Are you a non-techie who wants to start an online business?
Want to run an online business, but have no idea how to make a website?
You want to start a profitable business and to even make money from home. But, there’s just one problem, you have no idea where to start.
There’s no denying that online businesses are the future, so how do you get online?
If you’ve been struggling to get started online and need help with all that tech, then this interview is for you. Marina Lotaif of Yes to Tech is the expert when it comes to building websites and online solutions when you’re an absolute newbie.
Marina shares her own story of how she went from having no idea how to build a website to teaching others how to build their own online business. She also gives you a glimpse into her highly-productive life and how she maintains a full personal and professional life.
Let’s get started.
#1. Who are you and what’s your story?
I’m Marina Lotaif, the founder of Yes To Tech.
Back in the Spring of 2015, I was what you can call a tech nobody. My technical knowledge was limited to social media and marketing, and the thought of creating a website myself or growing an e-mail list had never even crossed my mind.
I created a website myself out of pure disheartenment. I had just joined my dad at the travel agency he owns and set myself on a quest to revamp the outdated website that served no purpose. After a few months of experimenting, of trial and error, and of piecing together different web tutorials and guides, I finally had the finished product come together.
Fast forward to today, and I now run a business that has as its mission to empower other non-techie online entrepreneurs and small business owners to boost their productivity and maximize their online presence. I help you skip the hard parts that I encountered along the way, and provide a beeline right to the point.
Check out this blog post for a more detailed version of my story: How I create my own website from scratch.
#2. What’s your average day like?
Take us hour by hour
I’m a morning person through and through, so I prefer to start my workday early. This way, I can separate my business life from my personal one, leave the office at a decent hour, and still have time to dedicate to my boyfriend, family, and friends. I’m also a total planner, so although my work tasks may vary day-to-day (see the asterisk below), I enjoy sticking to a pre-set overarching schedule.
A typical weekday would look something like this:
- 7:00 am – 7:45 am: wake up, get ready, and have breakfast (a boiled egg, half a papaya, a latte, and a glass of water).
- 7:45 am – 8:00 am: drive to my office while listening to a podcast episode.
- 8:00 am – 12:15 pm: work*.
- 12:15 pm – 1:45 pm: have lunch at my grandparents’ house, which is a 5-minute walk from my office.
- 1:45 pm – anytime between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm: work*.
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After Work Hours
Between 4:00pm and 6:00pm: leave work. On Mondays I go straight home, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I go to the gym with my cousin, on Wednesdays I meet up with my boyfriend, and on Fridays I leave early since it’s my ‘rodízio’ (I live in Brazil, and cars here that have plates ending in 0 and 9 can’t be on the streets during rush hour on Fridays).
- 7:15 pm – 8:15 pm: have dinner.
- 8:15 pm – 10:00 pm: relax by reading a book or magazine, or by watching a TV show.
- 10:00 pm – 10:30 pm: call my boyfriend.
- 10:30 pm – 11:00 pm: go to bed, meditate for around 10 minutes using the Buddhify app, and sleep.
* My average workday varies depending on the project I am currently working on – blog posts, webinars, a challenge, or an online product launch.
Whenever I start a new project, I use batching to plan out my schedule for the upcoming week (or weeks if it’s a bigger project). That way, I never start my day staring blankly at a screen, and know exactly what I need to do when. I have no special rituals to end my workday, but I always try my best to leave work at work.
#3. How do you stay motivated? What or who inspires you?
Having an ultimate purpose in what I do helps me stay motivated and keep going, even when the urge to give up arises. I genuinely like helping others, and so even if I’m selling something at the end of a challenge or webinar, for instance, my goal is to always share something of value for free, no matter what. Receiving a simple ‘thank you’ from someone at the end of the day is priceless.
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Other online entrepreneurs who are rocking their businesses inspire me. I devour their podcasts whenever I’m in my car, like those by:
- Mariah Coz (The Fem Show),
- Zach Spuckler (Heart, Soul & Hustle Podcast),
- Amy Porterfield (Online Marketing Made Easy),
- and Melyssa Griffin (Pursuit With Purpose).
I always leave with a new perspective or surge of inspiration.
#4. Let’s talk about goals. How do you slay yours?
I always make sure to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound). I also plan and schedule things in advance to make sure those goals get done, especially by breaking down big chunks into smaller parts. My #1 tip for achieving any goal is to get some small wins first so that an otherwise big goal seems a lot more doable.
For instance, ‘create my own website’ is a regular goal someone in my audience might have.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: Intro to SMART Goal Setting for Your Passion Project
That same goal, written out as a SMART one, could be something along the lines of: create my own website from scratch (measurable) in thirty days (time bound and achievable if you put in the work) by breaking down the process into four parts – idea, creation, customization and promotion (specific) – and working on it for five hours each day, Monday through Friday, and three hours on weekends (realistic).
#5. What’s one app or tool that you can’t do without?
My work is 100% online-based, so without my laptop, nothing gets done.
Google Drive is an indispensable app in my business. Since I can be working from my office, home, or another city/country, I need to have everything on hand, no matter the location. I even plan out e-mails and write out blog posts in advance with Google Docs, so that I always have them on file, even if they have already been sent or published.
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#6. What’s your favorite and least favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
My favorite parts about being an entrepreneur are that I’m able to work with what I love, be hands-on and completely immersed in every single aspect of my business, and have the flexibility to work my own hours.
My least favorite part about being an entrepreneur is spending most of my days without much face-to-face human interaction. Although I interact with others online, as a social person, I miss having a conversation in ‘real’ life.
#7. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
#1: Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to invest in your business – the very first thing I purchased when I decided to start Yes To Tech was Mariah Coz’s ‘Launch Your Signature Course’ online course for $1100. That’s a HUGE investment but was totally worth it. It taught me everything about online courses in a step-by-step and straightforward way and saved me a ton of time and stress.
#2: Make the most of Facebook groups – join and be as active as you possibly can in as many Facebook groups as you can handle. Answer questions, ask some of your own, provide your unique insights, share your knowledge, and be useful overall. The more you interact, the more you will be remembered, and thus skyrocket your online presence.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: 11 Reasons You'll Fail to Create Your Dream Job
#3: Have fun – when you’re just starting out, your business is probably a one-man show. You’re the one creating content and promoting it, managing finances and accounting, networking with others, and so all of this can easily become overwhelming and cause burnout. Remember the main reason why you’re doing this, why you decided to become an entrepreneur and leave your 9-5 in the first place and make sure to have fun while you’re at it.
#8. What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
The best business advice I’ve ever received is to get inside your ideal audience’s mind as much as possible, be it by surveying them directly or by reading about their struggles and conquests in social media posts and comments.
If you know exactly what they want and need right now to succeed, and can phrase their doubts and desires in their exact words when coming up with copy, you’ll be better able to resonate with and help them.
#9. What books do you think every entrepreneur should read?
‘Make It Stick’ by Chip and Dan Heath is a must-read and will revolutionize the way you write. It talks about strategies you can implement to write content that will ‘stick’ to your audience’s mind, rather than just float away and become a passing thought. The biggest takeaway? SUCCESs (Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, StorieS)
Apart from that, I recommend subscribing and listening to the podcasts I mentioned in question number 3, and, if you are up for the investment, purchasing any of the courses by Mariah Coz (I took ‘Launch Your Signature Course’, and like it since it incorporates tips from both ‘Your First 1K’ and ‘Webinar Rockstar’). Creating a course is a great way to launch an online business.
#10. Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
My favorite quote is one I first heard when watching ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’:
“Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it is not yet the end”.
As cliché as it might sound, it reminds me that, although times may be tough now, be it in my life or in my business, things will turn out well in due time
👉🏽 RELATED POST: Quotes about Achieving Dreams and Goals
#11. Can we talk about money?
My main sources of income are my online courses (Traffic Transformation, Wonder Website, Brilliant Branding, Webinar Sales Funnel Template, ConvertKit Tech Training Tutorials, and Supercharge Your Productivity) and affiliate marketing (I’m an affiliate for Viraltag, ConvertKit, Visme, Wix, Leadpages, Interact Quiz Maker, Teachable, and Hostinger).
Although I didn’t save before I started (I never stopped working with my dad at his travel agency, so I still have a stream of income from that). It took me about one year from the moment I decided to start my business to have a full return on my investment.”
#12. What’s your strategy for finding clients or readers?
Facebook groups are my biggest source of traffic, and so I tend to dedicate between 30 minutes to 1 hour to them every day. Their main advantage is that you’re hanging out in places where your ideal audience is, and experiencing first hand their doubts and desires. Not only do you have a place to interact with others, but also a complete knowledge base at your disposal to know what to write or create next.
To get the most out of them, I post in the best Facebook Groups multiple times a day (around 3 times to be exact, morning, afternoon, and evening), be it to promote a freebie, talk about a blog post, to answer a question, share a social media post, or something else. I try to be as active and helpful as I can by sharing content that my ideal audience would find useful.
#13. What role does social media play for you?
Facebook and Pinterest are my two main sources of traffic, so they are essential to my business (my favorite of the two, as I talked about in the last question, is Facebook due to Facebook Groups). Although social media is crucial in today’s day and age, and growing my following on social media channels is important, they serve as a stepping stone to grow my e-mail list.
Just think about it. If Facebook changes its rules, and now you can only reach 1% of your followers, how many people do you target? What happens if Twitter shuts down? Or worse, what happens if someone hacks into your website, and deletes it altogether?
The only social platform that you have 100% control over is e-mail, and that’s why I make it a priority to consistently grow mine, be it with social media or otherwise. Don’t wait to start an email list for your online business.
#14. Do you have a special offer you’d like us to know about?
As It’s All You Boo readers, you get:
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- Up to $50 OFF Zero To Wix. This is the only online course by and for the non-techie online entrepreneur that teaches you how to create a high-converting, traffic generating, kickass website with no stress or overwhelm. Click here to claim the offer.
Quickly tell us about yourself and what you’re currently:
- Reading? I just finished ‘Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World’ by Adam Grant and am currently reading ‘Year of Yes’ by Shonda Rhimes.
- Watching? The Handmaid’s Tale and Riverdale (an unexpected choice for someone who is easily scared)
- Listening to? Podcasts upon podcasts, and Despacito, of course
- Eating? I’m a total chocoholic, though I prefer quality over quantity. Just give me some, and I’m happy.
- Obsessed with? Sephora. If I didn’t run my own business, I’d work at one of their offices.
- On your bucket list? Visit Japan. I’ve been longing to go there since I studied the country in 7th grade.
More About Guest Contributor
Marina Lotaif is the brain behind Yes To Tech and the webinatrix that’ll empower you to stand out in your online business – even if you’re not tech savvy! Think of her as your fairy godmothers of tech, where she takes you by the hand, and explains things step by step by step. You’re never stressed or overwhelmed by the tech stuff you need to run a successful online business.
Last Updated on December 11, 2021