The challenges and benefits of starting my own business

I always wanted to start my own business, to do something innovative and special in the domain of programming and technology. The thought of working in a big company, climbing the corporate ladder, was never a dream of mine, nor an objective I aspired to attain.

after graduating from university with a degree in Computer Science, I worked for around 2 years as a full-time developer, after that, I left to pursue a career as a freelance developer for few years, then I co-founded Menaversity and later I started Qualtech, a full-service digital agency.

The journey was never easy, my friends and family, were supportive, but many of them also shared their honest and genuine feedback, which was a variation of:

“What the f**k are you doing !!! Go get a REAL job with an income that doesn’t involve following up with clients all day long, and programming all night till the next morning !!”

For years I barely had enough money to survive, most of the income that I get from my early clients, I spent paying for my business expenses (rent, servers, etc..). Having hundreds of dollars as monthly expenses without any fixed income is no FUN at all !

Programming by itself can be very stressful sometimes (though I love programming), add to it the fact that I was working to build a business then add to all that sleepless nights and you can get a rough idea how messed up my life was ‘perceived’.

But, despite all that, I enjoyed what I am doing, because I have a vision and a goal and because along the way I learned a lot, and these are some of the great stuff I experienced (whether as a co-founder at Menaversity or as a founder at Qualtech):

 

1- Speaking in front of a crowd

Yes, talking in front of a crowd can be an intimidating experience, and no matter how much I am confident about my idea or performance, I always feel the stress and the fast heartbeats before speaking, whether the talk was in front of a large audience like at Arabnet (watch video here) or in front of a smaller crowd, but once I start talking, the stress starts to disappear and I become more confident and excited.
The moment I am on stage is very symbolic to me, it is a validation that it was totally worth it. All the working hours, the frustration, the sleepless nights, the anxiety, the excitement that is mixed with a feeling of whether anyone actually cares or not, all of that starts to make sense.

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Talking about Menaversity at Arabnet 2015 – Photo courtesy: Arabnet
2- Participating in competitions and winning them

While we were working at Menaversity, we participated in different competitions (Hackathon, PitchFest,…), The competition atmosphere is stressful, yet amazing, especially when we win 😎 !

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Presenting Menaversity at DevAppLB Hackathon, AltCity, March 2013 (we won 2nd place here)
3- The excitement of meeting people from different backgrounds

What I love about starting Qualtech digital agency is the diversity of my clients. I feel excited when I meet a new client, because I enjoy learning about new industries, this keeps me energized and motivated. In addition, it is always a good idea to be well connected with people from different domains and backgrounds.

4- Survival by continuous learning

The darkest moments for me were also the most crucial to my success. Of course I panic and get angry sometimes, especially when I work so hard and finish so many projects, and in the end, I look at my bank account and realize that I can barely pay the expenses for next month.. But in these moments, I become very creative, and I start to learn more and more, about marketing, sales, and I start to draw plans in order to get more income for my business to survive. These moments aren’t easy, but each time I overcome a new obstacle, I realize I am a step closer to sustain my business.

5- Applying my love for reading to the business

My close friends know how much I enjoy reading, from psychology to marketing to human behavior. I just love learning new stuff! And by running my own business, I was finally able to benefit from this curiosity in an applicable way. of course, I still delegate the tasks that are outside the scope of my expertise but it is always nice to chat and exchange ideas with people I work with in order to build the best solution.

 

These were some of the stuff I love about having my own business, you might have totally different ones, but that’s the beauty of it, every story is different and if having your own business is your goal, I hope this post helps you to proceed with your vision.

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