With parents continuing to seek more personalized education options for their children, and education choice policies expanding in many states to enable funding to follow students, 2024 could be an ideal time to launch a new school or learning model.

In my semi-weekly LiberatED Podcast, I interview the everyday entrepreneurs who are creating affordable, innovative schools and learning spaces all across the U.S. I reached out to 10 entrepreneurs who recently appeared on the show to see what encouragement or advice they would offer to aspiring founders. Each of their programs is distinct, representing an assortment of educational models and methods; but they share a common commitment to building individualized, low-cost learning solutions that provide an increasingly accessible alternative to traditional schooling.

If you have been feeling the tug toward educational entrepreneurship, the following insights from these 10 founders may be just the nudge you need to take your own enterprising leap this year:

1. Listen to Families“Network and learn from families within your community. Build your model in a way that meets needs while also staying true to your vision. Lastly, tap into others who have had success in breaking educational barriers. We are out here to support you and watch you thrive!” (Mercedes Grant is a former public school teacher and founder of Path of Life Learning, a K-8 microschool in Yorktown, Virginia. She launched her program this fall with over 30 learners and a long waiting list)

2. See Beyond the Existing System: “If you’ve spent any time working in the traditional school system, you’ve seen it fail students simply for not fitting into the required boxes. Consider your values, be bold, separate yourself from that system, and build a new box for some of those young people.” (Josh Pickel is a former public school teacher and founder of Canton Learning Collaborative, a full-time self-directed learning center for teens in Canton, Illinois)

3. Don’t Ignore Your Instincts“If you are hearing a voice inside telling you to open a school, whether it’s a whisper or a scream, please listen to it! That voice is the sound of little humans begging for something different; that makes more sense; that prepares them for life (and lets them enjoy it)! They need you — now more than ever. It might not be easy, but it’s worth it! So get to it. I’ll be cheering you on.” (Heather DiNino is a former public school teacher and founder of Elements Academy, a learner-directed PreK-12 microschool in Braintree, Massachusetts)

Read the full article about education entrepreneurs by Kerry McDonald at The 74.