m supposed to be living. One small positive outcome of this dreadful pandemic has been the demonstrated success of online tutoring, which means that now I can truly work from anywhere in the world and still deliver the same great results my clients have come to expect. I’m looking forward to spending an extended period of time in Spain in the near future, which isn’t something that would have been possible a couple years ago.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Sure. I run a boutique test prep company for high school students, focused on the SAT and ACT university entrance exams. I’ve been in business here in LA for 17 years. I think part of what sets me apart is that I’m authentic, and, in an industry where unfortunately many companies prey on parents’ fears, I prefer to reassure parents that everything will be fine (especially since they’ve hired me!), and that they’re doing a great job of raising their kids. I think the other differentiatior is that I’m very good at what I do (and clearly very humble about it too!). I’ve helped author books on SAT and ACT tutoring, and I have a 17 year track record of achieving fantastic results for the families who work with me. I don’t advertise my services anywhere; all of my business comes from referrals and repeat clients. I think that’s a solid testament to what I do. It also helps that I truly love working with young people, and I think my enthusiasm and confidence goes a long way in helping them achieve their goals.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If they’re not West Coast people, then we’re going straight from LAX to In-n-Out for a double-double animal style. That’s non-negotiable lol. After that, I’d make sure we make it to Mozza for the best pizza in the city, and then to Temescal Canyon to hike off all the carbs. Throw in a trip to the Getty and to Malibu and call it a week!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents and their support, and I’d also like to thank the hundreds of LA families who’ve entrusted me with their children’s education over the years!