Millions of people want to make a big difference in their lives, but not many can do so. Born in Lebanon, Maral would have never expected herself to be one of the thought leaders in the Swedish Startup Scene.
In December 2016 she was ranked among the top 100 most influential names in Scandinavia’s startup scene, by tech site The Nordic Web. Now, she is the first marketer at one of the hottest startups in Europe, a Swedish startup called Watty. Watty helps you understand what is happening in your home all the time in real time.
Imagine our surprise when Maral Kalajian summed up her entrepreneurial journey with one word – Twitter. Noticing our surprise, she continued, “I enjoy tweeting, and I keep doing it. Then, I was getting paid for it.”
You have probably learnt about how Maral tweeted her way into her entrepreneurial journey. She made it sound so easy – tweeting at every networking event she goes to. If it is so easy, why is she the only one with this feat?
What’s the secret really?
As we met Maral in the morning at 7.30am for a cup of tea, the answer soon crystallizes. In essence, it’s not just about what she did, but the way she carried those tasks with her personality. We noticed 4 strong traits of her that are so poignant, which have helped to mould her character and by extension, her self-made career.
Be it in whichever country or type of event, she tweeted about it. That also means that she made sure she goes for events at least once every week, sometimes up to 3 or 4 times as well. Compound this effect from the year 2013, especially during the peak of Twitter usage – voila!
Her tweets are unique, injected with humour that transcends the virtual space to connect with other Tweeters. Her humour not only helps to break the ice, and put people at ease, but also keeps them in tune with what is happening in the start-up scene in Sweden. If you have felt the same way, you are joined by another 11k of her followers too!
Of course, life was not a bed of roses, even for Maral herself. Growing up in a situation where she had to juggle work and studies simultaneously to pay her school fees, this helped in her transformation where she learnt to fight for what she really wants. This means that when she knows what she wants to do, she has a bullet-like focus coupled with determination and grit. Those things can get you far, and indeed, it had.
Interest to learn
As we listened attentively to Maral weave bits and pieces of her life, learning from her experiences, it was refreshing when she turned the table around to ask us instead. She was keen to know what I was thinking, and she got what she wanted. I shared with her a Confucian proverb that surfaced in my mind as she told me her story.
“修身，成家， 治国， 平天下”
This loosely translates to how one should first learn to cultivate oneself before one moves on to govern your family, country before bringing peace to all. This quote also reminded me another of Gandhi’s.
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Thoughts become your words,
Words become your actions,
Actions become your habits,
Habits become your values,
Values become your destiny.”
As I shared with her these thoughts that stemmed from the intricacies of our conversation, she showed a clear interest to learn, even swiping her phone out to take down notes. Her eagerness to learn, wherever and whenever showed how she takes ownership of her own learning and development. Needless to say, this is also a habit that she has carefully cultivated over the years to have it be a reflex now.
It was a really great experience to finally meet Maral in person, getting a first-person perspective on her success! 😊 To find out more about Maral, head over to her Twitter account now!
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