Beginning from the start, how was your childhood?
You can imagine me as a true book-nerd in my childhood because as a kid my mind was always overwhelmed with schoolwork, and I was in a constant state of struggle to make my family happy with my academic grades. My childhood was spent here in morocco until I reached the age of 17. I was no different than any other Moroccan children, and like most of them I never thought about anything else except going into engineering and sciences. Entrepreneurship came to me as a surprise because as a child I didn’t have an understanding of what entrepreneurship was,so it is a shock for me too that now I am running multiple startups and being featured as a speaker at entrepreneurship conferences and so on.
You entered the entrepreneurial world at a very young age. What was your inspiration?
It may seem unreal but it all started just two few years ago in Norway when I was pursuing my IB diploma there. The story goes something like this: one of my friends told me about United World Colleges. This was a 2 years program meant to pave the way to pursue my higher education in the most prestigious universities in the U.S. My English was the biggest hurdle and I knew I had to compete with a lot of people who are much more fluent in English than me. My chances to get a scholarship were next to impossible. But there was something deep inside telling me not to waste this opportunity,so I submitted the necessary documents at the last moment. Then after some tests and interviews there was this e-mail which literally opened a whole new chapter in my life, and that email, like many more to come, started with “Congratulations”.
You have started three different business ventures. What is the ultimate goal of these businesses?
Actually I am currently working on 4 different ventures of which one is an NGO while the other 3 are profitable businesses. The NGO is the Arab Institute for the Youth Policy Making. This is a think tank that works on devising policy briefs and proposals which are presented to the political representatives of the Arab world, both individuals and institutions.
After a year from the establishment of the AIYPM, I felt the need to generate revenue and that led me to create my first profitable business venture “Studinov Marketing Strategies” which was an utter success within a short period of 1 year.For the past 2 years we found ourselves dealing with multinationals and celebrities that helped us generate a handsome amount of revenue and also expand our resources, networks and expertise in the field.
The idea for the next venture originated when I was in Morocco. I was learning to design booklets, leaflets and brochures through online tutorials. Out of the blue I reached out to one of my friends in the Sweden telling him about the idea of launching an online publication, and then within a very short span of time we launched a finished magazine and website that generated, and still is, thousands of readers every month.
What role your nationality has played in your work?
Most of the companies we deal with are based in the USA,so in order to prove myself as a Moroccan, I had to do extra efforts and go the extra mile to get the client to sign with us. I had to put twice as much effort in order to get half as much recognition as established US businesses and startups, but that in sense is what pushed me to reach beyond my comfort zone. Being at a disadvantage at the beginning of your entrepreneurial life journey is a blessing that will fuel motivation and dedication to your startups and goals.
What roles has Social Media Played in your business ventures?
Social media undoubtedly was the center point around which the whole of my entrepreneurial endeavors have revolved. Social media has made it extremely easy to access knowledge, resources and clients and that is the lifeline for our projects. We deal with partners, customers and suppliers on all continents, and my ventures have involved people from over 30 nationality, which is pretty unique for someone who just few years ago was needing over a chemistry book in Morocco.
What Advise would you give to students out there to be successful?
Life is short and the amount of time we have on our hands is very limited. Now it’s up to us to wither use that time and invest in making our lives better, or we can live by in an endless routine like 99% of the people on this planet. Treat every hour and every second of your time as precious investments; use them to make yourself better and to get closer to your goals. Whether it is learning a language, starting a business or going to a networking dinner, always find a useful way to spend your day because time is the only thing you cannot buy or get back. Think of yourself as a company, a startup, and ask yourself how are you making your operations, your brand and your ROI better? Are you advancing as an entity or are you just sitting down on a couch watching TV and throwing your hours in the garbage? Being successful requires being aware of the importance of time and the importance of always investing in yourself. If something is not useful one way or another for your growth and self development, simply avoid it, and that applies to negative relationships, overpriced education, bad influence and wasteful activities.