Change and adapt. Never be stubborn. When you see there is no market fit, change your model to adapt to the market. Don’t expect the market to adapt to your model.

 

Cyprus-born, Beirut-raised, and Brighton-based entrepreneur, Jad Mawlawi recognizes that human-to-human interaction is the winning formula in an economy with progressively declining margins.

 

During Jad’s upbringing, Lebanon was going through unstable political and economic times which left the country exhausted, bereft and disillusioned. In 2007, when Jad was just 17, he had tragically lost his brother to a rare form of cancer. This was a turning point in Jad’s life which pushed him to explore deep concepts that explain his purpose in life. This is, without a doubt, reflected in his approach and perception of life.

 

Following this private and collective tragedy, instead of remaining trapped between anger and hate, Jad sought to improve his quality of life on a personal and professional level. Thus, he channeled personal ambitions into his work while pursuing to add a spiritual dimension to his lifeand continuously aspiring to an ideal of peace and tolerance. This potent mix informs how he operates as an entrepreneur and influences his strong, imminent vision. After experimenting with various business ventures in Beirut, in his early 20s, Jad started his career in the financial scene, working with big players – successfully managing a multi-million-dollar portfolio of financial assets.

In 2013, the political and economic situations in Lebanon were deteriorating following the Syrian civil war. Consequently, and in the pursuance of his business objectives, Jad relocated to London. After moving to the United Kingdom and earning his BA in Business at the American International University in London, Jad spent two intense years representing Technosoft — an oil and gas technology company — in the MENA region. While gaining invaluable experience in international business development, Jad perfected his relationship management skills and also honed his natural knack for flexibility: an innate predisposition for agility is a quality embedded into every Lebanese person’s DNA!

2017 was another turning point in Jad’s life, he was determined that a successful innovative venture was the way to go. Combining his cultural upbringing – personal relationships play a pivotal role in Lebanese business culture – with his new project, Jad’s unique vision is set toward creating meaningful connections by incorporating the human element into business. Part of Jad’s beliefs is that the use of technology is not enough to gain competitive advantage. This leaves businesses no choice but to innovate elsewhere. Human connections are key here. According to Jad, to succeed today, you must be genuine and the best and most concrete channels to spread your message is through human endorsements. Today, only meaningful human connections can give a real edge.

After a fortuitous meeting with co-founder Gabe Banner, Jad became certain that leveraging influencers was the missing piece to the puzzle of building successful business strategies. In the current hectic world, where clicks and likes direct money flow, and where consumers grew progressively skepticaltoward traditional advertising, influencers nurture more trust than traditional forms of outreach, due to the human element they provide. However, Jad emphasizes that an influencer is not just a person with a huge following on social media. Everyone is an influencer in some way and businesses must account for this.

Jad is both a co-founder and CEO at Dooply — a cutting-edge and rapidly growing influencer marketing startup based in Brighton, UK. Dooply is one of the only startups in the UK that has a positive cash flow without support from external investors 6 months after start.

Where did the idea for Dooply come from?

Every viable business idea comes from a need in a specific market. The marketing industry has gone and is still going through structural changes. This creates opportunities and eliminates others. Dooply as a concept was and still is a bundle of ideas. The overall vision is to adapt continuously to these changes and always strive to optimize our client’s marketing strategies. Our dynamic and agile business model allows us to formulate and implement unconventional marketing strategies tailored to our client’s needs. So, in a nutshell, the idea emerged from the continuous challenges conventional marketing is facing.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

A typical day starts with my ritual. The ritual involves a five-minute meditation and thinking of all the blessings I have. The key is to feel grateful to life for what I have. This routine makes me focus on the positives of life and encourages me to celebrate a new day to fight. As a result of all the distractions around me, I try to focus on three major tasks to complete every day. I firmly believe that to be productive, you need to detach yourself from distractions like emails, calls, text messages, and social media platforms. Once my three daily major tasks are completed, I try to give myself time to think about ideas to optimize my performance and that of my team’s. The next day I put the ideas into action, test them, and either leave them or take them. Being the CEO of a startup compels me to focus on the long-term vision more than the daily operations and this needs a clear mind.

How do you bring ideas to life?

First, I make an overall practical strategy comprising of plans needed to put the idea into action. Second, I break the plans into tasks. I then recruit the right people to execute these tasks. Once we start getting the feel of how the idea will look like in the physical world, I formulate a new strategy based on whatever experience we have collected in the previous phase. This cycle is perpetual.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Marketing is going back to its human roots. I am fascinated by the fact that no matter how technologically sophisticated we become, we will still be humans and the fundamentals stay the same. Today, human interaction and social networking are in the heart of marketing. Consequently, marketing is in the heart of humans as well. From my experience, today, it is easier for you to promote a person with a genuine cause than to promote a product or a service. Personal branding is the ultimate tool to succeed in anything, business or otherwise. Look at the current US president Donald Trump. With all the negative connotations associated with his name and image, he still won the presidency and he is still doing fine. The reason is that the man has been investing in his personal brand since the 70’s. Of course, after the coming of social media, personal branding became more significant, however, in essence, a solid and well-presented personal brand is a priceless asset that can last forever, even after your death.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Being just productive doesn’t make you a successful entrepreneur. There should be a balance between productivity and creativity. Ironically, the more productive you are, the less creative you become. Interestingly, my productivity – creativity balance is regulated by the sun.

When the sun is up during the day, I am productive, I work to achieve objectives, realize ideas and transform them into reality. There is definitely a correlation between the energy radiated from the sun and human productivity. When the sun goes down (during the night), I brainstorm, generate ideas, judge my actions, my ideas, assess my performance in the day, try to put myself into people’s eyes, criticize my actions, my plans, and train myself to alter my normal state of mind to try to get an “out of the box” perspective. The night is silent, and silence is needed for deep thinking and creative approach to ideas. Most inspirations come at night. The next day I wake up and use whatever ideas I have accumulated in the previous night transforming the creativity into productivity.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t let your emotions make decisions on your behalf.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

We are not alone.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Change and adapt. Never be stubborn. When you see there is no market fit, change your model to adapt to the market. Don’t expect the market to adapt to your model.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Create a genuine cause, and make people endorse it.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I am a perfectionist. I would say that my biggest failure in the past was that I tried to come up with the best business idea without understanding what my clients needed.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Sleeping spas in locations near offices and corporations. A place where businesswomen, businessmen and entrepreneurs can go to for a good one-hour sleep during their lunch break. In these Spas, the main focus is to give them an amazing sleeping experience that can refresh their mental state so that they can be more productive in the rest of their day. In these spas, there will be very comfortable beds and silent rooms or sleeping music. The temperature will be just perfect.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A good professional massage.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Monday.com. It helps me manage and track my tasks as well as my team’s tasks. It can help manage execution effectively.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Epic of Gilgamesh because it offers a lot to learn for humans when it comes to accepting our reality of mortality. We will die one day, and we must accept that.

What is your favorite quote?

Work for your life as if you will live forever. Work for your legacy as if you will die tomorrow.

Key Learnings:

  • People going back to their human roots, and that’s great.
  • Don’t let your emotions make decisions on your behalf.
  • Change and adapt. Never be stubborn.

Connect:

https://www.dooply.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jad-mawlawi-a55b72159/