Conor Clyne has a clear understanding of the men his business helps. They’re successful western men who would love to spend more time in Eastern Europe. He teaches them what to do and who to meet; where to live, how to date and how not to get scammed in the process.
Conor’s original language business went through plenty of trials and changes before he finally found his niche. In this interview, he shares some of the lessons he learned along the way.
What you’ll learn in this interview:
The importance of a unique niche
Why you need to know your avatar
Sometimes you have to burn all your bridges
How to ask your audience the right questions
How a mentor or mastermind group can help
Do a business autopsy when things go wrong
Conor’s tips for Langpreneurs
Conor originally trained and worked as a lawyer with a background in Eastern Europe. It was a busy, stressful, lucrative job — but it wasn’t the lifestyle Conor dreamed of.
Another talent was language learning, and it seemed evident to Conor that he should become a Langpreneur. So, he started a polyglot YouTube channel, began speaking at conferences and events and tried to decide how to develop his language skills into a business.
Over the next four years, he tried all the usual things – AdSense, blog posts, videos and even created a course. But eventually, Conor reached a crisis point.
He must either give up the dream and return to being a lawyer or make some drastic changes. So, Conor rose to the challenge and learned from his mistakes to finally create the business he runs today.
Niche down and find your unique angle
Some Langpreneurs quickly find their niches. They start their German… Russian… Mandarin… channels, attract a like-minded audience and start their business journeys. But for others, like Conor, the way isn’t so clear.
Sometimes the apparent niche doesn’t gel. Conor’s strengths lay in law and languages, so it took time for Conor to realise that people were fascinated with his life as an Irishman in Eastern Europe.
Now, when people ask Conor about finding a niche, he asks,
“What have you overcome in your life that you could teach other people to do, that’s of value and they’re willing to pay for?”
Figure out where you can offer value — it might not be from your formal education or even your primary job.
Do some testing to see what works and what doesn’t.
Be alert to feedback – listen to your audience.
Combine your skills.
Listen to the advice of people who know you.
After Conor decided to go all-in on his new niche, he no longer had to hide his real passion from the public.
Get crystal clear on your avatar
Talk to your audience, says Conor and find out who they are.
How old are they; where do they come from? What most piques their interest and what are their pain points? Essentially you need to discover the solutions your avatar is willing and eager to pay for.
Lack of clarity was a real problem for Conor in the early days.
He didn’t know what to teach, nor what his audience wanted. His videos seemed bland, and his message confused. But, most of all, he didn’t know his audience.
When Conor finally understood his ideal avatar, the business began to take shape.
Sometimes you have to burn your bridges
Many entrepreneurs initially develop their businesses on the side. Some are content with keeping it as a side hustle; others take the plunge and work on their dreams full time.
It’s not an easy thing to do. Most entrepreneurs go through a stage where passion is the only thing that keeps them going through the hard times.
But, when you’re all in, you have to make it work.
“At that point where you’re hungry and you’re still willing to do this, you’re definitely committed. If I hadn’t been committed for reasons other than making money I wouldn’t have done it.”
Have a vision.
Be passionate and committed.
If it’s all about the money, you’re unlikely to last the distance.
Be willing to sacrifice the alternatives.
Try different things.
Listen to the advice of people who know what they’re talking about.
Know that building a successful business is challenging work.
Talk to your audience and understand their feedback
There are many ways to communicate with your audience, including giving free content, reading the comments and sending out surveys. However, to discover their real problems, you need to ask the right questions and analyse the answers in depth.
Carefully-crafted surveys can help, but it’s when you talk to your buyers in person that you can uncover the gems that point you in the right direction.
After spending time with his clients, Conor realised that his core audience wanted to have in-person experiences in Eastern Europe with him to guide and advise them. So when he began to offer those tailor-made trips, the business took off.
Although languages are no longer Conor’s main focus, it’s still a part of his brand.
Mentors and Masterminds
When you’re mired in the day to day rut of trying to figure out what’s going wrong, it’s almost impossible to figure out solutions without support. So, it’s helpful to have a mentor or a mastermind group to consult.
There you can discuss your ideas and receive honest feedback from people who are not emotionally involved and can see the bigger picture.
Conor freely admits that he couldn’t have come so far without the scrutiny and support he gained from his mastermind sessions with Jan and Olly.
Analyse with a business autopsy when things go wrong
In 2019 the future looked rosy for Conor. He had finally figured out his avatar and identified what his clients most wanted from him.
But, when the world locked down in 2020 that in-person experience business was devastated. It was clear that Conor had to pivot into finally selling an online program that met his customers’ needs.
Based on the survey he conducted, his course should have sold like hotcakes. It didn’t. So Conor did some hard analysis to discover what went wrong and realised that some of his audience was not willing to buy solutions to their real problems.
To find those who genuinely wanted help, he needed to ask more searching questions. So Conor designed parameters within his next survey to exclude the answers from those who were not willing to pay and highlight those who were. With that in place, he finally had the material he needed and created a course that resonated with his clients.
Ask the right questions.
Do an in-depth, unemotional analysis.
Figure out a plan based on how to exclude the wrong avatar people.
Design an evergreen course and sales copy based on the answers
Notice other trends.
Conor noticed an interest in people wanting to move to Ukraine, so he picked up on that and launched a high-level course which proved to be precisely what his audience had been waiting for.
Conor’s tips for Langpreneurs
Money is the fuel to get you the life you want, but it can’t be the reason for your business.
Nothing works until you identify your niche.
Invest in the right training to further the critical things that only you can do in your business.
Learn to outsource tasks that others can do faster and more cheaply than you can.
Keep focusing on the buyers – when you’ve offered one great solution, they are likely to come back for more.
Success is validation that you have the right product, but so is competition.