These are a few interview style questions that we put to our very own Mehram Sumray-Roots about her battle with work life balance as the Product Director of yada Events app.
Start-up projects and entrepreneurship are a big talking point this year with a move away from faceless corporate jobs towards the dream of ‘making your stamp on your industry’. But what is it really like for a young adult trying to make their way in an ever-condensing market of tech brands and influencers? Read Mehram’s answers to find out.
What is your role now and what are the main responsibilities for you?
My actual role is Product Director but because I work for my family company I tend to do a little bit of everything, from marketing and sales all the way through to admin and making coffee. I wouldn’t change anything though because I like to be busy and this way I get to learn a lot about every aspect of running a business.
How long have you been doing this for and what did you do before?
I have now been working here for over a year (woop!). The idea for the app only came about early last May so to have seen it through its first year is a huge achievement as many startups (especially tech startups) tend to fail in either their first or fifth year. Before this I was a student at The University of Leeds where I did Italian and Spanish.
Can you think of any key challenges you had to overcome and how did you battle them to get to where you are?
There have been a lot of challenges along the way. As a startup you face a lot of negativity and skepticism at times even from your friends and family, but the best thing to do is to use that to push you to make whatever it is that you’re doing work. Every challenge or mistake is a learning opportunity and people won’t remember your failures, they will only remember your achievements.
What is the dream, or where would you like to see yourself in five or ten years?
In five years I hope that we will be able to achieve our roadmap at the very least and become a success in the UK if not internationally. In 10 years I hope to be at the stage where I can pretend to work but really do nothing whilst I sip cocktails poolside and bask in some tropical sunshine.
How do you find balancing lifestyle and downtime with your job?
I used to be terrible at it. I would be sat at a family lunch or drinks with friends and answer my emails or retweet something if it appeared. I definitely get that trait from my dad but I have really made an effort to stop doing that. I no longer respond to emails out of working hours unless they are urgent because I need a break too. If you don’t take that time off, then you won’t feel refreshed for the working week ahead and you will eventually burn yourself out.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young spark looking to start their business, what would that be?
Talk to as many people as you can and attend lots of networking events before investing in your idea. Market feedback is really important and if you write down all of the suggestions that people give you, you will soon find that you have hundreds of ideas and improvements you hadn’t even thought about. Don’t let people put you off though because if you really believe something could be a success and you are willing to work hard at it, it will become a reality.
And finally, what do you think is the best part about being an upcoming, self-employed business owner right now?
The best thing about it is that you can have lots of fun and meets lots of new people. Especially in big cities like London, the opportunities to build connections are endless and the majority of people are warm, welcoming and wish you all the best for the future. The perks of working hard are being able to treat yourself, whether that’s with some well-earned time off or a well-deserved cocktail at the end of the day.
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