Aysha Julie is the newest addition to the Turbine team as a start-up coach. Aysha is coaching Jason Delorie and Eva Graham, the co-founders of ConnectMe, and Jade Li, the founder of Katapult. Meet this young woman whose mission is to help start-uppers launch a viable and successful business.
Who is the start-up coach Aysha Julie?
I am Aysha Julie, and I am a business coach at Turbine. I am also a female entrepreneur with two businesses in the UK.
Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey and your experience with entrepreneurs and start-ups
My entrepreneurial journey began in childhood. I played shopkeeper with my sisters and friends, selling them things they didn’t even need, or that already belonged to them! In college, then in university, I made pocket money by organizing events and beauty workshops. I always knew that I would want to be self-employed and I didn’t like the idea of having to work for someone else, for little pay and very little reward. My first jobs were for small PR agencies, run by the founder and with a small team. It allowed me to see how to run a business and how much I could earn by having the right clients. So, at the age of 22, I started my own celebrity PR and press agent business with a friend/colleague.
How did it happen?
We managed to get a good number of clients, and we rented a very small office on Harley Street, London. But while it worked well at first, our business visions began to diverge, and there was some disparity in the number of hours we felt we should be working. I worked very long hours, but my partner only came to work when she felt like it. This quickly created communication problems, and she decided that she deserved more shares than I did because she had managed to get a new client. That’s when I said to her, “It won’t work, buy me out,” which she did. It was enough for me to buy a few plane tickets and take the time to travel.
Then I started working for the NHS (National Health Service in the UK), working with young people, creating a bespoke health service for them – human-centred. We were able to create an excellent product, which has been hailed as a national example of good practice and innovation. I’ve given talks and advice on how to scale this up in other areas. I later left the job to become a consultant, to bring my expertise to the public sector and NGOs. My goal was to help them develop services and campaigns, based on the needs of their users. I also had to help them be more effective and communicate better with their audience.
How do you balance your professional and private life?
In 2007, I gave birth to my first child while working as a self-employed consultant. It was one of the hardest things about entrepreneurship, but also one of the most rewarding. I went back to work when my daughter was just 3 months old, but it was only once a week. It gave me the flexibility to continue working and doing what I loved, while spending time with my baby. Then one day, with my husband, we decided to start a social enterprise, which would provide health and wellness care to young people who are neglected by mainstream services. Today, our company is still operational and we have been able to work with more than 4500 young people.
How do you help young start-ups/entrepreneurs in Turbine and elsewhere?
Already an experienced coach and entrepreneur with expertise in a wide variety of sectors. I enjoy helping entrepreneurs with their ideas and ways to develop them. Having experienced the ups and downs and challenges of being an entrepreneur myself, I feel I can support them. I have learned a lot from my successes and mistakes in my career. And even though Mauritius is a small island, there is so much potential to help entrepreneurs. They could be led to develop an innovative and scalable business, which would have a positive impact on the economy of the country, but also in the African region, and even globally.