5 years ago in University, I went to UK for an exchange program. I made the acquaintance of this young man, a British-Moroccan, who was slightly strange but extremely passionate. I have never seen such passion in my life. He told me how he would never sell his soul to a corporation, how he know in his hearts of heart that he will be a millionaire by doing things he love, and how he strongly believes that everyone should just go out there, hustle for themselves and only work on the things that they are extremely passionate about.
I just shrugged it all off and quietly murmured, “he’s crazy”. I mean, I had a plan! I was going to finish my BFA, graduate with my Honours, get a good job in Singapore that will help me pay back my 24k loan from tution fees, go for the occassional shopping spree and holidays and then yeah, get married, buy a house and have kids. At 22, I thought I had it all figured out.
But life has her own special way of working and if you just let go a little and let her do her magic, magnificent things can happen.
I ended up marrying him.
And just as beautifully strange as how I ended marrying him, I am also now an entrepreneur. An accidental entrepreneur.
Growing up in Singapore, I have always had the impression that being an entrepreneur requires you to be somewhat well-off, with some money to spare, mid 30s (because I always thought that you have to at least work in an establishment for 10 years before actually setting up something on your own) and have traded stocks in the market or be an IT wiz or something. Thus, I never thought I would ever become one.
Boy, was I wrong. On all levels.
We moved to Morocco a year ago from Dubai and with this new environment, it transformed and brought change to how I see “entrepreneurship”. Having your own business is surprisingly, the norm here. Almost everyone I know have their own small cafe, garage, school, clothing store, bookstore and many more! I personally know women who are their own bosses, providing tailoring and embroidery services from home, or have their own little “babysitting” companies. It was, inspiring. They taught me that you do not need a huge amount of capital, that you do not even need Facebook or a Website to create noise about what you are doing. That all you need is the intention to begin, lots of hard work, a bit of courage and a whole lot of gratitude, perseverance and patience.
In the beginning, when I started to put myself out there, slowly laying out the building blocks of my first business, I tried to avoid calling myself an entrepreneur. I felt somewhat undeserving of that title, probably because of the initial assumption that I used to hold. But when I see my husband, my father in law (who is one awesome entrepreneur), and the Moroccan people going out there, proudly doing their own work, I sit up a little and told myself that I am capable of making change, of serving people and providing value to the world.
I told myself that I am worthy of being an entrepreneur. And that I am one. And I do what I do because I know that my purpose in this world is to serve, help and build a support-system for women through my brands and I will do it every day for the rest of my life even if it is tough, bone-breaking, and full of obstacles. Because being an entreprenuer is about giving. It is about asking “What can I give you” instead of “What can I get from you?”. It is about being present and showing up, even if the day/week/month has been full of crap. It is about pivoting yourself, and constantly finding ways to be a better person. Being an entrepreneur, for me, also means to constantly seek knowledge, to collaborate, to ask questions, to ask for help. To be vulnerable.
I now run 3 small businesses, of which I am proud to be working with some fantastic ladies, whom I love and admire greatly, both in Morocco and in Singapore. I get to connect with women from all over the world through my work, all of us supporting and rooting each other to be better individuals. Everyday, I am granted the opportunity to help a fellow Sister, and that to me is a huge blessing.
Entrepreneurship is humbling. You think you are helping people, but really, it’s the people that are helping you. They are your driving force, they are your motivation. Entrepreneurship teaches me that kindness really does go a long way, it teaches me that everyone has a voice and everyone deserves to be heard. It teaches me that every single one of us matter. It teaches me that sincerity is King; that people are smart and discerning and if I am not sincere about my craft, my brand, my products, my customers, then no one will care.
So why do I do what I do? Having the freedom to work from wherever I am, at whatever time I want, with whoever I want (without any worry of office politics) is fantastic. But I do what I do because I have never cared, connected, laughed, cried and felt these million and one feelings as much as I have now. I am an entrepreneur, and I do what I do, because it makes me, human.