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In this series, I interview the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs. Today, I had the pleasure of chatting with Ibrahim Al-Haidos.
Ibrahim is the Founder of Fursan, a luxury handbag brand. His journey from being employed as an engineer to owning his own global brand just might inspire you to continue to chase your entrepreneurial dreams.
Here’s what he shared with me.
John White: Your career can serve as a model for those who desire to transition from having a job to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Can you tell us about your journey from engineering to becoming a fashion designer and founder of a luxury brand?
Ibrahim Al-Haidos: Smart professionals are those who deploy the skills they have learned.
Since I graduated from the University of Liverpool in the northwest of England in 2009, I joined the Capital Projects Department at Qatar Foundation, which was responsible for building projects for Education City in Qatar, a unique city of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser’s futuristic vision.
As an engineer in the Qatar Foundation, I had the opportunity to attend all types of workshops, meet designers, signature architects and international architecture firms and exchange conversations and knowledge.
I was able to meet interior designers from different backgrounds and specialties, for automobiles, trams, and aircrafts’ interior designers and buildings.
So I used that experience to sculpt my idea of creating FURSAN.
Ibrahim’s best advice for potential entrepreneurs
John White: What’s your top piece of advice for people wanting to transition away from working for other people at a job to becoming an entrepreneur?
Ibrahim Al-Haidos: Always be learning new skills and utilize all of the resources you have available at your current position to gain the skills you need to be able to realize your dream.
In addition to knowledge and experience, entrepreneurship is a combination of a strong desire of achieving success and passion for what you do. If you are not crazy in love with your business idea, do not proceed!
I have met many people who moan and complain about having another business besides their jobs for years. These type of entrepreneurs have never been able to make any measurable achievements towards hitting their objectives.
I’ve spent time with them in brainstorming sessions and have tried to inspire them through chatting with them. However, if they don’t have an immense passion for their business idea, they never make any progress. It’s just not for them!
Meanwhile, on the other hand, I’ve met people who are turning their dreams into reality and growing by leaps and bounds. These are people who do more than talk. They follow through on what they say they are going to do and when they say they will do it by.
Successful entrepreneurs are willing to take a few well-calculated risks to be able to pursue their dream.
They are never threatened or jealous by the success of others. Instead, they see other people’s success as a learning opportunity to improve their business.
Every entrepreneur must understand their why
John White: It’s always said that successful entrepreneurs have a full understanding of their “why.” So, tell us, why did you make the move from engineering to luxury fashion brand designer and owner?
Ibrahim Al-Haidos: A quote from my studies of American Literature comes to mind, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you figure out why.” -Mark Twain
I’ve had some incredible female mentors in my family who have taught me so much over the years. It was on my travels with family in Europe that I discovered my passion for high-quality fashion items. What can I say; women like to window shop, and they took me along with them!
I’ve always believed that women are the crown jewel of every society. It was out of the respect for my female mentors that I created a fashion brand. We employ mostly women. My plan is to provide more and more jobs for women as the Fursan brand grows worldwide.
Social media should be used as a tool for growth for entrepreneurs
John White: Let’s talk growth. You’ve used social media to help create an impressive personal brand that other entrepreneurs can learn from. Can you tell us why you’ve chosen social media as a tool for growth?
Ibrahim Al-Haidos: Social media is not just a hobby or something used to pass the time when waiting in line somewhere. It is the dominant tool for business networking, and those who are good at it control the market. We are in a smart devices era where information is available in seconds.
People are addicted to their phones and are always looking at them. Smartphone addiction has affected the advertising business, advertisements on billboards have almost vanished, and printed publication are struggling in large part because digital publications can be easily distributed on social media in real-time.
Social media is now the tool to show people who you are, and it’s a chance to present the best of yourself and your brand to the world.
Ibrahim shares one final branding tip for entrepreneurs
John White: Last, please leave us with your top power tip for other entrepreneurs who are using social media for branding and making big career moves.
Ibrahim Al-Haidos: You asked for one tip. I’m going to give you three!
1) When it comes to using social media for power networking, you always want to over-deliver to your network. (See what I did there!?)
2) Don’t be afraid to share your experience with the world. Let your customers see the real you.
3) Success on social media for entrepreneurs is about consistency. Develop a theme and strategy for your accounts. Then, be consistent with your execution.