Kareem Elmashad has been an entrepreneur since he was a child. While most 10-year-old kids play video games, Kareem was always looking for ways to make money and be independent. He would sell anything he could get his hands on, whether it was lemonade or candy bars. By the time Kareem was 16 years old, he launched a small project with a few friends called “Watches & Sunglasses.” They raised money from each other, sold watches & sunglasses at local high schools, and used that money to feed the homeless people in their community. When we couple business and philanthropy, it makes a beautiful business model.
Kareem empowers other young leaders, entrepreneurs, and major brands by distributing their stories to mainstream media outlets across the globe. Even the most reputable Fortune 500 companies, executives, celebrities, and nonprofit organizations seek his advice. Kareem is more than just an entrepreneur; He is a leader in his industry with a proven track record of success and recognition.
Kareem was not born into a business-minded family and had to learn about business through trial and error. When Kareem was 9 years old, he had to deal with a low point in his life, when his dad got passed away. It taught him that life can turn on a dime. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how many luxury cars you own. If your health, wealth, and happiness are not well balanced, you have nothing. That is why it is important that we live every day to the fullest and be the best versions of ourselves. Most importantly, you must treat others the same way you want them to treat you. Of course, Kareem learned that failures are part of the journey to entrepreneurial success, too. Every business is going to have ups and downs, maybe even more downs than ups, but he thinks of each failure as a learning experience that helps build success.
For example, as a teenager setting up his business for the first time, Kareem didn’t focus on the legalities around forming a company and creating an organizational structure. Instead, all he cared about was speed to market, making money, and his customers’ happiness. But his mindset quickly changed when he received a cease and desist letter from another company demanding that Kareem change the name of his business because it matched theirs. From that point forward, Kareem realized it was in his best interest to set up a proper business entity to make sure this situation doesn’t happen again.
Kareem’s main message to young people is that they are old enough to start learning about business and starting a company. People will say you’re too young, but there’s no magic age to start a business. Also, you don’t need a college degree to be successful. It is simply not worth accumulating over $100,000 in student loans unless you are going to become a doctor, lawyer, or go into another profession that requires a degree. In fact, according to The Washington Post, only 27% of college grads have a job related to their major. Kareem teaches people not to fall into this trap. Success comes from simply developing an entrepreneurial mindset and following your passion. We are not born successful. Success is a byproduct of hard work, dedication, and, most importantly, learning from our failures.
A person who spends 4 years building their business is more likely to be successful and more knowledgeable in business than a person who spends 6 years in college earning an MBA. Kareem enjoys teaching young adults that they should jump right into the business world and avoid racking up excessive amounts of student debt.