One Kurdistan entrepreneur at a time: Amanj Ali

Catching up with entrepreneur Amanj Ali
Job Studio, freelancing, and business challenges

NRT English recently spoke with Amanj Ali, a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in technology. Ali’s latest project, Job Studio, is an online platform to help businesses and top talent find each other nationwide.

He began his career by founding Avesta Group in 2006.

Solving Problems
Can you describe your business and the problem it addresses?

Job Studio is a freelancing platform that aims to tackle hiring and job availability issues in Iraq. It connects businesses with skilled professionals capable of providing remote services. Our platform addresses the limited job opportunities in Iraq and the challenges businesses face when searching for talented and qualified professionals. We hope to stimulate the economy and promote a thriving freelance culture in Iraq by creating a platform that links businesses to a skilled workforce.

Escaping the Wage Trap
What were your frustrations working for others?

My frustrations included a lack of autonomy and control over my work, limited opportunities for advancement, and misalignment with my employers’ values and goals.

Support on the Journey
What kind of help did you receive when starting your own business?

My only support came from my two partners. We began together and have supported each other throughout the journey. We shared ideas and resources, working diligently to ensure our success. United, we overcame any obstacles.

Were people skeptical about you launching a business? What kind of advice did they offer?

People seemed surprised by our idea and likely questioned whether it would work. Some may have thought we were crazy for trying something new and different, but we were determined to prove them wrong.

Learning from Experience
How much have you learned from mistakes and improved on them?

I’ve always believed that mistakes are a vital part of the learning process. I’ve attempted various things that didn’t work out, but I’ve used those experiences as opportunities to learn and grow. I’ve reflected on my failures and identified areas for improvement. I also monitor what others are doing and stay informed about industry trends and developments, analyzing both failures and successes to understand their causes.

Overcoming Challenges
What are the top two challenges in setting up and running a successful business? How did you address them?

Managing cash flow and maintaining financial stability as a business grows can be challenging. I’ve tried to be mindful of expenses, prioritize spending, and find creative ways to generate revenue and diversify income streams. I’ve also developed a realistic budget and financial plan that considers potential risks and challenges my business may face.

Finding and retaining talented employees can be difficult, especially in a competitive job market. Creating a positive, productive work culture that fosters collaboration, creativity, and innovation is also challenging. I’ve worked to establish an open, inclusive culture that encourages employees to share their ideas and take ownership of their work. When hiring, I seek candidates who share my vision and values.

Words of Wisdom
Any advice for someone starting out?

Be persistent and never give up. Starting a business can be difficult, with many challenges along the way. However, if you’re passionate about your idea and willing to work hard, you can achieve your goals. Be strategic by creating a business plan outlining your goals, target market, and marketing strategy. Always be ready to learn from your mistakes and adapt as the market changes. Embrace risk-taking, but be mindful of the consequences.

Balancing Family Life
How has your life changed since starting a business? How has it affected your family and friends?

My life has undoubtedly changed, requiring sacrifices in terms of time and energy, which can strain relationships. My family – particularly my wife, Tara – has been incredibly supportive and understanding, always providing encouragement. My older son, Raha, also energizes me with his support. Starting and running a business can be isolating and time-consuming, taking time away from friends and family. I strive to balance my time as much as possible and ensure I spend quality time with my loved ones.

Facing Anxieties
What concerns about your business keep you up at night?

Some primary concerns include financial stability, competition, and attracting and retaining customers. One of my biggest anxieties is whether my business will succeed. Additionally, I worry about competing with established companies and attracting and retaining customers. Lastly, the ability to attract and retain a skilled team is also a concern.

If you could have one thing to help your business, what would it be and why?

I would like access to a vast network of industry experts and mentors. This would allow me to tap into the knowledge and experience of successful individuals in my industry who can provide guidance and advice on navigating the challenges of running a business. It would also offer valuable connections and opportunities to expand my business and insight into new trends and technologies that could help me stay competitive. Furthermore, having access to a wide range of resources such as research, market analysis, and financial tools would greatly assist in making better decisions and staying current with industry trends and developments.

Hitting the Jackpot
Do you believe your business will make you wealthy?

While it may lead to financial success, it’s crucial to recognize that the goal of a business isn’t solely to make the owner wealthy. Financial success is important, but it’s not the only objective. Various factors, such as customer satisfaction, revenue, profitability, and growth measure business success.

It’s also essential to understand that building a successful business requires time and hard work, with no guarantees. Numerous factors can impact a business’s success, including market conditions, competition, and the economy. Therefore, whether my business will make me wealthy is uncertain, but I will always strive for the best possible outcome.