A Unique and Elite Homeschool Experience with Novel Education Group
For many, school seems like a chore you have to get out of the way. As the digital world expands and careers like blogging and influencing become real options, more Millennials and Gen Z-ers are taking school less seriously. In a world where becoming an Instagram celebrity, singer, actress, or basketball player in high school no longer seem like far-fetched dreams, how do you emphasize the importance of education? One woman is changing the game.
Tiffany Sorya is the founder and CEO of Novel Education Group, an elite homeschooling and academic agency specializing in customized curriculum and college advising for students and families with unconventional lifestyles. As the private tutor for many high profile clients including Kendall and Kylie Jenner and the family of Dr. Dre, Tiffany’s ethos is rooted in the fundamental, life-long value of education, especially in our digital media driven era of young entrepreneurs and social media stars.
Tiffany's innovative education philosophies include open and flexible teaching methods that underscore students’ hobbies and interests, allowing them to discover their purpose and passions, while still providing an effective and comprehensive educational foundation. Learning how to learn and integrating academics into a well-rounded, fulfilling lifestyle are the pillars of Novel Education Group’s core values. As a business leader and education-innovator, her mission is to provide something unique and rewarding with Novel Education Group by Making Smart Stylish Again.
Tiffany is changing the way younger people view education, themselves, and learning. Beyond the Interview sat down with her to learn how she started her journey as an entrepreneur.
BTI: How did you get started in this industry? It’s not every day people dream of being a tutor.
Tiffany: I never wanted to be a teacher, nor did I even think I would work in education. I went to school and graduated in biology and French.
I was burnt out after I finished. I wanted to get out of Portland, [so I] packed up my stuff and moved down to L.A. I didn’t have anything in mind, I just knew I wanted to take some time off and possibly go to grad school.
In the mean time, I thought: what will keep me on my toes? I said to myself “Oh, I could tutor.” I got hired through an agency and it started with one student. It went really well and a few months later I had a full caseload. I was tutoring and driving around L.A. six days a week tutoring all day long.
BTI: How do you think your personality affected your success as a tutor? There are plenty of intelligent people who tutor, but when they don’t click with the student or parent it doesn’t work out.
T: I think I’m a young, spirited person who did well in school who also was good at showing someone how to do well in school. When I was with the students, we didn’t only talk about school. We talked about all aspects of life and they thought I was cool, and I thought they were cool too. If the relatability is there, they want to listen to you more, look up to you more, and they think you’re in their corner. They feel more understood and because of that when you give them feedback they want to take it instead of fight you on it.
BTI: how long was it before you booked your first celebrity student?
T: It was about a year after I started. My first celebrity client was through the agency. When that went well, they [started] giving [me] more. The students and parents were so happy, and I started getting referrals. They wanted to avoid going through the agency and go directly to me. After a while I started working so much privately that I outgrew the agency. It got to the point where people would call me and say, “Hey, my son needs a German teacher, do you know anyone?” And I would go through my contacts and set them up. I was so busy that I had to turn people away so one day it just hit me, why don’t I start my own business?
Also, I didn’t start homeschooling right away. It started with the Jenners, and that’s when things really kicked off. I applied to a Craigslist ad for a random teaching job, and that’s how it started. This particular ad was three sentences long, [with] no information and it didn’t even look real. I got a call two days later from this old couple who said “We got your resume, we would love to interview you, can you meet us at our hotel?” I for sure thought I was going to die or something, but I took the chance and met them. They were at a school (that’s not even in operation anymore) and it went really well. They said the next steps were to come meet the family so the next day I drove to the address they gave me, which ended up being Kris Jenner’s house.
BTI: You had no idea?
T: I had no idea! They told me it was for two sisters who were on a TV show. I thought it was maybe Disney, I had plenty of those so I didn’t know what to expect. This is at a time when Kendall and Kylie were maybe 14 and 15; they weren’t even on the radar, which is so crazy to think about considering how massive they are now. I thought it was for the older sisters and I thought to myself, why does Kim need a tutor? Does she want to learn Spanish or something?
I sat at their dinner table and they came down in their pajamas and said “Hi I’m Kendall, I’m Kylie,” and it’s so funny because I thought: is this real life?
When I got the job, I called my mom the next day and just said “You will never guess what just happened.” I started the next day.
But then I ran into another problem, I hated the school. They didn’t have a curriculum and I didn’t believe in what they did. It got to the point where I felt guilty taking people’s money because I didn’t feel like I was truly preparing them if they chose to go to college one day. I’m responsible for them knowing these things. I quickly got my ducks in a row and started my own thing, and it was mainly the homeschooling plus tutoring. I told all my clients from that school that I was leaving, and they all came with me.
BTI: That says a lot about you as a person because it means they believed in you and wanted to work with you. Sometimes when people leave the business the customers end up sticking with the business.
T: I’m really passionate about what I do. I felt I could really do this and make it amazing. I grabbed stuff from the tutoring centers, home schools, and everywhere I worked and created my own place that gave students strong knowledge, with the flexibility they needed.
BTI: How has it been going from being a tutor, to a business owner?
T: It’s scary. It’s really scary. I felt like I had to do it for my students. I had to try for myself; I started the business when I was 27.
BTI: How did you market it?
T: The marketing was all referrals, it was all by word of mouth. The marketing has only really just started recently because were trying to get the mission of the business across. We’re trying to bridge the gap between unconventional lifestyle and the entire actual curriculum. They’re providing a solid foundation and in this space people just don’t know who to go to.
What we’ve really been working on is making Novel the go-to for people who need this service. It’s not just for people in the entertainment industry, it’s for everyone. It will be up to par with the standard that you want, the flexibility that you want, and it will be what your child needs. I don’t want people to just take their GED; I want them to get their high school diploma. With any job that you have, you’re going to need these skills.
BTI: If there were one thing you could leave readers with, what would it be?
T: You don’t have to choose between education and a career, you can be smart and cool. I’m tired of people thinking it’s cool not to read. It’s not cool. We need to make sure young people know being smart is cool. I want the generations younger than me to have intelligence and education. That will only help them long-term.