Dear Ladies, our today's #heroine_of_the_week - Randa is a great example of how you can come up with a fantastic business idea by facing a certain problem yourself. Allow yourself to be bold and creative in solving your problem and you might accomplish something incredible for others as well.
Randa has found a niche in the online payment market and created her business project VeeLoop to change the way teens shop online. Her concept is clever, easy, time-saving and allows the parents to focus on their family needs and provide online safety for their children.
Her story is inspiring to those of us who are sometimes overwhelmed with the size of their dreams and therefore hesitate to pursue them. Read our interview with Randa below!
The beautiful portrait of Randa is captured by Randa's loving husband @steves.camera
@ichselbstaendig: Dear Randa, your Vee Loop concept is really brilliant, can you tell us how you came up with it?
Randa: It is a problem I’m constantly having with my teenage daughter. She constantly needs clothes, stationary or books so I tell her to find it online and I’ll pay. She finds what she needs, calls me to pay but I’m always running around and tend to say later! Which makes her frustrated.
Then I thought: why can’t she send me that basket and I look through it in my own time? That was my light bulb moment! I’m going to be even more receptive to her requests after 8:00pm when the girls in bed and I have a cuppa in hand. I started speaking with other parents and teenagers and found this problem happens in most households with a teenager.
@ichselbstaendig: As a mom of a teenager can you tell us why you believe internet security is so crucial in today's life?
Randa: When we grew up, our exposure to the outside world was through going out and about and perhaps talking to friends on the phone, all relatively easy for parents to oversee. Today our kids are exposed to the world by sitting on their bed playing with that phone.
It is important that as parents we keep up with the technologies our kids use to understand what they are exposing themselves to. It’s a big challenge because they pick up something new every week. I make it my job to download that app and have a play or read reviews about it.
I love how schools in the UK are constantly educating parents on kids online safety, I think these are the most important sessions for parents to attend because even when we think we know it all we actually don’t.
Online safety is another reason why I’m passionate about VeeLoop. VeeLoop takes away the need for a teenager to ever share their personal details online. Think of a teen buying something from an online auction site and sharing their personal details with an unknown seller! This is a big concern for parents.
@ichselbstaendig: You have a long working experience in tech - are you now completely shifting into entrepreneurship, or are you still working for any other company?
Randa: I totally found myself in creating VeeLoop, I never realized how hungry I was for building something new and the satisfaction that comes with it. However, its tough to get investment at an early stage, investors need to see a working product most of the time. So I had to hold a full time job where I’m fully committed in the day and use the money to fund VeeLoop.
My day started at 6:00am for a call with my developers in India, get kids ready for school, drop off, go to work and do an intense 9-5 day. Back home, I spend the best three hours of the day with my family then get the girls to bed and start what I call my second day of work from 8:00pm, which lasts to whenever I’m about to drop. My passion is my fuel.
@ichselbstaendig: Do you already have in mind which online shop to test first? What is the first country VeeLoop will be available in?
Randa: VeeLoop will start out in the UK where we are based but it’s a concept that can easily grow to other countries. We are starting with two very small shops belonging to UK based influencers.
We are also working on agreements with large online retailers but can’t disclose names just yet. We asked teenagers what shops they want to see work with VeeLoop and we’re working our way through that list!
@ichselbstaendig: How did your life changed since you started your own business? Are you happy with those changes?
Randa: As an entrepreneur you end up working more but I never felt more professional satisfaction in my life. No matter how much money I’ve earned and high profile work I did, its very different from having my own baby that I’m shaping and growing.
My own development has been tremendous too. My leadership skills have become very strong with the decisions and challenges we face every day. I am more resilient as a person and feel I’ve become unstoppable. When you work for an organization there is always limits and boundaries put down by other people but when you create your own thing it’s the other way round. You have to break a lot of rules and barriers to make it work. I set the path and I love that.
@ichselbstaendig: This project requires a complex setup and tech support. Are you attracting external experts to help you launch Vee Loop this spring or are you managing it all on your own at the moment?
Randa: The amount of work involved in building VeeLoop is immense and very varied so I can’t do it on my own. I have my amazing co-founder Patricia, we both pick up everything that needs doing and get on with it. Then we have developers, designers, testers and so on. We’re currently hiring a CTO based in London for anyone out there looking.
@ichselbstaendig: Complex services like Vee Loop need funding (loans, investors) in order to pick up, how do you feel about taking such responsibility on your shoulders?
Randa: Indeed it’s a very frightening step but I’m ready for it now, after investing my own money, proving the product works and proving there is market and demand for it out there. We want to make sure we find the right investors who believe in our vision for the company.
@ichselbstaendig: What would you advice to a woman who has a great business idea but is hesitating to start?
Randa: Firstly, tell yourself you can do it, secondly, don’t expect or try to have all the answers before you start. The best way to kick off any project is to talk to your potential customers/users and take it from there. Keeping yourself motivated at the very beginning is very hard, I personally found a way through it by starting to follow cheesy motivational quotes on twitter and reading stories of how some big names started out, this helped me a huge deal. It’s also important to remember that the world has more nay sayers than yes sayers, so share your idea with friends and family but don’t let the negativity get the best of you.
@ichselbstaendig: Randa, is there a slogan or an affirmation that helps you on your entrepreneurial journey?
Randa: Being an immigrant to the UK I understand how overwhelming it can be to start from zero so there is a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr that I love and always remind myself of when I’m overwhelmed with the size of my dream: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”. We often scare ourselves with the size of our dream and think we can’t achieve it, but just look at all you have achieved in life and take it one step at a time. Then see how your confidence and belief in yourself grows.
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