7 Questions with Jabez Berhanu
Name: Jabez Berhanu
Current title: Founder and Head Graphics Designer
Current organisation: Debo Creative Studios
Jabez Berhanu is the Founder of Debo Studios, a creative studio that helps businesses on their branding, content, software and marketing related needs, he also serves as Head Graphic Designer. He has been a freelance graphic designer for some years and now leads Debo Studios Graphic Design department with his previous experience, attention to details and collaborative mindset. He has recently received an award from DesignLabETH for his work on a logo design.
1. What have you found most challenging as an Entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur there are many challenges we face. I have personally faced a couple of them. The first I can mention is funding and finance, as you start out as an entrepreneur you will be faced with the acquisition and managing of funds but with the mindset of "Power of Broke" as Mr Daymond John, founder of FUBU puts it, I was able to be directly align myself and keep going. The uniqueness of this particular challenge is that it is not a one time event, it will always be a challenge. Second, the ability to maintain a positive and constructive relationship with difficult people; employees, partners, inventors and clients. I am currently teaching myself and practicing particular skills to be able to have that fruitful relationship.
2. How did you become an Entrepreneur? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I have always been interested in having something of my own since I was a child. I used to draw cell phones and cars and name them with names I came up with. I even had models of different cars and cellphones that I will sell to different customers. Back then I didn't know of entrepreneurship or how a business is set up. Actually, I didn't know anything about that until I was 20 years of age. At 20, I started by selling cell phones, selling CAD drafts, selling t-shirt designs in my campus and started making profit, and found myself being independent from my family. Unfortunately, that didn't last because I squandered every penny on foolish things rather than investing it to better myself. My eyes were open at 21 after I read 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' by Robert Kiyosaki. Since then I have been founding businesses few that have done well and many that have plummeted to the ground. Currently, I have founded Debo Studios, a creative studio helping businesses on their marketing and design related needs. This won't be the last too. Finally, When I rewind and think about the times, the reason I chose this path is to challenge myself, to have a positive impact; on the world, on my nation and, the freedom and the peace of mind that you get when you know you are doing the right thing whether it pays back or not.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Early in the morning, I read a few pages from a book and get dressed. After arriving at the office I will prioritize my daily goals and check my emails. Throughout the day I will try to stick with the priority list I created unless something out of my control happens. Unfortunately, most of the days I shift my lunch time towards late afternoon because I hate to pause and continue the work I started. At the end of work hours, 3 days in a week, I will take a walk in the neighborhood to calm my mind and have some alone time. When I am not taking a walk I usually be at home and enjoy time with my family. After dinner, I will continue on the book I started. Give my email one last check and sleep early in order to rise early feeling rejuvenated. I have recently started praying and meditation during late nights and it is very powerful. I believe I will incorporate them into my schedule well in the coming days.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The most important lesson I have learned is that you won't figure it all and if you are waiting to figure it all then you will never start or be the leader you want to be. Your best friend should have the desire to learn and to quickly grasp things. If you feel like you know it all and that you're the expert of it all then at the end of your office room there are people who truly despise you, take my word for it or don't just ask your employees or partners to write an anonymous letter about you and put it in a closed box then you know how real it gets. LEARN and LEARNING NEVER STOPS.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Power of Broke by Daymond John. This book has impacted my thought process and mindset in a way that any other book hasn't, to date. The mindset we need to have in order to be successful you don't really need a high budget and a lot of cash but the willingness, dedication, perseverance, resilience and hard work. It has shown me either I or my employees or anyone can get to his dream if he has that mindset, staying hungry and full of appetite for the things they do. Honorable mention: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
6. How do you build leadership capacity in your Organisation?
Leading by example. "The three most important ways to lead people are: by example… by example… by example… ”
- Albert Schweitzer
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as an Entrepreneur so far?
There is this moment where I have felt to just let it go. To just be "average" and get comfortable with a few things I can do. I have felt why am I doing this, all these sleepless nights, worries, hard work, the soul burning marathon to excel and be great at the things I do. Why not just get comfortable and live an average life? I have contemplated that thought but I didn't give in. Not giving in didn't just happen out of the blue but took a lot of mental labor and difficult decisions. Entrepreneurship could be a lonely road not just being alone but you might feel alone too. This sometimes gets to you in a way you haven't planned for. That's when you will be tested. I hope anyone and everyone on this journey won't give in to the same challenges and thoughts i have faced. I will keep you in my prayers.