Raya Khashab – CEO and Co-Founder of ezClocker

Life is about the ups and downs and everything in between and to be happy you have to embrace all the frustrations, the wins, and losses that come with starting a business.

Raya is the CEO and co-founder of ezClocker a time sheet and scheduling software for small businesses. She is passionate about customers and building products that change the way people run their business. She is also a big supporter of the startup community and helping people achieve their dreams. Raya co-founded ezClocker to help small business owners manage their team’s time using an affordable easy to use solution. When she is not working, she is either listening to a podcast, spending time with family and friends, or traveling the world.

Where did the idea for ezClocker come from?

The idea started with me being interested in senior home healthcare software because of my grandmother who was in an assisted living home at the time. I interviewed several home healthcare business owners and got the idea that employees can check/clock in when they arrive at a patient’s house by using their phone and the GPS will tell the business owner if they arrived. At the time it was just an idea and one day during a networking event, I was sharing this idea with a group of entrepreneurs and a business owner approached me afterwards saying she loved the idea of clocking in/out using GPS but she owns a medical center and can we create a time tracking that works for any small business, not just home health care? and that’s where we pivoted and ezClocker was born to be a time tracking and scheduling software for all type of small businesses.

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

I start my day by doing some morning stretches and breathing, I make my coffee and then start my work day. As a startup founder, my day can range from writing content for our blog, guest posting, talking to customers, checking with contractors or helping out with engineering tasks. I’ve found that I’m more productive if I divide my weeks into themes, one week for marketing tasks, another week improving our product and another for releases and planning tasks, instead of changing context during the day where I used to do engineering tasks in the morning and content writing in the afternoon. I find focusing on one theme per week is better.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Our ideas come from two sources: either directly from our customers where they ask for a feature or when we notice something from our data analytics tools. A best practice we’ve adopted is anytime we have an idea we add it to the bucket list and then when it’s time to pick the next feature to develop we prioritize the list and pick the one that had the most customers requests or will have the biggest impact on the growth of the company.

What’s one trend that excites you?

People now can work from anywhere using technology, you can have remote employees anywhere in the world and not need to be physically there to make sure the work is done. How we work today is different than 20 years ago and will be even more different 20 years in the future. This creates endless opportunities.

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

I wake up early at the same time every day even on weekends so my body is on autopilot and I don’t feel sleepy or tired on Mondays because I slept in over the weekend. I also try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Build it and they will come is a myth. Building a great product is essential but knowing how to market and sell it is what’s going to make all the difference in your survival rate as a startup company. So do marketing early.

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

Life is about the ups and downs and everything in between and to be happy you have to embrace all the frustrations, the wins, and losses that come with starting a business.

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

I take 30 minutes walks every day and listen to a podcast that will either teach me something new or motivate me to push harder. It lets me step away from the daily grind to clear my head and having someone in my ears telling me their entrepreneur story and what they’ve learned helps re-energize me. I’m currently listening to eofire.com which is a daily podcast interviewing successful entrepreneurs.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Support is as important as the product. When you first start a SaaS company you will have problems, the server goes down one day or customers find a defect but support is what will keep those customers and by giving them the best service you can they will reward you with a great review or recommend other people to use your product (word of mouth).

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

My first business was a small jewelry website where we sold jewelry made out of eco-friendly materials. We started it on a whim, didn’t really have a plan on how to grow it or what our vision for the company was. Ultimately the business failed but I learned a ton from it which I applied it when I started ezClocker. Every experience you go through just makes you better the next time.

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

A delivery tracking system for small businesses, not just for their backend office to keep track but for their customers too. This can be a local flower shop or a handyman business where a customer who ordered a product or service can sign into a website or app and get a real-time estimate of when it will arrive. UPS and other big companies have this capability but not small businesses at an affordable price.

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

The Dallas Entrepreneur Center offers a package for startups where you pay $100 for a year and you get unlimited access to mentors and that has been invaluable to me. I meet with mentors on a regular basis, get feedback and bounce ideas off of. Without the mentors in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

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

I use Brain.fm when I want to dedicate time to complete a task and be totally focused on it. Brain.fm provides music designed for the brain (generated by an AI they’ve invented) to improve focus, relaxation & sleep. I use it when I need to concentrate on writing a blog post or write code. I love the countdown timer feature too because it allows me to break down my work into chunks of time and when the timer ends the music stops so I don’t have to keep my eye on the clock to know when to pause my work. At first, it’s a little strange when you hear the music going from one side of your brain to the other but you will get used to it.

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

“E-Myth” by Michael Gerber is a book I read it 10 years ago and it still has an impact on me today. A great book where it teaches you how we have a tendency to open a business that we have the technical skills for but not the business. Gerber makes the case that to run a business you need a whole other type of skills not just your technical skills.

What is your favorite quote?

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

You look at a lot of successful people like athletes and think to yourself: they were born with certain skills that made them successful but the truth is they didn’t just wish or want the success to happen they made it happen by working hard on it every day. They practiced day in and day out and the same applies to entrepreneurship.

Key learnings:

  • Find a mentor(s) it’s essential to your business success.
  • Your best ideas will come from your customers, ask them on a regular basis on what they need? and encourage them to give you feedback.
  • Co-founders should be involved with customer support from the beginning because that’s where you’ll truly learn about your customers.
  • A lot of people wish they start a business and become millionaires but only those who persist will make it happen.


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