Podcast Episode 37

Startup Stories: From Ideation to Execution with Allison Mahmood

In this episode of “Start-Up Stories from Ideation to Execution,” host Ryan Davies engages in a conversation with guest Allison Mahmood. They discuss various aspects of entrepreneurship, highlighting key milestones, the importance of pivoting early in business ventures, and the evolving of remote work and freelancing. Mahmood shares valuable insights on identifying opportunities, navigating challenges, and aligning passion with business objectives.

Allison Mahmood - Co-Founder at Syren

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Introduction and Discussion on Collaboration

Ryan Davies: Welcome everyone to the Tech Business Roundtable podcast show. This is a podcast show dedicated to shining a spotlight on tech innovators, entrepreneurs, founders, and the compelling narratives behind the movements that they’ve established. I’m your host, Ryan Davies, and I’m hosting today’s discussion on Startup Stories: From Ideation to Execution with Allison Mahmood. Allison, Thanks so much for being here.

Allison: Hey, thanks for having me on.

Ryan Davies:   This is going to be a good one. I always love the personal journeys and talking about, kind of just the growth, the challenges, you know, for our audience, it’s critically important. So many people are looking for, you know, insight and inspiration and those tips and ideas of how we can do things and make them better and stronger. And Allison, for our listeners, you know, started the entrepreneurial journey at 14, pitching a derivatives product to a bank at 17. And then, during the COVID era, founded an impact-focused brokerage in the EU at 36 employees and was able to run that along with going for a degree and, of course, you know, COVID challenges being what they were. Everything else, you know, decided to pivot now and is returned to finish the studies and is gearing up for the next start-up. So I think maybe you’ll probably shine a better light on your background and what you bring than I do. So, I’m going to turn over to you for a little bit more of an extended introduction and, maybe, your journey into entrepreneurship.

Allison: Yeah. So the way I actually got into, like, actually doing businesses, if you ask some people, it’s kind of just, I grew up around it because both my parents have businesses, they basically both studied medicine, and once they got there, once they were doctors, they were like, ok, done with medicine. Let’s go to businesses. So, I grew up around it. But the story of my first attempt at a business is a funny one because what happened was that I was on holiday with my parents in Paris, and the weather was incredibly hot. I normally just wore normal long jeans. But my parents, well, my mom insisted, like, no, it’s way too hot. You have to have shorts; you have to have shorts and for, like, half a day. She’s like you have to get shorts. So eventually, I’m like, all right, I’ll buy some shorts, and there’s this weird thing I have on my pants. I like to have big pockets. I don’t like to carry around bags. So if any pair of trousers has small pockets, I will not wear them. So I was like, ok, well, I’m going to wear these. I have to. It has to have big pockets. I went to a bunch of stores, like 8 or 9 different stores, looking at their shorts, and all of them had small pockets. For example, I had zero other criteria except for the pockets. None of them had properly big pockets. So eventually I’m like, ok, let’s keep going, and eventually I run in, well, not run. I end up in a store where I’m like these shorts have really big pockets. This is amazing. I go up to the counter, and I’m like, hey, I’ll take this pair. The issue is at that store. They tell me, oh, we only do wholesale, which was quite expected, but, you know, spending that much time already just looking for shorts, and I am not a person that enjoys shopping for clothes. I was like, what’s the minimum order volume? They’re like, $500 is for the pack. So I was like, ok, let me go back to my parents. So I went back to my parents, and I was like, hey, can I borrow 1000 bucks? I’ll pay you whatever interest. I don’t remember what I agreed to, and I’ll pay you back within the month. And they were like, ok, why? I explained the idea roughly, and they were like, you know what, go for it, you know, like, because they both have their businesses. They were a lot more comfortable with having me take that risk with 1000 bucks. So I was like, perfect. So, go back to the store and ordered two sets because I needed two packages. So that’s, it was about 50 pairs of shorts. Actually, more. I don’t remember the exact number. It was actually two large packs of shorts, and I had them shipped to my house in the Czech Republic. The funniest part of it is I never ended up taking a pair of shorts for me to wear. So after spending 1000 bucks on shorts, I didn’t have shorts in Paris. I ended up wearing jeans the rest of the time because my parents gave up at that point. They’re like, how much is it going to cost next time? So then, once we got back to the Czech Republic a week later, the shorts arrived. I was like, ok, well, now I actually have to figure out how to sell these because I promised I was going to pay it back in a month, and the kind of natural thought was, well, I could just sell to customers and do some online store thing. But I was like, that’s too much effort. I’m not going to sell shorts ever again. I can’t be bothered doing that. So, where do the other stores, like, you know, normal fashion stores? Where do they get their clothes? Some are chains, and a lot of them just buy them from different places. So I ended up being like, ok, well, I can wholesale them to boutiques. I got a great price on them because I bought them straight from the supplier. They can take a little bit of a margin, so I’ll take a little bit of margin. They can then sell them. I got these at a great price compared to what I liked when I was googling what shorts were going for. So I was like, I’ll give them a good deal. I’ll dump them off. So, as this like a 14-year-old kid in a T-shirt and jeans, going to, like, boutique fashion stores, and being like, hey, can I speak to the owner? Oh, the owner’s not here? Can I have their number? Ok. Thank you for coming back a bit later and speaking to the owner. Oh, so I have these shorts. I want to sell them to you, but oh, I’m not interested. So I kept doing that whenever I had free time for like 2- 5 days, and nobody would consider me. And then eventually, once one store owner was like, well, I’m not going to buy them, but if you want, I can take them on consignment, and then once they sell, we’ll pay you the money, and I was like. Ok? At this point, I can’t be bothered. I have other things to do. Take them, pay me back. And I was like, call me in a week how it’s going. So I had an idea, and instead of calling me in a week, I got a phone call three days later, being like, hey, we sold out, we need more. When can you get us more? What? There’s a more so, yeah, I was at school. I was literally in between classes, walking to the next class, getting a phone call. We need more. What’s going on? I was like, just call me later. So call back later, and then I’m like, ok, well, I’ll try this might as well. And then I kind of continued to scale that for a little bit and made a bit of money. And then at a certain point, I was like, ok, I think I know enough from this business to move on, because one thing to know is for me up until that brokerage, that I had. So that would be up until COVID. So, two or three years ago, how long has it been since COVID? I looked at the business I was doing as I wanted to learn something from this because I was like, well, I’m not going to 14 start the thing that I’m going to stick with in the long run. I wanted to learn something from this. So then, between the ages of 14 and 19, Yeah, it was probably, but it was 19 when I started the brokerage, each kind of business I was trying out. I was like, what skills can I learn from this? And then once I, like, learned to, I was comfortable with it, I would just shut it down because at the time my parents don’t come from a background where, like, they sell their businesses, they always, they just keep running them. So I was aware you could sell your business and do that stuff because I was quite involved in, like, interested in finance and stuff like that. But I wasn’t fully like it. How do I go about selling this? So, I was like, yeah, I just can’t be bothered. I doubt it’s worth that much, and I would just shut it down. I did have a friend recently, actually not that recently, like, six months ago I spoke to, where I found this, like, old, accounting thing, for one of the things I did, and he was giving me because he was like, you could have sold that for like three times the revenue you made in a year. You could have made a lot of money. I was like, it doesn’t matter, it’s fine. But so now I had so yeah, should have sold them but, you know, too late. So then yeah, so the 17th thing when I had the product basically with a friend. We’re at CERN at the Large Hadron Collider; we get talking; he mentioned some weird math because he was obsessed with math. I’m really interested in math. I end up talking to him. The conversation ended with an idea for a new way to structure offloading risk for certain types of positions. And then I’m like, well, let’s do it. Let’s figure out if this is possible. We end up chasing that, figuring it out. Well, it’s possible to pitch it like, you know, reach out to banks eventually; some banks here are out. Unfortunately, in one of the meetings with that bank, they, like, one of the MDs was like, oh, by the way, I, you can structure the risk the same way by doing this, I was like, ok, well, what we’re doing is useless. Still, thanks anyway, and then I moved on from there. That really got me interested in traditional finance because I’ve had some experience with crypto before. Actually, I’m going on too many tangents, but I’m going to say one more story. So, the way I got into crypto is usually when my school was on the other side of the city. So I didn’t mean like 35- 40 minutes to get home, and usually I would take the tube or, like, the metro. But if the weather was really nice or there was some disruption, I would take a tram, which would take about an hour and a half. But, you know, like you do what you can when you’re taking public transport, I wasn’t allowed to drive back then. So I’m on this tram going home one day and, you know, Prague is a very old city, like the majority of it’s like very nice historical buildings. Among these nice historical buildings, I see just a black building in between two of them. And I’m like, what is that? Why is there a fully gray wall, like black, completely black windows, blacked out everything? I’m like, OK, I need to see what this is. I get off at the next stop. I walk back to that building. I, like, well, I don’t see any signs, so I tried the door walk-in. It was like a crypto hacker space thing. And it’s actually, like how I ended up learning from them by around crypto a bit more about coding and stuff because I already had interest then, but some people were quite knowledgeable about some of it. But yeah, so that’s how I ended up getting into crypto. they painted their wall black? But yeah, so where was I? Yeah, the product is how we like it. We got into more proper, serious traditional finance. And then that, you know, when there was COVID, I was like, well, a few months in me and aquatint of mine were talking, they were like, well, this is not going to stop anytime soon because clearly, like at this point, it was starting to be pretty clear like, OK, this is going to take at least a year, maybe longer uni is useless because I was doing physics all the like, and in first-year physics in the UK. Some labs are useful. And then there’s a lot of theory stuff, which, for me, because I wasn’t from the UK, I already knew a lot of it because we learned it before. So I was like, well, this is a waste of my time. Let’s do something useful. We end up starting that brokerage. He ended up leaving due to medical issues he had and stuff. But yeah, then I ran it until June of last year. That would be June 22. Yeah, it’s 23 now. So, yeah, we try out June 22.

Ryan Davies: It’s amazing. I think again, you’ve got so much in physics in software development and finance, and I think, you know, fate sometimes finds you, as you said, walking into places just because of curiosity and where you’re going. You’ve done so much already in everything that you’ve done in your experience working with early-stage start-ups. That’s something where a lot of our listening audience would be really interested to hear what you feel. You know, what you’ve learned are the key elements for contributing to building a successful tech start-up, and, like, is it again building relationships? Is it partnering with the right people? I’m sure you’ve got the recipe that goes on and on. But I’m sure you’ve got a lot of insight in terms of, you know, hey, here’s more of the more important things, and maybe here’s the things people say are important, but I would put a little lower on the priority list.

Allison: So I think, like, cause, you know, there are definitely people who are way more experienced than me, but I’ve noticed a lot of things that I’m doing differently at the, you know, because I’m now working on my neck on another start up. Well, now, as in the current project we’re working on, we’ve been at it for a week, exactly as of today. So, not that long, but I already noticed some stuff I’m doing differently, so I’ll try to base it off of that so that it’s stuff that like I would change. So, it’s more tangible. But yeah, there are a few things that people, you know, people can change around, like how they approach the business and how they evaluate stuff. But with start-ups, most people end up looking for a co-founder, right? You want to be working with somebody, and there’s a lot of different advice people will give you, right? People are like, oh, start it with a friend. Some people are like, oh, never start with family. Some people are like, oh, you have to do this. And I’ve been going through entrepreneurs first, where they’re like very early-stage investors, like before you even have your idea, which is an interesting investment thesis. I’ve been going through a lot of teams, talking with a lot of different people, and trying to see how that would work. And it really stands out to me how there’s one criterion that I found to matter far more than anything else to like to me personally. And that’s like how the way they think works. Because I think everybody can imagine in their life like you have that friend or you know, that person where they will tell you, they made some like some super weird decision and just from like from hearing that first, like this is what I did, you’re like are you crazy? What is this? But then they like you, and you basically asked that like, hey, why the hell did you do that? And then they say a sentence, and they’re getting ready to spend 10 minutes explaining it. But within that first sentence, you’re like, yeah, OK. Got it. Never mind. You’re completely right. I would do the same thing in your situation. That’s the kind of person that you would want; you want us to co-found with right now. They are all like scales, like OK. If you are both super commercial and neither of you knows how to code and your entire start-up is, I got to teach people how to code, you know, like that needs to factor in. But the similarity is, in a way, common the efficiency of communication between the two of you. But it is based on what you two think is so important because I was working with somebody a few weeks ago, and we were looking at doing something, and we were on to something very interesting. We’re looking at open banking and stuff like that. But one thing I noticed is that every time we would get into a discussion about something more complex, something where the two of us had contradicting views. I am trying to explain my perspective as opposed to being like, explain it. And now we discuss which is better.  We would spend about 20 minutes explaining my perspective. He would spend half an hour, maybe 15- 20 minutes also, explaining his perspective. And only after that could we have a discussion on who is right. Or like which way we should go. And that is a massive time waster because that won’t be a pro, you know, you don’t have these discussions when you’re doing a business once a quarter, right? You’re not a board; you’re in the business. Those discussions happen every day, so efficiency matters a massive amount. So to me, I’ve kind of realized that that is my number one criterion, and to be clear, when I say, like, the way you think is the same, I don’t mean like you will think the same stuff like just if you bring up something right? Because your experiences in life and your background are different, and you have your own skills and everything. But a person who, if they went through exactly what you went through, would make the same decisions or like roughly the same decisions. That’s the kind of person and he makes a really valuable co-founder. So that’s my number one criterion.

Identifying Meaningful Milestones in Tech Start-ups

Ryan Davies:   I love that. That’s incredible. Talking about these, like the early stages and marking success for tech start-ups, are there specific milestones or achievements or anything that stands out to you that is particularly meaningful? I know everyone always says, you know, the first client or the first dollar or something like that. Of course, OK, those are there, but things where you’re like, OK, this is something that you really need to celebrate, embrace, understand that, you know, this is a big step in the journey for founders to take. 

Allison: I have one idea of something that because also going through if there’s a lot of other people here. So, I see how they approach ideas and how they go through them. The first big milestone, and this is literally like the earliest milestone you’re going to hit unless, like, OK, you might talk to one person and they’re like, we’re paying you for everything. But your first milestone for most people is going to be when you find out that the original version of your idea doesn’t work, and you need to pivot. You need to make some changes to it. How can you go through that? Because I’ve seen a lot of teams from here, people like looking into working together, and then the original idea they were looking at, they kind of like, OK, this doesn’t work, but based on all these learnings, we could try this aspect because, you know, and we could solve it this way. And oftentimes that’s the stage, a lot of teams end up breaking up because people are like, oh, well, I don’t actually super happy doing this, not super this blah, blah. And then they end up being like, OK, we shouldn’t actually go through this together. That is the first pivot, and I do not like the small pivot. For example, if you want to build a company saying baseballs and you realize instead of manufacturing them in Jersey, you’re going to manufacture them in Delaware. Like, who cares? That’s small. But, like a fundamental large change to what you originally thought you were going to be doing. If you find that, like the first major change like that, which if you’re really going at, it should happen within the first two weeks. That is, I think, like the very important stepstone, a very important step because that’s when the majority of people will give up and, or like, you know, you’ll notice like, oh, that person’s only happy to work on this specific thing. So, in reality, as the business goes on, they wouldn’t want to stick with it. That person may not even have the right to pursue business in that area, or you know, you just be like, hey, you’re the one who doesn’t want to do this. So going through that first, the pivot is where I think most people end up giving up because, to be fair, if you think about like stories from people, they’re like, oh, you know, I was thinking about doing this start-up, but then I never did. You talk to them, and they usually spend about a week and a half looking into it before they give up. So, crossing that. It probably lines up with that. Like the first major pivot, you have to go through.

Gathering Feedback and Understanding Pivots

Ryan Davies:  What you find when you’re doing that are not necessarily the reasons why people are giving up. But how are you successful in, like you said, testing and then recognizing the pivot? I think you’re right; some people just say, hey, this isn’t, it’s not right. It’s already out there; whatever it is, they get to discovery, and they bail on it. The other part is, I mean, again, it’s too hard, or I don’t know where to go next. But you’ve been able to do that to understand and get good feedback. Where are you getting that feedback? And that understanding from, again, is this really strong networking and collaboration and that sort of strategy behind it so that you’re able to recognize, OK, maybe that’s not the idea. Still, this is now after drilling down, continuing to do that.

Allison:  So it’s what you do with that whenever you have a new business idea, right? If you find the people that work in the space, you find the people that will be using this, and you set up meetings with all of them, and then some will agree to meetings, and you just talk to them, right? Like when we start, when we were looking at that open banking thing, you know, within two weeks, we went from we can’t even, you know, we’re having a really hard time getting people to talk to us to basically talk to the heads of open banking at different banks, right? People are super willing to talk to you, right? Anybody will talk to you unless you’re doing with, like, you know, like when companies have researchers that are covered by NDAs, people are really scared of NDAs. Even this is the one thing I noticed: even if their NDA covers the smallest portion of their work, people are scared of them. A lot of people don’t understand what exactly is covered by their NDA. That is one area where dealing with things covered by NDA is going to be difficult. But otherwise, like anybody will talk to you. For example, people want to talk about work. They do, like most people; they go home, and they’re like, oh, I hate my work or, like, you know, their friends around them aren’t really that interested in their work. And so people who are in these positions really dedicated themselves to spending years and years pursuing, like they want to talk about this stuff. So, like, they’ll just keep telling them like, hey, I’m building this cool new thing. I want to learn about this. I want to do this, they’ll tell you, and if you go as far as how to ask them questions in the actual calls, the mom test is like the universal standard. It’s really good advice for anybody who has to make a lot of these calls.

The Future of Entrepreneurship and Technology

Rayan Davies: I love that. I think, you know, it’s funny, even just in, like you said, in casual conversation, there’s a group of three of us, and two of us are super deep into tech and AI, and the third one could care less, and you just see the drain of the, oh, they’re going into this again, right? But if you get the two of us together, we’re good to go nonstop, right? So you see that just like you said, whether it’s just having somebody who wants to try and talk at that level about what they do, people love talking about themselves, right? So get people talking about that, you know, I know we’re kind of getting deeper into this one, but I’d love to kind of get a feel from you about, you know, we’ve talked a lot about your journey and things like that. But what really excites you most about the future of entrepreneurship and technology? Like, do you see any trends or developments that are scape, shaping the landscape right now? Is it things like, you know, entrepreneur first where you’ve got these really unique, different ways of doing things and securing a future for start-ups, or again, I don’t want to put words in your mouth. So I’ll let you take it away.

Allison:  Yeah. So, there are three things that I could highlight from three very different areas. One that is at the later stage is that I’ve noticed that, like, if you ever go and observe some that use ChatGPT a lot in their work, you then compare that to how managers communicate with their employees. You notice that it’s similar in the way they give instructions and describe stuff now. Yes, ChatGPT is more hands-on. But if they were giving that exact same task to a person working for them, it would be close, and I’ve seen people, you know, trying to turn ChatGPT into virtual employees, which is way too early. But we will get there within about 2 or 3 years, and that will massively accelerate how you can operate, right? Getting good people on your team, like you, will still need them because of the discussions; you have the ideas that come from them. Like that’s invaluable. But there is a lot of like work that just, it just needs to get done, and it just takes time, and you just can’t do it yourself because there are too much other things to do where you can’t handle that volume until you have enough revenue to hire those people. So it usually takes more time, and a lot of that can be, to some extent, replaced by even, you know, like models like ChatGPT, which is going to be quite exciting to see how that goes. Now, in the end, what excites me about entrepreneurship in general? I don’t know. I just love, like, this is a weird way to put it. But somebody asked me this a few months ago, and my first thought was this thing would go wrong. Which is a weird way to think about it. What is the act of running a business? This thing is going wrong. You have to fix it. And for me, that just makes me happy. I just like solving these problems. I like dealing with it. That’s what excites me personally about entrepreneurship. Well, I don’t like the word entrepreneurship. It’s probably cause I’m like from an Eastern European background where entrepreneurship is just a scammer. If you’re running a business, you’re just a businessman. But whatever, we’re tangent. But that’s what I said to me. Spanning is something a lot of people don’t think about enough when it comes to running a business. A lot of people, men like, a lot of people imagine running a business as being like the actual work of a contractor and how that often operates. But, you know, if you were, I don’t know, you love cameras and you want to make the next Nikon and, you know, replace them because, you know, all the technical stuff, you probably shouldn’t be the one running that business. If you really, really love building the cameras because that’s very little of your work. You have to love the space, right? So don’t go start a business in an area where you’re like. I do not give anything about any of this. But the reality of the work of running a business is it goes wrong, you fix it, more it goes wrong, and you fix it again. Now, the thing you’ve tried fixing the fix didn’t work; you have to fix that, too. That’s all business essentially ends up being. So it’s one thing, and this isn’t what you ask. But one thing that is important for people to think about is when you’re looking at starting a business, what is the work that you’re really looking to do? But yeah, anyway, and then the third thing, cause I said I was going to say three that accept me about entrepreneurship. I think there. So there is a change in how people think about it because, if you go, ok, based on what I’ve heard because I’m not 40. So I don’t know how it was 40 years ago. But based on what, like, if you 40 years ago, when you imagine what you hear from people running a business is like a dry thing, you do make money, ok, whatever. And then what I’ve seen, because when I was 14, so like 2014, this wasn’t really as much of a thing. Between 2017 and 2022, over COVID, there was a change in sentiment, but it’s only starting entrepreneurship was the thing everybody wanted to do. They’re like, oh, I’ll do a drop shipping thing. Oh, I’ll do that thing. The business model makes sense in some cases, but it’s very complicated to get it right at scale properly. So oftentimes people try it doesn’t work, try more, it doesn’t work, and they don’t reach that point where they’re like, OK, I’m really going to take this seriously as a business and figure it out, and it was kind of trendy to be an entrepreneur. So, but now what I’m noticing is that so OK, so people being like running a business is super boring, whatever, blah, blah, that doesn’t bother me. But that’s something that people miss out on pursuing when they would be really good at it. Then there’s the second one where it was like 2016, 17 until pretty recently. It’s still the predominant trend today, and people are way too excited. People who hate running a business end up trying to run businesses. And I think that’s going to just result in a lot of people being unhappy with what they’re doing, and just hating it and also, like trying out of business is a lot of risk and while I am like, all for taking risks and like just go for it, try it. I’ve seen a lot of people start businesses, and those businesses do well, and they hate it because they’ll do the work. Like they’re very intelligent and very capable, they’ll get it done, and they will have, you know, 10, 20 $30 million business. So pretty. All right. Oh, ok, I’m very biased from, like, being around start-ups right now. So successful businesses are like a billion, like 10, 20, 30 million. It’s a very successful business. But anyway, end of tangent. so they will hate what they’re doing. And oftentimes because they aren’t as in, you know, they, they don’t love the idea of how businesses work. They also weren’t that interested in learning about it. So, they structured their business in a way where they can’t just go and sell it, or it would be, like, very difficult. So they end up hitting their life, and they’re locked in. It is horrible to do this thing that they hate. They can’t sell; they can’t do anything about it. It’s very hard to outsource, and it’s going to take them, like, 5 to 7 years to get out of unless they want just to lose all of it. When that much money is involved, people are very hard to convince just to give up 20 $30 million a year. So, it created a lot of people who pursued stuff that they hated. And I’ve seen what I’m starting to see now as a trend, which is that a lot of people are becoming more conscious of the options they have about pursuing the things that they love. If the thing is not love, but as they would enjoy, I have a former classmate of mine who is an artist and, you know, back in school, she had every potential to pursue, like, work in finance, work as a lawyer, work, whatever she loved art. And from what I’ve heard from some people, you know, some of my acquaintances, but it would be like, oh, yeah, someone like that would never pursue art because there’s just no money in it. But by doing some freelance stuff by being able to have a very wide network of clients across the world that is easier, she can do some kind of, you know, freelancing to cover costs of being an artist and really, like, pursue, do what she loves, which is creating 3D art. And with businesses going through COVID and experiencing what it’s like having employees remote, I’m really not a fan of the whole remote thing. Like, I ran the start-up brokerage during COVID, so it was all remote, and it’s so much less efficient than it works. You can have a very bad business, but it’s just the efficiency, not a fan, but it opened businesses up to a lot more to having freelancers and having people work in that format. And the skill gap is from being an employee working in something to being a freelancer. There’s still a notable one because, as a freelancer, you need to know because, you know, if you’re an employee, your manager has to be, has to assign the task properly. Like it’s their job to figure that out, as a freelancer, you might have a client come to you. That’s like, I have no clue. I just want this, and then you have to know how to ask them the right questions to get the result that you want. But ultimately, that’s a skill that you need to learn. That’s not like a passion for running a business that you need. And it is becoming more normal for businesses, and more people can think about it by becoming more popular, you know, starting to grow in popularity and awareness. It’s going to end up in a lot more people actually being like, this is the work I love. This is the part of being my hobby or my job that I really enjoy. Let me be a freelancer just doing this. I think that’s the right decision for a lot of people because people look at what they love and like. I’ll start a business in it, and some people get kind of lucky. They love the process of running a business, and that’s great for them. But a lot of people hate the process of running a business. They just loved the stuff they were doing. And until recently, they just, you know, most people were just like, oh, no, you don’t freelance. If you love what you’re doing, you want to pursue it at a higher scale, you start a business, and it just never made sense to me because the skill and the work are different. When I started the brokerage, this was like the area of finance, trading, investing, managing stuff, understanding how a clearing house is, how a clearing works, and everything. That was what I was like. That’s really cool. What I really spent most of my time doing, later on, was like, oh, I have this meeting, that meeting, this meeting, that meeting a little bit earlier on, oh, I have to go also meeting to HR to figure out this culture stuff. Oh, I have that contract. The work is not the area that you chose and love. So if what you love is what you’re doing, just go freelance, and I love that it’s become more popular.

Conclusion and Contact Information

Rayan Davies: That’s just incredible again. There is so much to think about in this episode where people, like you said, hey, I don’t love what I do. So I’m going to start my own business and be my own boss, and I’m going to do what I love. And it’s like, are you, though? And, like, there’s just so many things here to be able to take away for our listeners to kind of have that pre-vetting checklist almost to make sure you’re really doing what it is or are you just doing elements of what you love or is it in the field that you love, whatever it is here. So that’s a perfect, you know, a great place to press pause, maybe even just until we have another discussion on this. But you know what I want to do is just at the very end here. Turn it over again. Do you want our listeners to get in contact with you? How how would that happen? How do we get in contact with you? Follow what you’re doing. All of that sort of stuff?

Allison: Yeah. Thanks. I post stuff in random places, so if you are someone like Twitter or LinkedIn, just Google me. It will all pop up. I have a unique enough name that I’m at the top of; the 1st 20 results are all me. So look at my name; I’ll be there. If you want to see what I’m working on right now. But we’re going to rename it by the episode by the time this episode comes out because I’m not sure how long it’s out. Go to Intio.News. It’s the thing I’m working on right now. Hopefully, that website will still work by the time this comes out. If not, Google me; it’ll be somewhere across all my social media.

Ryan Davies:  Yeah, we’ll have it there for you, for sure. Well, so definitely continue to follow Allison’s journey, you know, and reach out and connect. You know, I’m sure there are so many things. There are always questions that come from our audience that say, well, I’d love to that one, that one thing that was said, I just want to really, you know, dig deeper on it, and I think there are great conversations to be had. But with that, yeah, sorry, go ahead.

Allison: Yeah. I’m always happy to talk to people. So if you have any questions, anything you like that made no sense. Just hit me up where usually, like LinkedIn, is easiest because I check it the most right now. But whatever works.

Ryan Davies:   I love it. That’s perfect. Take advantage, as I always say to our listeners, when you get that opportunity. It’s wonderful, you know, to have two minds meet like that. So that is where we’ll leave it for today. I want to thank Alison Mahmood for this incredible, amazing podcast of start-up stories from ideation to execution. And I also want to thank our listeners. We can’t do what we do without you. So until we meet again with another amazing TBR episode, I’m your host, Ryan Davies. Take care out there.

About Our Host and Guest

Director of Marketing – Ekwa.Tech & Ekwa Marketing
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CEO and Founder of Intio.news and CCO at Marble Aerospace
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” If what you love is what you’re doing, just go freelance.”

– Jeremy Blackburn –