When I talked with Joanna Horanin a few weeks ago, a theme resounded throughout the conversation.
The importance of confidence.
A lot of what we talked about revolved around language learning, however I believe the advice she gives is applicable to any one taking up a new endeavour, especially those considering entrepreneurship.
Joanna Horanin, Founder of OK English
Joanna Horanin is the founder of OK English, an English language learning platform for Polish people seeking to gain confidence in their language for practical use.
Joanna’s experience with language learning from a young age may feel familiar to most of us; with recital drills, rigid testing, and a focus on theory rather than practice.
When Joanna first moved to the UK, she was struck by these lessons’ lack of preparation for practical use of a language. Her lack of confidence and language barrier ultimately left her feeling extremely lonely and isolated.
With a push from her manager of the time, Joanna chose to reclaim her confidence and chose a new path for her life, which eventually led to teaching English.
This started in Thailand, where Joanna taught both in person and online.
Although she loved these different endeavours, she continued to find fault in the way language was taught with these different curriculums. This led her to start her own teaching platform, where she could transform the way in which people facing the same challenges she once faced could learn a language.
Confidence and Language
“You can do more than you think.”
“I didn’t think it was possible to start a business. My family had always told me that admin work was the best way to go.”
Joanna was over thirty when she started her business, and couldn’t be happier about her decision. She urges all those thinking of starting a business to just go for it.
She advises anyone taking up a new endeavour to take it easy on themselves. With less time and more responsibilities, it will take longer to take up any new skill, whether that’s learning a language or starting a business.
To those experiencing a mental block because of a lack of confidence, she says:
Joanna believes that boosting students’ confidence is key in the language learning process. This is why while correction certainly does take part in each lesson, the focus will always be on the students’ progress.
Part of this journey in building her students’ confidence involves different immersion techniques. Once they feel more comfortable hearing the language and using it with their tutor, their confidence to use it practically will be bolstered significantly.
A success story Joanna shared demonstrates how this confidence can change someone’s life.
This student had her own online business and as such, had very little opportunity for exposure to the language. She had for years wished she could find the confidence to join a Yoga class until finally, after two months on Joanna’s course, she finally achieved this feat.
This may seem like a small feat. But when small barriers such as language become obstacles in enjoying everyday joys, confidence can be the most important distinguishing marker towards leading a happy life.
Joanna Horanin at Hatch
Joanna has never been idle. Now, with the responsibility that comes with running her business; finding a good work-life balance comes as an even greater challenge.
To avoid burnout, she decided to join the Hatch Incubator Programme so that she could commit to a strategy plan for her business, which she had lost sight of with her accumulative responsibilities.
At Hatch Joanna wasn’t met with this repetitive drone of overused advice she had faced before, and instead found inspiration from the workshops and expert mentors.
With the support of Hatch, Joanna wants to strengthen her brand and give her students more autonomy over their lessons and study materials so that she can continue ensuring quality delivery whilst affording herself some well deserved breaks.
Once this has been established, she dreams of giving back to her coastal town in Poland by setting up the framework to deliver pro-bono lessons for her community.