Marbella Family Fun interview with Costa Women

by Ali & Zoriana
(Marbella Costa Women)

Zoriana - Marbella Family Fun

Zoriana - Marbella Family Fun

Zoriana from had the pleasure to be interviewed by Costa Women, a wonderful social network community for expat women living in Spain.

Welcome, did you choose Spain, or did Spain choose you?

Our family invested in a summer home in Marbella in 1998, but never imagined we would move here permanently. We were living in Moscow at the time, but decided to make a lifestyle change in 2005 when we moved the family to Marbella and switched snow for sunshine.

Why did you create Marbella Family Fun?

We wanted to create a family project for all of us to share. Something that would interest and motivate each of us, and would be fun to do. In all truth, we also saw it as a fantastic educational opportunity for the children to learn how to take an idea, create a website and learn how to manage it. It turned out that there was quite a demand for information about Marbella for kids and families, so the site took off immediately. The demands of running the website became to large for the children and so I wound up taking on most of the day to day tasks. The children, however, still remain very much in tune with the site.

And I hear there’s a book about your experiences?

Yes. After we launched, my husband saw content websites as a great business model that may help others and so decided to write about it. With so many of our friends suffering in the crisis, we saw this as one way to get out of it. The book is called, “Here’s an Idea”, because it’s just one idea on how to become financially independent.

How has social media changed business model? didn’t start out with much of a business model. It was just a way to get our children involved with a project. However, as the site grew and more content was uploaded, our pages were popping up on all the search engines. Now, many local businesses are looking to advertise on the site. This forced us to sit down and create a price list and offer something to advertisers a lot earlier than we intended.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Five Ways of Loving Teenagers. My son is 13 and my daughter is 11, so I am now in the trenches!

What has been your greatest challenge, whether personal or business?

Dealing with the death of my mother. I lost her to breast cancer when I was 23. It was a real tragedy for the whole family.

To relax would we find you on a beach, mountains, city or shed?

Not sure any of them, to be honest. I relax the most when I am with my kids watching a movie. Or possibly on the massage table. I’ll fall asleep if someone is rubbing my toes.

Best piece of advice you've ever been given

You cannot control what others do or say to you, but you can control your reactions to them. We are the masters of our own happiness.

What would you advise people who are thinking of moving to Spain?

Research well how you will make money here. Marbella is a small tourist resort and you will not find the same opportunities here as you would in a large city. Many people I know were surviving on real estate until the crisis and now most of them had to move away or find new business opportunities elsewhere.

Where can they go to help with the research?

I would recommend all of your readers to sign up to our weekly newsletter. We get a lot of positive feedback on it, because it’s chock o block full of information such as the English movie listing, site updates, upcoming events and so much more. Plus, it arrives in your mailbox on Fridays, so you don’t have to keep coming back to the site to find new information. We also have a fantastic online community on Facebook. It’s a great place to get quick answers from a wide audience. I love our Facebook fans...they’re a tremendous help and valuable resource.

If you were to be a fictional female character – who would she be?

Probably a cross between Mary Poppins and Lara Croft. I love being with kids, playing, singing and just getting into their world, but I also like adventure, challenges and sports. Call me Lara Poppins!

If you could own something particularly beautiful what would it be?

Another child! I love babies.

Funniest forum post or story from the website

Our content is mostly informative and pretty straightforward, but sometimes I get a little silly and tell a personal story, like my trip Halloween costume hunting.

But the forum that really struck a chord with me was a reader who posted: Making Friends in Marbella. The reader was having a hard time making friends and wrote her story. The amount of comments we received on this page was simply heartwarming. So many readers reached out to her (including Costa Women!) that it made me realize what a fantastic and caring community we have on

Where do you see your business in the next 10 years?

I see growing with the community as the #1 resource for people visiting and living on the Costa del Sol. We will have more content, new functionality, broader categories and more people out there helping people.

Aspirations or Goals for the future?

Personally, I would like to continue creating a happy and caring environment for my children, particularly throughout the adolescent phase, which I can already see as being a challenge.

For, I would like to create lots of new features for our users including a Job Board, new categories and organized activities where families can meet on the beach or in a park and get to know each other in person.

Follow Marbella Family Fun on Facebook and Twitter: @marbellafamily.

Join Costa Women and follow them on Facebook and Twitter: @CostaWomen too!

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