Success Stories

I.M. Success Tutoring + Wave: Education Meets Efficiency

Toronto, Canada • Opened 2011 • imsuccesstutoring.com

Michael Gibben became an entrepreneur because he was so passionate about helping children that he wanted to give them an optimal learning experience. What he didn’t realize is that he would be getting an education himself—in how to run a successful business. With the help of Wave, Michael grew his business skills and helped some amazing kids grow their confidence.

A worthy pursuit

Michael Gibben runs I.M. Success Tutoring, a business that specializes in in-home mentor-tutoring. They work as a team with parents and kids aged 4-18, helping them build confidence and grow academically by setting and achieving goals for emotional, social, and academic success.

“I felt I wanted to do more to help children,” Michael says. “And a one on one setting or a small group setting was more ideal, so I opened my own business.”

Michael started I.M. Success Tutoring after he had been a classroom teacher, noticing that the ratio of students to teachers is quite high. While some students can easily get along with a traditional classroom setting, others find it more difficult. With higher numbers of students in a class, some might not get the attention they need to thrive. But mentor-tutoring provides a chance for those students to learn on their own terms.

The teacher becomes the student

He’s been in business for seven years now, but at the beginning, things were a little rocky. While he had loads of experience as an actual teacher, he had never navigated the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur. And doing both at the same time made things even more difficult.

“I think I was a little overwhelmed, because I had been a teacher and I had those skills, but the business skills were still very new to me,” Michael says. “And so there was feelings of being a little afraid, being curious, and just going into the unknown.”

He suddenly found himself thrown into a world of invoices, payments, expenses and paying staff. Michael soon realized he needed to find an easier way to keep track of all the client payments and frequent expense receipts for things like educational supplies. He was looking for something simple and efficient that would allow him to work smarter.

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Finding help right at home

Luckily, he had someone there looking out for him at the same time. Michael’s husband, Mike Reisacher, recommended Wave to him in 2014. Michael Reisacher does editing for film and television, a totally different world from education, but found Wave through a Google search for the best online accounting software.

For Michael Gibben, Wave was appealing for many of the same reasons: it could increase the efficiency of his business, synergize things, and save him time. He was looking to streamline things, instead of wasting his time trying to stay on top of a disorganized spreadsheet system. With Wave, everything is connected—invoicing, getting paid, keeping a digital archive of receipts, and all the reports that help you see your business performance.

Essentially, it made it easier for him to keep track of everything. “I use Wave to record different payments from clients, for paying my team, as well as all the other revenue and expenses that we receive,” Michael says. He uses desktop Wave accounting and Wave payments regularly. It’s the kind of thing that can provide peace of mind.

The best benefit of being and entrepreneur

“We had a student, her name is Sadie, and when she started with us she was six years old,” Michael says. “She said to us on the first day, ‘I hate school. I don’t want to be here. I hate this and I don’t like myself.” And that was just so… difficult to hear that from somebody so small and just new to the world.”

But after working with Sadie for a bit, they found her difficulty with reading and writing stemmed from a lack of confidence. After a few weeks of confident, positive self-talk with her, things started to click. Sadie learned to read and write and it became more natural for her, and she found some more of her way in the world. “The best benefit of being an entrepreneur,” Michael says, “is just the opportunity to bring out a vision to help others.”

The future's so bright, he's gotta wear shades

Right now, Michael is working hard on expanding I.M. Success Tutoring, figuring out the logistics to bring the company into more homes to work with even more kids. Their biggest accomplishment so far—opening their first commercial space last year—has already been a huge step toward accomplishing that goal.

But while the commercial space is definitely something to celebrate, Michael is proud of the minds he and his team had a part in sculpting as a mentor-tutor. He’s hoping to continue expanding I.M. Success Tutoring’s reach outside of Ontario, into the rest of Canada and maybe even beyond that.

“I think what I’m most proud of in the last seven years is all the ‘aha!’ moments that I’ve either heard about from my team or seen firsthand from the children, and all this amazing learning that’s happening, and the parents who are so proud.”