I love learning from people. I don’t think humans do it enough. Google is super neato and all but there is something special about learning from people who have lived through the things you have questions about. There are life and career hacks out there that the internet just does not teach you! This is especially true when it comes to experiences like starting your own business. Where do you begin? How do you avoid setbacks? How do you find opportunities? Of course, you can read multiple books and articles with “answers” to these questions, but how do you get actual, real-life tips to avoid speed bumps? Tarek Kamil, founder and president of Cerkl has gained knowledge and learned lessons that can help people with drive, ambition and correct mindsets to be a successful entrepreneur.
Cerkl is a newsletter, but not one that you want pitch when it slides into your inbox. It is a personalized newsletter. What if there was a way to get information you cared about, from the organizations that matter to you, at times and in formats that work for your life? That is what Cerkl has set out to do. It’s not practical to assume that everyone wants to read the same things from an organization or like getting emails at the same time. Newsflash: people, as a whole, should not be treated as a passive audience. We like to interact, even virtually, and we will avoid absorbing information that is not pertinent to our lives.
One-to-many communication doesn’t fly anymore, and Cerkl is on a mission to give people information based on their interests and life structure. Let’s say I was a Cerkl user and listed my interests as startups, startupcincy, entrepreneurship, etc. I am not going to get a newsletter about what’s going on in the world of Macy’s or other big corps. Based on my interests, I am going to get information on things like the new Brandery class, HackOTR and events going on at UpTech…all things that I WANT to read.
This idea is awesome, and so is Tarek. Cerkl is so in touch with the way consumers think, how they interpret what is thrown at them and what their needs are. In order to make Cerkl as successful as possible, Tarek has had to absorb and learn from all of his experiences, challenges and learning moments. As a serial entrepreneur, he has had the chance to learn a lot and use those insights to make Cerkl truly meaningful. Here are the three best things I learned from Tarek on being a successful entrepreneur:
1. Be passionate. I’ve said this a lot, but when starting your own business, you can’t say it enough. You will be pouring your whole life into your business, which means you have to have the right mindset. If you are into starting a business for the potential money or fame, than you will fail. In fact, if you take any job just as a resume booster without truly loving you are doing, chances are that you will not find any fulfillment. In order to stay focused on your goals with your business, it is imperative that your heart is in it and you want to effect the lives of others through solving their problems.
2. Be fast and be engaged. Startups don’t have a lot of resources, like money or people. It kinda sucks, but having little to work with has it’s perks…you have the ability to move fast. Faster than big companies that have a lot of layers and processes to work through. In a startup, you have the power to make a decision quickly in order to keep moving. It doesn’t have to be a perfect decision, but it needs to be one that allows you to keep taking action steps. As the company gets bigger, it is important to trust your employees and stay engaged with the company in order to keep moving fast and so that the company sticks to it’s roots and your original passion.
3. Be positive. Tarek had my wheels spinning with this statement: remember to always show gratitude and show positivity in any situation because that’s where happiness comes from…not material things. It can be easy for people, especially millennials, to find happiness in material things or instant gratification. There is something special and transforming about learning to find beauty in the moments that are frustrating or ambiguous. Remember to be thankful for the blessings around you and the people around you. Before you rush to be angry at someone, look at the situation from their perspective. Think about how you can make a negative situation have a positive result.
After spending just an hour with Tarek, I am amazed at what I learned and, what I can now carry with me in not only my career, but life in general. Like all the other amazing professionals I have met this summer, Tarek is someone who values learning and taking life’s setbacks and challenges and using them as chances to improve. This entrepreneurial mindset is easier said than done, but once implemented, there’s no stopping you from getting a head start on achieving your goals.