How to invest in yourself | Meenah Tariq | TEDxIslamabad


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In this talk Meenah builds a case for investing in ideas no matter how scared you are. Meenah Tariq is currently a Partner at Karavan, a Middle-east based VC firm looking to invest in high growth startups in Pakistan. She is an adviser on entrepreneurship at the World Bank, where she is helping design the Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative for Pakistan. Previously, she was the Head of Strategy and Accelerator at Invest2Innovate Pakistan.

Meenah is a passionate supporter of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Pakistan and has been designing and implementing programs to encourage entrepreneurial mindsets in young people, practically support women entrepreneurs and equip entrepreneurs across the country with the business acumen required to scale high-impact businesses and SMEs. Prior to i2i, Meenah has successfully attained her MBA from Babson College, Massachusetts, USA. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at <br> <h3>Auto Generated Captions</h3>

six years ago my mom threw me out of the
I got like was going along pretty well I
was doing okay hitting all the
milestones that were required of me you
know I had a good degree I had a pretty
okay job and a good firm I had a pretty
decent pipeline of rich stars all lined
up and I had lots of Pinterest boards
with wedding dresses and wedding ideas
you know steps one two three four and so
I thought I was all set
but mom there she is thought otherwise
and that’s when she decided to push me
out I started my first business when I
was 14 years old my first official
business I do not belong to a business
family I had no business education
incubators and accelerators do truly
exist back then I
shirked I didn’t exist the YouTube
university didn’t exist I had no idea
what I was doing actually if you just
say I had no idea of full-stop that can
probably describe me at 14 pretty well
but what I did have were a multitude of
ideas I had so many ideas I don’t know
what to do with them you see I was born
a very precocious child and precocious
is just a nice way of saying
chilaka Massey when I was seven years
and by the way that’s been used to
describe me many many many times right
so when I was seven years old I started
making lemonade using my mother’s lemons
and selling it back to her and I also
made her buy tickets to a theatre
performance that my sister and I would
put up the whole family had to buy
tickets to this theater performance and
then sit for the hour-long horrendous
theater performance as well
when I was 8 I started making beach
bracelets and selling them up and down
the street to neighboring auntie’s
between the ages of 7 and 10 my cousin’s
used to visit us they used to come live
with us over the summer and so I started
organizing them into a labor force for
hire and we started doing chores around
the neighborhood for money at one point
I decided I wanted to be a dress
designer and so I cut up every single
wearable piece of clothing I had in my
wardrobe my mom was not happy about that
another time I decided what would be a
singer-songwriter so I wrote a truly
terrible song and then recorded it or
talked with my older brother’s Junoon
music cassette albums again did not did
not work out too well for us when I was
about 10 years old I was a child star in
a TV serial there was so much that I
wanted to do so much that I wanted to be
so when I was 14 I started my business
called hen art which is a mehndi
business I made so many mistakes
particularly around pricing marketing I
have no idea what grinding meant I
couldn’t pronounce entrepreneur or
entrepreneurship or spell it but I ran
this business for the next ten years
throughout my college and university
life and while I was at university the
ideas didn’t stop turning so I just kept
on working on them and the height of the
gossip girl frenzy a friend and I
decided to start a Western clothing line
never got it off the ground and the
height of the event management frenzy he
started a company called the party
throws an event management company and
the height of the photography business
frenzy I saved up all the money that I
could borrowed sample my mom
myself or DSLR yes I was one of those
people and I started doing event
photography while at university I did
corporate hosting I learned how to play
basketball I took a lot of baking and
sewing classes and one summer I took a
saliva course just because I could and
then I was 24 at 7 I thought I was
invincible I thought I was already a
star at 24 I was much less short I still
had ideas but I wasn’t sure what these
ideals were worth anymore I wasn’t sure
if they were valuable so many of them
hadn’t really amounted to much at 24 I
already had a stream of business
failures behind me and people around me
were talking about ideas people around
me weren’t working on ideas people
around me were making wedding plans and
guest list and I thought that’s what I
have to be doing as well I had a degree
that frankly didn’t matter I have a job
which I absolutely hated I was making
wedding plans without really
understanding why I had seen nothing of
the world and somewhere along the line I
had lost the will to do so and that’s
when mom decided she needed to give me
out so my mom emotionally blackmailed me
into applying for the Fulbright
scholarship to the extent yes she did to
the extent that she would drive me to
the GRE classes and sit outside for
three hours to make sure I stayed in and
I ended up going to a college which is
one of the best places in the world for
anybody who has ideas and this was one
of the best things that anybody could
have never done for me because I came
back to Pakistan with a lot more renewed
motivation and passion and I started
working at an organization in an
accelerator program that works with
startups an entrepreneur
helping passionate people grow in scale
their businesses and their ideas I put
in a lot of long hours I put in a lot of
energy and most of my heart and I had
the time of my life and then I have to
figure out what to do next
you know that dreaded question and so
from where I stood at that time I saw
investors were people who could really
get their money to help towards helping
these passionate people really grow and
scale the companies to their potential
potential they could they could invest
in ideas actually with real money and
that was worthwhile work and that was
work that I really wanted to be doing
but I couldn’t figure out how because
you see I thought investors were all
people who are really good at finance
and accounting and I’ve always been
intimidated by Finance and Accounting I
also thought investors were people who
were independently wealthy and rich and
I was not changed
they were also older they were mostly
men and from what I can see there are a
few BC funds and venture capital funds
and invest in startups in Pakistan but
all of them already have teens and they
seem to know what they were doing and I
wasn’t sure how would weekend and I
wasn’t sure if I was worthy of a seat at
that table because something that you
don’t know about me is that perhaps
after that age of eight I have wondered
if I was worthy of a seat at any of the
tables I’ve ever sat at I have struggled
with self-doubt and I wondered if I was
it was too much of us to chill out I was
too loud I was too little if I was too
slow if I give to be doing more if I
needed to be moving faster if I needed
else and that’s exactly what I was doing
with this next step in my life as many
and then when I didn’t think I had what
it took I got an offer to become a
partner at a VC fund not a job
not employment a partner and venture
capital fund now I’m a 30 year old woman
I don’t have a CFA or any other finance
accounting degree I am still not rich
and let’s address the elephant in the
room I’m almost nine months pregnant
active VC partner at a fund that is
actively investing in passionate people
working on their ideas in this country
my partners my lovely partners and this
venture capital fund saw value in my
achievements in my skill set that my own
impostor syndrome was not letting me see
I’m not the only one in this room who
struggled with this most of us struggle
with self-doubt in impostor syndrome
particularly women about 70% women
reported to feeling self-doubt and this
feeling of being an imposter at some
point or the other in their lives
and unless we talk about this we will
never be able to move on from underneath
the weight of our own expectations so I
want to tell you today the two things
that worked for me the first thing that
worked for me was that all of my chilla
kumasi life I bested in my own ideas I
invested time energy heart any money
that I could save or borrow from mom I
bested in my ideas by not doubting
myself every time I tried if never
wanted to try something new by not
doubting myself or listening to the
self-doubt I invested in my ideas by not
worrying too much about all the ideas
that came before this one that they
truly work out all the businesses have
failed all of the art pieces that never
got completed much less turn into
masterpieces I do a silly horse and I
did not make a single wearable shebar
but that’s okay please every single time
that I was investing in my own self I
was crafting myself piece by piece
I have all the things that I’ve done I
am all of these experiences I’ve had I
have all these people that have been for
short periods of time singer-songwriter
just is not a photographer event manager
and all of these people that I’ve been
are what set me apart because our
society doesn’t really encourage the
school or society where is more about
scarifies er our society what is more
about us starting into a jack of all
trades and master of none because they
see lack of focus well what if the focus
was to reinvent yourself constantly what
if the focus was to become such a
complex mix of ideas that there is
nobody else like you be sure none of
this academia of this society think
about all of those times when you tried
to be somebody else for a little period
of time when you tried something new a
new experience because those were the
times when you were investing in your
own self in your growth and that’s what
makes you unique and then once you’ve
done that that’s when you start to fight
to become the first person to invest in
the crazy and useless ideas of those
around you because that’s the second
for me I was privileged enough to have
two people close to me who invested in
me who cheered me on who were my support
system my mom for 30 years and my
husband for the last 10 and have I
gotten criticism from these two have
they made fun of my hobbies or reminded
me every time of the failures that came
before the noise of the Society on the
outside that was trying to get me to
conform and the voice of my own imposter
would have probably died my life in a
very different direction it’s kind of
Isla Bonita modulo you can conquer you a
temp accountant a GE job a focus guru
how many of you sitting here have heard
any of these lines at some point in your
life how many of you sitting here I have
said this to someone else you see we’ve
got to stop becoming a society or being
a society of no calcaneal because
everybody’s scared of hearing all of
these things and scared of being made
fun of and we’ve got to start becoming a
supportive Society of people fearlessly
following their ideas following their
dreams so here’s why I want you to juice
three steps there’s one months left in
this year I want you to make a list to
knowledge of every person that you have
wanted to be since you are about six or
seven years old every insane idea that
you’ve ever had that you ever wanted to
try out and did it for any reason
whatsoever write it down and then choose
one and strategize as to how to get
there by the end of this year is it a
class that you can take of course is
there a new experience that you can try
out step number two I want you to find
yourself a sponsor what are the person
who shares in the enthusiasm that
you have this idea this one person will
be the start of your tribe the first
supporter hopefully a whole tribe of
supporters that you’ll find later on and
then the step number three at the start
of the next year I want you to figure
out a way to put it in front of the
world it can be online it will be
offline maybe you can host something at
your house maybe you can put together an
exhibition maybe you can give a class to
somebody else but signed away to infect
the world with your passion there is
enough time in the day don’t be shy
others inches are these there is enough
time in the day
don’t let your degree your job your
experience or the lack thereof hold you
back from trying out something new five
years from now it’s not going to matter
if you don’t succeed at whatever it is
that you try five years from now it
won’t matter if you fail five years from
now it will not oh that you didn’t try
it out today and as all I’ve come here
to see I want you to choose ideas that
you feel passion for and then invest
passion in them without worrying too
much about is cacao Veda because the
only fiber is going to be your growth
and the creation of the society that
values passion in ideas I’m not a jack
of all trades master of none I’m not an
impostor I am the sum of all my ideas
I am the sum of all the ideas I invested
in and that makes me a bitch like that
and that makes me illimitable and so are
you thank you so much

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