Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in language education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Martin Johnston, Founder of Rock n' Roll English, located in Chelmsford, Essex, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I teach English as a foreign language online, and I have upper-intermediate learners reach an advanced level. I am very fortunate to have customers from all around the world that are also now my friends.
Tell us about yourself
Like many people, I started doing something totally different. I worked in investment banking, then moved toy in 2010 and started teaching English. From there, I worked in various different English schools and started a podcast on the side. The podcast then grew, and this has now enabled me to go full-time on the business.
What motivates me is the impact that I have on people all around the world. At least once a week, I receive a message from someone saying something like, "thanks to your podcast, I was able to pass a language exam and start university in a new country." When I worked in banking, I didn't feel like I was having an impact on the world.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is building an international community online with more than 150 members over a 5 year period. What's more is that many of these people joined 5 years ago and are still members today, so it means that they still find my work useful after all this time.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
There are many! At the moment, it is trying to balance family life with running a business. As I have to work "in" the business, and that takes up most of the day, but then it's rare to have time to work "on" the business. By this, I mean that doing lessons, creating content, etc., takes up most of my day, so it's difficult to find time to think of ways and strategies to help the business grow, as I have responsibilities at home. I'm sure, like many people who run their own business... it seems as if there are not enough hours in the day to do everything that I would like to do!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do something you enjoy, as when you work for yourself, you will often find yourself working VERY long hours! So if you don't enjoy it, it will be tough. On the other hand, if you do something you love, it doesn't feel like work.
- Start as young as you can, as when you are young, you can make mistakes, and it doesn't change anything. When you have a family, it's more difficult to start something, as your family depends on you, and it'll be difficult to find the time.
- Invest in a business mentor. Find someone who has results in your industry and follow what he/she says. I spent years banging my head against a wall trying lots of different things, but then finally invested in a business mentor, and things picked up very quickly. So the money you spend will be recuperated very quickly anyway.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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