Welcome to a new post in my lovely series called “Coffee Chat.” This series is focused on inspirational women who love their jobs and want to inspire other women to find their passions and transform their lives. Today’s coffee chat features Mariya Bentz, who created MBM Digital Marketing and Design, an affordable freelance that produces amazing results. This babe isn’t just an expert in digital marketing strategies, she is also the creative mind behind website, video and graphic design. Keep reading to hear the in’s and out’s of this FIDM graduate’s life!

1. Where do you live and what is one random fact about you to break the ice with our readers?

Currently, I reside in Orange County, CA. But I am actually about to make a big move to the ATL at the end of the year! We are expanding our business to the “New Hollywood.” One random fact is that I was born in the Ukraine!

2. What is the first thing you like to do before you start your day?

I love to make myself a warm cup of coffee, which consists of organic beans from Peru and I mix in my homemade coffee creamer (coconut milk, agave nectar, vanilla beans, and vanilla extract). Then I read up on The Skimm newsletter, and check my emails to get my “head in the game.”

3. What inspired you to go choose your career path as a entrepreneur? Is there a childhood memory that made you decide?

To be honest, growing up I knew that I would eventually own my own business – that has always been in me. I always loved writing and grew up with social media so I feel like it was inevitable.

I remember when I was in elementary school, my friends got into emailing and I would create random “newsletters” that I would send to all of my girlfriends – they were pretty much like mini-blog posts.

In middle school, I ran my own Myspace Layout Account (remember those haha). I taught myself how to create HTML layouts, and basic HTML codes. I grew that account to a couple thousand followers. The thrill of seeing it grow and being able to help people was amazing. I would sometimes wake up at 5AM before school to check out my stats. I was such a nerd when it came to that stuff!

Fast forward to college…  I got a Visual Communications degree from FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) in Los Angeles and that’s where I truly learned the basics of entrepreneurship. I excelled at creating portfolios, creating proposals, how to approach clients, etc. I gained my “entrepreneur confidence” there!

4. What was your very first step to get you where you are today as an entrepreneur?

Before I officially launched my company, I spent about a year prior setting everything in place: my services and packages, various contract samples, proposal layouts, my pricing, my workflows, my growth strategy, negotiating tactics, etc. This helped everything flow smoothly and allowed me to stress less!

5. What was your big challenge you had to overcome to help you move forward with growing your business with new clients/customers?

A big challenge for me is being confident in what I do at my age. I’m fairly young (24), and most of my clients are older than me. It’s been interesting to be the one who is teaching them new systems of todays world! But through persistence, I’ve learned that I am a professional and bring results to my clients.

6. What are three habits you would recommend to someone pursuing their dream career as an entrepreneur?

  1. Learn to Research: The marketing industry is constantly changing. You are going to have to learn to keep up with trends and new ideas: listen to podcasts, read books and blogs, watch Youtube videos, and test different strategies yourself.
  2. Create a Game Plan: Before truly going for it, make sure that you set your basics into place. Don’t learn as you go. Be intentional. Create a business plan, create workflows, create a marketing strategy for yourself to follow before you “launch.” This will not only save you many headaches but you will feel much better when there is a path for you to follow.
  3. Be Helpful to Everyone You Meet: You never know who your next client will be. Before I decided to start my company, I gave out tons of marketing advice to friends and business owners I would meet. This opened doors to either those same friends signing up to be a client, or gave referrals to people they knew who needed marketing. I did a lot of free work, but it was worth it.

7. How would you describe your support network? Who is in it?

Sounds corny, but my number one support system is my husband. He knew that I wanted to dive into working for myself as a marketer, but knew I was hesitant. He really pushed me to pursue my dreams. The year before I launched my business- he gifted me a few books on marketing/consulting/starting businesses- as a hint that I should get things going haha. To this day, whenever I am feeling stressed about a project, or nervous about a meeting, he is my number one go-too. He knows how to build up my confidence and help me get ready to kick some butt! Not to mention he has opened four restaurants and has his MBA, so his insight is very helpful.

8. What’s one skill you are currently working on to be an effective leader?

Delegation. Since I’m expanding my business to ATL, learning to delegate certain tasks, while  monitoring the content created, has been fun for me to expand my skillset as a business owner.

9. To balance out your work life, what’s your fitness and health regime?

Keeping up with a fitness/health routine while owning my own business + being a mom of a toddler can be challenging! But I try to make the best use of my time. Whether that be taking a mile walk/run to the park with my son in his stroller, working out at home with him nearby, or doing a workout after he goes to bed. There’s never a dull moment around here!

10. What is one book that helped you on your career journey that you would recommend?

I am currently reading the The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss and I am loving it! I recommend it to freelancers and entrepreneurs. This book really has me thinking about the best way that I can streamline certain processes to make the best use of my time in order to be able to focus on the things that matter (in business and in life).

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