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Stories of our users: how Kharkiv resident Nina Abramova creates websites and helps women find their vocation

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07.03.2024
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This 10-year journey began with the word "copywriting", which Google presented to a young woman in search of her first job. And today you will learn how this step led to her own websites, and then to a hub of psychological support for women.

We will introduce you to Nina Abramova, who lived and worked in Kharkiv until 2022, founded a website about interesting places that became popular among Kharkiv residents. How she searched for herself, and when she found herself, she wanted to share her experience with other women.

Our blog guest will tell us about herself and share tips on how to work as a woman with a child, find motivation, and honestly answer the question "Who am I?".

Nina Abramova is a webmaster and the author of the project for women Who I am

The first job on copywriting exchanges and the first websites in russian

Nina remembers this day very well, or rather, the night of March 1, 2014. The twenty-year-old girl had a little daughter who was not yet two years old. The situation was difficult – a young family with nothing to their name, no higher education, and a pressing need for money. These conditions prompted her to seek a solution.

— I started with questions to myself, what can I give to this world and to my family? I remembered that I always had high grades in literature at school and loved writing stories. After that, Google was attracted to the search, receiving the question: how can you earn money from stories? That night I got acquainted with copywriting. I searched for how a novice can earn in this niche, and understood that the best option for me was freelance exchanges. I worked on two russian exchanges, and after some time, I started cooperating directly with customers.

Read also: Overview of foreign freelance exchanges: Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr

One of these clients was Vladimir Bokov, who hired me from the exchange. He was involved in creating and filling websites and needed an extra pair of hands. He opened the WordPress admin panel for me and said, "Now you will be doing what people get paid a lot of money for". After that, we worked on websites together – he was responsible for the technical part, and I was responsible for the content. He taught me what a domain and hosting are, how to install WordPress, and how to make a clear and useful website on it.

Nina Abramova's first website was on an interesting topic and was called LaSexe "Sex Culture". But it's not what you might think: the site had an educational direction and literally taught adults, children, and teenagers about sex culture.

However, it turned out that monetizing this topic was difficult. Google doesn't distinguish between serious articles about sex and explicit content, so it tries to stay away from this topic altogether. Advertisers also didn't want to get involved in this theme. The site was visited by about 1000 people every day, but it didn't bring in any money.

Then came the sites LaDesign and LaContent. The prefix "La" is from the French "o". Nina decided to name the sites with this prefix so that everyone would immediately understand who they belonged to. The LaContent site featured the "School of Exquisite Copywriting".

But they were all in russian for a russian-speaking audience, and hosting and domains were purchased from Russian hosting providers – this story was very common among Ukrainian webmasters at the time. Nina decided that such sites were no longer suitable for their audience, so after the start of the full-scale invasion, they remained in russia.

In 2016, the website https://hochy.in.ua appeared, dedicated to interesting tourist places. At first, it specialized for a long time only in Kharkiv attractions, and later expanded across the country.

— This is the site that still brings me income. Thanks to it, we lived in the first months of the full-scale invasion when we were forced to evacuate from Kharkiv. At first, I wrote about Kharkiv, because I'm from Kharkiv myself. I turned my walks into articles – I talked about what interesting places and cafes were in a particular location. People read it and started going there. My site became quite popular media in Kharkiv, it was very nice.

Register a domain for the Kharkiv site online

— This is where the story of my acquaintance with Cityhost begins. After the start of the full-scale invasion, I was looking for opportunities to switch to the Ukrainian market and move my websites from russian providers. I also asked Google which hosting providers in Ukraine are the best, and it showed Cityhost in the first place. By the way, I am grateful to you for the good work because there hasn't been a single failure in 2 years. And good customer support – they always respond quickly. I never learned how to transfer websites myself, so the Cityhost tech support was very helpful in transferring my sites.

Now I have 5 domains on Cityhost, on which 4 ready-made sites, including probrand.in.ua, lasexe.in.ua, and hochy.in.ua, which I have translated into Ukrainian and continue to maintain.

Read also: How to create your website for business: independently, easily and relatively cheaply

The Solidarity and Support Hub for Women "Who Am I"

Five years ago, Nina went for therapy to a psychologist from Kharkiv – Lyubov Ishchenko. It was a way to understand herself and her needs, see her path, and realize her true "self". It was also a way to understand the motivation behind her actions and work on her relationship with her husband.

— I went to Lyubov for three years. My life changed dramatically during this time. I didn't know that therapy could be so powerful. When I compared myself before and after, I saw a completely different person. We talked about what I was really interested in. And it turned out that my mission is to share information that I can find and present. I understood who I am and wanted other people to understand who they are and what they are looking for in life".

Over time, the relationship between the psychologist and the client transformed, and they became co-authors of the "Who Am I?" project. In January 2022, the women created the first free test group with women from Kharkiv. The participants worked every day for a whole month, completing two psychological exercises and various tasks: watching useful videos, asserting personal boundaries, communicating with parents, and engaging in color therapy.

On February 5, 19 days before the start of the full-scale war, the group celebrated their graduation in a cafe. It was not just a celebration but another opportunity to conduct a therapeutic session, the final one for this intensive program.

The first group of the Who am I project

The first test group with girls from Kharkiv

Each girl changed a lot during a month of therapy. For example, one of the participants started her own business on Instagram with candles – she couldn't decide on it before. Another wanted to break up with her husband, but thanks to the hub, they continue to be together, and they already have a second child.

In February 2022, Nina created the website for the "Who Am I" project and was already planning to recruit a second group, this time commercial.

But the war began and disrupted all plans.

— We evacuated with the whole family (even with the cat) on March 1, 2022, to Yaremche, Ivano-Frankivsk region. The scariest thing that ever happened in my life was the evacuation. It was exactly the day when people stormed the train station, couldn't leave, and sat in the trains in the aisles and near the toilets. Everyone saw those photos, so you know what I'm talking about.

Nina Abramova's daughter Sonya is hiding from Russian missiles

Sonya, Nina's daughter, hides with her parents in the basement in Kharkiv in the early days of the war

During the first year, Nina did not work on her projects. Not only because she did not have the moral resources for it due to the start of the war and evacuation but also because she understood that they had had "pre-war" meanings. During the full-scale war, everything changed drastically: people and their needs changed, communication changed, and there were different development tasks. The women's support hub had a different name before the war – "Club Transformation Renewed Me" (abbreviated as “КТО Я”). It was born in Kharkiv in the russian-speaking community, so it needed a name change and a translation of the entire site. Concepts had to be rethought, and everything had to start from scratch.

After a year of inactivity, Nina started attending training sessions for women, particularly on career guidance. The curators of these trainings helped change the name, concept, and write a new business plan.

Training in Ivano-Frankivsk from SILab Ukraine

Training in Ivano-Frankivsk from SILab Ukraine

It was at these training sessions that Nina Abramova met the women who became participants of the second group - again a test group. All the pre-war developments were irrelevant, and all the reviews were in Russian and mentioned the old project name.

In November-December 2023, a new intensive took place, during which the founders Nina and Lyubov again achieved a good result. (Yes, the psychologist from Kharkiv also returned to work on the project). Now the central theme of the training was the state during the war.

Here we will highlight the main queries that women turn to the "Who Am I?" hub with. We believe these issues concern almost everyone.

  1. Lack of motivation for work and business.
  2. Relationship problems with a man or children.
  3. Lack of understanding of one's own value.
  4. Lack of friends and cool emotional support nearby. It is necessary to have support during the war, especially from women. The female community is very important now, support is a basic need.
  5. Lack of understanding of the value of money, when a person wants to earn more but does not understand at a deep level what it will give them.

In the near future – to recruit a second commercial group.

— Why will this project not be charitable? This is an important question for me, which I had to answer for myself. Together with the curator, we came to the conclusion that there are at least two reasons why it should not be free.

First, it is a very detailed and individual program. You can work separately with a psychologist in messages, you get 21 days of round-the-clock support. Giving this away for free is wrong for people who invest their time and effort.

Second, it's about motivation. If I got such a cool result from the first two test groups that worked for free, imagine how the participants will "work" if they pay money.

Therefore, we decided that the program should cost something, but it should be affordable – let it be 1999 UAH. This is an acceptable cost, but it is enough to motivate a person to work.

Currently, Nina Abramova is forming the first commercial group. Perhaps by the time you read this article, women will already be working on the training, or perhaps it will be far behind. We are also interested in what will happen next – but everything is just beginning.

Read also: TOP-11 interesting Ukrainian sites and blogs about the IT industry

How a woman can find herself and work with a child in her arms – a guide from Nina Abramova

And in conclusion, Nina Abramova shares with us the principles and advice that helped her find her calling, work with a child in her arms, and run a business during the war.

How to find the work you want to do in life

Answer the question: what do I love and what tools do I have?

The first question is what do I love. No, it's not about what I know or can do, or what experience I have. It's about activities that captivate you and bring sincere pleasure.

— I asked one girl at the training – what do you love? She said – I love making lists, but you can't monetize that! But I know there is a blog on this topic, and the author gives readers lists – how to clean up, how to get ready for a trip, what to buy for birthdays, how to change habits. And she sells big interesting lists for money. In Ukraine, this is a free niche, so you can create a blog of this kind. Another acquaintance loves watching TV series and thought it was impossible to monetize. But there are so many websites, blogs, Telegram channels, or YouTube channels about TV series! You can share your impressions of TV series with readers, talk about why characters act a certain way, about the plot – and it will be interesting.

I think you can monetize anything, you just need to think about it.

Tools for implementing your ideas can be a computer and the internet, a suitable room for a workshop, or sometimes just a phone.

How to manage everything with a child

To enable a mother to manage work with a child, several rules need to be introduced.

  1. Create a schedule. Psychologists say that a schedule is necessary for children because it represents stability for their psyche. Do not be afraid to be a strict mother – on the contrary, overly lenient parents who do not teach their child discipline harm them much more.
  2. Find motivation. When you are doing something and it is not working out, you need to stop and ask yourself – why? Maybe I can't do this because I really don't need it. Stop and check the goal to maintain motivation. If you can't answer why you need it, perhaps it's just a goal imposed by others.
  3. Work when you have time, but not constantly. You can work after putting your child to bed or during their nap time. But it's important not to get too involved in work, because then there is a risk that the child will not receive enough attention. A child needs a mother at any age. You can agree with them that today you will work for 5 hours, and then spend time together. Usually, older children are good at compromising.
  4. Involve the child. For example, Nina's daughter attends an art school, and her mother asked her to draw a logo for the hub. Eleven-year-old Sonya wants to be a psychologist and an artist in the future.

The logo for the Who I am project is from Sonya, Nina Abramova's daughter

The logo that Sonya drew for her mom's project

  1. Delegating. A woman can't do everything, especially if she has started working. It is necessary to negotiate with her husband and children so that they take on some household responsibilities, or hand over the child to her sister or mother for a while.
  2. Create your own family holidays, something unique. In Nina's family, there is "Saturday for Sonya". On Saturday, mom never works and dedicates the whole day to her daughter, visiting interesting places and events with her. Sonya chooses the place to visit herself. Thanks to this tradition, she calmly accepts that her mom works during the week.

Sonya is the daughter of the author of the project Who I am

Reading this story and the reflections of Nina Abramova, you understand that even with complex circumstances, you can always find the time, motivation, and opportunities to achieve what you want in life.

— The answers are always there, but often they are dishonest, – says the heroine of our story. – We do what society or loved ones expect of us, but we cannot hear our own needs, interpret our desires and emotions correctly. Each of us needs to understand: who you are, what you want, what you live for, and what you can give to others. This is what we work on.

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Author: Bohdana Haivoronska

Journalist (since 2003), IT copywriter (since 2013), content marketer at Cityhost.ua. Specializes in articles about technology, creation and promotion of sites.