Adnan Ebrahim is founder and CEO of MindLabs, the world’s first video mental health platform, featuring hundreds of sleep and meditation classes for the mind. He has featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
Surround yourself with people who know more than you. I started my career as a solo founder, and I’m very glad to be sharing the responsibility with my co-founder this time around. Running a start-up has its ups and downs. Sometimes I don't feel too hot and my partner Gabor feels great. Other times it’s the reverse. But we’re always there to pull each other back up. People are everything – so it’s worth taking the time to find the right fit (not the fastest fit), and surrounding yourself with people who know more than you and love what they do. As a founder, it can be difficult to let go of things and hand over responsibilities, but it’s the only way to scale fast and ensure your staff can level up.
Find your ‘why’. Running a business isn’t always as glamorous as it might seem on social media – sometimes it is, but some days it’s tiring, stressful or just involves a load of paperwork. Motivation, drive and hard work are all much easier to sustain when you’re driven by a mission you truly care about. At MindLabs, we’re driven by a goal to make the world a happier place. Everyone on the team is passionate about mental health and cares about what we’re creating – find the ‘why’ in your business and ensure everyone on the team aligns with your vision.
Rest is productive. As a young founder in my 20s, I thought that being a good entrepreneur meant putting in as many hours as possible and giving all of myself to my business. I learnt the hard way that burnout isn’t good for business. When you’re taking proper care of yourself, you’re much more likely to make good decisions and be the best version of yourself. It sounds straightforward but you’d be surprised how many business owners don’t follow this simple rule – breaking your back in the early stages rarely helps in the long run.
Reframe failure as a learning opportunity. Every single business has difficult times. There were months when I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to pay our staff, and a particularly difficult afternoon where I had to let go half of the team. When things like this happen, it’s easy to let imposter syndrome get the better of you, or to think if you fail once that means you should give up. Looking back, I gained so much resilience and learnt so much from the more difficult times, and I’m so glad I didn’t give up.