In this series, TalentEgg will be exploring the lives of young professionals who have gone off the beaten career path to find success. From artists to entrepreneurs, their stories illustrate the importance of pursuing your passion.
There’s no doubt about it: change is scary.
To leave the comfort of the familiar and dive headfirst into the unknown – it’s intimidating. But if you don’t embrace change, you could miss out on a world of opportunity.
Need more convincing? Leyla Razeghi is a living example of the power of taking risks. Her first big change? Packing her bags and moving from her home country of El Salvador to start a new life in Canada, after living in Latin America for 25 years.
Big change number two? After working for consumer goods and consulting firms for more than seven years, she decided she was going to leave the corporate world for good and start her own business.
Today, Leyla is the Business Strategist behind Leyla Razeghi Consulting. She specializes in helping product-based businesses and stores – both physical and virtual – set goals, attract customers, and ultimately grow their enterprises. She is also the Merchandising Director for startup Damiva Inc.
Leyla always saw herself becoming a consultant at some point in her life. In university, she started working with a family friend in consulting and fell in love with the profession. The thought of pursuing partnerships, collaborating with different clients, running focus groups, and having a flexible schedule was exactly what she wanted out of a career – she just figured it would happen a lot later in her life.
“I thought I’d be an entrepreneur when I was 40 or 50, when I have a ton of experience,” says Leyla. “But I started networking with different types of people and started meeting more entrepreneurs. I started seeing all these people in their 20s and 30s [launching their own businesses], and I thought, ‘Why don’t I do it now?’”
Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the first-time entrepreneur. She learned firsthand that working for a company is very different from working for yourself.
“Here I was with three business degrees and no idea how to market myself to these people,” says Leyla about the early days of her business. “So I started trying all these different things on my own. One of the biggest mistakes I made was thinking, ‘I have three business degrees, I’ll be okay.’”
She also realized very quickly that having your own business doesn’t mean you need to do everything on your own. She sought out mentors to help her better understand the nuances of small business consulting, and made it a priority to keep herself up-to-date on the latest trends.
“When you start investing in your business, that’s when you’ll actually start making money. You need to show that you’re in first by making that investment in whatever help you need.” – Leyla Razeghi
Today, her business is doing better than ever. Recently she has decided to specialize in product strategy, and has launched a free webinar series so she can help even more entrepreneurs achieve their goals. However, what’s arguably even more inspiring about Leyla Razeghi’s career journey is the insight and perspective she has gained along the way.
“The biggest thing that gets in the way [of success] is ego, which we all have to some extent,” explains Leyla. “When you want to be an expert, there’s this myth that your ego makes you believable and that asking for help makes you look weak.”
She continues: “The people that I admire the most are the ones that are able to say, ‘I’m not perfect, I just went through this and here’s how I came out of it by getting help.”
Leyla’s Career Advice
- Find a balance between trying new things and deciding what you truly want to do. “Figure out the things you love to do; the things that light you up and that people will pay for, and look for a job in that area,” says Leyla.
- Don’t wait until you’re ‘ready’. Make the leap. After all, as Leyla reminds us: “You learn to ride a bike by riding a bike.”
- Once you make a decision, go all in. You’d be surprised at what you can accomplish when you commit to something 100%. “I was decisive about coming to Canada. I decided I was going to get a really good job in Canada, and I did. And then I decided I was going to start my own business. And all of that happened in 5 years,” says Leyla.