Ninja Profiles! Highlighting Ninja Solopreneurs! Ambrose Austin

GIVE US SOME BACKGROUND ABOUT YOU AND YOUR COMPANY. 

ED311 is a small business based in Austin, Texas, that has been providing unparalleled resources for public school administrators for the last 30 years. There is no one else in Texas that does exactly what we do: we specialize in school law and a myriad of legal developments impacting public education in Texas. It’s a big topic for a small business of 5 employees, and the tools we purchase from other small businesses – like Invoice Ninja –  help us get the job done.  

HOW HAS INVOICE NINJA HELPED YOU TO GROW?

Invoice Ninja helps us keep everything in order, no matter how complicated the transaction.

WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS MODEL?

We host trainings and conferences for school administrators with our expert attorneys, educators, and authors. Topics include Special Education Law (which is primarily comprised of federal guidance, so it isn’t only specific to Texas), Response Tiered Intervention and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, personnel law and ethics, the many legal updates that emerge from state and federal legislative sessions, and best practices in classroom pedagogy. 

This might sound kind of dry, but we promise it isn’t.  Or if it is, the ED311 Team still finds ways to stay lively.  Our team is made up of an herbalist and immigrant detainee activist; a future CPA and avid plant collector; a civic leader and fierce public park space advocate; a licensed paralegal and an obsessed women’s soccer fan; and a former teacher and closeted writer. We celebrate Christmas at a Star Wars movie every year.  We’re all on a different, questionable nutritional program, yet we still come together over breakfast tacos and peanut butter cups.

We work together in a cozy office four blocks from the Texas state capitol where we coordinate our events and manage an online bookstore. We publish and sell many titles ranging from school law in Texas to RTI to social-emotional learning and restorative practices. Our best-sellers include The Texas Documentation Handbook, a staple for principals throughout Texas that is a comprehensive “how-to” in supporting classroom teachers, and Classroom Circles, a popular title nationally that guides educators in creating a culture of connection and empathy amongst students in the classroom. Though we specialize in Texas school law, our products and services extend into broader areas of education, and we are working towards expanding our audience nationally. This growth is gaining traction, and we are enjoying the opportunity to be creative and connect with our audience in new ways as we grow our services.

Currently, we are moving our schedule of trainings and conferences for 2020 to online platforms using webinars, no small feat made only more complicated by the many ways that our customers can register and pay for our services.ED311 found success 30 years ago when it emerged as a niche service almost by accident. Now we are weathering the current storm the best we can as small businesses everywhere struggle.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER FREELANCERS AND ENTREPRENEURS?

We are trying to hang on by temporarily adapting our business model to the current situation and providing our services virtually. The best advice we have for other small businesses is to find your niche, adapt to the ever-changing world, and stay lively.