5 Lessons I Learned in My First Entrepreneurial Year

The photo contains young people working on mapping
Photo is taken during my first participation as an organizer for a bootcamp for youth to foster their entrepreneurial skills, in summer 2015

Entrepreneur - I remember the first time I heard this word I hoped that being one is not as hard as pronouncing it.

When we are little angels (kids), all we dream of is growing up to be distinguished doctors, creative engineers, innovative teachers or even inspiring artists. But how many of us ever aspired to be an entrepreneur? My guess is, not many.

Perhaps the reason is that we, as Arabs and especially Syrians who are residing in the Arab shell, still lack role models of successful Syrian entrepreneurs. A lack of mentors and hardship in accessing information are other reasons to build a more solid brick in front of our high ambitions.

Are those glorious successful entrepreneurs born entrepreneurs already? Or did they, like everybody else, realize in the middle of their journey that they had bitten more than they could chew?

I’m not trying to convince the reader that it is easy to be one. Nevertheless, I want you to believe that it is not impossible.

Here are 5 lessons I learned - I summed up for you what I have acquired from my personal experience throughout the past year. I also added a couple of lessons that I happily learned during Jusoor’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in early 2016.


1. Ask, ask and ask

I know it sounds a little embarrassing for some people to ask, but it is the only way you can learn from others’ experiences. If you think you know everything, you are wrong. The key to a successful entrepreneur is asking.

While you might think that asking too many questions will make you sound goofy, it will make you earn people’s recognition - for yourself and for the idea.

Advice: Make your questions direct and meaningful and learn from the answer.


2. Turn into a bookworm

Go to the library and get some expensive books or download them for free. It doesn’t matter. What matters is to support your practical experience with academic knowledge. Because whatever strategy these outstanding entrepreneurs applied to their businesses, it must be written somewhere, with some modifications of course.

If you are still hesitating what is the best book you should start with, ASK.


3. Get a team and a mentor

However, be picky. Your core team should be people who believe in the cause you are working for, whether it is a business or a social project.

You can’t do things alone. Even if you think you can, you can’t. I fooled myself thinking so before. So I know what I’m talking about.

Co-founder(s) and other team members are there to help you fill in the areas where you lack knowledge, skills, expertise, and creativity. It is not easy to get people and trust them. But it is essential.

Then, make sure you have a mentor; a personal and a professional mentor. If you want to grow bigger then you need mentorship and wise guidance. It doesn’t have to be a person with white hair, nor someone with multiple PhDs. It can be someone who you trust and is willing to give a good listening ear and an honest advice.


4. Don’t hold your tongue on great ideas

Share! I mean your idea won’t get stolen just because you shared it. In fact, sharing will give you more advantages than disadvantages.

For instance, sharing will allow your idea to evolve. You will hear many suggestion and opinions on how you can do better. These are all extra features that you can add in the future. Moreover, sharing will put you one step ahead in the competition.


5. Google it

While you might think that you just had an idea that no one ever had before, you are mistaken. The world’s population today exceeds 7.3 billion, and it is increasing. So your idea is not alone.

Go to google search bar, type in your idea’s name, the service you want to provide or any other keyword and enjoy the pre-tested versions of your product.


Eventually, you won’t find a concrete manual on how to be a number one entrepreneur. But you can do what I just did above - live your own experience and share it. It might look small to you at the beginning. You might also think that it is not worth sharing. But always remember, there is no story like the other and you deserve to have your own.

Syrian Arab Republic