Meet the two-time dropout who founded tutoring app Tutorfy
No one expects the guy who dropped out (twice) to be the founder of a successful tutoring company, but here we are. An avid surfer and a devoted husband, Nathier Abrahams' tenacity and hard work have served him well over the years, and they serve him now as the head of Tutorfy – an app that sources expert tutors at primary, secondary and university levels, and lets parents and students buy lesson packages in just a few clicks.
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not working?
I love surfing. Surfing takes you places that you haven’t seen before and really allows you to connect with nature in a way that many people don’t get to.
What’s the next thing you’d like to tick off your bucket list?
I’d love to go to the Southeast Asia for a month with my wife, and hang out in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, exploring their cultures. My ancestors are from Malaysia and Indonesia, and I haven’t been there yet.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I’m an afternoon person. I feel most productive after 13:00 and like to use my mornings for myself – to surf, gym or catch up on some reading.
What are the top 10 things on your wish list?
Oh! This would be super amazing if these could become a reality.
What’s the weirdest thing in your bag right now?
A surfboard fin. I found it on the beach the other day and I forgot to take it out. I always find them at the gnarly surf spots and I'm starting to get quite a collection going.
What’s one question you would ask the president?
I’d love to learn how to do the Zuma dance. I’d ask him to teach me.
How did you start doing what you do?
When I dropped out of varsity for the second time, I decided to start a tutoring business. It went well, and I really got a kick out of seeing my students succeed. I went back to varsity full-time and graduated.
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs wanting to start a business?
I suggest that you start small and think big. Don’t write out a business plan, instead you can draw up a “lean canvas” and take it from there. Read The Lean Startup, it’s a great book and will open your mind to contemporary ways of starting a business. I occasionally host workshops at my office for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start a business.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Traction, traction, traction”. This is the most important piece of business advice I’ve received. You might find that you have the best business concept, but if no one uses it then you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. It’s important to get traction early on in your startup so that you can start generating revenue at an early stage, and to know that your business will succeed.
What is your most treasured possession?
She’s not a possession, but I treasure my wife the most.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in doing what you do?
Dealing with the naysayers and having the constant income uncertainty of working in a startup rather than a set salary in an 8-5 job.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Tenacity. No matter how much the odds are stacked against me, I don't give up. I'll try and try until I succeed. My talent is hard work and not giving up.
Which historical figure do you identify with the most?
Prophet Muhammad – he was an all-around leader, businessman and family-orientated man. He was successful in a secular and religious sense and was also regarded as the most influential person of all time according to Michael Hart.
What is your biggest regret?
Not working hard enough at varsity the first time around.