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Time Flies (When You're Learning On The Fly) Having reported on entrepreneurship in the MENA for a decade, Entrepreneur Middle East Editor in Chief Aby Sam Thomas shares 10 things he's learned about this domain- and the people in it.

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Entrepreneur Middle East is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month! As a journalist who has now reported on entrepreneurship in the MENA for a decade, here's a list of 10 things that I have learned about this domain and the people in it- I hope that this will serve as a sort of primer for those of you thinking of becoming entrepreneurs in the years to come!

1. It's never a bad time to be an entrepreneur. Regardless of whether the ecosystem is flush with cash, or in the middle of a downturn, there is always something to be gained from embarking on an entrepreneurial journey- even if it is a lesson on what not to do as a founder.

2. When you're an entrepreneur, it's never really only about you. Be it your teams who are burning the midnight oil, or your families who are helping you shoulder the burden of being a founder, never dismiss those who stick around you amid your entrepreneurial journey- make it a point to appreciate them for whatever it is that they do for you.

3. As an entrepreneur, you decide the parameters of your success. Not every company can be a unicorn- but every company can be successful all the same.

4. Always be humble (and stay that way). No, an inflated ego is not going to work out for you in the long run.

5. Hold on to your ideals. I've yet to see an entrepreneur who has not benefited from having strong value systems to govern both themselves and their business.

6. Listen -really listen- to criticism. Don't operate under the fallacy that all critics are there to "simply bring you down."

7.Truth will out. Think that you can get away with anything since you're the one running the outfit? Rest assured that people will talk- and you will eventually face the music, one way or the other.

8. Know when to start... Yes, you must do everything you possibly can to prepare yourself before embarking on an entrepreneurial endeavor, but once you've done all of that (and yes, you know when you have reached this point), you simply just need to begin.

9. …And know when to end. Sometimes, it's because of the success you've realized, and sometimes, it's because of the failure you've encountered- either way, don't hold on to an undertaking when you know you're done with it. Move on.

10. The journey really is the reward. There is value in the time it takes to see results emerge from an entrepreneurial undertaking.

Here's to 10 years of Entrepreneur Middle East!

Related: A Decade In Review: Prince Khaled Bin Alwaleed, Founder And CEO, KBW Ventures

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  

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