Ever want to drop everything and MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY or quit your day job to just WORK FROM HOME & DO WHAT YOU LOVE? Ever want to go on INTERNATIONAL HOUSE HUNTERS? (I know I am not the only one!)
Today’s #BOSSBABE has done ALL of this and more. This #bossbabe series is meant to inspire other women and make YOU realize that you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. This is YOUR LIFE. And that is why I interviewed Nikki Prša because she is TOTAL GOALS when it comes to living your best life and to the fullest.
Side note: She lives in Philadelphia but was away in Croatia for a month when she responded to my interview questions. UM a summer in Croatia? Does that not scream goals?
Without further ado, grab a booch and read our Q&A.
Q: Okay, you have the floor. Let’s start at the beginning!
Nikki: I am a Polish-American polyglot. My parents immigrated to the US from Poland (via Germany) just before I was born. They were political refugees who escaped communist Poland in the early 1980s when it was unclear how long the communist regime would stay in power. They moved to Berlin where my sister was born before getting green cards and arriving in the US. I grew up in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Although all of my relatives are still in Poland, we connected with the other Polish people in the area and I grew up within a Polish community. I went to college in Philly and studied German and Arabic there. I received my Master’s Degree in Secondary Foreign Language Education from Temple University and continued my Arabic studies at the Arabic Language Institute in Cairo, Egypt.
*Note* A polyglot (noun; adjective) is a person who is able to speak, read, or write a number of languages, someone who is multilingual.
Q: You and your husband are just adorable. You did some long distance dating, as in living in separate countries for awhile, right?
Nikki: Thank you! I feel very lucky for having met him. I was working as a hostess as a restaurant in Philly while in college. My manager told me he hired a new guy who is Croatian. Being Polish, I was really excited to have a new European co-worker and I anticipated meeting him even though I didn’t really know anything about Croatia (except that it was part of former Yugoslavia). It was 100% love at first sight. In fact, the first thing I said to him was the only thing I knew in Croatian – volim te! Which means – I love you! How crazy am I? Lol the bold things you do when you’re 19!! He was on a work and travel program so his visa allowed him to stay for 5 months but we knew immediately that we wanted to be together beyond that. We have been together for 9.5 years and married for 5. We dated long distance, taking turns visiting each other while trying to navigate the intense visa process. We had so many ups and downs over the years but all of the years of long distance really taught us to communicate. I eventually decided to move to Croatia when I finished grad school because of our visa struggles. We lived in Zagreb and later Ljubljana for a few years and adventured all over Europe together..
Q: THAT SOUNDS INCREDIBLE! So you went to school and learned a bunch of languages. Then you met your husband and lived/traveled throughout Europe together. You clearly have a passion for learning multiple languages. What is your business SPEAK AT HOME TONIGHT?
Nikki: Speak at Home Tonight is an online-based international language services agency providing language instruction via Skype worldwide, translation, proofreading, editing, and localization services.
My husband and I moved back to the States in 2015. We both got corporate jobs and luckily I was still able to use my language skills, but instead in a business to business environment doing Global Subsidiary Management. My previous experience includes over ten years in the translation industry as well as teaching German, English, and Arabic to students of all ages. I taught at the high school and college level in the U.S., had the opportunity to work with kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and high school aged students at the American International School in Zagreb in Croatia, and adult language learners in Slovenia. I have freelanced worldwide working as a translator, proofreader, blogger, private teacher, and virtual assistant so I knew it was possible to earn a living using my skills.
After a year and a half of being back in the States and working in corporate America, I got my confidence back. In the summer of 2016, I was in Croatia with one of my best friends who had started a company there and I was so moved by her passion for her business, I thought why can’t I do that too? I then went to Poland to visit my grandparents and unplugged for a few days. That is when I had the inspiration for Speak at Home Tonight. I frantically woke up in the middle of the night to write down my ideas on how I could transfer my language teaching methods to an online platform. I knew it could work, and in hindsight, I realize that everything I had done up until this point was preparation for this. I bought the domain in August 2016 and got my first students shortly thereafter and they absolutely loved being able to learn exactly what they needed to know. It felt so good to be able to help people while doing something I absolutely loved.
Nerding out over languages is my favorite thing in the world. I spent 6 months working full-time at both my corporate job as well on my business. I had been calling it my side hustle but I was obsessed with it and couldn’t stop thinking about how to grow Speak at Home Tonight. I continued to get more students but was spreading myself too thin with working 24/7. I gave my boss at my corporate job notice at the end of last year and as of January 2017, I run Speak at Home Tonight full-time.
Q: WHAT A SCAREY BUT REWARD RISK. I would imagine its quite challenging since you basically you have clients all over the world, how do you balance the time zone difference and language barriers?
Nikki: I’ve spent my entire life between cultures – not quite an American, not quite a third culture kid but always balancing multiple cultures and identities. I have always had an ear for accents and languages and love helping people – I get such joy from seeing someone teach their goals. As a language learner myself, I can really put myself in my students shoes. I know what was difficult and frustrating for me, so I love being able to help them with my fun methods to find success. Being Polish-American allows me to excel at teaching both native English speakers as well as native speakers of other languages because I can put myself in both shoes and switch perspectives. I grew up constantly figuring out the time difference between the U.S. and Poland so I can now very easily convert the time difference between any two locations in the world. (I’m also really good at converting Celsius/Fahrenheit and miles/kilometers).
Q: Your story just BLOWS ME AWAY. What are some challenges also some advice for aspiring #BOSSBABES & entrepreneurs?
Nikki: There are a lot of highs and lows of entrepreneurship. Navigating taxes and administrative tasks as well as knowing when the right time to hire someone or outsource are some of the biggest challenges I face. The first year is also challenging in itself because there is so much to do, so you really need to work on your time management skills. It’s easy to overwork yourself without even realizing it when you enjoy what you are doing.
Take your time – I know it is easier said than done but going through difficult periods in your life will only help you in the end. Try and figure out what you are best at and what you really enjoy doing and purse that with a passion. I also advise my fellow #bossbabes not to complain. If you don’t like something – change it. Do something about it! If you don’t do it, who will?
Wanna learn more about Speak at Home Tonight and Nikki Prša?