Good ideas are worthless. Execution is everything. Many people have good ideas, but few of them actually follow through. I’d like to showcase someone who not only has good ideas, but is someone who follows through on them.
Meet Jalila, a Moroccan woman with a vision. She wanted to find a way to give back and help Moroccan women through a service project. There were so many different routes for finding a service project. Instead of signing up for social projects that already existed, she wanted to embark on one of her own. This social project ended up turning into a business; Amal Oils which sells Moroccan Argan oil. She started the company on her own and has to manage every aspect of the business.
She now flies back 3 or 4 times a year to Morocco and is constantly trying not only to improve the business process, but the lives of the women involved. Jalila has been able to combine a passion for travel and social awareness into a business that springs from her Moroccan roots.
Jalila was kind enough to answer some questions about her Entrepreneurial quest:
At what point did you know that you would turn this social project into a business?
Before embarking on my search to give-back in Morocco, I never imagined that it would be so difficult to find a way that you can be sure that your funding, efforts and time are going to the right place. My goal was to give back to Moroccan women in a meaningful way, ideally I wanted to mentor female entrepreneurs and help them start a successful business that would continue to provide them with enough income to support their families. After searching for an opportunity that would enable me to do this via established organizations, I felt bogged down in all of the paperwork. Instead of giving up, I took a different direction. I focused on the Moroccan products that I love, both beauty and artisanal. I went on a road trip to explore all my options and discovered the argan cooperatives along the way. That is when it hit me! Rather than just giving back once, I discovered that by sharing the Moroccan beauty secret of pure argan oil with women around the world, I could indefinitely help preserve an ancient Moroccan tradition, mentor women through their entrepreneurial challenges, and help women move from poverty to self-sufficiency and create a successful small business all at the same time.
Did you ever feel overwhelmed as an individual founder?
I feel overwhelmed everyday, and there have been times when I felt like giving up. The key to overcoming those moments is determination. Because Amal Oils is so focused on supporting and giving back to Moroccan women, I feel a lot of pressure to do well so that I can give more and more back. There is nothing easy about being an entrepreneur, and I’m sure that most entrepreneurs will agree with me. However, having said that, I don’t think I will ever have a more rewarding experience in my life.
What would you recommend to others who would like to turn a service project concept into a business?
Going from service project to business is a major mental transition, but I say go for it! The biggest benefit is that through a business you are able to make a larger impact because you can continuously generate funds to give back, such as the case with Amal Oils.
If there is one thing you have learned on this Entrepreneurial journey that you could go back in time and tell yourself, what would it be?
Everyone is good at certain things, very few people are good at everything. Rather than trying to do everything youself, seek out help in the areas where you need it the most so that you can focus on your strengths.