Headshot of David Zamir, Founder and CEO of Nana Academy.
David Zamir, Founder and CEO of Nana Academy and Nana Home, wanted to help others learn trade skills and turn their careers around, just like he did. — Nana Academy

Launching a business can be an exciting but intimidating endeavor. Risky as it may be, David Zamir, Founder and CEO of Nana Academy and Nana Home, says sometimes you just have to “go for it” anyway.

Both Nana Academy and Nana Home were born out of risk. Nana is a free online trade school connected to a job-finding platform in the appliance repair industry. The company provides free training with experts in the repair field to help new and experienced technicians hone their skills and find local job opportunities.

Zamir didn’t always imagine he would work in this industry or that he would learn a trade himself. The risk of building Nana came from a need for financial security.

“I went through a period in my life where I felt hopeless,” he said. “I had no hope, no savings, and was facing mounting debt. Learning a trade skill enabled me to not only provide for myself and my family on a day-to-day basis but to actually build a long-term, successful business that changed my entire life trajectory.”

Providing a service you wish had been available to you

Nana provides others with the service and support that Zamir sought when he began his trade education. Identifying this need in the market allowed him to create a business that would fill it for consumers just like himself.

I wanted to create a free resource where anyone could learn a trade, as well as a platform where they could instantly put their knowledge to use,” he said.

Providing resources free of charge helps to support people that may not have the funds to pay for a training or educational program. Before Nana’s creation, Zamir explained that he was $200,000 in debt. This gave him a unique perspective that encouraged him to help others in similar situations.

“One of the most rewarding aspects [of entrepreneurship] has been creating economic opportunities for a unique cross-section of the workforce — including those who are self-employed, seeking a career change, veterans, immigrants, and underrepresented groups,” he said. “I could relate to the challenges most of them face.”

Zamir hopes that over the course of the next few years, more people develop an interest in appliance repair. He plans to expand Nana into more cities and more trades, providing technicians with “a community that supports them, ongoing mentorship, and economic opportunities.”

[Read more: 5 Business Leaders Discuss the Power of Mentorship]

One of the most rewarding aspects [of entrepreneurship] has been creating economic opportunities for a unique cross-section of the workforce — including those who are self-employed, seeking a career change, veterans, immigrants, and underrepresented groups. I could relate to the challenges most of them face.

David Zamir, Founder and CEO of Nana Academy and Nana Home

Facing your fears to grow stronger

While Nana has already enjoyed huge successes this year — growing from 12 to 35 markets nationwide — Zamir had to overcome a lot of personal challenges along the way.

“The biggest challenge was the depression and sadness that I carried with me given the large debt I faced,” he said. “I was ashamed and stressed. My energy was down. I had to focus on the present and invest all my time in education and then economic opportunities. It was a constant mental struggle.”

Zamir used this negative energy as motivation for self-growth. He created Nana to help others but ultimately helped himself by pushing his own personal boundaries.

“There is a lot of comfort in staying where you are,” he said. “We use fear as a tool to enable this comfort. The magic happens when we go on a quest to areas where we feel discomfort. This is where innovation lies.”

[Read more: Why Innovation Must Be a Routine Function in Your Business]

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Published August 23, 2022