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Sabeeha B's story on... the merits of a collaborative entrepreneur

Sabeeha describes a creative entrepreneur as:

“Someone who has so many constraints to work within. They don't have all the tools, they don't have all the money, and they still show up everyday and find new and better ways to achieve their goals with what they DO have. They don't wait for the world to be better, they are creatively solving problems, no matter what sector they find themselves in.”

As many creative entrepreneurs do, Sabeeha surprised her parents with a dream of pursuing a more creative career path, something new to their comforting thoughts of the more responsible financial or medical related professions. From early days in school Sabeeha was creating things and selling them, learning about the value exchange for creative work. Over time she began to learn a little bit about quite a few things, from photography, graphic and motion design to software, and everything in between. Today she runs a design studio having helped over 30 start-ups get going to visualise their goals and launch quickly and efficiently.

“No matter what job I got it was never enough money, I always needed more. So I opened up my own business. It's daunting going at it alone, especially when you are a little quiet and introverted”. She shares how important it is to be open to the people you meet along your journey as they hold access to networks you may need in business.

“I believe I never did this alone, I always had someone at every given point be it a champion, a fan, a mentor, someone who gave me access to other people.”

From collaborators, to clients, to suppliers, Sabeeha built up her business by surrounding herself with the right people who opened doors as well as afforded her with the mindset of what was possible. Sabeeha believes that she stayed and progressed on her entrepreneurial journey because of the partnerships, collaborations and communities that ensued along the way, some carefully curated, others by a stroke of luck and good timing.

She stands firm on her belief that we need to be honest with the fact that we will never know everything. She’s okay with that, because she explains that there is always someone who can offer value in the areas of expertise that one requires.

“What’s more, together we can go further than either one of us can achieve alone.”

A great problem solver and ideator who turns to collaboration for execution, Sabeeha shows how to carefully craft a way of work and business that plays to one’s strengths and weaknesses. She admits that entrepreneurship can be lonely and therefore promotes a community spirit amongst entrepreneurs to share in the difficulties. Most often we end up realising that many amongst us also suffer from imposter syndrome, and many are swimming in unchartered territory, trying to wear many hats for the business from HR, to legal, to financial and so on. Coming together to help, offer advice, connect with expertise, makes us feel more empowered and a little less lonely on our journey. There is help all around and we need to speak up, say we need help, and take the bold move to reach out.

The tenacious Sabeeha is skilled at resisting the temptation to jump to solutions when faced with challenges. She is able to get stuck into understanding the problem:

“especially the human problem, so that the real solution can become clear. That comes with being able to REALLY listen to your employees, customers, clients, partners and to also be open (and even embrace and encourage) being challenged by them”.

She embraces adaptability and the need to go with the flow rather than holding onto plans and targets one has created, sticking to them no matter what. She goes on to explain the need to “understand the overarching goal and vision, whilst being open to traverse the waters at times without a fixed plan, taking in new information and making decisions along the way. With the changing economy and pace of technological developments, we have to develop an adaptable and resilient approach to business in order to keep showing up every day”.

Sabeeha talks about the common myth where entrepreneurs think they need all the information or money before they can start on their own. “You have everything you need right now to start, stop waiting for MORE before you take the jump, then it will never be. Do not think entrepreneurship means lots of money, it can be as opportunity is rife, but remember even when your business is making good money, it doesn't always mean you as the entrepreneur are, money should never be your only motivating lure for an entrepreneurial path”.

The second myth she addresses is ‘the hustle’. She explains how we are sold that an entrepreneur is someone who has to be working 24/7, obsessed with productivity hacks, hyper growth, driving oneself to a point where ultimately we are all headed to burn out. She believes there is a better way, she chooses slow growth, slow hustling, sustainable ways of work and a balanced life of freedom. Her concept of productivity is far from the traditional, she promotes working when one is most productive and to give much needed time to ourselves outside of those productive times.

“Rather do four hours of solid work than eight hours of killing time. Look after yourself during work hours so that you CAN give productivity of greater value because you are good mentally, emotionally, physically.”

“I tried to be an employee for eight years! I would buy into the vision and slowly get into the trenches, realising that reality was very different. I couldn't find values in a business that aligned with mine, so I created my own.” Here here to all the creative entrepreneurs that have decided to create their own worlds, and to those of you tempted to still take the jump, Sabeeha is testament to how it's done! Use your innate judgement, always.

“If something scares you because it doesn't feel right, don't do it, but if it scares you and feels right, be audacious enough to DO IT! THAT'S how you get opportunities.”

She explains what motivates us to survive is different from our motivations to thrive, so be clear which mode you are in, survival means you need to make money to get through so focus on the immediate sale and leave the big dreams for when you are in thriving mode. Sabeeha, you make us proud, we thank you for flying the creative entrepreneur flag and sharing your story and lessons learnt to inspire us all!

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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