Episode 84 Transcript

Okay welcome to Episode 84 of the Business in Morocco Podcast we have a special guest with us today this is Sofiya El Ouardy she is a recent graduate and beginning her career overcoming all
the challenges of
launching out into the business world during a global pandemic and so we're going to talk a little bit about her journey so far and how she's using her mindset to overcome challenges and find success Sophia thank you so much for being here
it's a privilege to have you as a guest thank you for having me yeah so could
you tell us a little bit about your background your education where you come from um sure so um hi my name is Sofiya El Ouardy as you just said
i just recently graduated the national
business school
in tangier here in morocco and i was
majoring in
international business and trade um
i come from a very small town next to
the capital rabat
and uh yeah
i mean i i love everything that has to
do with the
business it wasn't actually my first
path i was set to go to an engineer's
school at first
and right after high school
i changed path and just went for
business because that's the call that
you know i heard the voice there so
during the time when you were studying
in tangier you also had a couple
work experiences i saw it on your
linkedin profile that you
volunteered at a youth camp and you were
working for frs the ferry
can you tell us a little bit about those
opportunities
yeah sure um so i volunteered at a
youth camp this summer um it was a
very fulfilling experience the funny
thing is i haven't ever
been to a camp before myself
as a a child so
go in there as a director was a
pretty cool experience i had to learn to
adapt to the dynamics of the camp
and children and to
take into responsibility there will be
in 24
7 for a week and that sounds kind of
doable but it's a lot of work and
yeah that was the camp um for my
professional experience at um frs
um it's a international company that
does
um passenger transportation in the
gibraltar
detroit between morocco and spain and
um i was there in the sales department
um for my end of studies
internship sorry how did you find that
internship how did you
end up getting that job um
it was you know how it works in morocco
for internships and jobs
usually it's um someone you know who
knows that person who knows a person
and that's how you land an internship
yeah it was someone from my family
actually who
knew someone there and i passed the
interview
and got in and i started in february
it was supposed to be set for the whole
of the whole second semester of the year
um back of it happened in february
and so yeah my internship uh
was supposed to be three to four months
long and it ended in the first month
not end it ended um we continued
remotely but since the activity had
stopped um
there weren't any ships going back and
forth there wasn't much to do
so i had a lot of free time and
during that free time at home on
lockdown
i had to find something to do because
um i had a friend to who i was whining
all the time
like um i don't have like studies have
stopped
i don't have an internship uh it's on
pose i don't have a job
i just i just want something to do you
know
and that friend was like well do
something about it stop complaining
and that's where it came that's where it
all came from
i mean sometimes a simple sentence can
just set you back and be like why am i
doing this i can just
start looking myself and that's what i
did um
i heard about freelancing and i
looked up the easiest way to get into
freelance
and find clients and everything it was
really
not that hard googling how to become a
freelancer
and the first thing you have to do
is find what you love to do or can do
and for me it was writing since very
young
i always loved languages um
i started with french and then english
as
most moroccans i guess um
and i was reading a lot for years i was
a big big book reader
mostly fiction because it's stories and
i was a teenager and it was like a movie
it was very you know easy to do it came
naturally and so
i guess that's where i picked up the
language um
yeah so where i was looking for
something to do as a freelancer
writing was just the natural call
and that's what i did i put my services
on
fiverr specifically because it's kind of
the easiest marketplace for beginner
freelancers to
get clients for the first time um
and yeah i set up a profile put on my
services like i write articles he says
just come talk to me i will write you
the best article you can get
and i set it up and i had to wait maybe
a month
for my first order uh
i had completely forgotten about the
whole
fiverr thing and then i got my first
order and i was so happy
it was i guess an article for five
dollars or something it's like the
minimum
price on fiverr and um
i did it they loved it they left me a
review
and that review get got other clients to
come to my
profile and see that i can actually
write good
and order more and so from one one
or two um orders a month
i came to 20 15 orders a month and it
was pretty cool
wow and so where are your clients coming
um everywhere actually i had clients
canada from the us from france
from maldives from um
uia it was from everywhere really
i mean you know yeah it's the internet
let me just review let me just recap
what we've got so far
sure you're studying and you've got an
internship
at frs you're studying international
business everything is
going well you're on a path and then
covit happens and everything gets
changed now you have to study online
your sales position for an international
fairy company
is completely gone and so you were
complaining to a friend and that friend
said
you need to do something about it and so
you got into fiverr and now
you've created a small business where
you've got 15 to 20
uh gigs yeah basically
that's that's incredible with clients
from all over the world
yeah thank you i guess um the good
like what helped me the most was that i
loved what i do
i love writing like i really really love
writing
and it shows i guess because every time
i wrote something for
a blog or a website or copywriting or
whatever it was
i was writing it like it was my business
that i was doing it for
and i guess that's the biggest um
asset for a freelancer to work for their
client as
it's their own business yeah so
initially you sold an article for five
dollars
but as you're building up a client base
and also you're building up a lot of
reviews and experience
are you able to charge more and start
making more money
definitely um i guess
the highest um not the highest but like
the average
um article price that i can charge now
is around 50 to 60 dollars for
like two three pages of writing
and um because i have all the reviews on
my profile backing me up that
there are no grammar um mishaps
and you know the style and everything
and it helps first you have to start
small and then
go up that's great yeah so it seems like
it took a little while to get your first
gig
and then from there it started to really
grow the number of people and then you
can also start charging more and so it
becomes very
very profitable that's fantastic yeah
like
i mean one two articles a week just for
fun can
really help you get like your um
i guess student money for for the month
um
yeah and you're working you know on your
own time from wherever you like
and with clients from around the globe
yeah that's that's the thing with
freelancing um i mean
right now i'm actually i got into um a
company
and yeah i kind of stopped uh
freelancing
per se um but freelancing
is the actual experience that helped me
land a job
because can you tell us about that how
did you how did you find this job
um linkedin magic
okay i guess so yeah i mean linkedin
right now
is a platform that we can leverage to
our own will
and it's absolute magic i found actually
a lot of offers there and
i was able to find the right company for
me
with the right vision mission and
culture
and that's something that's hard to find
you know in normal times let alone in a
pandemic
and how i did that was that i
created meaningful relation connections
on linkedin um i added people from
companies that
i was interested in and whose mission
interested me
and i commented on their posts um that i
you know stuff that i really was
passionate about
marketing and growth hacking and
everything
and um that's how i got referred maybe
to
two three job interviews
and that's how i landed the one i'm in
now
okay wow so listeners if you're
if you're a student or you're early in
your career you're not happy where
you're working or
you're unemployed at the moment listen
to the advice of sophia there's
about linkedin magic she's
looking for companies that she's
interested in she's making herself
visible to key players by commenting on
their posts
by adding value and eventually you build
up this
online network that can lead to
that's amazing yeah
so i mean we have sorry
go for it yeah i was going to say we
have the internet at the
the tips of our fingers 24 7 and
we get we have access to every person
and every opportunity
we want we just have to look hard yeah
yeah that's it and so you've got a
full-time position now but you're
working from home at this time
um yes i joined uh remotely actually
okay yeah and so you could if you wanted
you could continue your freelance
business on the side
yeah as a side hustle yeah yeah that's
it so
having that go ahead
i was gonna say but like for now i'm
more of learning about the company
and it takes quite some time so
yeah i kind of paused for a while yeah
but that's the beauty of freelancing is
you're in control
and you can choose when to accept gigs
or or not
you can you can choose which ones to
accept and which ones to reject and you
can choose ones that are
easier for you topics you've written
about before something that won't
require a lot
of research or well-paying you get to be
the boss you get to be in control
yeah and so for our listeners even if
you have a full-time job
developing a side hustle developing some
skills
and marketing yourself building up
experience it can
be an added bonus to your income
but it can also protect you from times
you know a pandemic when you lose your
full-time income so
for sure so sophia when you contacted me
i just want to read what what you wrote
you said
i managed to go from broke student
living on my parents allowance
to earning my first thousand dollars in
six weeks through
freelance writing i think i could help a
lot of students and others get from the
waiting for my dream job mindset to
making my own dream job what do you
think contributed to
you shifting your mindset you were
sitting there waiting
complaining whining and then you you
shifted
what what really caused that to happen
um well like i said it was uh a big part
my friend's words and once i actually
got
my first order i realized that i could
make
actual money from something that i have
always done before
writing it's something that i had done
for fun i always kept
writing stories or articles for myself
just for fun
and once i found out that i could
actually
make profit out of it it was like
you know a light bulb that turned on in
my head
that i could do it for a living and
that's what i did i tried to leverage it
and work on my linkedin boom
sorry my fiverr profile and um
yeah i got from um beginner
beginner seller i guess that's what it's
called to a level one
in two to three to three months and
recently
i got into level two seller on fiverr
and um on fiverr there are only three
seller levers
levels and uh the third one is
handpicked by the fiverr team so
the second one is kind of the top the
top
that you can get to that's amazing
sometimes even i yeah
it does sometimes even i was like
did this really happen in such a short
time
yeah you know i i couldn't believe it it
was it was great
and uh turning from living off of your
parents allowance for college to
actually making your own
um income is a big shift in in
in your head it it changes a lot of
things on how you perceive the world
what does your family think of this that
all of a sudden you're just sitting
there in your computer making money from
around the world
well they were uh undeniably impressed i
guess
um yeah
i mean my mom was like i always you know
that's my girl i always knew you were
going to do something that's cool um
my dad too um and yeah they were very
supportive
and proud that i could um manage myself
in such tough times yeah wow that's
fantastic
so if you were sitting across the table
from one of our listeners who was in the
same position as
you were at the start of the year
somebody who's
struggling right now in their career or
they're discouraged
in their their studies their university
path
they're whining and complaining and
saying there's high unemployment
what would you say what advice would you
give them sophia
um my advice would be really really
find what you love doing not what you're
good at
what you like doing and get good at that
and once you do that it's a skill that
no one can take
away from you because when you're
passionate about something um
you do it in a very unique way that's
specific to you
and can't be replaced and
you know just look for what you love
and um start doing it you have to start
because
we have a setback mindset that you
we are too afraid to start something
what if it doesn't work
but if i'm not good enough um what if
i don't know something happens and you
just have to take that first step
once you do that and you realize that
you can make income
out of what you like doing um
just that first step is going to change
everything that's great
that's really good advice thank you so
much
sophia it's been great to have you as a
guest thank you so much for sharing
your journey and i i know
yeah i know it's gonna inspire a lot of
young people and those early in their
career
so good luck with how things progress
uh with your full-time job and also with
your side hustle
thank you thank you for having me
okay that was a great interview with
sofia i just want to share
three lessons that all of us can take
from her story
the first one is the role that reading
has played we've often talked on this
podcast
we do book reviews we really emphasize
the importance of
reading so it's not just about the
knowledge that you're gaining from the
books you're reading
you know sophia shared that she mostly
read fiction books and stories
but reading developed her ability to
communicate
she's now excellent in multiple
languages and she's a gifted writer
and often that can be attributed to the
amount of time she has spent
reading so that's the first lesson the
second one
is the role that linkedin has played in
her career
i met sophia through linkedin and
she's pitched me to be on this podcast
through linkedin
and she shared how she landed this
full-time job through the connections
that she made on linkedin
so notice though that she's very active
she isn't just
adding people and then disappearing
she's commenting she's engaging she's
pursuing connections and building
relationships online
and then the third one is sophia is
somebody who is proactive
she's somebody who takes initiative she
makes things happen
the reason why she's on this podcast
with us is because
she pitched it she contacted me and said
it'd be great be a guest on the podcast
and she shared
why she would make a great interview she
shared her journey
and what was exciting and how she could
add value
to our audience so she presented
herself as a guest through my
my eyes what what would i be looking for
what would be something that i thought
the audience would really appreciate
and so when you are pitching somebody
when you are taking that initiative
it's important to think that way too put
yourself in their shoes
and frame your pitch frame your proposal
from their perspective so i
am in the same boat as sophia i'm trying
to grow
my real estate business in canada and so
i'm pitching
these real estate influencers to come on
a youtube show with me
an interview show like this one and i
need to frame my offer from their
perspective what value will it bring
them
how does it meet their needs how will it
help their business
all right so thank you so much to our
guest sophia and we wish her the best of
luck as she continues her career and her
side hustle on fiverr
i encourage all of you guys out there to
build up
a skill set that you can sell online
and you can increase your income and
protect yourself
from global pandemics and economic
downturns and anything else that could
threaten your
your primary source of income all right
we'll see you next episode

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