Tech Entrepreneur, Youtuber, Following Her Passion

07/16/18  |  Elinor Windsor  |  5795 views


When you think about youtube as a medium, you think entertainment, or visibility. Marina Mogilko thought business, revenue, and building a following. The Co-Founder of, which has been branded as the Airbnb of learning languages, reaches millions in revenues each year and has exponentially grown since its launch in 2015. Originally from Russia, Marina had a vision and she brought it to life. Keep reading to find out how persistence, passion and patience is the secret formula to success.

Photo credit - @katya.kern

Tell me about yourself. 

I'm from Russia, I studied economics in Saint Petersburg. In 2015, I moved to the USA to develop my own company as my team participated in 500 Startups accelerator. Back in Russia, I'd started to create videos about studying abroad and published them on YouTube. With time, this hobby turned into three successful channels with a total audience of 1.2 million followers.

Did you always know you would become an entrepreneur?

No, I always knew that I wanted to connect my work with languages, I always dreamt about becoming an employee of a big corporation and travelling around the world. I saw myself simply as a businessperson within a big company, being able to use my language skills daily. However, at the age of 21, I was approached by the current co-owner of Dmitry who said, “It's true that you are really good at languages, but you don't have to work for a big corporation to use those skills. You can start to work on your own. We can do it together and help people to learn languages”. This is how I became an entrepreneur.

Photo credit - @oleksypepino

Did you have any mentors in your field?

No, I am from Russia and back then entrepreneurship in Russia was not that developed. Every one of my classmates went to work for big companies; we were the only ones who considered starting our own business. My parents did not have much experience in running a business when I was starting, so there were no mentors. Just me, Dmitry, and a lot of books and internet resources that inspired us.

When did you first launch your business? Do you remember how you felt when you first took that leap of faith?

When I was 21. I was really scared because I knew that it was a huge responsibility. I realized that the majority of my classmates had already gone to work for big companies, and had started to earn good money. I was under huge pressure from all the people around me because I did not have a proper job, I did not know how I would retire in 40 years if I owned my own company and it wasn’t profitable, or how I would get those retirement funds... It was scary.

Can you tell me a specific challenge that you surmounted in the beginning of your career?

I remember once I was standing on stage, presenting our business and somebody from the audience said that it'd probably be better to close the company, that our idea would not work. This represents the main challenge each entrepreneur has to deal with - the test of strength. How much do you believe in your ideas? Will you keep pursuing your dreams even if everybody around you predicts failure? That's why it's always important to work on things you are passionate about, which are relevant to you. The reviews from our clients brought me relief, our students were telling me that their studies abroad were turning points in their lives. I've had a similar experience and understood their feelings very well. It helped me to push the boundaries further and build my company.

How did you gain your following/what kept you growing organically?

I gained all my following from the YouTube algorithm, the platform is amazing in this way. If you produce good content, if you bring some real value to your followers, it's going to promote your videos. When you watch a video on YouTube, you may see a suggestions section on your right; this is how YouTube promotes channels. I think about 60% of my viewers come from this section. YouTube looks for people who might be interested in you and shows them your content. This algorithm and the quality of my content help me grow my following organically.

What does success represent to you?

Being successful for me means having the opportunity to fulfill all my ambitions and aspirations in different spheres: growing my blogs, starting a family, and working on my business. I want and I do, - this is my credo for success.

What are some future collaborations/projects you have coming up?

Fortunately, I have some. As you know, I started my third YouTube channel called Silicon Valley Girl in May, and my goal is to connect with local entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, to interview them,  and see what their daily lives look like. I also plan to share a lot about my own YouTube experience and entrepreneurial journey.

On July 18th I'm speaking at the YouTube Headquarters, and it's a big deal for me. YouTube basically transformed my life and I'm honored to be able to talk in front of their employees and share my experience of using this platform. I will also appear on Korean TV in September as they are going to stream my videos about learning the English language.

Photo credit - @oleksypepino

What motivates you?

People who have succeeded in my industry. For instance, at the moment I'm very inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk. He moved to the USA from Belarus, makes videos for YouTube and talks about business to 1.2 millions of followers. At each stage of my life, I watch out for people like him who motivate me.

What advice can you give young entrepreneurs?

Firstly, bring value. Don't expect people to buy from you just because you have started a company. You have to contribute something to the community before asking them to spend their money on your product or service.

Secondly, the first year is going to be the toughest one. This is the period when you'll have to invest everything in your company: all the money you have, all your time, and it's not going to pay off because the first year is all about your investments. The second year is much easier, but many people give up during the first year, so don't be one of them. Fight for your company!

Follow Marina Mogilko on Youtube, Instagram.

For more information on visit their Instagram, Youtube, Facebook



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