Written by Andrew Seale
To Amanda Kohal, Wolfe was always going to be something. A business of some sort, not just an idea, but a business that needed to be created. Kohal just wasn’t sure what it was. Initially, she thought it might be an online marketplace for selling fitness products and services. “I was a very active child and teenager and a competitive figure skater,” she says. “Fitness and wellness was always something that was very much a big important part of my life.”
It seemed natural. Until it wasn’t. “It failed miserably,” she says. “I had no idea what I was doing. I am not a coder. I don't even know how I somehow put together a website.”
But it taught her a few things: first, that her love of the fitness and wellness community didn’t necessarily translate into skills the same way a decade-plus experience in marketing did; and second, starting a business is hard as hell and the real key to being an entrepreneur is knowing when you’re not an expert and where to find that expertise.
And that was where this name she carried found meaning – Wolfe Academy.
“I said, I'm going to create a school for entrepreneurs taught by entrepreneurs that give them content around starting a business from a focus on digital and social media… with a zero fluff policy,” says Kohal. She wanted it to be accessible and affordable. “People need to walk away learning something and take action.”
Wolfe Academy launched last fall and in one year has grown to a global community (“ I call them Wolfies,” says Kohal.) The courses and workshops are taught by industry professionals, entrepreneurs, and content creators active in their respective fields and cover things like Instagram Engagement, Unlocking LinkedIn, and the Essentials of Social Marketing. Another course, Glowrious Life, takes a look at “the mind, body and soul of entrepreneurship.”
Outside of the actual experts running the courses, Wolfe Academy remains a one-woman show Kohal operates out of Make Lemonade, a workspace for women in Toronto. She says she started going to the space while working from home.
“I was sitting in my condo day in, day out, isolated and by myself and that's really when those ups and downs, flow through your head… the self-doubt comes in,” she says. “I was like, I can't build a business with this mindset, I need to go out and find other entrepreneurs or bring them to me somehow – let's gather and have open conversations and talk about what we're all going through.”
It’s that idea of gathering, of connection and sharing that propels Wolfe Academy forward, that makes it what it was probably supposed to be – an answer to those innate needs entrepreneurs face, someone to say you’re on the right track, to give you confidence, and to help you find it when you’re not sure where to look.
Kohal says she suspects that’s why online courses and education is seeing such a spike in interest, people want to learn, and it’s never been easier to do it.
“I think it's so important for early-stage entrepreneurs to understand coming in that they don't have to know everything right away,” says Kohal. “But they need to keep learning as they go.”
Photo Credit: Cameron Bartlett (www.snappedbycam.com)