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Interview with Anwar ‘Anweezy’ Ahmed, Founder of Aktiv Social

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Anwar ‘Anweezy’ Ahmed, Founder of Aktiv Social, who enhances social profiles internationally for Influencers and businesses. Also, the Founder of Humble Burgerz, which is a Food truck in Los Angeles.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me here. Life is pretty crazy, before coming to Los Angeles and starting up Aktiv Social, I was in Corporate America working a 9-5 as a Software Engineer. When coming to California, I took a course from Product School, which helped Software Engineers transition into Product Managers. When completing the course I realized that I have the skill-set to do both develop and market a digital solution. So, I took the risk in not continuing the Corporate 9-5 and aimed at open markets in Los Angeles. Music, Theatre, Food, and Marketing. So, I decided to run a Digital Marketing Agency earlier this year and tried out the Food truck market.

 

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

When people would come to my Food truck and say “Hey I follow Humble Burgerz on Instagram.” It would make me smile because Humble Burgerz is being blessed Aktiv Social, which is my own social marketing agency. So it goes hand to hand.

 

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The first mistake I made was trying to mimic the competition rather than implement a method that would work solely for my business, allowing it to stand out from the other trucks. Leaving your truck on the side of the street and hoping for foot traffic is the traditional way of selling on a Food truck. Aim for being Innovational over traditional.

 

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

What makes Humble Burgerz different is the pairings it has compared to other Food Trucks. For example, it has a social media agency (Aktiv Social), which helps enhances my companies social media presence. Aktiv Social builds personalized scripts enhancing the flow of your profile, allowing it to receive more reactions. More reactions mean more money. It also has several delivery outlets, allowing the truck to have a delivery option

Marketing is the most important part of a business. You need to receive a heavier reach in order to receive more clients. There are ways you can build up companies by connecting with Marketing Agencies. There are agencies that do the direct mailing for ad’s, social media enhancing, canvassing, and door-to-door flyers. They will help you in doing the dirty work allowing you to just work on your business product or services.

 

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I had/have several successful mentors that would contact me if they had tips that would be useful for my businesses. My mom, Zeineb Bushra, is the reason I’m the entrepreneur people see today. None of this would be possible without her. Growing up, my mom would have three jobs and would tell me daily “You don’t want this to happen, make sure you’re an A student”. When I was in college I wanted to be a nutrition major. My mom made sure that didn’t happen(*Laughs*). She pushed me towards Computer Science and that’s when I got to exercise a different side of my brain. I ended up graduating with a Computer Science and Mathematics background from Penn State University. Blessings to all the Moms out there. The world appreciates you.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way.

 

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’ve received the chance to connect people with tech positions, so this allows people within the field to exercise what they’ve studied. I’ve also helped over 100 people enhance their personal/business pages on social media. They’ve received more connections/clients and business flow. Also, I’m looking into more philanthropy work. I came back from help building a skatepark in Hawassa, Ethiopia.

 

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Positivity, confidence, and persistence are key in life, so never give up on yourself” Throughout my young life I’ve been blessed with individuals to trust my judgment on certain life scenarios. This is due to my track record in business and my confidence. Remember… Whatever you are today is due to the reactions you’ve received in the past. You’re past allows your judgment on certain scenarios to be stronger due to the lessons you have learned on the way. In high school, I got cut from the team three out of four years. I ended up playing college basketball though… If I listened to what my high school coach said, I wouldn’t have two degrees(Computer Science and Mathematics) from Penn State University, I wouldn’t have had a job that paid me 6-figures at the age 22. I wouldn’t have owned a Digital Marketing Agency or a Food Truck. Remember you know best about yourself and your future. It’s up to you to get what you deserve.

 

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why?, Please share a story or example for each.

Don’t do business with someone who can’t put anything to benefit the situation the company is currently in

 

1. Make sure all paperwork is done before doing any work in a company

2. Be real with your ideas.

3. How long would it take you to get your first milestone done and what’s your true limit with your service or productct

4. How much money does it cost to fully run it, who is your audience, where is your audience, and what’s your strategy on getting a heavier audience due to that being your income

5. Marketing your service or product is what’s key to moving towards your next milestone

 

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Aktiv Social is going to be the movement that brings interconnectivity among the people who deserve it.

 

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram: @anweezy

Twitter: @anweez_

 

Humble Burgerz Instagram: @humbleburgerz

Aktiv Social Instagram: @aktivsocial

 

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

 

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Interviews

Interview with Michael Ilyas co-founder of BuyAnyInsurance.com

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Ilyas who is one of the co-founders of “BuyAnyInsurance.com” – a new and upcoming insurance comparison site in Dubai aimed at providing a “solutions-driven” experience to customers in the UAE who are looking to buy any kind of insurance be it car, home, life or health. Michael has also been running Cactimedia since 2003 – a web design agency in Dubai providing creative, strategic and technical expertise to small, medium and large companies in the region, thereby enabling them to drive their business further and dominate the digital space.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Michael: I have been in the digital space for 10 years and I have worked very closely with companies of various sizes and in diverse industries. I would like to think I now understand the unique challenges of the market here in the UAE and therefore I firmly believe that there is room for improvement in the online insurance space and that things can be done better – on the digital side, the UX and also on the sales and customer service side.

When I met Mark Bachayani, co-founder, an insurance veteran in the UAE, we both felt strongly that a platform that only does insurance comparison but does it perfectly, would definitely be worth investing in.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

There are so many interesting stories, but one that really comes to mind is when we began discussing PR and the launch strategy for BuyAnyInsurance.com.  I hadn’t realised the task at hand and how instrumental PR would be in developing our brand, and some of the ideas for the launch ranged from Flash mobs, through to coming down the longest zipline in Ras-Al-Khaimah holding an umbrella, to painting a whole island blue. 

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Michael: We have just started so there are not many funny mistakes yet. But we are hoping to keep a lid on the mistakes and if we do make any we want to make sure we learn from them and adapt quickly

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Michael: What makes us stand out is our relentless focus on providing a seamless and hiccup-free experience to anyone who wishes to buy insurance in Dubai and from across the UAE. I specialize and have been doing digital for 10 years in the region and Mark has been doing insurance for a decade in the region. With our powers combined we can ensure our customers get the best of both worlds.

Our company is built knowing that we only hire the best people to do the job and we share a common goal, to be the most trusted and transparent insurance company in the UAE.  We take care in choosing the right people, whether it takes 7 plus interviews, we want to be sure that everyone who joins what we call our “family”, all share the same common goal, so through thick and thin, we support each other.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Michael: It’s about working Smart and not long hours.   Take the time to understand your customers better. Orient and optimize your company and value proposition according to the pain-points of those customers. I think a lot of businesses in the region make the mistake of following industry leaders but don’t take the time and make the effort to learn about customer’s wants and needs first hand. I know this is easier said than done and it takes tremendous discipline to ingrain this principle into sales teams, client management teams, technical teams and customer service folks.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Michael: It’s still early days for us, but without a doubt, I would like to thank the team that has worked on the company and the investors and brought it to life. These guys are an invaluable resource. Other than that I would obviously like to thank my family and friends who have stuck through thick and thin.

Having mapped out the business plan for BuyAnyInsurance.com, the next steps were to find an investor.   I met with a potential client for Cactimedia and over a coffee, I spoke of BuyAnyInsurnce.com and within 2 days we were at the lawyers office signing the paperwork.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Michael: The reason BuyAnyInsurance.com exists is to make life a little bit easier for people in the UAE – and we want to do that by making their insurance buying experience easier, cheaper, friendlier and pain-free. With BuyAnyInsurance.com you can have an insurance coverage at the best price in under one hour. That’s how we want to begin spreading goodness and then work our way up and find other ways to do more good.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

Michael: It’s a bit cliché nowadays to say this but I really relate to the Steve Jobs quote “Stay hungry, stay foolish”. For me it means that one should always push oneself to achieve greater things and better things and to never settle. In today’s world where technology changes so rapidly, it’s absolutely imperative to stay “foolish” – to keep the thirst to know more and learn more alive. You can say that another word for “foolish” is “curious”, but I like “foolish” more because it has more punch and it takes guts to be foolish and I really admire that quality.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Michael:

Hire the best team possible. Do not compromise on that.

Be embarrassed about your product, don’t wait until the product is perfect to launch. We launched 6 weeks ago and have version 2 ready to roll out

Listen and learn from your team and keep an eye out for your competitors.

Build out processes with checks and balances that are independent of your input.

Keep a flat structure and promote lots of communication

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Michael: I would create spaces in which people of great talent could develop their skills in. I have seen a lot of talented people struggle, and as a result I am initiating an internship programme to help grow and retain talent in the UAE. 

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/BuyAnyInsurance/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/buyanyinsurance/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Michael: Thank you!

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Interviews

Interview with Entrepreneur Rueben Wood

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Rueben Wood, the 27 year old who is originally from Brunswick, GA, that made his way by becoming a media consultant, Actor/Director, & Media Personality for his own show, and most importantly the owner of SOM Magazine and SOM Networks. Throughout his career as a journalist, Wood has had the opportunity to meet a list of entertainers, celebrities and other business owners.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Well, to start, I was always a salesman at heart and low key doing marketing since the third grade. I started selling candy throughout school and always had to find new ways to sell and market what I had since it made no sense to buy boxes or bags of candy and just keep it in my back pack.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

I would say one of the most interesting things was meeting Mark Rufalo,  specifically because I was like wow you know, I’ve come this far with my business and brand to be able to do this and do marketing and media for a lot of great people.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Overthinking and spending too much time on things. Some of my best work has come from just executing and not thinking at all about the work at hand.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think it’s just me, and the name itself. When I originally started SOM it was more of a magazine only and more geared toward music and artist. Years later we are helping small and major brands engage with the masses and me myself continues to curate more content for the public.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Don’t worry about anyone else, focus on you and only you. It helps, trust me. Nobody really cares if you rise or fall except you, you can either tell yourself you can do it, or you can stop yourself from doing. So be your own biggest motivator so to speak.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Actually majority of my success didn’t necessarily come from help, it actually came from me really working a lot and connecting with others. I’ve me so many people along the way that consider close associates that I’m grateful for, and thankful for encouragement and a connection where was needed and I always will be.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

Yes from doing charity events, to sharing stories that shed light on global issues.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Believe in yourself.” Going through life and starting s business is not easy at all, so with my own self doubt I had to overcome that and not look back.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Become a commodity

Have good time management

Read more books

Let go of doubt, fear, and depression

Keep your job until it is truly not an option.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement  that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would start a grow your own garden movement, I feel as though the world is set up on so much division and separation that we as a whole forget to look at the simple things already given to us. What each person started their garden? Would it end world hunger? Would make more people get up and exercise because they have a reason? Would it help the agriculture system when crops don’t grow? Would it limit disease outbreak? Who knows, but that’s what my movement would be.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@realruebenwood on all platforms

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

 

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Interviews

Interview With Zion Antoni owner of Urban Cry LLC From The Bronx, NY

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Zion Antoni is a Freelance Journalist and Grassroots independent Recording artist/Record producer from the Bronx NY. He is the Founder/Chair of The Urban Cry LLC, a limited liability company with two main branches: Freelance Journalism, and an independent record company.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Starting years ago. As early youth development of love for writing music and even knowledge, life experience environment upbringing and perspective kind of set it into place.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

I think seeing how publishing has impacted people with like minds or visions. The inspiration the dialogue between persons and groups of people over a time period. The ability to add on in many ways.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Honestly? Providing services for certain individuals for free. Kindness is a virtue but in a predominant selfish world, you cannot prepare to serve and eat it LOL. The ability and balance to help others handle business and not count yourself out.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

It’s progressiveness but with content that’s always relative. Staying true to self is a virtue some cases a vow.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take your time to always be you. Take your time to develop and learn. And brand your voice the way you desire.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Circle of brothers that persevered through the years.. vision and growth. The family that never change through loyalty and resource. We improved and gave thanks because we knew nothing was ever easy.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

Awareness and a good sense of diplomacy in manuscript and sound. The world is already dark. So there is a Remnant that understands the weight of living at its true worth.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

There is nothing new Under the Sun. My Abuela, Grandmother said it repeatedly years ago in the past. In the sense and balance of life that will always be relevant.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

Be ambitious to earn as well as give. Very few will give you or be willing to give you the platform you need.

Know who’s around you. We do not live in a utopian world. There are brothers and Friends and there is other. And there is the sharp ability to tell the difference.

Know the difference between constituents and confidants…

The first work with you and honor you. The other go above and beyond to make sure you are well.

You will always grow from mistakes. It’s just a learning process.

Be nobody but you. There is no other copy. That’s the greatest gift.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Simple. To love and respect all. Common sense but strange in today’s world. I see progress in it alone.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Currently on Facebook @Urbancry1978. It is the most current and developments will follow.

Video Promo: https://vimeo.com/301151508

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

And thank you for having me.

 

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