Jazz Cole has been studying foreign languages since she was a kid – as a result, she is now fluent in five of them. Her time spent traveling abroad in Europe reinforced those skills. When Cole studied in Paris as a college student, she had an especially life-changing experience: She made French friends, and completely immersed herself in the local culture. Eventually, she felt like she actually lived there. Cole wanted others to have this experience, and began privately tutoring professionals who were preparing to move abroad in the primary language of their new home. During Covid lockdowns, the multi-linguist took her side hustle and turned it into her full-time gig, officially launching foreign language tutoring company Multilingual & Philanthropic in 2021.
Here’s our lightly edited Q&A, from The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project.
How is your business different from others in your industry?
There are many language learning apps – and influencers who make videos about them. But I don’t see a lot of businesses encouraging people to go abroad and learn a new language in such a way that it actually becomes a part of someone’s everyday life. I meet so many students who want to pursue opportunities abroad, but they feel like it’s wishful thinking because of language barriers. I aim to prove them wrong, so they can build meaningful connections with people who don’t speak their native language.
Tell us about your biggest success so far.
In 2022, I had my first paid speaking opportunity at the World Language Teach Summit, which takes place online every year. The appearance earned me a huge influx of emails, social media followers and site views. It made me feel like a real leader in my industry.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Trying not to be such a workaholic! I got really bad carpal tunnel syndrome back in 2021, so I’m trying to take more breaks while working. The Pomodoro Technique has been helping me manage my time and concentration.
Have you experienced any significant personal situations that have affected your business decisions?
For the longest time, I was exhausted all the time. For about a year, I was working overnight part-time, in addition to working on my organization, and it made it hard to get any work done. Also, I went to the doctor and found out I was deficient in vitamin D. They put me on a prescribed vitamin, and it’s helped to reduce my fatigue. My productivity has improved since then, too.
What is your biggest tip for other startup entrepreneurs?
You’re not a machine! I used to roll out of bed and jump on the computer before I even brushed my teeth – and then I would look up and find that it’s 6 p.m.! I go the entire day without food, and have a headache from looking at the computer for so long. Make sure you feed yourself the nutrients you need and get rest – otherwise you’re going to break down.
How do you find inspiration on your darkest days?
I really enjoy watching a French series, “Mamans et Celebres,” while I work. It gets me excited about any new project or campaign I’m launching since the women featured are moms and business owners. Since it’s in French, the language I’ve been studying since I was 11, it brings me back to why I do what I do.
What is your go-to song to get motivated on tough days?
“Nightbook” by Ludovico Einaudi. It’s the best song to listen to when you want to feel inspired.
Who is your most important role model?
I really look up to the Obamas. I came of age when President Barack Obama came into office, and he changed everything. I’ve read their books, and even after being in the White House, I love that they’re still working on campaigns and projects to help people. ◼