Ray Blakney is an award-winning Filipino-American entrepreneur, who grew up in Turkey and now resides in Mexico.
Having started his first business with his wife in 2008, he has since bootstrapped multiple 6 and 7-figure online businesses – most of it being done from home in his superman pajamas.
Some of his businesses include Live Lingua (one of the top online language schools), Twiducate (a social network for schools with over 200k registered users, and Podcast Hawk (a SAAS product that helps you get booked on podcasts on auto-pilot).
Learning another language brings business benefits
“There are many business benefits that come with learning another language that can be beneficial no matter the age. One of the most striking is that learning a second language has been shown to improve intelligence and the reading ability in one’s native language.
People who speak multiple languages increase creativity and empathy by teaching you how to see things from other points of view. Additionally as one gets older there are numerous studies that show that speaking at least two languages can offset Alzheimer’s disease by up to 5 years.
And finally – and non-scientifically – learning another language allows us to make the most out of travel. If you do not speak the language of the country you are visiting you are normally limited to visit places with organized tours (which have English speaking staff) and you are missing out on experiencing the places as the locals do.
When you speak the language, or even have the basics, it opens up opportunities and travel experiences closed to most people not from the country.”
How language learning will influence businesses in the future
“To me, language learning is more than just speaking the words and knowing the grammar. To really learn a language means to learn the culture.
An easy example of that is something like an expression such as “to get the upper hand”. This is a phrase that is used a lot in business. But if all somebody did was translate the words “obtener la mano arriba” (Spanish) it would make no sense. This is because in Spanish they don’t understand the history behind the expression (baseball).
In global business, it is more critical than ever to understand the difference in culture when dealing across borders, and the best way to do that is to “learn another language”.
In the future, many of the opportunities for businesses just starting out will be in the developing world (primarily Latin America and Southeast Asia) and any business that is able to operate in those languages in those markets will have a huge leg up on competition.
On a more micro-level, learning another language can increase your job prospects no matter what your industry. If you learn Spanish, you can now represent your company in 22 countries in the world in their native tongue. If you speak Mandarin, you can become the go to person for dealing with manufacturing businesses in China.”
Speaking multiple languages can bring you ultimate freedom
“I tell people that I have the secret to getting a 400% raise in the next 24 hours (when I am talking to people in the US or Western Europe) is to move.
If you live in NYC and have a side hustle that is making $1000 a month, you can’t quit your job and focus on it since that is not enough to live off of.
The answer? Move to Mexico (or Bali).
While you won’t be rich on that amount, you can live comfortably, while working on growing your business to the next level.
This is what being multilingual has taught me and what has helped me grow my businesses. Don’t be afraid of the rest of the world, even if you don’t speak the language as you can always learn it.
By “giving yourself” (because this is a gift you can give yourself) the freedom to learn another language, and the freedom to live somewhere else, you are also giving yourself the freedom to focus on and grow your business. This has been invaluable to me.”
Ray and his businesses have been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Boston Globe and other top publications. Ray has also been a speaker at multiple conferences around the world. He is also host of one of the top language learning podcasts on iTunes Learn Spanish with Live Lingua releasing a new episode daily.