When ChatGPT was first introduced, it was easy to get carried away by the allure of automated content generation. With just a one-liner prompt, the tool could churn out a full-length blog article in a matter of seconds. This was particularly tempting for technical blogs, where generating informative and fact-based content is often time-consuming. However, the shortcut came at a cost. The articles often lacked authenticity and felt “too AI-generated,” with similar wordings appearing across multiple posts. The promise of an AI-powered blog seemed to undermine the originality that readers seek.
The Pitfall: Loss of Authenticity
The issue of authenticity is no small matter. In an age where readers are flooded with information, standing out requires delivering not just facts, but a unique voice and perspective. Using AI to generate articles compromised this very essence, making the content feel artificial and less engaging.
The Turning Point: Changing Strategy
However, this doesn’t mean that ChatGPT lacks utility. The turning point came with a shift in approach. Instead of using ChatGPT to generate articles from scratch, why not use it as a supplement to enhance original content?
The New Approach: AI as a Copywriter
By writing the initial draft manually, the core of the article remains authentic, original, and true to the author’s voice. Points are laid out based on one’s own understanding and interpretation of the subject, without obsessing over grammar or nuances. Then comes ChatGPT, serving as a virtual copywriter.
Using prompts like “Write a blog about…” or “Rewrite the blog in a more human manner,” ChatGPT refines the article. It corrects grammatical errors, enhances vocabulary, and structures the content better. The result? A well-written article that maintains its originality while benefitting from the finesse that AI can offer.
Why This Matters: Best of Both Worlds
With this new strategy, ChatGPT becomes a tool for enhancement rather than a shortcut for content creation. You get to keep your unique voice and viewpoints, while the AI takes care of making the content more polished and professional. It’s like having an on-demand copywriter, but without the risk of diluting your originality.
ChatGPT has proven to be an invaluable asset when used thoughtfully. It may not replace the creative spark that only a human can provide, but it certainly can refine it. By changing how we use this powerful tool, we can reconcile the drive for efficiency with the need for authenticity, giving our readers the best of both worlds.
Life’s a whirlwind, right? We’re all hustling between family commitments, work obligations, and for me, religious practices. Praying five times a day is my constant, my spiritual anchor. But there’s another habit that has surprisingly become just as meaningful: blogging. So let me pull back the curtain and share how this daily ritual has become more than just keystrokes and screens.
A Sanctuary for the Soul and Mind
Okay, so we all have stuff that messes with our heads, right? Worries about work, family stuff, life’s curveballs. For me, my daily prayers offer a spiritual cleanse, but blogging? It’s like my mental spa day. I jot down thoughts, make sense of my day, and get to put my emotions on the screen. And when I hit publish and someone messages me to say, “Hey, that really resonated with me,” it’s like a high-five for the soul.
It’s Not Just About Code and Business Hacks
The word ‘blog’ might conjure up images of long tech manuals or ’10 Ways to Boost Your Sales.’ Sure, I dive into tech topics — gotta put my geek cap on sometimes! But I also get real and talk about my journey in setting up a business. It’s not just about celebrating the highs; I’m equally honest about the facepalms and screw-ups. These posts become my entrepreneurial diary, and it’s kind of amazing to flip back through the ‘pages’ and see my own evolution.
Sharing is Soul-Warming
Remember when we were kids and we were taught that sharing is caring? Well, that lesson is alive and well in the blogging world. Each time I share, whether it’s a valuable life lesson from a business blunder or a moment of joy, I feel like I’m sitting down for coffee with friends — a virtual community that’s as real to me as my next-door neighbors.
A Blog: More Than Just a Diary, It’s My Stage
Think of my blog as a Swiss Army knife: It’s a diary, a confessional, and also a stage where I get to spotlight the issues and topics that I’m passionate about. I can talk about the importance of faith in my life, share a crazy new business idea, or discuss how to balance spirituality and ambition. It gives me the freedom to be me and to broadcast that to the world.
Emotional Fitness Check-In
Blogging has become more than a daily to-do; it’s like my emotional gym session. The same way you’d work out your muscles, each blog post helps me work through emotions, find clarity, and leave with a sense of mental refreshment. It’s like an exercise routine for my emotional well-being.
What’s the Big Deal?
If you’re bogged down by the daily grind and looking for something to enrich your life, consider the small but mighty power of daily habits. Blogging became an unexpected yet crucial part of my everyday life. It’s not only made my days better but has also brightened someone else’s screen (and maybe even their day). So whether you’re looking to connect with your spiritual side, share your entrepreneurial escapades, or just yearn for a space to be heard, give blogging a shot. Take it from me: It’s way more than just words on a screen.
In this digital age, where capturing memories often means clicking a quick photo or shooting a brief video, I find solace and depth in the art of writing. Here’s why writing holds a special place in my heart and has become my chosen medium for preserving memories and sharing experiences.
1. Recording the Essence of Memories
While photos and videos can capture a moment in time, they often fail to convey the complete essence of the experience. The sights, sounds, and actions can be documented, but what about the flurry of emotions, the nuances of conversations, or the introspection that follows? Writing allows me to paint a more detailed picture, diving deeper into moments, and encapsulating feelings that are often too intricate to be captured visually.
2. A Legacy for the Future
As I approach the culmination of a long and fruitful career, the desire to leave behind a legacy becomes more palpable. I hope that when my children, grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren read about my life, they gain insight into the person I was. Through my words, they can travel back in time, understanding my aspirations, struggles, victories, and the wisdom I gathered along the way.
3. Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with ups and downs. By sharing my story, I aim to provide guidance, hope, and inspiration to those who wish to tread this path. Every lesson I’ve learned, every challenge I’ve faced, can serve as a beacon for someone else. Writing offers me a platform to share these invaluable lessons, making sure they don’t vanish but instead light the way for others.
4. The Therapeutic Nature of Writing
There’s a therapeutic aspect to writing that can’t be understated. Revisiting old memories, reflecting on experiences, and putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is cathartic. It provides an opportunity for introspection, helping me understand my journey better and appreciate the milestones I’ve achieved.
5. The Gift of Sharing
I firmly believe that lessons learned end nowhere if they’re not shared. What’s the point of accumulating knowledge if it’s locked away, inaccessible to those who might benefit from it? Writing enables me to share my insights, not just with those close to me, but with anyone who might stumble upon my words.
In conclusion, while photos and videos are wonderful tools for preserving specific moments, writing offers a depth and richness that they often can’t match. As I pen down my experiences, I am not just preserving memories; I am creating a treasure trove of wisdom, inspiration, and love for future generations. And in that, I find immeasurable joy and purpose.
I’ve overcome my fears of facing the media over the years. It was a real challenge, but now I can confidently tackle various media platforms. From giving lectures to students, public speaking at seminars and conferences, making keynote speeches, being a panelist or even a panel moderator, going live on radio and TV, hosting webinars, creating videos on YouTube or TikTok, and going live on Facebook—I’ve done it all!
It wasn’t an overnight process, though. It took me a good number of years, actually more than 20 to 30 years, starting from my early days of employment, to lessen the jitters I felt when facing crowds and the media.
Overcoming Media Fears: My Tips
Knowledge is Confidence: Being knowledgeable about the topic is crucial. The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel when speaking about it.
Practice, Practice, Practice: Rehearse your speeches or presentations extensively. The more you practice, the more comfortable you become with the material, refining your delivery and controlling your nerves.
Arrive Early and Mingle: Ease your nervousness by arriving early and mingling with the audience or other speakers. It helps build connections and creates a more relaxed atmosphere.
Prepared Answers for Panels: Have written answers prepared for panel sessions. They serve as a helpful reference when faced with challenging questions.
Relate to Your Expertise: Find connections to your expertise when encountering unfamiliar topics. This allows you to provide valuable insights while staying within your comfort zone.
Honesty Beats Guesswork: If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s better to admit it honestly. Offer to look into it and provide a well-informed response later.
Inject Humor Appropriately: Adding humor lightens the atmosphere and engages the audience. Ensure it is relevant and suitable for the occasion.
Link Topics Mentally, Not Read Slides: Instead of reading slides verbatim, mentally link the topics together for a more natural flow during the presentation.
Clear and Concise Communication: Avoid mumbling or speaking too fast. Articulate your words clearly and explain complex ideas in simple terms to connect effectively with your audience.
These tips have helped me overcome my fears and excel in facing the media. What about you? Do you have any strategies or techniques that have worked for you? Share your thoughts!
When it comes to hiring fresh graduates, many might consider academic grades as the primary sieve. Although grades indeed provide a snapshot of an individual’s academic performance, I find that the real gem often lies within their project experiences. A resume may be brimming with honors and accolades, but it’s the hands-on experience that adds the valuable edge.
The Story Your Projects Tell
The projects – assignments, group tasks, or final year projects, help me understand a candidate’s practical skills, critical thinking, and ability to collaborate. Unfortunately, resumes often fail to reveal the comprehensive story of these projects. Most list only the titles, offering scant insights into the depths of the tasks undertaken and the skills honed through them.
The Interview: Your Chance to Shine
The interview stage is where a candidate has the opportunity to articulate their experiences and skills. It is here that they can impress us by detailing their project experiences. However, quite often, the graduates fail to seize this chance. Those who outsourced their projects or didn’t engage with them deeply are the ones who struggle most, unable to lucidly articulate their roles and contributions.
The Importance of Hands-on Experience
What graduates often overlook is the immense value of project work. It’s the closest real-world work experience they gain during their studies. It’s their first taste of responsibility, an introduction to working under supervision, an opportunity to hone their presentation skills, and a trial by fire of their writing abilities through theses. They might not yet be in the league of candidates with more than a year of work experience, but these projects are their stepping stones.
Choosing The Right Projects: The Real Game Changer
The choice of final year projects is crucial. Opting for challenging tasks gives graduates the chance to prove their mettle, learn, and grow. These projects not only test their academic knowledge but also their ability to innovate, troubleshoot, and collaborate. Handling these projects efficiently mirrors handling real job responsibilities.
The Differentiating Factor: Your Ticket to Getting Hired
The interviewer always looks out for differentiators – elements that set one candidate apart from the rest. How you handle your academic projects, especially the final year ones, is a telling indicator of your potential as an employee. So, take your projects seriously. Choose them wisely. Excel in them. They might just be the key to unlock your dream job.
The course of startup life is rarely linear. It is punctuated with exhilarating highs and debilitating lows, success stories, and tales of failure. One such tale from our journey is of a product with immense potential, hindered by unfortunate timing and circumstances beyond our control.
We began our startup journey by developing an IoT solution targeted towards the safety and health of the elderly, acknowledging the vast market potential posed by an ageing society. However, the market traction was disappointingly slow, forcing us to reconsider our target audience.
We decided to pivot, focusing our efforts on monitoring the safety and health of Umrah and Hajj pilgrims. The core functionality of our product remained unchanged, but it found new application in providing peace of mind to the pilgrims during their sacred rituals.
Our innovative solution was positively received during trials with early users in 2018 and 2019. We even integrated a roaming SIM card feature that enabled users to transition seamlessly from their home country to Mecca. All signs pointed towards a promising future for our product.
However, in 2020, the world was gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic, which ground international travel to a halt. Our product, which heavily relied on the mobility of the pilgrims, found itself in an unprecedented predicament. The travel restrictions extended into 2021, leaving our product in limbo for nearly two years.
When travel restrictions finally lifted in 2022, we were faced with a hard truth: our product was no longer a viable solution. The necessity for hardware upgrades and additional R&D posed a financial strain we couldn’t bear. The unfortunate timing and resultant challenges forced us to make the hard decision to discontinue the product.
Though this was a disheartening period, it also paved the way for us to re-strategize and pivot our focus. Over those two years, we worked tirelessly on other projects, diversifying our portfolio and creating new revenue streams. In retrospect, this period of adversity became a catalyst for our startup’s growth.
Our journey with this IoT solution is a stark reminder of the uncertainty that pervades the startup landscape. There are countless external factors that we have no control over, timing being a critical one. But as startup founders, we’re also adaptable and resilient. We can turn hurdles into stepping stones, and seize every situation as an opportunity to learn, grow, and pivot towards success. As we tread forward, we carry the lessons from this experience in our hearts, remembering that in the world of startups, timing is everything, but resilience is key.
There is a palpable thrill that comes with creating something new – the conception of a unique idea, the painstaking process of nurturing it into a tangible product, and the excitement of presenting it to the world. As startup founders, we’ve been through this exhilarating cycle three times, and each time, we met with failure. This is our candid story of building three products that didn’t make the cut, and the invaluable lessons we learned in the process.
In the vast ocean of products, ours were not lone islands. Competing products existed, but information about their success was as elusive as a mirage. There was no benchmark, no touchstone to compare our performance against. We invested our time, effort, money, and above all, belief into each product. Yet, recognizing their impending failure was a bitter pill to swallow.
Determining the failure of a product is no easy task, especially when emotions are entwined with our rational judgment. It’s like severing a part of yourself that you’ve nurtured and loved. For us, the first sign of impending doom was the consistent lack of revenue. Despite our best efforts to market and push our products, the revenue generated was a mere trickle compared to the ocean we had expected.
So, how do you let go of a product you’ve poured your heart and soul into? This, perhaps, is one of the hardest lessons to learn. You make the painful decision to stop supporting the product, to stop injecting life into something that no longer holds potential. You accept the reality, learn from it, and move on.
Our three failed products taught us valuable lessons in the art of startup survival. First, we learned the importance of a Minimal Viable Product (MVP). This lean version of the product allowed us to test the waters without plunging headfirst into the deep end. We could gauge the initial response and iterate accordingly, rather than investing heavily in a full-fledged product that might not resonate with the market.
Secondly, the significance of early users became evident. Early adopters serve as a compass, guiding you towards what works and what doesn’t. Their feedback is critical in fine-tuning your product to fit market demands.
Next came the realization that finding paying customers early on is essential. These customers validate your product’s value proposition and contribute to revenue generation right from the start.
Further, we learned the value of having reference sites, or success stories, that could vouch for the efficacy of our product. These references can bolster the confidence of prospective customers and increase the product’s credibility.
Lastly, we understood the importance of flexibility in our pricing model. A rigid pricing structure can alienate potential customers. Instead, experimenting with different models helped us identify the sweet spot that attracted and retained our target audience.
Looking back, these failed products were not failures in the true sense, but stepping stones on our path to success. Each misstep taught us something new, shedding light on facets of the startup world we hadn’t considered before. The journey was painful and often disheartening, but it shaped us into more resilient and knowledgeable founders, ready to face whatever challenges the entrepreneurial journey might throw at us.
In the world of startups, networking is akin to the beating heart, a fundamental and crucial element of the ecosystem. As a startup founder, conventional wisdom often suggests that being an extrovert is key to success. However, my experience sings a different tune. I am a testament to the fact that being an introvert is not a barrier but simply a different path to the same goal.
My background as an academician and researcher didn’t necessitate constant social interaction. The concept of networking was alien to me, and even though I understood its significance, my initial foray into the startup world was characterized by discomfort in social settings. Walking into a room full of unfamiliar faces was daunting, and striking up conversations seemed like climbing a steep mountain.
Fortunately, the winds of change blew my way when I started getting invited to talks. These forums provided me with an opportunity to express my thoughts and ideas, and, in the process, initiate conversations. Another pillar of strength was my Business Development Director, whose extroverted nature contrasted with and complemented my introversion. Attending events and meetings together not only eased my socializing discomfort but also alleviated the feeling of being out of place. We were like two halves of a whole, supporting each other even in simple tasks like remembering names and faces of the people we met.
Over time, I realized that networking was not just about striking up conversations but building meaningful relationships and earning the trust of potential customers. By understanding their needs and problems, we could position our startup as a potential solution. Quality leads were no longer a mere probability; they became a certainty.
Further, maintaining an active online presence became a strategic move in our networking efforts. Our digital footprints acted as an icebreaker during physical meetings, as people were often familiar with our work and vision, facilitating more enriching conversations.
Comparatively, poor networking can cripple a startup’s growth potential. It’s like a spider with a broken web, unable to trap opportunities, or a mason attempting to build a house without tools. Not utilizing your connections effectively in the startup ecosystem is tantamount to ignoring a gold mine of potential opportunities.
In retrospect, my journey from a networking-averse introvert to a founder capable of harnessing connections for my startup’s growth has been a lesson in personal growth. I learned that networking doesn’t require you to transform your personality type; it merely requires you to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the dynamics of the startup world.
So, if you’re an introvert stepping into the startup world, don’t be disheartened. Your path might differ from an extroverted founder, but your destination remains the same – building a successful startup. Embrace your uniqueness, leverage your strengths, and watch as you weave a network that propels your startup to unprecedented heights.
I have worn several hats throughout my entrepreneurial journey as the co-founder of a bootstrapped startup. At times, it felt like the acronym ‘CEO’ represented ‘Chief Everything Officer’ more accurately than ‘Chief Executive Officer.’ The responsibilities were colossal, and there were days I questioned if I had bitten off more than I could chew.
My primary area of focus was the sales and marketing end of our venture. The task was herculean, involving branding our nascent product, creating an appealing image, and most importantly, meeting and networking with countless people. On the other hand, my co-founder was engrossed in the technicalities and project implementation side of the business. This left me to juggle a variety of roles, often stepping into domains unfamiliar to me.
Fiscal discipline is the lifeblood of any startup, especially those on a shoestring budget. I was constantly trying to balance the books and ensure that the company had enough cash to cover salaries and other expenses. Every month felt like a race against time. It was an incessant cycle of finding new customers, closing sales, and subsequently chasing payments.
However, every venture has its share of pitfalls. Not all our marketing strategies bore fruit, leading to frustration and desperation. I found myself scrambling to find innovative ways to attract customers. It felt like a never-ending uphill battle. When I reached the point where it seemed like I had exhausted all possible avenues to generate business, I could feel the creeping tendrils of burnout.
Burnout is like a shadow in a founder’s life. It is a culmination of prolonged stress and frustration that can drain your energy and leave you feeling helpless. I experienced this at a stage where I was running on empty, both mentally and physically. At this point, I realized that continuing to push myself without respite was not the solution.
Finding solace in solitude, I decided to reduce my stress by taking a step back. I discovered the therapeutic benefits of simply taking a walk, observing the world around me, and shifting my perspective. This allowed me to step away from the consuming chaos of the startup and approach my challenges with a clear mind.
During this time, I also found comfort in the escapism of television, particularly business and entrepreneurial TV series. These shows offered a treasure trove of inspiration and innovative ideas, which I could apply in my venture. Additionally, I turned to reading – delving into uplifting stories of other entrepreneurs and their struggles. These narratives gave me hope, reassured me that my journey was not an isolated one, and provided tangible examples of overcoming adversity.
These activities became a refuge for me, an oasis in the desert of my exhaustion. They helped me recuperate and return to my work, armed with fresh perspectives and renewed vigor. While the struggles of startup life are very real and often daunting, it’s crucial to remember that even amidst chaos, there’s always a way to find tranquility. It’s in these moments of pause that we often find our best ideas and solutions, rejuvenating us for the challenges that lie ahead.
As a founder, it’s important to remember that burnout is not a sign of weakness but a signal from our mind and body that it’s time to step back and regroup. It’s a call to listen to ourselves, to invest in self-care, and to find our unique strategies for overcoming stress and achieving balance. It’s about understanding that a startup founder’s journey is not just about relentless work but also about finding moments of rest, rejuvenation, and ultimately, resilience.