Andrew Fayad is the CEO and managing partner of eLearning Mind, an e-learning design and development agency that helps companies transform their existing learning materials into memorable and engaging e-learning experiences. Follow him at @azfayad.
Who is your hero? (In business, life, or both.)
Steve Jobs has always inspired me from all aspects; his time at Apple, starting Pixar, and his return to make Apple the largest company in the world.
What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?
I learned from Trulia founder Sean Black to ride the coattails of another entrepreneur before you start your own business. That way, you’ve learned from their mistakes and it’s less costly. When I heard it, this advice was exactly what I needed. At my first job out of college I felt stuck and demotivated, unsure whether I should be starting my own company (which I ultimately wanted to do) or to stick with my role at a Fortune 500 company. Sean recommended I take a look at companies pre-Series A, so I would have the opportunity to work directly with the founder. I was fortunate to join Axial when the team was 18 people. I ultimately took that experience to eLearning Mind.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?
Hire passionate people! It shines through to clients and colleagues when someone doesn’t care about what they’re working on. I’ve learned to pick up on this in the interview process early on. Typically passionate people will speak to doing something meaningful with great people when you ask them where they see themselves in the near future.
What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?
It’s different every day and dependent on the needs of my colleagues. I look at my role as CEO as a supportive role to our leadership team here at ELM — I enable them to make decisions and empower everyone across the organization. My routine molds with our organization’s needs, which are always changing.
What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started?
Look at marketing as an investment. If you’re a tech company, it’s probably your largest expense outside of labor. Regardless, it’s smart to invest appropriately in getting the word out.
Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?
See a psychologist. Be sure to interview a few and find a great match. They’ll help you center your thoughts.
What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?
Success is a continual effort. It’s ongoing and never achieved. Once you create the illusion that you’ve reached success, you’ve quit. This isn’t always a bad thing. The closest application to succeeding in entrepreneurship is realizing a return on your investment. Sometimes it’s time to move on and spend your time and resources on a new venture.
BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.