Interview with Mohammed.
Mohammed Aljlal is an entrepreneur who is a member of the Invest Ottawa Accelerator program. He is currently working on a project set to revolutionize the way computer technicians provide quality service to customers.
Question 1: Tell us a little bit about yourself; what are you’re working on, where are you from, and what’s your background.
“I’m originally from Yemen but I moved to Canada about 6 years ago. I have finished my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. I graduated last year and after graduating I worked for a year and a half in a computer store as an IT technician. I loved IT but I have always been an entrepreneur, even though I wasn’t working as one. But during school and before that I always had that theme of being an entrepreneur: to design something new, to be my own boss, and to have my own thing that I bring to the world. To control my own life, and to be able to live the way that I want.”
Question 2: What motivated you to become an entrepreneur? Why?
There are actually many reasons why but I think the main one is that I love to do this. It’s more risk, more difficult. You fail a lot. This is not my first project, this is my third one. When I fail, the next day I start again. It’s a lifestyle, and a lot of people think that they can’t do it. They fail, but failing is not a failure unless you give up. That’s how I think. As long as you have it inside of you that you want to do something, you will be able to achieve it one day. I always see it as connecting dots. For example, I went through engineering and I grabbed some ideas from there, then I worked in a computer store and I grabbed some ideas from there. I travel a lot, and every time that I travel I get to meet people and ask them questions – sometimes they are weird questions, but I see them as dots. I connect them all, and from them I make my own project. I always encourage my friends to not stay home, to not watch TV shows and movies, and to get out and try something new. This is how you get the life experiences that will help you.
Question 3: So you said that you studied for a civil engineering degree. Do you think the university experience has influenced or helped you at all?
What engineering has helped me with is to develop skills and to be hard working. When studying engineering you have no life. You have your library, your book, your school and that’s it. You have to be committed; you have to work really hard if you want to be able to graduate. I learned to be hardworking, be a critical thinker, among other skills. I think engineering could be the best major that an entrepreneur could go to.
You mentioned that you’ve worked on 3 different projects. Was there a time where you were about to give up being an entrepreneur?
Question 4: Entrepreneurship has its ups and downs, did you ever have a down where you thought, “this isn’t for me, I’m going to quit?”
That’s usually when you have typical friends who like to go to a typical school and then have a typical job and a typical life. My friends sometimes say what are you doing? Just go find a job. Work. Look at us, we are happy! We go and we work from 9 to 5 and then we go home. I wake up at 6am and I leave to go home at 11 pm, and I like it.
Question 5: Was there a specific moment where you felt really down?
Rarely. But I love this.
Question 6: So what do you do when you feel down? How do you get back on your feet?
There was a moment of my life that was really, very painful. It is a personal issue. But during that difficult time I found a place inside me that I go to, that I find really comforting and I feel safe and am enjoying myself. That place was entrepreneurship. So every time that I feel down I remember that there is a part, if I go to it, which is enjoyable.
Question 7: So for most people their emotions are like a roller coaster regarding entrepreneurship, but for you entrepreneurship brings you to the highest point?
Question 8: What would be a tip that you would give to entrepreneurs?
Just work. Whenever you are down, work. I find a lot of videos on YouTube that are very encouraging. Just keep going after entrepreneurship and you will find a lot of people encouraging you, pushing you.
Question 9: Is there any quote that you love that you feel you can relate to?
“We are leaders who engage the Force for good; who are unreasonable in our expectations and demands of ourselves; and who are constantly training ourselves to be in that magical state where this force is flowing through us. And, as a result, we awaken all those around us.”
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