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MyOwnBusiness Institute


The Learning Co-Op

Educator in New York Shifts Career to Offer Language Expertise in a New Business

Linda D’Argenio is a world language teacher, holding a B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures from the University of L’Orientale in Naples, Italy as well as an M.A. and Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University in New York. She enjoys language, literature, culture, and history, sharing her expertise to build context and understanding for her students. Linda’s passion for teaching always inspired her to customize and personalize her instruction to the individual needs of the students she taught. This passion gave her the idea of taking her career in a new direction in the summer of 2021, and focusing her attention on starting her own business, The Learning Co-Op.

How it Got Started: In the summer of 2021, Linda was looking to establish her own independent online tutoring and translation agency. She had over 20 years of professional experience as a world language teacher at K-12 schools as well as colleges, and she wanted to transform her expertise into a new career. That fall Linda enrolled in the New York State Department of Labor's Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) to gain the skills she needed to start her business. “The program allowed me to acquire the expertise needed to start building my business,” said Linda.  

How MOBI Helped: New York SEAP, a MOBI partner, requires all its participants to pursue 20 hours of entrepreneurship training. Like Linda, many participants enroll in MOBI’s courses to fulfill this requirement. Because MOBI’s courses are self-paced, they are ideal for people who have busy schedules or who need greater flexibility. “I enrolled in MOBI's Quick Start Entrepreneur course in the fall of 2021 to learn the basics of how to run a business. This was a totally new experience for me. I found the course extremely useful as it provided me with the necessary background to start developing my business. The self-paced course meant that I could study on my own time and go back to important material whenever I needed to. I find the course ideal for people with little background in the business world.”

What’s Next: Today The Learning Co-Op has four members who provide a broad range of tutoring and translation services in English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, and Spanish. Additional tutoring subjects include Writing Essentials, College Admissions Essays, Homework Help & Study/Test-Taking Skills, ESL, and AP Psychology Test Prep. Linda is looking forward to building her client base, and potentially adding educators and expanding services over time. “My goal was to earn a living while doing something I love and maintaining my independence. Although I haven't reached this goal yet, I am moving forward and am excited about my new venture.”

Linda may be part of a growing trend. In its annual survey of course participants, MOBI found Educational Services was the fifth most popular industry among those who planned to start a new business.

Learn more about The Learning Co-Op at


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