Name: Terence Yang
Business Name: Code Creative
Describe your business:
I teach kids to code in Outschool!
Tell us about your self-employment journey.
I was teaching computer science in various capacities for about five years. In my community college years, I tutored adults and kids, worked as a TA and worked as a lead instructor for an after school coding program. All for a little over two years.
I ended up teaching in a private high school. It was haunting to think about giving up a lucrative career in tech; but I found myself burnt out! I’m the oldest child of Burmese immigrants, both working class, and the son of a San Francisco Muni driver. But I felt like I had found a job I wanted to do the rest of my life.
I quit teaching and transitioned to tech and it took me four months to find a job. Living on a teacher’s savings in San Francisco wasn’t easy. That’s how I found Outschool, an online teaching platform. Teaching one or two classes a month helped me pay my rent.
Eventually, I found another full-time job, but continued teaching on Outschool casually. Due to Covid last year, my Outschool work really blew up!
What area of your business are you most passionate about?
I love creating curriculums that guide students through challenging subjects, while making them feel empowered and, most of all, make sure they have fun!
Lately, I’ve been thinking about ways to scale my business to have more impact – while maintaining the satisfaction that comes with teaching live classes.
What’s the most valuable thing you learned early in your career that has contributed to your success?
A lot of life is luck and persistent effort. For a long time, I thought the skills and lessons I had been curating to make learning computer science a joyful experience would be wasted. I’m definitely lucky that something I enjoy doing was able to blow up in the way it did. Since I enjoyed doing it, it was really easy for me to be mindful, and hold a long term, sustaining view on the profession.
How are you pivoting your business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Now that schools are back in session, I’m working on delivering more asynchronous curriculums, so students can take my lessons in their own time.
Are you a part of any freelancer communities? Which ones and how do they support you?
It’s great to have other people to bounce curriculum ideas off of.
What’s a recent project that you’ve worked on that you’re really excited about?
I’ve been working on a small side project – software tooling for teachers. Because I realized Outschool was lacking some features. It’s a little hacky, but it’s nice to work on during my free time. Especially since I get to choose technologies I usually wouldn’t work with.
What advice would you give other self-employed people?
Be mindful! There are always ways to improve and backdoors, like Collective, that can help grow your business.
How has forming an S Corp helped you level up your business?
It’s helped me hire people and has given me other business tools that let me earn more as a contractor.