Izmaray Arsala – CEO Interview
When did you know you wanted to start your own company?
Ever since I was a kid I always aspired to start my own business and come up with something new that would provide solutions to existing problems. However, not knowing where to start and not having anyone around me that really was an entrepreneur, it seemed like an unreachable dream. So, I continued thinking about it and exploring it in my mind and I had discussions about business ideas with some friends occasionally. However, it never materialised until I finally started my own company.
What was your original idea for this company, and are you still doing that (or did you pivot, if so, what is the new focus and why)?
Absolutely! I pivoted many times, but my vision never changed. My original vision was to support educators to impart an engaging world-class learning experience. Although this vision hasn’t changed, I pivoted many times, because that’s surely part of coming to a business model that both suit your passion and skill set and that of the team, as well as actually adding value to the customer and ultimately to society. I believe that only when these aspects come together, through solving real problems, there is a fertile ground for a business to take off and flourish.
How long did it take you to finally take the leap, and what was it that pushed you over the fence?
Great mentors unlocked something inside me. These are people that were already entrepreneurs, in fact, they were fully living it. One of them is a great business man with an amazingly creative and entrepreneurial mind that will provide you a solution to any given situation, is always positive, and is never ever afraid to take risks, as long as he believes in the venture. Being around them daily for a long time is what naturally changed my mindset.
Who inspired you to pursue your dream, and why do you think they believed in you?
My parents, parents in-law, as well as my wife. They were always supportive even though they might not have understood what I was doing at times. That’s inspiring in and of itself. They believed in me, because they saw that I was very confident and was putting in everything I had to make it succeed.
Who is your favorite mentor and why?
Without a doubt Mr. Dakri – chairman of IQI Global and founder of the most amazing orphanage you will ever see. He taught me many valuable entrepreneurial life lessons that I remember every day.
What was the hardest thing about starting your company, and what did you do to make it through the first stage?
The hardest part is dealing with your own weaknesses. I surrounded myself with amazing people that were strong in those areas.
What has been the hardest lesson to learn?
Remaining balanced and managing time in order to give every responsibility its rights.
What has been the most amazing thing you have experience while running this company?
To work with great team members, to launch and deliver great solutions and add amazing value to our clients.
What is the weirdest thing you have experienced while running this company, and how did you react to it?
Being in a situation where we had to deliver a months work in days. We got it done with the help of a great team.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made while running this company?
Decide to “be a today-man, because tomorrow is for dead people”, as my mentor taught me. Still striving to be that every day.
What is the biggest mistake you made while running this company, and why do you think it happened?
Venturing into something that wasn’t feasible. At the time I didn’t question the idea enough. Now, I believe, I would question it and risk assess it much more thoroughly.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your company?
Business has continued and even grown throughout the pandemic, because of the nature of our business. It also opened our eyes to new opportunities, as “great treasures can be found in great challenges.”
What keeps you passionate about your company?
The vision, working with great people and the challenge of finding solutions every day.
What daily routine have you developed to help you take care of your mind, body, and soul?
My regular prayers, seeking knowledge, exercising, playing with my kids, eating healthy food and fasting. And then there’s the business in between all of those activities.
What one thing would you like people to take away from this interview?
Although “tomorrow is for dead people” you can’t continuously sprint. Make sure to balance all your affairs, because entrepreneurship is a marathon that you should enjoy.
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About the Community
On the podcast, Sean talks with entrepreneurs about the reality of their struggle to succeed, as well as answering questions from the community, and sharing nuggets of wisdom from his own life.
Discover through these amazing episodes the courage to open your mind, heart, and soul to the world so you can be the best entrepreneur possible, respect the people you work with, and improve the world with your company while not hurting others or yourself in the process.
Sean is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor based in SE Asia for over 12 years. He is passionate about Psychology and helping others improve themselves.