Read our recent interview with Ziad Barouni – Consultant & Coach in Storytelling, Entrepreneurship & Critical Thinking. Ziad shared with us his story of becoming an entrepreneur, advice for start-ups, and opinion about Volvero.
Tell us about your entrepreneurship journey.
I would say it started by coincidence when I created a blog in 2005. Few had blogs back then; I was just playing with it, checking what is this thing. Then I started writing a few articles… Within a few weeks, I saw more and more people that are interested in the kind of articles that I’m writing. A few months later, I quit my job and became a full-time blogger. However, it took me 18 months to build a team and have a real salary!
It was hard but worth it! We became one of the most famous 500 websites in the world according to Alexa, with a team of people working from across the globe covering all kinds of pop culture news, technology, and fashion.
Later, in 2015, I founded SnackableNews, a native advertising platform and this is when I started learning a lot about the world of startups, growth, scalability, the value of networking, raised funds successfully, won several awards… On top of all that, I would point to one thing that was the best thing that I learned during this journey; It’s the power of the story. It’s all about the story. That’s why I am today a full-time storytelling coach and entrepreneurship consultant.
“Just be yourself always. Don’t try to be another Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg. Otherwise, you’ll just be following someone else’s dream.”
How did you come to this idea of the importance of storytelling?
In simple words, it was the impact, you can see in a very short span of time, closing sales, building a stronger network, and seeing tangible results on people … We need to understand to buy anything, and storytelling makes it easy to tell stories that people understand, relate to and love to be part of.
“Sometimes there is too much noise, we go with the show and forget the fundamental of the whole thing: we’re trying to solve the problem for people.“
Based on your coaching experience, what is the most common problem start-ups have and what advice you would give to solve it?
I hate giving advice or just some motivational sentences, but what I would say is: Just be yourself always. Don’t try to be another Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg. Otherwise, you’ll just be following someone else’s dream. So in simple words, just be yourself.
Just try: validate your hypothesis before you go on with coding or building your product for several months. Go and talk to people, mingle, interview them but not just by asking the standard questions, make them feel comfortable, try to dig inside to see if the problem really exists.
Once you validate hypotheses, try to build a very first early prototype, you don’t need to do the whole thing, hustle with finding investment as if it is the very first step because it’s not. It should not be the first step. You don’t need that money to buy paper and a pen and just scratch a prototype or show the process that you’re thinking is able to solve the problem that you are aiming to solve.
That’s one thing that I will give as advice. Apps, websites, whichever platform are just tools. The real start-up, the real solution is the process of the steps. So show me the steps and how they are solving the problem, and I can guarantee that you will win.
Sometimes there is too much noise, we go with the show and forget the fundamental of the whole thing: we’re trying to solve the problem for people, make their lives better, even if we want to make money. At the end of the day, if people want to buy it, you will get the money. And if you’re not solving a problem for people, they wouldn’t care less about you. So it’s all about people.
“Volvero is a very much needed solution, especially today.“
What is your opinion about the solution that Volvero offers?
It is something very, very much needed now. If we look at my car: I come to the office at 8 a.m. in the morning and leave at 7 p.m. so it’s parked there all day and I have to pay for gas, maintenance stuff, etc. Moreover, with all the circumstances of the past year if I would be able to make some extra money I would be signing up for your service immediately. I think it’s a fantastic idea. I think you were able to take into consideration many of the concerns any car owner would have like: what about if an accident happens, what if the car is stolen, etc. and that’s where you provide insurance and tracking. So I very much like your business model. And again it’s a very much needed solution, especially today.
What’s in your future?
Coaching one on one, training and workshops are great, but to get a real value that will truly help you find your path of success and achieve great results, coaching one on one is the key 🙂