Yaro Blog

Benny Lewis: The Startup Story Behind FluentIn3Months.com And The Most Famous Language Learning Hacker On The Internet

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Benny Lewis speaks seven languages, but as he proudly proclaims, he never was gifted with the ‘language learning gene’.

Today Benny is the founder of FluentIn3Months.com, one of the most well-known language learning resources on the internet, with a huge email subscriber base.

Benny was just a normal guy from Ireland, who decided to travel to Spain after realizing he didn’t want to enter the workforce in Ireland after completing his studies.

Although he struggled at first, Benny eventually taught himself enough Spanish to have conversations by immersing himself with locals. He later traveled to Italy and did the same with Italian over a six month period.

These first few early experiments with language acquisition formed the basis for what would become his teaching methodology.

Making Enough Money To Survive As A Digital Nomad

Using his newfound language skills, Benny started teaching. This eventually led him to become a document translator, which paid better and gave him location independence.

Of course, Benny wasn’t rich by any means, but these jobs provided enough that he could live and travel in Europe.

Benny started blogging about his travels and language learning. His audience grew, and then thanks to some helpful advice from Chris Guillebeau, he began a companion email newsletter for his blog.

Everything changed when Benny made his first attempt at selling his own digital product — an ebook. He promoted it to his blog and email list audience, and walked away with just as much money as he made from his job as a translator.

It was then he decided to go all-in and focus on digital marketing and teaching others how to rapidly acquire language skills.

Benny The Internet Marketer

Although we don’t strictly call Benny an internet marketer anywhere in this interview, it’s very clear he became quite skilled at using the internet to build a business. I was especially impressed when Benny talked about how he segments his email list today.

As you can imagine, as a language teacher, each language is a potential market segment, so Benny has over 60 different email sequences for different languages.

He encourages his 300,000+ subscriber base to self-select into small segments based on what their language goals are, and then markets to each niche with separate content.

That’s a big job to create all the content, but it pays dividends. For example, if someone wants to learn Swahili, Benny tags that person and then sends Swahili related teaching resources, including affiliate products specifically for that language.

Most people don’t go that far with their audience segmentation, but Benny has and reaps rewards as a result.

I’m excited to present this podcast interview to you because it provides yet another example of a person who developed a skill without any formal training and was able to then use it to help others and make a living thanks to blogging, email marketing and digital teaching products.

If that kind of business excites you, I recommend after you hear Benny’s story you listen to some of the other podcast interviews on the success stories page, with people who also use the internet to make money teaching others.

Enjoy the podcast,
Yaro

Topics Covered In This Podcast

  • How Benny transitioned careers from studying an electrical engineering degree, to becoming a document translator, then starting FluentIn3Months.com
  • Benny’s philosophy on succeeding despite not being a long-term planner
  • The underlying principles behind FluentIn3Months.com, and how you can master languages in a very short amount of time
  • How he uses his technical background and strengths to individually tailor (with high specificity) his email marketing to 300,000 different subscribers
  • How Benny deals with copycat bloggers
  • Benny’s strategy to stand out and earn trust with his audience

Relevant Links

[ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | SoundcloudStitcher | Spotify | Raw RSS ]

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