Behind Entrepreneurial Journeys

It’s been over three years since we ventured into the world of startups and entrepreneurship, and what a roller coaster it has been! A lot of hard work, many sleepless nights, challenges and many many more white hairs! Yet, with all that, there’s also been so much learning and growth, both personally and professionally, new relationships and friendships fostered and many rewarding experiences.

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We wanted to take the time to write a blog about the entrepreneurial world, and so we decided to ask a few questions to some of the most inspiring entrepreneurs we’ve had the pleasure to connect with, and become part of our lives, and help us with sharing their journey so here’s what they’ve had to say:  

What was the last thing you learned?

Rukhsana Kausar, Founding Partner of Liquid of life says,

“Sometimes, you feel you have everything figured out and then work-life throws you another curve ball. Despite the curve-balls, the most valuable lesson that I’ve learnt is to celebrate the small wins. The smallest of wins at times when you least expect them can provide a morale boost to anyone. It is important to stop and take in for a moment all the small things that are working out well and learn to appreciate and celebrate those small wins.”

For us, our biggest learning, especially in the last few months was to truly tune in, listen and trust our gut intuition.

For Livia Anzaldo, Yoga Teacher & Founder of     Dubai Loves Yoga   it’s:  “ Very recently, how Social Media impacts the choices people make…and how little I personally know how to get around it :-)”

For Livia Anzaldo, Yoga Teacher & Founder of Dubai Loves Yoga it’s: Very recently, how Social Media impacts the choices people make…and how little I personally know how to get around it :-)”

 

What’s the most challenging experience through your entrepreneurship journey?

Nathalie Haddad, CEO of   Right Bite

Nathalie Haddad, CEO of Right Bite

The most challenging experience has to be managing people and learning what motivates each individual. Learning that their priorities are different than yours and what makes them get up in the morning is different to yours.
Abdulwahab AlZankawi, Co-founder of   Swap

Abdulwahab AlZankawi, Co-founder of Swap

Finding and building the A-Team, the team is always the main reason why businesses succeed or fail; so, it was a true challenge finding them!
Shereen Ahmed, Founder of     Akla Baity

Shereen Ahmed, Founder of Akla Baity

Work life balance. I’m a mom of three kids and their well-being means the world to me. To cover my absence, physically or mentally, I must be super creative and find ways to always be engaged in their lives.

What’s been the most rewarding experience?

This is a hard one to pinpoint, as we’ve had a few rewarding experiences since we’ve started and with that being said, one of the most rewarding experiences we’ve had in the last couple of years was being part of an accelerator program in Kuwait; that not only taught us so much about business, but allowed us to push ourselves, and think outside of the box. We had the privilege to meet amazing people, both personally and professionally; while learning a lot throughout the cohort from our mentors and teacher.

For both Nathalie and Abdulwahab, the reward is the difference their organizations make in people’s lives and seeing how they are helping people with their struggles.

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In your words, what defines great leadership?

“Inspiration, Innovation and Lead by Example” is how Livia answered this one!

Rukhsana adds that “A great leader is someone who inspires others to make informed choices that positively impacts themselves and society and by doing so also inspires others around them to become great leaders”

While for Abdulwahab, “A great leader is a great team player. A team player that gets his hands dirty and walks among his team.”

What motives you to get out of bed every morning?

Dina Ghandour, certified Yoga Teacher and Founder of   Yapparel    “Knowing that I may have the opportunity to impact someone's life in a positive way, even in the smallest way.”

Dina Ghandour, certified Yoga Teacher and Founder of Yapparel

“Knowing that I may have the opportunity to impact someone's life in a positive way, even in the smallest way.”

Quite similar to what gets Dina out of bed, for us it is that connection, knowing that through our work, we are able to create and make a difference in a positive way through our education, coaching and community initiatives

Quite similar to what gets Dina out of bed, for us it is that connection, knowing that through our work, we are able to create and make a difference in a positive way through our education, coaching and community initiatives

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And as for Abdulwahab’s biggest WHY for doing what he does, is ”To leave an impact on all of those around me, and those who need to be inspired and leaving a legacy after all of that”

How do you juggle work-life balance when you have your own thing?

For Dina, she mentions that “During the first year or two, work life balance was challenging. Especially because of technology it's easy to let work trickle into lunch breaks, evenings, dinners, parties, you name it. It took a lot of discipline to allow myself to let go of work for a few hours and focus on my friends and loved ones without interruption. Holidays are an absolute must and I try my best to disconnect from work while away.”

Finding balance is hard, and as Rukhsana adds “I don’t think there is such a thing as balance between work and life. For me, work has been life for the last 10 years. The question is whether there are any regrets and if I wished I had done something else in the last 10 years, and the simple answer is no. I have however created a few ‘rules' in the last 2/3 years and that is no work on a Friday”

Now, for some words of wisdom for people who want to start their own business

“Neglect the doubts, face the fears and eliminate the negativity. Fill your heart with faith, know your purpose and jump right into it.. the hardest step is the first step!” – Abdulwahab

“Love what you do to the max - have a clear vision of where you want to go as that will keep you motivated” – Livia


“Believe in yourself, work hard and Focus.” – Nathalie

“Build a professional support network early on and don’t be afraid to ask for help” – Rukhsana

Our TAKE-AWAY

In the last few years, we’ve learned that the road to success isn’t a straight line, it is filled with ups and downs, accomplishments and failures, and many surprises, both good and bad. Being able to adapt quickly to the unexpected turns and be willing to start again when things don’t go as planned is key as an entrepreneur. We’ve also learned that behind every successful entrepreneur, there is so much hard work, dedication, resilience, passion, and years of sacrifice.

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash