Trust the process and take the time to really ask yourself: “what is the best way to get from point A to point B?”

 

Moe Abbas is the CEO of GenM, where he and his team are building a free education system accessible to anyone. GenM is a platform where businesses help train students for the job market through free courses, work experience, and certifications. The training is remote and allows students to get a free and fast way to launch their career.

At nineteen years old, Moe founded his first two companies. Since then, he has founded or co-founded over a dozen startups which, over the last 10 years, have employed thousands in industries ranging from real estate, construction, web development, marketing, and mobile applications.

At 26 years old, Moe won the NKBA 30-under-30 award and was the youngest recipient ever of the OBJ 40-under-40 Award. He has also won the Immigrant Entrepreneur Award from the City of Ottawa.

On top of GenM, Moe is the Co-Founder of the Canadian General Contractors Group of companies. In 5 years, he led the group from a basement office to be Canada’s leading residential design-build company with 20 million in sales and design centers across the country.

Where did the idea for GenM come from?

In my first significant business, Ottawa General Contractors, it was me and a few friends in a basement office. We needed to grow our businesses but didn’t have any money. We were so broke that I literally ate canned beans for months.

What we would do to help us grow is work with students who volunteered in our company to gain work experience. We would train these students and help them launch their careers. For us, it was an affordable way to get help and find talent.

I did this for over a decade in many businesses until one day while working on a project with Richard, my co-founder, he turned to me and said: “Moe we have like 200 applicants for this volunteer internship position and everyone is telling us the same story about needing work experience. You’ve been helping launch these students careers for a decade, do you know the problem you’re helping them solve”?

That conversation turned into an investigation of the education system and the discovery that 56% of graduates are underemployed, and 73% are employed outside their field of studies. We asked ourselves: “what if other businesses can train students for the job market? What would the world look like then?” The answer to that was a global scale-free education system. A place where students are trained by industry for industry, faster than traditional education and for zero cost.

We decided to build that future.

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

I am very structured and disciplined.

I wake up, hit the sauna where I do yoga and a breathing routine for 25 minutes in 70-degree heat. I follow this with a cold shower and another type of breathing technique. Then I get into the office for 8 am to meet with my team.

A big part of my job is prioritizing, goal setting and holding people to a high standard. My actual tasks usually involve a mix of those, plus a lot of HR and the occasional investor relation. The team is everything to me so I spend a lot of time on them and on building out the team.

I eat the same veg stir fry, and salad every day that I custom build for maximum nutritional and energy output. I generally eat no carbs during the day and little food in general. I drink lots of black coffee and take an afternoon nap for 20-30 minutes. I then go back to my critical tasks. Around 4 pm, I hit the gym and come back to finish the last part of the day in the office.

On Mondays, I focus on work from 8-7 and do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after work to finish around 8:30 pm. Monday is #MondayGrindDay, a sacred day for entrepreneurship. I also don’t eat meat on Mondays.

I have a lot of rituals that are specific to certain states and days. Whenever I drive anywhere, I usually listen to an audiobook, or just sit in silence. I meet friends after work for dinner and then often take a warm bath with no phone before bed to rest and recoup for the next day.

Weekends are totally different schedules.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I surround myself with smart, motivated people in interesting environments. By working with and alongside some of the smartest and creative people I know, I am able to bring an idea to life.

What’s one trend that excites you?

In life, I am excited about nutrition and how everyone is starting to wake up to the power of food, specifically on how to optimize your gut microbiome. Exercise, proper eating, and general well-being is a major interest of mine.

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

I go to a sauna 5+ times a week and it has proven to be a valuable use of my time. I also eat the same food daily.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Trust the process and take the time to really ask yourself: “what is the best way to get from point A to point B?”

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

That post-secondary school is BS, but I think everyone is catching on to that now.

Other than that, I would probably say that happiness is a state, and not a goal. I see a lot of people with the goal of happiness but to me, that’s just a state that can be easily achieved should you master state.

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

Eat the same food that you handpick for your bodies needs. This will give you the same output consistently.

Also, compete often. Compete can be honed and optimized and is very valuable to winning in business.

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

Talking to customers and direct selling them.

Too many owners fail to directly communicate with their customers. If you can build client relationships, you can get referrals and grow or just sell and grow.

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

I picked the wrong partners.

I overcame it with great damage taken and it took years to fully recover from that bad partner. I have had friends as partners that were not the best entrepreneurs and I have had people I didn’t know that I partnered with. This was early in my career where I didn’t put enough weight on talent and was not experienced enough with people to judge abilities.

Now I have thousands of relationships and many partners I have worked with. I am much more careful and meticulous about who I surround myself with and I do still have friends as partners, but only when they were the best for the jobs – or we grew into friends after becoming partners.

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

A friend recently mentioned the value of roof spaces that can be leased out to generate power. I thought that was interesting.

I personally would suggest reselling mortgages or another high ticket item that is not very competitive and is consistently poorly done.

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

Inline skates. They are another exercising outlet for myself, will get me sub-10% body fat and allow me to get places.

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

Slack. I communicate a lot with my team and Slack allows me a complete vision into all departments on one great platform.

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

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.

Habits make up your life. If you can design good habits, you can ultimately create any type of life you want. This book was very helpful to me.

What is your favorite quote?

This changes quite often for me, but right now it is: “How you do anything is how you do everything”.

Key Learnings:

  • Pick the right partners.
  • Trust the process.
  • Surround yourself with smart, motivated people in interesting environments.

Connect:

www.genm.co
https://www.linkedin.com/in/moeabbas/
https://twitter.com/realmoeabbas