MEET MARY BETH
Mary Beth Motisi is the President/Owner at Online Trading Academy of Houston Texas. As an experienced president with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry, Mary Beth is skilled in business planning, coaching, sales, entrepreneurship, and trading.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
Working for a major corporation for so many years, I had always thought about starting my own business. I was a student at Online Trading Academy. I loved it. Someone actually told me, ‘You should become an owner here. I love the business model and the product. It was very different than the global corporation where I was coming from. I loved the people and the culture.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
The last couple of years have been insane. A typical day is very different these days. Clearly, we are still dealing with COVID concerns, but my day is generally spent overseeing our education teams and helping answer student questions about OTA. Then running all of the business aspects for our center including planning, finances, and operations. It’s pretty much non-stop. You have your phone next to you all day so it’s a 24/7 job.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I work with my team. I share my ideas with my team and get their input on them. If they can see my vision, then we’re able to bring it together.
Without the team, many things would not happen. They are my sounding board and boots on the ground. I think communication is crucial when I want to bring ideas to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
We’re seeing an uptrend in our workshops. That means that new people are entering the markets. That’s what we live for. I get excited to see people are showing a lot more interest in trading and investing. Market volatility has gotten people’s attention. It sparks them to act and gets them moving forward. At the end of the day, that’s what my business is here for. It’s about helping people navigate the markets.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Running. When I run, I have time to meditate and talk to God. It’s when I can think clearly, and things come to me. Plus, it helps my stress levels and lets me think outside the box. Stepping away from the screens and pushing into that runner’s high helps put things in perspective.
What advice would you give your younger self?
When I was younger, I was so focused on climbing the corporate ladder. I gave up a lot of time for that. I was a control freak and spent so much time with people. In my career with McDonald’s, I kept winning awards for developing people. But I needed a better work-life balance. If I could go back, I’d tell my younger self to manage that better and to allow others more room in your life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I’m not sure everyone disagrees, but I think so much technology makes it hard to focus. Some people see technology as improving productivity, but I think, in many ways, it can hurt it. To prioritize, I go back to my old Franklin planner-type process and write down what I have to accomplish. I prioritize for the day, for the week, and for the month to stay on track. It’s something I don’t see a lot of people doing. I won’t give my planner up for anything.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Get to know your students, to know your clients. If you want to earn respect, you need to get to know them and understand their perspectives. I make an effort to speak to students every time they’re in the center. It’s all about building relationships.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I look for ways to build new skills. I should have been afraid to dive into this business, but my approach was to try something new. I was lacking so many skills needed—besides operations and the ability to manage people. I didn’t know anything about marketing where I come from. Sales was another weakness because I had never sold before. So, I took on two big things that were completely new and not a part of my professional skill set. It was hard work, but that approach served me well. I’ve continued to push myself within this organization and my responsibilities here.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the beginning, I struggled a lot with sales—understanding sales processes and managing a sales team. There were a lot of failures and missed opportunities. To overcome, I had to learn, practice, and do it. It meant rolling up my sleeves and getting into it. I had no choice. It helped me let go of that perfectionism and learn how to make mistakes to eventually get it right.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I don’t think a lot of people are serious enough about it. They’re very afraid of it—especially those who have something to lose. Younger kids are out there thinking they’re going to make a million bucks on a Bitcoin. But for those that are established in the professional world and need that other option for retirement, they don’t want to jump in because they don’t understand it. Digital assets, decentralized finance, and cryptocurrency is the next thing. They need to start learning it today.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Sitting at the bar ordering takeout food Sunday night with a good friend. We were just talking, having martinis, and grabbing food to take home.
It’s so important to spend time with friends.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
There are a lot of important ones that we depend on to run our business. We deliver our education on Zoom. Teams keeps us connected. But, probably Salesforce. It’s the backbone of our business.
What is your favorite quote?
Never grow tired of Living your Life.
Never ever quit on Moving Forward.
Never ever Stop Running.
For you never know how many people are looking up to you and see you as their inspiration in their own lives.
Keep moving…Your life matters.
- Life is about so much more than work—make time for the important things.
- Prioritize your days so you don’t get caught in busyness over productivity.
- Push yourself to learn new skills—especially ones you don’t understand.