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.
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”).
Concepts, Events, People & Resources Mentioned
- Richard Simcott: A British hyper-polyglot who works in 10+ languages
- Kris Broholm: A Danish polyglot & host of the Actual Fluency Podcast
- The Polyglot Conference
- The Polyglot Gathering
- 5 Reasons to Attend a Polyglot Event Even if You Don’t Consider Yourself a Polyglot
- Olly Richards: A British polyglot, author & founder of I Will Teach You a Language
- Langpreneur: Turn Your Passion for Languages into a Profitable and Scalable Online Business
- Langpreneur Podcast
- Gabriel Gelman: A German polyglot & founder of Sprachheld (“Language Hero”)
- Johan Tekfak: Founder of Français Authentique (“Authentic French”)
- Langpreneur Mastermind: Fast-Track Your Online Language Business (Sep. 27 – Oct. 2, 2020)
- Langpreneur Business Breakthrough: Exclusive Workshop for Langpreneurs in Berlin (Mar. 28 – 29, 2020)
- Define Your “Why” for Learning a Language
- Luca Lampariello: An Italian polyglot, language coach & co-founder of LinguaCore
- Steve Kaufmann: A Canadian polyglot, author & founder of LingQ
- Anki spaced repetition flashcards
- What is Spaced Repetition and Why Should You Use It?
- LingQ: Learn languages from content you love
- Optical character recognition (OCR) ― Wikipedia
Connect with Jan
- Launch or grow a language business: Langpreneur
- Learn a language: LanguageBoost
- Instagram: @janvanderaa1
- Facebook: @languageboost