Being a First Time Founder

Ahlaam A Ibraahim
Jul 21 · 4 min read

For those who may not know, I run a Muslim Marketing Agency called Third Kid Culture. We manage Muslim influencers, provide digital services to businesses and do consulting to help brands understand their ideal Muslim consumer. From the title and simple observance of our site, one might assume things are going great! I constantly get stopped at grocery stores or get long messages praising me for my work and overall company launch. What folks don’t understand is the reality of running a business. This is the same reality I never really was told or prepared for as a first time founder. In an honor of me launching a blog again, I decided to discuss five things I learned after launching my agency Third Kid Culture.

Imposter Syndrome:

Throughout my life I thought of myself as a confident person. I woke up thinking I knew it all and life was mainly a breeze looking back now. That feeling, went away when I launched Third Kid Culture. I started doubting myself and really thinking of myself in such a bad light. The main issue being I assumed I needed to know every services and topic in marketing. I forgot that as a CEO you’re always learning and saying you don’t know is not the end of the world. Fighting imposter syndrome, has been really hard. I still wake up some days feeling horrible and hurt myself by putting myself down and not being confident in my work. An advice I got has been reminding myself and the client my worth. The main issue being many clients think it’s okay to shut down your expertise and belittle them. The reality being, they’re doing that because of their own insecurities. Sometimes I have to remind myself, they’re hiring me to do these services because they clearly suck at it(sorry but not sorry). They truly need me and it shows. It’s a simple reminder but it truly helps me.

Team dynamics:

Another thing they don’t tell you is team dynamics! You launch a business and assume everyone on the team have the same vision, excitement or work ethic for the company. That is a lie! Nobody will believe in your company more than you. Nobody will be willing to put in more hours or excited than you. I think as a first time founder this hurts and you start getting angry at your team if they aren’t like you.. Before you judge someone’s work ethic remind yourself that nobody will be you. In addition, make it clear who you want on your team. For me, I made it clear from the jump; I want self starters on my team. I don’t want someone who can’t take initiative and lead. That’s something our team values because of our environment, if someone doesn’t have that we know we need to either separate ways or have a conversation. The past four months haven’t been easy, I fired two close friends of mine. I sat in meetings getting yelled at for mistakes my team did. I lost money because of a horrible team dynamic, you truly have to be honest with yourself and get rid of whatever is holding back your company.

Patience

Growing up in the technology boom has made it so hard for me to understand being patient. I’m so used to everything being fast paced and never waiting on anything. In the world of business, it’s almost the opposite. Example being, for Third Kid Culture, we had a huge vision to work with Fortune 500 companies on launching campaigns with more Muslim representation. That vision required putting in the time, effort and hard work to actually make it a reality. It’s not going to happen overnight and it won’t be easy. You truly have to be patient and love the path you have to go through to get there. I still am mastering the skill of patience and falling in love with the process and not the vision. Many first time founders struggle with this, I would advise looking into Warren Buffet 5 of 25 method. This method allowed me to focus and not be so hard on myself.

Morals:

As a person of faith and overall decent human being, my morals and ethics are non-negotiable. I’ve been raised on them and truly believe they’re important. In the world of business, I noticed and been advised so many times to cut corners or take the easier path. This makes me disgusted to know it’s a norm. The past four months, I noticed why the Prophet SAW said you really don’t know a person until you do business with them. For all the first time founders, again I would emphasize taking the long road and not giving up your beliefs for a few deals. You’re bigger than that and understand cutting corners will hurt you in the future. It’s never a good idea.

Accountability:

The hardest part about being a CEO or first time founder is truly holding yourself accountable. Many times, it’s easier to point fingers at team members or clients for mistakes. You truly have to step back every week and analyze your role. Are you truly giving each client the experience and services you would want? Are you being a good boss, colleague and manager? These are things I ask myself everyday and remind my team. It helps me get better and less anxious about the processes. Being honest about your shortcomings not only helps you but your overall company flourish.

That’s all from me today! I hope you all enjoyed this quick little read. I hope to blog more throughout the summer and be consistent! Send me any recommendations or topics you all want me to cover. Last but not least, make sure to follow @ThirdKidCulture on all social platforms and contact us if you need help with anything marketing!

Var City UW

Empowering the University of Washington’s Computer Science, Informatics and Human-Centered Design community

Ahlaam A Ibraahim

Written by

Running @thirdkidculture and trying to find keto friendly food.

Var City UW

Empowering the University of Washington’s Computer Science, Informatics and Human-Centered Design community

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