Jan van der Aa is a Brussels-based polyglot and entrepreneur from the Netherlands, the co-founder of the language learning site LanguageBoost, and the co-founder of Langpreneur, an event series and podcast dedicated to helping language lovers, teachers, influencers, podcasters, YouTubers, etc. turn their passion for languages into profitable, scalable online businesses.

Note: This interview contains some adult language.

Topics Discussed

In the interview, Jan and I discuss:

  • Why most people don’t need more motivation, not information.
  • The many similarities between learning a language and launching a business (e.g. the importance of doing the uncomfortable few tasks that truly matter instead of sticking inside one’s comfort zone).
  • Why Jan and Olly rebranded “Language Influencer” to “Langpreneur.”
  • How to transform one’s passion for foreign languages into a profitable online business.
  • How to scale and automate a language business, and go past trading hours for income.
  • An overview of Langpreneur’s workshops and masterminds.
  • Jan’s language learning journey, polyglot “origin story,” and international travel adventures.
  • The importance of having a strong enough “WHY” to learn a language.
  • Why languages are means to communicate and connect with humans, not an academic subject.
  • Why he co-founded the LanguageBoost blog, YouTube channel, etc.
  • The power of reading what you listen to (e.g. using an app like LingQ).
  • What a typical day of language learning looked like for Jan in his 20s, and how he maintains languages now in his 30s amid having a new child, another on the way, building a house, and running a business full-time.
  • What language adventures are next for Jan.
  • Why apps like Duolingo can be a useful augment in language learning, but why there is no replacement for directly practicing the skills that matter (listening and speaking).
  • What Jan has changed his mind about in the world of language learning and language entrepreneurship.
  • Jan’s top tips to get started in “langpreneurship” right away, and the importance of defining a specific enough niche (ideally a “niche within a niche”).

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