Amina is one of the young (and enthusiastic) entrepreneurs I know. I have witnessed her journey from student to become an entrepreneur.
She’s a born entrepreneur and made her first income when she was in grade 6. Amazing!
I recently had an opportunity to talk to her and we have a lot to learn from her and she will be sharing some things with us in this interview.
Yeah! I know you, but by chance, my readers may not know you. Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
Amina: I have recently turned 22, and some people would categorize my title as a “student entrepreneur”.
I was born in magnificent Mumbai and based in the marvelous city of Dubai. Most of my life I’ve been wandering, unsettled, and a misfit apart from one thing being constant – marketing.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of what makes a person purchase something. And out of a sea of people (read: brands), how is it that there’s a few that outshines everyone else. What kind of battle is this?
Only in recent years, I have concluded its an art. And I’m an artist at heart who carries her brain along. I’m a branding enthusiast and making things famous is my talent.
How did you get into digital marketing and branding? What steps did you take?
Amina: As for what steps I took to grow as a professional in this field – I gave up.
I would spend hours either clueless or overwhelmed when researching and trying to learn how can I be the “best marketer”. The more I learned something, the more I’d get overwhelmed that there’s so little that I know.
The background the most of us desi kids come from, does not encourage practical experience.
We are expected to spend 25 years learning from the books and suddenly thrown into the race we don’t even know if we belong. So I gave up. I gave up books. I gave up videos. I gave up on gurus and mentors.
Got to jump in and rather make a fool of myself and learn hands-on than to wait until I felt I was prepared cause you never really are.
How did you make your first income?
Amina: My first income was in Grade 6 when I started selling school projects to my classmates. My second venture would be in Grade 9 when I sold pop stars scrapbooks, posters, and value-added gossips to my fellow teenage fangirls.
Built an empire you can say, my customer base had expanded from my classroom to entire high school. And no one would snitch on me cause I knew way too many of their secret and crushes.
How did you get the idea or concept for BranditQueen?
Amina: I was working on my first official startup called UniHelp | Your Study Abroad Buddy; a network of senior college students through which we help out puzzled highschoolers of the Middle East, save parents from paying high college tuition and help reduce drop-out rates among students.
My partner was a friend of mine and together we set out to solve a problem that we had personally encountered as experts in the gulf. She was frustrated with the whole branding and marketing process whereas I was enjoying it.
And that just made me wonder there must be people out there with something to sell, something to change and can’t or find it difficult to do so just cause they are busy doing things. They don’t have a knack for or can’t outsource it due to the limited resources a startup has initially.
And so I took a gap year from college and set out on a journey.
I met with entrepreneurs – young and old, industry experts, influencers, authors, consultants from various industry and scales. And all of them had a common problem – finding affordable marketing support without compromising on creativity.
I worked on anything and everything trying to build a system that could save time, money and, hassle.
And so, BranditQueen was born.
A start-up for start-ups. Geared to make you famous. A one-stop-shop for the entire branding and marketing needs of a startup or anyone who needs to breathe life back into their business.
Think of it as your CMO, someone with the passion of a Co-founder. Only virtual, non-conventionally creative, Gen-Z ready, and madly enthusiastic!
What blogs and publications you follow?
Amina: I follow your blogs for one. Then there’s Your Story, Medium, Hubspot, Create n Cultivate, some more from my LinkedIn connections, and my current favorite in digital marketing is Neil Patel.
Which are the main challenges that a freelancer or a startup face? And how to deal with these?
Amina: Every startup/business is unique. So are their challenges and ways to deal with it. I can’t speak for the most cause of my lack of experience with all. However, we can generally say that whatever challenges you face, kills your enthusiasm eventually.
When we started UniHelp, we faced straight-up discrimination. Based on our age, and gender mostly. We were told repeatedly that we’re just college “girls” and no one would take us seriously. I was told by the investors too that they’re willing to “buy” my business plan but not have me execute it cause it would be a waste of such a good idea. The final offer made to us was to hire “a man in thirties” to be our head and lead the venture.
The bottom line is you don’t need anyone to believe in you as long as you believe in yourself – unless you’re doing something really dumb. Don’t let the challenges kill your spirit.
What are your future plans?
Amina: The plan is to live and let live and while we’re at it try and make people’s life easier in whatever way you can.
What one piece of advice can you give to someone who wants to become an expert in their chosen field?
Amina: Only one piece of advice – Aim sky but get into the mud and get your hands dirty. Rest you’ll figure it out.
Hi Amina, thanks so much for taking your time to answer this interview, I and my readers really appreciate it.
If you have any questions to ask Amina, feel free to ask in the comments section.