Today's feature is on News in Levels. Zdenek Vanicek, Director of News in Levels, tells StartupProPlus about the challenges and visions of starting News in Levels.
1- Introduction: Please give a short description of yourself and your business.
My name is Zdenek and I have been teaching English for about 10 years. I studied in London and now I teach in the Czech Republic. We write news for students of English in three different levels so that every student, no matter what level, can learn to understand news in English.
2- Describe your financial journey so far.
We invested about 40,000 US dollars in terms of our working hours which of course we have not been paid for. Currently we spend about 50 dollars a month running the website.
3- How did you start out?
My colleague and I were in a pub and we began talking about ideas which might help us leave our 9 to 5 jobs and achieve financial freedom in a couple of years. We had meetings every second month
s and after about 6 months the idea about
4- Are you a spender or a saver?
We are definitely savers making sure every cent we spend is spent well.
5- What's your philosophy regarding money?
The money is just energy which is practically always available if you have a good project or idea but you have to learn how to use it wisely to get more money, thus energy, back.
6- What made you decide to launch News in Levels?
I saw that my students wanted to read news on the internet, namely BBC and CNN, but these were too difficult for lower levels. I thought it would be good to provide something more easy for them.
7- What inspires and motivates you?
I am inspired and motivated by success. I like it when people appreciate what I do. It makes me feel good to have more and more happy readers. I don’t need to be praised, however I like it when people see value in my work.
8- Did you make any financial mistakes along the way?
It’s not an easy question to answer. We have spent so little real money so far. We might have spent more money on consultancy but there are so many people who call themselves experts and charge sometimes unbelievable amounts of money for sharing information which is very often available for free on the Internet. Consequently we didn’t pay for any professional help. So, if there were any mistakes it was the fact we didn’t pay for consultancy.
9- Do you believe in planning for the future?
I believe in going up step by step and always checking with your customers if they like what you do. Big plans can be unrealistic. We have a plan for the next two years. However we work more on a month to month basis, always planning one month ahead.
10- Is money important to you?
Yes, money means freedom. With money I can do what I want, be where I want to be, with the people I want to be with. With money I also have time.
11- What is your idea of financial freedom?
I found an answer to this question about 2 years ago. It is 500,000 US dollars. With that amount of money I would not have to work for money for the rest of my life. I would continue working, of course. Work is great. However I would do only what I love and really enjoy doing every day. I would still do some of the things I do now but I would do many other things as well.
12- What do you enjoy spending money on?
My number one choice is education, mostly seminars which get me to a higher level of knowledge, insight and skills. Then it would be travelling to places where I like to be.
13- What value would News in Levels add to the English Learning community online?
Our website provides an opportunity to practice English while using it. On News in Levels you can learn English without really trying! Just use the site every day and your English will improve as you go along.
14- What advice would you give to the new online Internet startup entrepreneurs?
Make sure that people really want your product. Create something that is unique or exceptionally good. Try to see how your project will help people improve the quality of their lives. If you make people more clever, more educated, more entertained or more happy, (in other words if you make a difference) you can expect great success.
Answered by Zdenek Vanicek, Director of News in Levels