Mariya Solodar is a Ukrainian entrepreneur, investor, author, and founder of an IT platform. For over 10 years, her projects have been making their mark online and inspiring her 2.7 million Instagram followers. Solodar has designed marketing and copywriting courses that have been attended by almost 2 million professionals. Now, Solodar has relocated to the US and is ready to share her inspiring story.
Mariya, you have an incredible story as a self-made millionaire. To what do you owe your success?
It's been a long journey. Early in my career, I worked in advertising, and performed a variety of roles at different companies. I read The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss, which opened my eyes to the new opportunities that were cropping up in the world of online business. At that time, no one thought that online businesses were possible outside the US, especially in CIS countries, but I decided to try anyway. I started developing websites and promoting YouTube videos for clients. That's how my digital marketing agency started.
What other services did your agency offer?
We started creating automated sales funnels, and as the first agency to offer this service in the Russian market, we quickly developed a reputation for being a top innovator in the space. In addition, we produced informational product launches. We worked with industry experts, celebrities, major businesses, and large-scale online educational projects.
Tell us about working with Tony Robbins and Robert Kiyosaki.
We worked with Tony Robbins’ event organizers, who were responsible for driving ticket sales and other key functions, on how to properly leverage social media and digital marketing promotions. During the height of COVID-19, Robert Kiyosaki put on a virtual event for a Russian-speaking audience. We collaborated with his PR team and conducted the live broadcast together. Those were very unique and valuable experiences.
You have been invited to speak at many major conferences. Can you tell us more about that aspect of your career?
I have often been invited to speak at events within digital marketing, social media management, and online business. It’s been an especial honor to speak at some of the largest venues and stadiums in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tallinn, Istanbul, Kyiv, Minsk, Miami, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Sometimes, the audiences would be as large as tens of thousands of people.
As a Ukrainian citizen, you were recently forced to leave your country due to the war. How did your Instagram audience react to your relocation to the US?
This is a very painful topic for me. I don’t support war in general and affirmed my position as a believer in the value of human life. As a result, over 500,000 people unfollowed me. Not only that, they hacked my personal information and leaked my phone number. There was a lot of hate speech and bullying, which continues to this day.
What kind of business were you involved in prior to moving to the US?
I have been actively developing an IT platform for remote workers with a team of over 200 employees.
What happened to your business and assets in Russia and Ukraine?
At the beginning of the spring, we stopped sales in Russia. I also own real estate in Russia and due a new Russian law, I am prevented from selling my property. In addition, I am also unable to sell my property in Ukraine because of the war.
Tell us about your experience getting settled in the US?
First, I had to figure out how to earn money in the US. My friend owns a children's party agency with branches in different countries. She suggested I open a new branch in the US and we became partners. I am responsible for every aspect of the branch, including the product, management, operations, marketing, and even the live events themselves, which require ironing costumes and working in a warehouse. It has required a lot of hard manual labor, which actually caused some back problems.
You started over in a new country with no money and far from loved ones. How did you manage not to give up and to even start a new business?
I thought to myself, what can I do for my country and for this world? If you want to help others, the first step is to help yourself. At the time, I didn't know how to run the new business but I had to figure it out. I ended up having to sell my personal belongings, like my designer bags and jewelry, in order to fund both the new branch of the children’s event business and the launch of my IT platform in the US market.
How did you decide to organize a charitable fund to help Ukrainians?
Since the beginning of the war, I have volunteered to help refugees in various ways. I coordinated people and even developed a Telegram chatbot to speed up the process. I also had a lot of Instagram followers reach out to me; some who needed help and others who wanted information on how they could be of service. Even though I have now relocated to the US, I decided to create a charitable foundation called Peace of Mine, dedicated to organizing and connecting people who are providing humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians. The foundation has various programs, from medical and housing support to educational programs. The Peace of Mine Foundation was the first to accept donations in cryptocurrency and is dedicated to the idea that people from all over the planet can come together to support those in need.
What projects are you working on now?
I have two current projects. The first is the agency for children's parties, based in Los Angeles. We do "turnkey" parties for kids ages 1 to 15. We have many famous clients, including actors, entrepreneurs, and politicians. Many are under NDA and thus we can’t talk about them publicly, but I can share a few, including blogger Like Nastya and model Irina Shayk.
The second business is a platform for remote employees, which offers job training and job searches. I also continue to blog and am currently creating an Instagram marketing course in English.
What are your plans for next year?
I plan to grow the children’s party agency and add new languages to the IT platform for remote workers, including English and Spanish. We are also planning a product launch, which will involve collaborations with US-based bloggers, celebrities, and authors. We are also building a new course on Instagram strategy, where we teach students how to properly use the platform to achieve their branding and sales goals. I am especially excited to cover certain promotional techniques that are rarely used in the US, in fact, I am currently writing a book about that specific topic. Overall, we’re continuing our work, just at the global level. We’re very excited about what 2023 holds.