Olga Yurkovskaya is a talented marketing specialist, a unique business coach, an author of several bestsellers, a mother of three, an avid proponent of homeschooling, as well as a justice fighter and the top-notch author of Psychology of Effective Life. She is the bestest: the most popular, the most notable, the most discussed in social media, while also being the favorite of thousands of grateful readers who send in enthusiastic reviews. We have decided that the anniversary issue of our magazine simply cannot do without an interview with Olga. Let’s try to figure out what she is like.
The Way Up or Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Olga Yurkovskaya
She started playing chess when she was nine and thanks to her chess achievements grew up to be a proponent of homeschooling.
She started making money when she was 14 by selling deficit goods bought in the Baltic republics and, thanks to the fees paid out for sports, she learned to manage money.
She’s been interested in psychology since she was 15 and has made money in it since she was 16.
Her business in Moscow allowed her to buy a three-bedroom apartment and a car in Minsk when she was 19.
She established and headed the Helping Hand – an all-Republican Public Organization in Minsk, supported by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
She was socially active and published a book Arrested: What Can You Do? with support from the American Attorney Association.
She married and had three children: Katya, Nastya and Kostya.
At 34 she attended the Coaching and Leadership Program and took a degree from the Higher School of Psychology in Moscow.
From 2002 to 2014 she has attended over 200 live seminars and training courses.
She published the book Reasonable Marketing in 2013 and Present-day Marketing Techniques in 2015. In 2017 she published the book Education for Life based on her course on homeschooling.
In 2015 she emigrated from Belarus to the UAE. Both parents have custody of the children who now live in two countries (Katya lives in three).
She has several degrees: in Economics and Psychology, as well as an MBA. She took a degree in Psychology in order to bring up her children better.
She does not do anything instead of her children. That is why they fly around the world on their own. Katya is attending a high school in New England and plans to apply to the Los Angeles Film School, while Nastya has been selling her paintings since she was 10.
She is happy.
“Olga, what inspires you to move forward?”
“My children! If you go in reverse, I am quite scared of how most adults feel about their parents. For me personally, the strongest motivation is to avoid a situation when grown-up children feel that talking to their parents is a burden, when they say that their parents are boring. I want to live so that I am not bored by me and so that my children are not bored by me. In order to do that I have to grow up as much as possible, so that my new level would become the stepping stone my children can use to go up and forward.
“I am just like my mother”
“What did you take into your motherhood from your family and what did you reject, saying, “No, I will not do that?”
“There is a key phrase for women, “I am just like my mother.” As soon as a woman admits it, she has no more problems in her relationship with her mother or feelings of guilt about her children.
“How did this formula come about?”
“This is a phrase from Irina Venschikova’s training; she is a famous St. Petersburg psychologist. A few years ago I attended her training on techniques for solving problems with parents. It was a professional course for practicing psychologists. I really liked that when the attendees admitted the obvious fact that they consisted half of their moms and half of their dads (you can’t deny that, even biologically!), they became much kinder to themselves and to their parents. I really liked how that phrase worked and I took it into my life.
“Tell us about your mom.”
“My mother is an uneducated woman who has worked in the same factory all her life. She’s done her maternal duty as best she could. It didn’t turn out too bad, if you go by the results of my brother and myself.
“You have surpassed your mom’s social circle. Is it your children’s turn now?”
“A mother’s goal is to raise a grown-up who is very well adapted to our ever-changing present-day world. My mother has achieved this goal excellently and if my children can do a similar leap forward, it will mean that I have done my maternal duty well.”
“How did it happen that your mother had no education, while your motto in life is to ‘Study all your life and never stop’?”
“I was lucky in that back in the Soviet times I landed with, so to say, homeschooling. I started playing chess when I was nine; I won tournaments and in 6th grade they accepted me into a sports school with Belarus Olympics players. Thanks to that, even though officially, I went to school, in real life, it was just like homeschooling: there were camps, tournaments, an abbreviated program, no homework, a minimum of requirements from the teachers – that is why I grew up to be a proponent of homeschooling and a person who was not put off the learning process.
“To keep learning is interesting that is why I study so much in my adult life; I like it; I enjoy it. It is not a motto ‘To study all life long’, not at all. If I have to figure out a life problem quickly or solve a business situation, I have to work it out. I study not for the sake of the process of studying, but for the sake of solving specific problems. I am not interested in studying for the sake of studying.”
“The age you are now – what’s good about it? What are its advantages as compared to being twenty or thirty?”
“When I was in my early twenties, I couldn’t wait to be thirty (better yet – fifty!), so that people would start taking me seriously. At that time the same type of situation kept happening to me: I would tell someone something that was obvious to me and the person would disagree with me and would argue. We would go together to an expert – a teacher or a mentor who would repeat what I said. They would applaud the mentor and I would be indignant, ‘I just said the same thing word for word!’ They would give me an uncomfortable chuckle, ‘You didn’t say it right!’
“Yet, I realized that it was a status issue. A person over fifty is perceived as wise, but at 25 I was perceived as a young fool. Even now, I experience devaluation and empty arguments. The less successful a person is, the less they deserve respect in real life, the more aggressively they argue and attack. But I am glad that now, at 43, people take me more seriously. At 55, 60 or 70 they’ll finally consider me an expert.”
“How do you lead a young life at 43 – always in a hurry, always driving or flying?”
“I don’t like to travel: flying, driving, hotels stress me out. Naturally, I travel business class and stay at expensive hotels or excellent suites, but if it were up to me, I would not drive, go or fly. I don’t like tours and never go on them. But I have to.”
“I got it. Your choice is to have premium class services. But how do you take care of your health while you do all that?”
“I do not specifically take care of my health. I’m a little afraid of doctors, so I don’t see them, just in case. My experience shows that only people who haven’t been examined enough go there. I simply get enough sleep, get regular massages and try not to worry and relax. I live in the UAE, within walking distance of the sea summer and winter. If you think in terms of the climate, I’m on vacation year round.”
“Speaking of the Emirates, tell us about the way here.”
“I was going to leave Belarus back when I was 25. I had practically all my documents ready. But I fell in love and stayed to give birth to the children. I am sorry that I did not leave much earlier. In the time that I stayed in Belarus, practically all my friends left. My Facebook page has changed the “Living at” part from Minsk to other cities and countries. Some married, some won a green card and others left using an emigration program. For my circle of friends – emigration is a common, deliberate choice. Many of those who work online can live traveling, going from one country to another.”
“It’s one thing when your friends leave; it’s a very different story when you leave your motherland…”
“For 15 years there have been mass arrests and persecution of businessmen. PayPal and Yandex.Money are not allowed in Belarus and any payment from abroad requires numerous reports. I realized that I could not safely conduct an online business in Belarus. Even if you use foreign payment systems, there is no guarantee whatsoever that in a few years militiamen will not come to you to tell you that you have violated one law or another. I decided to emigrate from Belarus; the rest was just technical details.”
“What do you like about living in the Emirates?”
“There are two basic, key and most proper states for a healthy person that comes here. First, it is the state of gratefulness to the Universe and the Creator for your present – the admission that right now everything is fine with you, you are alive, the children are healthy, you have a place to live and enough to eat; everything is alright. Secondly, it’s the state of trust in the future: that everything that happens, will happen the best way for the best of your possible futures, that everything will be even better than it is right now. When I came here for the first time and walked down the gangway from the plane, I felt that the wish to control everything and to force the world to accept my terms was leaving me. I could finally relax and live through gratefulness and trust. It’s the impact the country has on you: you cannot manage to worry or be upset here. That’s why I stayed to live here.”
“The UAE is famous for its women being privileged. How do you like it?”
“I like the Emirate culture, that women are treated with care and reverence, that national customs have merged with the wish to do as much as possible for women. I am not a feminist. I believe that a woman should have privileges, like she does in the UAE or even more. If a woman has a lot of children, her health cannot be compared to a person who’s never given birth. In the UAE there are parking spaces for women at the entrance to any state agency or supermarket, there are more comfortable seats in any waiting room or bus, there are subway cars for women and women’s tellers where there are no lines.
“I believe that an object of any government or business in any country is to organize their activities in such a way that women would be in a more comfortable position, so that they can sit instead of standing, so they can be served first. Such care and respect for women is a worthy example. I don’t know why feminists believe that care and privilege are a violation of mythical feminine rights, if it is, on the contrary, an increase in their rights.”
“Olga, your website says, “I have over 9 thousand grateful lady-clients.” Are men not quite as eager to attend seminars or do you specifically position them as feminine?”
“When you talk about psychology, about confidence, money or marketing, there is no feminine or masculine. In addition, I myself have a harsh ‘masculine’ temperament. Most of my lady-clients will easily surpass 90% of men in strength of mind. This is a very different issue: it so happens that on Runet (the Russian-speaking section of the Internet) most of those who study, around 80% of them, are women.”
The difference between men and women
“Are men more likely to study with men?”
“Many men feel that it is disgraceful and humiliating to study at all. They often say that going to any training means to present yourself as a sucker, to swallow the bait in advance. They feel more comfortable working for peanuts and having a chip on their shoulder, earning no respect from others and continuing not to develop their professional skills. Learning from a woman for such a man means simply discrediting himself! So if men go to study at all, they go to a man.”
“Do men study with you?”
“Out of desperation?”
“Yes. When they realize that they cannot find a male coach who’s my equal, they come to study with me.”
“Is it different for women?”
“Of course! A woman says, ‘If training can speed up my results tenfold, I’ll pay for training. I’ll pay even if I don’t need any specific result, but I want to spend some time in good company, doing something interesting that will be of use to me in the future. It’s better than watching movies, gossiping, doing something socially accepted or just stuff’.”
“Tell us more about ‘just stuff’!”
“Do you remember how much stink there was in social media about someone paying to attend a Tony Robbins seminar? Those same people were in raptures over those who attended the soccer World Cup, even though air tickets, hotels and game tickets had cost much more than the seminar. So it seems that attending a game for most people is socially acceptable, while attending a learning seminar of a respected business coach means ‘being a sucker and taking the bait’.”
How to become a billionaire
“What would you say to a man who says, ‘I want to become a billionaire, but I can’t decide what to spend my first billion on and so, I can’t make it.’?”
“There are no fair winds for those who do not sail. If a person has an illusion that he will become a billionaire and then he’ll finally be respected, he’ll never make the money. Today he is egocentric and infantile and there is nothing to respect him for.”
“Do you mean to say that real billionaires had no wish to earn billions?”
“That’s right! They were successful in what they were interested in, in what sparked them, and they were lucky at it. Remember the simplest thing – Facebook. It wasn’t created for the sake of a billion dollars! You can track this model in any business or company that has shot upwards: when ideas, passion and usefulness to society were combined.”
“Is there any advice on how you can instill a rich man’s thinking in your heart?”
“The problem is in limitations in your head. My Big Money Course takes over half a year of work. It is dedicated to getting rid of those limitations and teaching your brain to allow much larger money flows through it. After taking my course, people’s minds work differently: income grows several times while the amount of work goes down and is substituted by fun. People relax more and stop wasting time on ungrateful surroundings; they refuse toxic clients and unpleasant work. They start having fun and enjoying their changed working atmosphere; they become more productive and produce more results and they have more energy. It’s a comprehensive approach related to teaching the mind to get what it wants properly and to enjoy it, how to order the flow of money for an enterprise and how to organize that enterprise.
“I often hear, ‘I make decent money, but I’m ashamed to show it to the world. I can’t post any photos of my new car on social media, because the car is three times more expensive than someone’s home.’
“You don’t have to post photos! Most millionaires keep a low profile. Take the Zukerberg family photos – they are leaving McDonalds wearing flip-flops. If you look at Bill Gates’ family photos, you’d never be able to tell that people have a decent income. Think of Keanu Reeves, Leonardo DiCaprio, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet or Ingvar Kamprad. Can you tell anything about how millionaires live when you look at them? Not at all!”
A leap into eternity
“Tell me about a large-scale long-term goal that you are working on.”
“After 40 your goals should be internal. Before you turn 40 it is a good thing to build a career or have a business, start a family, raise children… After 40 you have usually reached your key social goals and ideas on ‘how to earn yet another million’ become routine…”
By the way!
Olga Yurkovskaya has been conducting online training since she was 39. In the 12 months of this year, her business turnover has exceeded 1 million dollars.
“I got it: millions become routine. What’s not routine?”
“Your health lets you know that you should not look at the external world: your sight and hearing deteriorate, you lose interest in empty small talk. Your goals change: it is time to look at what the Chinese beautifully call ‘impending leap into eternity’. Growth of personal strength, the ability to influence yourself or the processes around you through your internal state becomes significantly more interesting. Things related to self-regulation or to acquiring rare abilities become interesting…”
“What kind of rare abilities are we talking about?”
“If you take Buddhism, there is the so-called ‘siddhi’ when a person who has reached a high level of self-development, self-fulfillment has super powers. So such a person can not only read someone’s mind, they can see all their past. By nurturing sensitivity and concentration, they can do something that present-day society considers a miracle. On the other hand, if you consider these actions not just as a miracle, these abilities can be quite applicable.”
“Can you give an example?”
“A few years ago I conducted a series of webinars in the Q&A format and it was very amusing to see how different people, who asked similar questions on the webinar chat, received diametrically opposite answers. The most frequent reaction to that was, ‘How do you know that about me?’.”
“Or a client would ask a question and I would formulate an answer that she already has in her heart. (That said, the client herself, knowing the answer, can neither say it out loud nor accept it because it conflicts with social standards and the preset framework.) However, if I say it, it has a very different weight and significance.
“It is much more interesting to nurture that type of super powers than the basic routine things that I have already done once and now simply have to replicate.”
On pirates and obstructive pricing
“Is $750 for a one-hour consultation a popular service?”
“$750 is an obstructive price for a practical consultation. On the one hand, when you are ready to pay so much money for an answer, you already have the answer and know that all you have to do is put it in place. On the other hand, I don’t want to consult. I am not very interested in explaining obvious things and basics to someone individually, it is better to spend that hour writing a good article that thousands of people could use.
“That is why I am building a business system to sell video recordings of seminars and courses that sell at prices lower than those of fledging specialists. I record the course once and it has all the answers, or rather the techniques for accessing your own solutions. That is the key goal of a teacher, to pass on the system of skills that ensure that the student no longer needs a shoulder to lean on, so that after graduating from a class a person does not need to run to the teacher for help again and again, but can do everything on their own.”
“Sounds like a driving school: you don’t want to drive with an instructor for the rest of your life!”
“Exactly! When you finish, you don’t need an instructor, you just drive wherever you need to. The same should go for any courses! When I see psychologists get clients hooked on coming to them for years, I understand that it’s fraud: there are models, techniques and systems where the client can learn self-regulation and does not need to pay the shrink every week.”
“Owners of info businesses run a serious risk of losing their profits to pirates. Do you fight them?”
“Yes. A few years ago I worked out all the real information on co-owners of the largest pirate website on Runet. One of them is now doing time in Belarus; the other has criminal charges against him in Moscow. After a polite letter was sent by one of my employees, my topics were deleted from most pirate websites. Where there was no action response to the letters, we contacted the hosts and they ‘killed’ those websites for violation of copyright. We have filed criminal charges against the only brass-necked owner of a pirate website. He can expect a criminal record, confiscation of property and payments to be made for many years. The other pirates prefer to put out products of those authors who do not protect their rights and do not fight theft. Putting up with crime is not my cup of tea, however.”
A fishing rod or a marketing stunt?
“You are generous – when people visit your website they get a fishing rod in their hands right away: there is so much free content! Doesn’t this take away your clients who come to pay for your product, but see that they can get almost the same thing for free and change their minds?”
“Free products attract clients to my website – that’s the goal. I count on the fact that people who come to me are intelligent. If a smart person starts doing work in the free section and sees results, they realize that with paid content those results will be several times better. So they choose a more efficient way. People who are not capable of doing their work with free materials and are not ready to pay for being taught don’t come to me anyway.”
“Have you ever had difficulties in your life when you said ‘I’ve hit rock bottom and am going up now’?”
“There never was a bottom. I was born in a typical Soviet family. I got lucky with chess – they helped me a lot to grow up into the person I am today. When the Soviet Union fell apart I really wanted money, a car, my own apartment. I started a teenage business of the profiteering kind. I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of looking for a rich husband. My thoughts were, ‘What’s the point of depending on the good will of one person who can exchange you for two 20-year-olds when you turn 40, if I can invest that time, energy and effort into my own influence in society and get what I need?’ When I was 19, after I’ve been in business for a year and a half in Moscow I bought a three-bedroom apartment in Minsk, as well as a car.”
“I can’t believe it! An apartment in Minsk is expensive!”
“It’s expensive now, back then it had cost $11,200. I paid for a cooperative housing project with a government construction company at the end of 19994 and in 1996 the apartment was rented. I immediately lost interest in primitive business. When I got my degree in Economics I went to law school. I realized when I was in business that you really need legal knowledge, but consulting attorneys was very difficult: they would open the same codes that I would and would give shallow trivial advice. So it made more sense and was easier to just learn to be an attorney.”
“So you learned it and…”
“And I got involved in social work. I thought I’d save the world and improve the human race. I met an attorney from OSCE who suggested that I work on human rights, on the conditions of those incarcerated and freed in Belarus: the OSCE had a budget for encouraging this type of public work.
“I and my friends founded the Helping Hand all-Republican Public Organization, which I headed, becoming its chairwoman. In the course of this work I met lots of people from OSCE and foreign embassies in Belarus and was very involved in social work. As part of this work, the American Attorney Association paid for publication of a 10-thousand-copies edition of my book on human rights Arrested: What can you do? Many people later on wrote their thanks to me because the book helped to minimize their difficulties.”
“But it hasn’t become your life work…”
“No, it hasn’t. When I saw what types of projects the West was willing to finance and which type they were not interested in and how the foreign diplomats perceived our organization, I suddenly realized that all these social projects were simply tools for Western influence and were very politicized. I was disappointed and decided to look for happiness in family life. I met my first husband when I was 25 and when I got pregnant I handed over my work to a colleague and poured myself into my family. I was excited about giving birth to my children and I studied psychology.”
“How did you get interested in psychology?”
“If you start from way back, I started earning money in psychology when I was 16! I was going to school and when I became interested in psychology I read all the books on it that there were in the library. Then I studied at the Department of Psychology at the university and ended up at a student club. When they were selecting students to research schoolkids, I was also selected. I worked using someone else’s ID and my salary was twice as much as what my mother made at her factory. The research was paid for by the school board; then I processed results doing the work of a psychologist who processes questionnaires. I liked it – both what I did and the feeling of importance: even teachers from other schools called me Miss Olga.”
“But later on, you steered away from psychology, is that right?”
“That’s right, business and social activities were more interesting. But I came back to it when I was 28. I gave birth to Katya when I was 27 and to Nastya when I was 29. At that time I was finishing up at law school and before graduating I went to study psychology. I wanted to raise and understand my children better. Then I went to Moscow to study in the Coaching and Leadership Program and got a diploma from the Higher School of Psychology.
“It didn’t just stop with Katya, Nastya and psychology, did it?”
“That’s right; everything’s tied together for me. I gave birth to Kostya when I was 31. Then I graduated from an MBA Program in Minsk and got an MBA diploma and studied in Moscow at the Management Consulting School. By 2014 I’ve attended over 200 live seminars and trainings. While I was on maternity leave with the children I wrote articles on marketing, psychology and homeschooling. In 2013 my book Reasonable Marketing was published. The next book Present-day Marketing Techniques came out in 2015. In 2013 I conducted several webinars on homeschooling at the request of my friends. I wrote the book Education for Life that was published in 2017 based on the materials of that training.”
“To go back to our question: has there ever been despair on the way? Rock bottom, from which you wanted to push back?”
“There’s never been despair. There was a quest: if you can’t do it this way, let’s try that way. What if this comes off!”
A black cat crossing the road
“Do you have a talisman or something that brings you luck?”
“Black cats! Even before I met my first husband I had a black cat. She was amazingly intelligent and was very like me in her habits and temperament. When we went somewhere, she would climb in my lap, put both paws on the steering wheel, and ‘drive’ the car, imitating me. She liked to drive so much that I never had to use a carrier. At home I went around with her on my neck, like a collar. If a friend came to have some sunflower seeds with me, she’d climb on a stool, we poured the seeds for her and she would nibble them and leave the husks. She was sure that she’s a girl just like the rest of us.
“When my husband and I moved in together there was this story: we moved to the country and he complained that we spend the money on cat food, but the cat was useless. Then she started bringing him dead mice every morning. On the fourth mouse he announced out loud to the cat that now he’ll buy her food himself, that he was sorry and that she was not useless. There was this other thing, when he would lie down on the coach to watch TV and his arm would hang off the coach, the cat used to walk right along under his hand, so he could pet the full length of her without moving.
“When we moved to the country this cat of ours would have a litter of three to five kittens every four months. We put up signs “Free Mid-European, short-fur kittens” and the kittens would be gone in an hour. Gradually, there came to be a club of fans of our cat’s progeny – they would meet and show each other pictures of their kittens. This cat lived with us for 12 happy years and then disappeared.”
Elevator to floor 100
“You are divorced, but you are on excellent terms with your ex-husband and you teach about relationships. None of that seems to fit to me!”
“I don’t believe that in the present-day world a marriage must be forever. In ages past, yes, a good marriage was extremely important. For peasants it meant the survival of the family, for the aristocracy it was a guarantee of social position. Outside of marriage people were either outcasts from society or even could not physically survive.”
“It’s not like that at all nowadays?”
“Right now, you need a family not to survive and not to manage the raising of children. The only reason that you should keep a relationship is the fact that you are happier with it than without it. Imagine that you are in an elevator going from the first floor to floor 100. You don’t really expect to travel through all 100 floors with the same people? Some people come in, some go out, some are with you for five floors, some – for 20; someone hopped in went past a floor with you and hopped out. The same way, nowadays people don’t expect a marriage to last through all 100 floors. They simply want to live together through that part of the way where they are happy, without playing the role of a servant, a victim, or someone else. And they want to know what kind of skills they need for that.”
“Can you teach that?”
“Yes! There is a set of skills and knowledge for that. For example, there is a skill of building partnership-type relationships with people so that no one manipulates the other or sponges on them. I know how to do it and I can teach it. There is the skill of meeting people, of flirting, of making sure that men enjoy your company and feel comfortable, so that after being with you they feel full of energy and inspiration. Then, in exchange for this changed state of being they do something so that a woman would be interested in continuing to be with them. I can do that. It really is a skill, not quite like driving, of course, it’s related to sensitivity and good energy, but still, it’s a skill.
“It is precisely out of the sum-total of such skills that a woman is born with whom it really is good to be. She doesn’t get under your skin – she doesn’t need to. She is freestanding and she gratefully accepts the care the man offers her, but she can very well take care of herself and her children and the entire family, if need be. She is a reliable partner and the kind with whom a man is happier than without. I do not teach family prostitution or attempts to get married, so that the man would solve all your problems. I am absolutely against such infantile and egocentric approach to people.
“I teach women to be happy, efficient, confident, successful, socially accomplished, powerful and respected.”
1 + 1 = 20
“So, does love actually exist? Or is love just a moment of madness due to hormonal variations?”
“I believe it exists.”
“Does love only work for children, or can it happen between a man and a woman too?”
“Love is your internal state, your internal emotion that you can direct on someone as a ray, or shine in all directions like the sun. In other words, love is something you live through on your own. Another question is what happens next? It happens that the rays coincide, for a few years for some people, for several decades for others. However, if right now an answering ray is not shining on you, it does not mean that it deprives you of love for the world, for people, for the entire human race or for certain of its members. True enough, the intensity and power in pairing relationships will be much higher because those states multiply, because 1+1 equals not 2, but 20. But you have to be quite lucky for that to happen.”
In two countries
“What has changed in your life when you got a divorce?”
“My husband and I parted because the two of us were worse off with each other than without: we were constantly unhappy with each other, we annoyed each other; all this deteriorated our quality of life. Now we have agreed on joint custody for our children. My ex-husband moved into the house where we lived with the children and the children live part of the time with him and part of the time with me. We have the European-style joint custody.”
“You children live in two houses and in two countries. Is it hard to let them go away?”
“The thing is that my children are no longer children. Katya, who is nearly 16 now, in many cases is more grown-up than most 20 and 30-year-olds. Both Katya and Nastya have been flying with change-overs to any country with no attendants since they’ve been 12 and they fly more often than use public transportation. They feel just fine in any airport and absolutely refuse to have paid attendants. They tell me about how sorry they feel for kids whose parents paid for attendants: they can’t go anywhere, not to a duty free store, not just for a walk, not to see the airport; all they can do is sit there and be supervised!
“The same goes for everything else like choosing schools or clubs, for example: the children get the information on their own, talk to the teachers on their own, and make a choice using their own criteria, so they study where they want, for the reasons they want and how they want to. I cannot manage to worry about people who are not infantile at all. They know how to do everything – from ordering a taxi or food, buying clothes, shoes and appliances all the way to completely organizing a trip abroad, submitting an online application for a visa and scheduling an interview at an embassy and they deal with it more responsibly than I do. The only thing that the children depend on me for is money. I transfer money to their accounts.”
Money draws money
“Share the mechanics! Do you ask them for reports? Do the children spend it on something they shouldn’t? Do they exceed the limit?”
“I asked for reports strictly when the children were 4-6 years old. Thanks to a system of accounting balances, in just a couple of years they had a model of reasonable money management in their heads and an understanding of financial flows and spending. Right now, it makes no sense to limit or control them – there isn’t a single expense that I would not approve. In all the years they’ve been given money (and that’s over 10 years for Katya now!) they have earned my complete trust because there’s never been any stupid waste. On the contrary, there’s a certain austerity.”
“Not limit the kids financially – that’s serious!”
“You have to take into account that compared to the volume of my business and marketing and salary expenses, anything I spend on my children is such a minimal part of it there is no sense whatsoever in worrying about it. If I pay over 30 thousand every month for the business to function, $1,000 is not going to be a problem at all.
“The fact that your children are not infantile, is that thanks to homeschooling?”
“It’s more the result of the fact that I don’t do anything extra. I stop doing what the children are capable of doing on their own. As soon as a child is capable of making food for themselves or ordering it, I will stop cooking. If a teenager can call a taxi, I will not give them a ride. If the parents never do for their children what the child can do on their own, you suddenly find that a 12-year-old is a fully capable member of society. And that’s how it’s always been! In the last century peasant kids took the cows out at six.
So I don’t quite get why it used to be a standard that six-year-olds have the cows grazing without adult attendance, and nowadays an eight-year-old ‘cannot make it home from school’. At the same time, it used to be that a 10-year old was a full-scale worker in a peasant family. Always, at any age, 16-year-olds got married. If you remember the aristocracy, they became top managers with hundreds of people working for them. Take young captains for example, many of them led a regiment at 16! Our wish to infantilize our children is not based on any need or reality!”
“What are your children’s goals?”
“Katya wants to become a movie director; she is looking to study at the Los Angeles Film School. Nastya is now into web design so she stopped painting. I am sorry about it! She is a professional artist, she’s been selling her works since she was 10; they are very high-energy, beautiful and powerful pictures. Now she is learning 3D programming; she wants to do animated models and sees her future in it. Kostya wants to be a captain of industry. Judging by how successful he is at manipulating others, he’ll be good at it!”
Search for pearls, absence of the Nobel Prize and a nap before dinner
“Which of your victories are you especially proud of?”
“I don’t think I have some kind of super-achievements. Compared to my parents, of course, I’ve stepped up on a social ladder. But my real position on this ladder is that of a regular person. I am not a Nobel Prize winner, not a president of a country, not a famous scientist or world-known artist.”
“You certainly have a talent for explaining complicated things in simple words. Where does that come from?”
“If you don’t answer three children’s questions quickly and simply, they’ll blow your mind with another hundred questions. I had no choice, so I learned! I intend all my courses to be understood by my children: they ask to give them access to a dashboard, include them in the mailings, they listen to my webinars. If there is something in the webinar they don’t understand, they’ll ask me about it later personally. So, once again, I’ve no choice – I want to save the time!”
“Where did you get your self-organization and such clear time management skills?”
“I don’t have self-organization skills. I work just like any irrational person does – I can do nothing for many weeks, then I feel inspired and in a few days I can produce as much as a normal person won’t get done in half a year. The fact that my business is running is a delegation skill. There were a lot of mistakes made in choosing employees and contractors; I wasted a lot of time and quite a bit of money before finding the pearls. My key rule is not to plan more than one thing a day and if I schedule it, it’s got to be after five in the afternoon, so I can have an unhurried evening the night before and sleep in if I want to. If I try to schedule the entire day and stuff it with unstuffables, I will certainly not like it; all it’ll do is make me grumpy.”
“Is it hard to live in a glass house, where everything’s visible, like you do? To talk about everything, to name specific income amounts?”
“No. I have nothing to hide. I don’t live in Russia, but in a country where taxes are 0%, where there are no personal taxes at all and where companies in free zones are not taxed either. The higher my volume, the more respected I am as a person; it carries no risks either with law enforcement agencies, or with tax agencies, or with racketeers. If I lived in Russia, I would not name the amounts so as not to attract attention. Here, ostentatious wealth is a way to have more respect and influence. In UAE, where you can buy at an auction vehicle tires inlaid with diamonds for 600 thousand dollars, I am poor. When I start thinking that I make a decent amount of money, I simply go for a walk in the Dubai Mall. I stop by a boutique, look at a blouse for $2,000 or a regular T-shirt for $500 and realize that there’s plenty of room to grow for me. I read the news, see who buys what at an auction and smile – my annual volume is not enough to buy the least of the twenty horses that one of the sheikhs bought yesterday.”
One-million dollar start up
“Still, your annual volume is 1 million dollars. It would do well to learn from you!”
“It’s a matter of whom you compare yourself to. It’s like if a programmer would say that he makes $70,000 a year and a provincial car mechanic would start yelling that it can’t be true and he’s lying. IT specialists would simply shrug their shoulders and say that for a junior employee that’s fine, but if you’re a team lead you should get another job with a normal pay rate. In the world where I live, annual volume of a million dollars is the level of a new startup. My business is not a startup any longer, so it’s time to move forward.”
Catch the air currents
“What’s unique about you?”
“On the one hand, it’s the ability to take the most complicated and convoluted material and to say it so that an eight-year-old would understand. I don’t think it’s something super unique, but when I read books or listen to my colleagues’ lectures that you really have a hard time understanding, I realize that most of the people who teach don’t know anything about andragogy – the science of teaching adults.
“Another of my unique features is that before I started doing business online, I spent 15 years as a business coach and taught groups in the NLP training tradition. I got used to the fact that you have to work in such a way that people would get their own changes in the form of new skills integrated into them. There are hardly any online coaches who know how to do that. At the same time, there are quite a few business coaches who work live with that effect. But they don’t know how to earn money on webinars and continue to go on tours for relatively small fees.
“I also have another unique feature that’s a little hard to express, so as not to be perceived as mentally ill. Any decent witch, any professional who’s been in the business for 20-30 years and can express its point has this thing.”
“That sounds interesting!”
“I have direct access to a person’s information field: I reply to people’s requests as if I’ve known them forever and know the most intimate things about them. When I reply, it is not my response, but a response that goes to the person through me.
“For example, a woman comes for a consultation and starts telling me a problem that she’s been taking to psychologists for a year. My patience lasts for about five minutes and then I give her a summary: the problem is such-and-such, you should do this-and-that; you should not even undertake this problem, it’s not your problem. So the person has a revelation, an insight. In the next 20 minutes, the woman tells me about another problem and it’s solved the same way. So it turns out that in an hour of consulting, not only are all the problems solved, but we still have 15 minutes left just to chat. And the client leaves with an action plan for those problems that she couldn’t work out for years.
“My uniqueness in working with groups is that a webinar on a certain subject might turn out to be a webinar on a dozen more subjects if people have the need for it. First and foremost, I work with people and their concerns, not try to impose certain information on them.
“I also take people into a state where they can be relaxed, but at the same time efficient and fruitful, like I am. Because of me, people can be free of fear, worry and pressure and can perform clear-cut, effective actions with no fuss and in the full awareness of what’s going on. This is a unique feature for the training market – changing the people’s state, improving their awareness and energy to act, not simply giving them information.”
“What about your personal uniqueness?”
“I do only what I want to do at the moment, what I wish to do, am interested in doing, have the energy to do. I have no planning, no to-do list, no attempts to make myself do what I don’t feel like. I prefer to catch the air currents like you do when you fly a paraglider. It’s my way of life: I go where the current takes me. That’s the secret of my success.”
Interviewed by Irina Ford