Is there an intersection of your passion and your work? What does lifelong learning really mean? How can you shape a marketing strategy to fit your own plans?

In the second edition of Zsolya Communication’s new series featuring inspiring female entrepreneurs, we sat down with Zsófi Köllner, founder of Linguina Language School, to discuss career transitions, conscious entrepreneurship, and how small things may shape the direction of our lives within a blink of an eye.

Tiny things have astonishing power, as they might completely change the course of our lives. I was 16 when one of Westlife’s singers winked at me during a concert, and shortly after, I became a dance artist. Who would have thought?’, Zsófi laughs as she shares her unique personal and professional journey.

Written by Orsolya Temesvári.



Please tell me about your journey towards becoming a language teacher, and female entrepreneur. How did you start your own school?

I’ve always been involved in a variety of things throughout my life. Numerous topics interest me, making it difficult to define who I really am.

Originally, I’m an economist, but I also gratuated from English at Károli Gáspár University. I’ve been teaching English and German since I was 15. Initially, I taught family and friends, mostly as a background activity. Later, I obtained qualifications as an English and German translator and interpreter.

Dance has been incredibly important in my life, too. During my university years, I worked as a dance artist.

My journey started with Irish dance. At 16, I fell in love with this culture at a Westlife concert when a man winked at me. That man happened to be one of the singers of the band.

Later on, I joined an Irish dance company touring around the world in an other one touring in Germany, and eventually, I did ballet with Iván Markó’s company.

In 2013, after retiring from  my dance career, I went to Germany to teach English and Economics. After three years, when I returned, I found a position as an English teacher at an international school in Budapest.

I always enjoyed being an employee, and was fortunate that my working hours allowed me to finish both teaching and administrative tasks. My afternoons were free, I neither took work home mentally nor physically, and was satisfied with my salary.

Now, as an entrepreneur, things are completely different. My mind is constantly spinning around my ideas, pondering how to do things better, more efficiently, more successfully.

I often say I’m my own cleaner, assistant, and president all at once.

Meanwhile, I have become a mother, and I’m currently seeking the ideal balance between family life  and work. Freedom is crucial to me, but as a mother, wife, and woman, I want to be present. It’s a continuous learning process.


How hard is it for you to let go of control? How do you work on your delegation skills?

This is one of the biggest challenges for me. Initially, it was difficult to entrust other teachers with my own classes, partially due to my identity and partially because of my students. Those who start learning English with me usually want to continue doing so.

I generally look for teachers who are willing to learn my methods, work with the materials I create, but are also self-reliant and sharp, not needing me to dictate every detail of what and how they should do.

It’s important for me to mentor someone who doesn’t excel as a teacher at first,, as I saw potential in everyone. If it doesn’t work out, then I try to assign them a different role.

At times, I feel like a bit of a naive employer, but for me, it’s important not to focus on the flaws, but on the possibilities within each other.

Delegation is easier now than at the beginning, but there are always new things I’d like someone else to do. However, I haven’t yet figured out how I can achieve that. It’s an ongoing process of growth and balance.



How do you choose your colleagues?

Chemistry and how I feel about the potential candidate are  essential to me. Naturally, I review the applicants’ resumes, have conversations with them, listen to their perspectives on teaching, and share my methods. We usually have a short trial class, and then discuss the way forward.

I like to give them freedom, but I also set boundaries. Just the way I teach: I enjoy freedom, but within certain frameworks.


What are your biggest challenges?

I face a variety of challenges.

Student acquisition is a recurring concern. I often find myself either having too many students and not enough teachers, or the opposite, struggling to allocate enough lessons to my teachers. It’s a constant balancing game, as I’m hesitant to advertise a course without knowing who is going to  teach it.

This summer, as a mother, it’s challenging since my son’s kindergarten is closed, and I need to arrange his care.

Developing course materials is a deep passion of mine; it’s an ongoing project. I teach relatively few classes myself now, as other tasks demand my attention.


How intentional are you about marketing? How has your own approach evolved within your business?

Well, I consider myself a terrible salesperson and marketer. Moreover, I can’t delegate content creation, so I’m still looking for solutions in that area.

I have a mental block: when I want to sell my services, I become like those people in parking lots trying to push perfumes onto others (laughs). I struggle with this aspect.

The language school has been around for almost four years, with the first two focused on developing teaching materials. Since actually running the school, I’ve gradually let intentional marketing closer to myself.

Initially, you wouldn’t see any pictures of me; only the school logo was visible. This was because I didn’t want to showcase myself. I felt it wasn’t necessary and didn’t want it to become a focal point.

This is funny, as during my dance career, I had no problem stepping onto stage, no matter the  costume. However, it was different – I played a role, not myself, Zsófi,  rather a character was present.

Within the Linguina framework, I have to sell myself, my knowledge, and my competencies, which is quite challenging. Perfectionism contributes to this struggle.

Nevertheless, I easily get frustrated when someone confidently sells a low-quality service at a high price. I lack that pushy attitude.

I also find it difficult to handle praise and compliments. I always seek criticism. When someone gives exclusively positive feedback about my work or classes, I struggle to accept it, as I don’t believe in perfection. There is always room for improvement.

So, regarding marketing, my most conscious step was reaching out to Orsi and Zsolya Communication (smiles).

This team has opened my eyes in many aspects; their strategic thinking and awareness have taught me a lot, and I can’t be grateful enough. Yet, I also see there’s still a long way to go.



Is there anything you wish you knew when you started your business?

I think I desperately needed to let go of perfectionism and recognize that neither we nor our products or services need to be flawless.

During my first conversation with Orsi, it became clear that I should have started promoting my online courses much earlier, even while they were still in the development phase.

That way, I could have incorporated the feedback I received afterwards, but now I’ve invested so much work that I’m reluctant to change, at least for now.


What are your major goals in the near future?

The biggest thing is that we’re facing a significant expansion, which presents quite a challenge, but which I’m very excited about.

Additionally, client acquisition is an ongoing goal, and I’d like to establish a steady base of teachers as employees. This would be a big step forward, and I hope we can head in that direction later this year.


How do you connect with other entrepreneurs? Are you part of any mentoring process?

I occasionally attend various business breakfasts and events for entrepreneurs.I also think I have a unique approach to mentoring. I truly believe in the power of lifelong learning, let them be either hard or soft skills.

I’m more than willing to share all course materials and teaching methods with my colleagues or anyone else. I’ve even written about my career transitions as part of the curriculum, aiming to pass on my knowledge and perspective.

In this regard, I think the key is to have something to say to our clients or the entrepreneurial community, and to convey it effectively through appropriate means. My teaching materials play a significant role in this.


Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I look at life from the perspective that we are able to come out of any challenge or change positively, even with growth.

Throughout the past decades and career transitions, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to start from scratch and build something out of nothing. It provides me with tremendous strength and momentum every time.

I consider myself humble; I love learning and achieving the highest level in new topics, then applying what I’ve learned to take a step forward.


Do you think you could be a role model for others?

Yes and no.

My attitude can be developed to some extent, but it depends on the person.

Some people just aren’t cut out for it. Not everyone needs to constantly challenge themselves. If someone doesn’t enjoy the struggle, the fighting, and isn’t encountering anything that warrants such effort, then that’s perfectly fine.

On the other hand, there are individuals like myself, who change, adapt and switch, because otherwise, they’d get tired of what they’re doing.

That’s why I believe the best approach is for everyone to live, work, and lead their business in a way that suits them best.

Self-identity is a crucial key in both business and life.


Thank you for the conversation.


We trust Zsófi’s story inspires you to dream, plan, and create the life you truly want to live.

Stay tuned to Zsolya Communication’s blog for more inspiring stories of female entrepreneurs. If you have suggestions for whose life you’d like to draw inspiration from, send your ideas to