Dr. Bisa Batten Lewis (BKA Dr. Bisa) founder of Wings Curriculum is today’s featured woman in business.

Tell us about your business.

WINGS Curriculum is a publishing and professional development company offering a comprehensive learning system to guide early educators in effectively implementing developmentally and culturally appropriate practices with children from infancy through age 5.

Our target audience is caregivers of young children, including early educators/child care professionals, Early Head Start, Head Start, and pre-kindergarten programs.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

Being a business owner means I can chart my own path and determine my own salary. Throughout my career as an educator, I’ve been confused by and concerned with the low wages of the very professionals who are responsible for educating society’s most precious commodity – our children, and training ALL other professionals. One would think educators would be valued, respected and paid more – at all levels.

I became an entrepreneur to shatter glass ceilings and challenge the status quo. Of course, my ultimate goal is to simply live the life I deserve and show others how to do the same. I’m not just an educator by trade; I truly believe I was born for this profession and destined to leave a legacy – a roadmap for fellow education colleagues to follow until the end of time. I know that’s deep, but it’s my sincere belief.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

My greatest influence in business has been my mom. She simply told my sister and me, when we were young, to never work in a factory. I recall her working in a candy factory and changing shifts every week or two. She was either asleep or at work, most days. When she finally decided to change to a day job at a local hospital, she had to accept a salary far less than what she made at the candy factory. I appreciate the sacrifice she made to be home with us by 5 PM everyday. When I became a mother, my mom’s advice stayed on my mind, and I moved forward in my career accordingly. As a result, I’ve been able to be fully present throughout my sons’ lives – making it to their games, school events and extracurricular activities. I’m thankful for my mom’s influence.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

My greatest professional accomplishment has been authoring and publishing over 20 books – all which support educators and entrepreneurs. While I’ve contributed to a number of educational publications as a college faculty member and educational consultant, the books I’ve solely written throughout the years include:

  • How Flowers Get Their Colors, 2004

  • Let’s Potty, 2006

  • The first edition of WINGS Curriculum was published in 2009, which included four books – a teacher’s guide, a book of forms, a parent handbook, and a college student edition for early childhood education majors. New editions of the curriculum were published as early education standards evolved – second edition in 2011, third edition in 2014, followed by a fully rebranded and revamped fourth edition in 2019 during our 10th Anniversary.

  • The P-A-I-D Educator: 10 Professional Ways to Supplement Your Teaching Salary, 2020

  • The P-A-I-D Educator: Mapping Out the Road to Financial Freedom (companion journal), 2020

  • In 2021, three WINGS Curriculum lesson plan guides were published – one for infants, one for toddlers and one for preschoolers.

  • How Flowers Get Their Colors was relaunched in 2022 with new illustrations.

  • How Flowers Get Their Colors: Activity Book and Guide, 2022

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?

The best advice I’ve received in business that I wish to pass on is START NOW. “If you never get started, you’ll never finish.” This advice has been expressed in different ways by multiple successful entrepreneurs, and I wholeheartedly concur. All too often I’ve seen prospective entrepreneurs express their business goals followed by the list of steps they think should be taken. Their dreams sizzle and fall, because they focus on planning instead of doing, and then allow their insecurities to take over. Just get started, please. Trust me, the resources and connections will come, if you commit adequate time to your business.

What have been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

Social media, by far, really is ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. In 2009, I had a catch up call with my childhood next-door neighbor Lethia Owens, who is a world-renowned speaker and entrepreneur. She asked me why I wasn’t on social media and shared how her business had significantly expanded, simply by regular posts and tweets. On that very day, I immediately set up my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not sure what to post, I would scroll her pages and search for other entrepreneurs with similar interests as mine. I started out only posting about business, but quickly realized my audience prefers a glimpse into my personal life. Eventually, I discovered a solid rhythm of best practices for effectively engaging my audience, based on the popularity of posts.

In 2010, I hired a publicist, who was able to help establish my brand and increase media recognition. I was featured on a variety of blogs, television shows, news, magazine articles and even the cover of a local magazine. This investment was worth every penny and initiated Dr. Bisa as a brand.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

Get help. As small business owners, we try to do everything ourselves and save money. Once I realized that getting help increases my wealth, my business started to soar. Grinding should not be the norm. To realize longevity and maximum success, it’s important to hire professionals with the necessary skill sets – from daily communication (answering phone calls and emails plus customer management) to marketing (newsletters/email marketing, website, social media). As your business grows, recognize you may need to change service providers, based on their capacity and capabilities to support your extended needs.

Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?

  • Google Workspace: Maximize the use of your Google account beyond email. Click on ‘the waffle’ at the top right of the page next to your profile picture to explore the wide variety of FREE apps. As you’re building your team, you can add a Google Workspace for each of them to collaborate more effectively.

  • Upwork: Safe, secure, and economical way to hire quality freelancers for your business. Over the years, I’ve also used freelancer.com and fiverr.com.

  • Jills Office: Answering service with virtual receptionists to support customer communication and follow up. You can purchase a business phone number with your service and manage communications via desktop or app.

  • Hootsuite: Practical software for scheduling posts to multiple social media platforms.

  • Vistaprint: This company offers an array of marketing materials and promotional products for small businesses.

  • Canva: Create stunning graphics and presentations for your business and social media. You can add team members to collaborate on projects. There are free accounts for educators and nonprofits.

  • Kajabi: All-inclusive marketing software to create, grow and manage your website, email marketing, online courses, customer communications and more.

Do you have any new projects coming up?

I have two new children’s books currently in production – How The Dog Got Its Bark and How The Cat Got Its Meow. These picture books will be great company to the children’s book I relaunched in April 2022 – How Flowers Get Their Colors, which is supplemented by an activity book and guide. I wrote all of these stories nearly 20 years ago. I’m happy publishing has evolved, offering more accessible options and further enabling author discretion. I enjoy reading to young children and look forward to reading these two new books to classes all over the world. Featured author reads is one of my favorite things to do!

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

For fun, I enjoy gathering with friends and family. Whether we go on a trip or simply meet for a meal, I value quality time with my loved ones and plan outings regularly.

For relaxation, I love the spa! A simple manicure and pedicure to a good full-body massage rejuvenates me.

What is the Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

Over the next year, I’d like to increase my keynotes and featured speaker engagements to at least one per month. I currently speak at a variety of events of all sizes and enjoy each of them. However, I have a strong desire to reach the masses by sharing the skills I’ve learned with large audiences all over the world. I’m not greedy; I just enjoy teaching others. So, one major event per month is enough for me, at least for now.

You want to write a book on my life – a memoir.

My life story is filled with surprising twists and turns. I know others would benefit from learning about my journey; however, every time I sit down to write it, a different product results. I guess when the time is right, the book will begin writing itself with God’s help, just like the others have done.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I want others to know that I have two adult sons in college who make me proud every day. I dedicated How Flowers Get Their Colors to them, because they color my days. As an entrepreneur, I was able to offer them daily educational experiences throughout childhood just by what they witnessed me doing and my engagement with others. Experience is a great teacher! I can actually see how core values have manifested in their adult lives. I continue to take parenting seriously, because it’s truly the most important job an adult could have. With so many distractions in modern society, I encourage every parent to make their children a priority. Tell them you love them and ensure they are aware of their importance to you. Never forget, “Monkey see, monkey do.” Make sure they see you executing The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I love you, Cameron and Jordan!

What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?

The best way to get in touch is to complete the contact or booking form on my website: drbisa.com .

  • To learn more about WINGS Curriculum, visit: wingscurriculum.com/

  • Connect with me on Instagram: instagram.com/drbisa/

  • Connect with me on Facebook: facebook.com/DrBisa

  • Connect with me on Twitter: twitter.com/DrBisa

  • Connect with me on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/drbisa/