Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in language education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Silvio Franceschinelli, Director of Istituto Il Mulino, located in Legnaro, Italy.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Teaching languages, both online and in classrooms. We teach different languages, and each language has its own target market: for English, it is mainly entrepreneurs and schoolchildren, for Japaneseit's people in their 30s who are fond of anime, manga, and cosplay; for Korean, we focus on teenagers who like Kpop music, and so on...As a side business, the organization of cultural events helps promote our courses.

Tell us about yourself

I have always been keen on a number of different topics: traveling and languages, events and music among them. I am enthusiastic about meeting people. And teaching my students gives me the opportunity to get to know each of them on a very personal level. The organization of events is a chance to travel, to do something different besides my usual job at the school.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Worked at the same company, which I created, for 20 years and enjoyed the daily challenge of keeping it alive and strong and seeing it grow month by month, even in front of negative moments such as economic crises, pandemics, and influence from wars. Being recognized as an expert in my field.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

It's hard to keep your mind open to new ideas and survive the continuous stress of having every day a challenge to deal with. More on the practical side, find employees and partners who are trustworthy and dedicate themselves to fighting this battle with you.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Successfully promoting is probably the biggest challenge. Find your niche, or better, find more than one and cultivate it and become known in that area as a reliable supplier and partner.
  2. Go where your target customers go, talk to them, and create occasions to speak to them as an expert (both in real-life events and online, on social media).
  3. Work hard. If you are not ready to work very long hours, and actually enjoy it because you love what you are doing, don't start a business.

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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