The Traveling Entrepreneur: Luke Pancoe
Welcome to The Traveling Entrepreneur! Each Monday, we'll feature a different entrepreneur who spends at least part of their working hours on the road. Learn their tips for working from anywhere, what they'd do differently if they had to start their business over again, and their favorite place to travel (so far). Enjoy!
Meet Luke Pancoe
Q. Can you tell me a bit about your business?
A. I started my company YLanguage to share my love of languages with other people and help them learn how to become conversational. I currently teach conversational Italian through my online courses, but I will be adding more languages in the future. I don’t use traditional methods for learning and I help people actually become conversational in the language and not just get lost in grammar exercises and memorizing vocabulary.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being self-employed?
A. I love the freedom it gives me in my life and ability to travel and work anywhere in the world while sharing my passion and doing what I love. It’s great being able to live my life on my terms and not have to worry about asking a boss for time off. I can just live and build my business. I love the fact that I control the entire business and its direction and that there are no limits to what I can create and earn.
Q. What is the most challenging aspect of your business?
A. Keeping myself accountable and disciplined (since I am my own boss) and managing all the different things I have to do without getting distracted. There is ALWAYS something to do in my business. It never ends, but I love it.
Q. Did you leave a 9-5 to pursue your business? If so, what was that process like?
A. Yes, I left my job as a programmer because I was never super into it. I like technology, and what I have learned has served me well, but I knew I wasn’t meant to be a programmer. It was a process of a few years getting to this point. During college, I was studying communications and computer science, but I had also discovered Italy through studying abroad in Florence, Italy. After I graduated, I got my job as a developer. After only 3 weeks, I knew I had to make Italy my life. There had to be a way. It was a process of over 2 years where I first started a different business with Italian and studying abroad. I learned a lot with that business. I had a partner with an investment, made some money, traveled to Italy, and made lots of mistakes. But I did that all while I was working my developer job. Luckily, my job was 90% remote so it was easier than if I had to go into an office every day. It was getting up at 5 a.m. and going to bed at 10 or 11 p.m. every day for 2 years. There is no magic. It’s just hard work. Lots of it every day, over a long period of time. But if you really want something, you’ll get it. Period. And leaving my 9-5 was the best day of my life (career wise)!
Q. Who is your biggest inspiration in the entrepreneurship world?
A. Gary Vaynerchuk. That guy is amazing. I’ve listened to 3 of his books, I watch his amazing videos every day on social media, and I just love the guy. He is so real and authentic and the definition of hard work and hustle. He was in the grind for 15 years before anyone ever heard of him. I highly recommend checking him out if you don’t know him. He inspires me each day. You won’t regret it!
Q. What originally inspired you to work for yourself?
A. I’ve been entrepreneurial my entire life and made money selling things and services as a kid but didn’t really notice it until after I graduated college and got a real job and realized how much I hated it. The one thing that inspired me down this path though was meeting an Italian guy who was making videos on YouTube and selling eBooks online. I thought, if this guy is doing it and he’s only 20 years old, why can’t I? After one conversation, my entire perspective on life changed and I never looked back. I can’t even imagine life now without being an entrepreneur and having my own business.
Q. What was the best piece of advice you received when you were first getting started?
A. Work hard and smart. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and keep failing forward. You’re in this for the long game so play at that level. This takes years, so enjoy the process. It’s so true!
Q. If you had to start your business over from scratch today, what would be your top three priorities?
A. Coming up with a legitimate idea that I was passionate about and proving it in the market place before investing time and money into it. I would start creating content from day one to get my name out there. I would start reaching out to other influencers and seek to provide them value from the get go to expand my network.
Q. Do you travel frequently while maintaining your business?
A. Yes! I was just in Europe for the past couple months and traveled through Italy, Spain, Poland, and Germany. I already have a few more trips coming up as well to San Diego, Portland, Hawaii, and Seattle. I love traveling and plan to do it for the rest of my life. However, I do think it’s important to have times where you have a home base so you can have a routine and engage with the new place and community. I am from Southern California so I will always keep it as a base but travel to others places but always come back.
Q. Are there any tools or resources that allow you to work from anywhere that you would recommend to other entrepreneurs?
A. I love AirBnB for staying in amazing places around the world while feeling like you are in a home. I would build community within Facebook groups and go to business networking events to meet more awesome people. Outsourcing is key as well for growing your business and I LOVE fiverr.com. It’s been so valuable to me. If you teach online, teachable.com is a great platform for that and using email automation tools like Convert Kit is great as well.
Q. What has been your favorite destination so far?
A. It should be cooler choice since I’ve been there so many times, but it will always be Florence, Italy. It is my second home and I have lots of friends there. I love traveling to new places, but Italy always calls me home. The food, the culture, and the beauty of Italy is unlike anywhere else in my mind. However, I visited Krakow, Poland for the first time for World Youth Day in July and the city was incredible. I highly recommend it!
Q. How does traveling enhance your current business?
A. It allows me to keep my working environment fresh, and it gives me the ability to experience new places while building my business. I feel like there are no more vacations when I travel, I just travel, work and play. It also allows me to get more creative and meet new people than I normally wouldn’t. When I travel, people always ask what I do, and you’d be surprised how many people want to learn Italian. Not a bad way to grow your business!
Q. What advice do you have for people who want to travel while they work?
A. Always check for good Wi-Fi before you book a place abroad because that is the life of your business. Don’t travel to new places every few days or even every week. You need time to get settled in one place so you can get more work done and have a routine. Stay disciplined and have somewhat of a routine to keep you grounded while you travel. Oh, and have fun wherever you are! Maybe it means getting out to go work in a cool coffee shop in Prague or along the Arno River in Florence.
Luke Pancoe is a lover of life and is primarily driven by his Catholic faith. He loves learning new languages, traveling to new places, and meeting people from all over the world. He is the founder of YLanguage.com and is seeking to help revolutionize the way people learn foreign languages by starting with teaching and sharing his passion for the Italian language. He helps people become conversational in Italian quickly and easily through nontraditional methods and his online courses. You can follow him and his travel adventures on Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter.
If you're a globe trotting entrepreneur, and you'd like to be featured (or if you know someone who might), please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.