Orla McCallion, TutorHQ.ie

16th May 2017

Posted In: Women Who Launch

Every month we speak to women entrepreneurs who have just launched into the business world. In the hot seat for May’s Women Who Launch is Orla McCallion, TutorHQ.ie.


The Elevator Pitch

Parents can use TutorHQ.ie to find and book trusted Junior and Leaving Cert grinds tutors from their local area. With a team of four, we are based in the Digital Exchange in Dublin with a clear focus on expanding throughout Ireland and then to the UK.

The Financials

We have received small pre-seed investment and grants, and are currently bootstrapped.

Target Market
Junior and leaving cert students and parents.

Brands You Love


Biggest ‘Win’ To Date

Launching TutorHQ in October and having hundreds of tutors and facilitating thousands of grinds in our first year. Growing month-on-month.

Biggest ‘Slap In The Face’

We initially started out with UniTuition.com, a similar service for college students. This was successful in Ireland, but upon entering the UK market we learned the business model we were using at the time wouldn’t work over there. We have since switched focus to second level rather than third level, though we are still operating UniTuition in Ireland.

Are You Social When It Comes To Media?

It is important in terms of having a presence and being contactable through these channels, to ensure we serve our customers as best we can.

On Innovation

I am genuinely passionate about innovation and the potential new technologies and applications that help to improve our society. I have been interested in using technology to solve problems since I was in college, and it was a natural progression to co-found a business that aims to do this. I always have some kind of side project going on to create something small or large. I really enjoy the feeling of helping to create something that makes a difference.

Business Model You Would Like To Emulate?

Wyzant in the US have been very successful in the online tutoring space in that territory. Their success has been very motivating for us.

If You Had A Blank Cheque

Travel, travel, travel!

Your Traits – Best and Worst

Best – Analytic, strong leader, driven

Worst – Hmmmm… I can have tunnel vision when I’m trying to get a piece of work done. If I’m in a room with other people I might not even hear them talking directly to me! Related to that, I have to actively make sure I balance work and enjoyment, as I can get carried away sometimes, on a specific projects or doing so many things at once.

Best Business Lunch Date

Elon Musk, for sure!

Ideal Business Partner

Haha, can I say Elon Musk again?! He has a vision of the future that is so inspiring. His life mission is to play whatever role he can in shaping a more positive future for generations to come.

Building a business is not a walk in the park – It is a roller-coaster of ups and downs. A steadfast vision and perseverance are what will see you through to success.

Best Business Advice

My main pieces of advice to people would be to experiment with new things, follow their interests and do what makes them happy. I have always followed my interests rather than a long-term plan, and I have met with and created many experiences and opportunities that really fit me along the way.

To anyone out there who isn’t happy with their current situation I would really encourage them to decide to change it and start acting on that. Life is too short to spend your time on things that don’t engage you.

There are plenty of supports out there for startups, particularly those with female founders. Surrounding myself with people on similar journeys has been invaluable to me. The Starting Strong programme (http://www.goingforgrowth.com/starting-strong-about) in particular was extremely beneficial in this regard.

I understand that financial obligations often stop people from making the leap to start their own business. That need not be the case. My co-founder and I tested out and grew our idea while we were in employment, and only left when we were sure we had the finances to support ourselves. If you have an idea, make a plan and start acting, or you’ll never find out where it could take you.