Exclusive with Mustafa Kadir, Founder of Visgrow Internships
Mustafa Kadir started Visgrow Internships with the intention of building students’ confidence and equipping them with the necessary skills and tools to get noticed and hired in today’s competitive job market. Having over 15 years of experience and an extensive list of industry connections, he has mentored many young people, students, and graduates to get into the job market and succeed in doing what they love to do. Mustafa specialises in career coaching, resume coaching, and LinkedIn coaching — helping many students to successfully land a job across multiple industries.
While growing his business, he also serves as Vice-President and Board Member of Association for Strategic Planning Australia and he is also a Board Member of the Executive Committee of the Australian Computer Society (SA).
Mustafa understands how competitive and frustrating the Australian job market can be for graduates, and knowing exactly what employers want and how the industry works, he developed the Visgrow Employability and Success Framework™ which he now shares with aspiring students and graduates and runs workshops based on it.
For more details, visit their website here.
Here we sit down with Mustafa, to know a bit more about his journey as a career coach.
Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Mustafa: What inspired me to become an entrepreneur is that I had the vision to create a positive impact for those who are entering the professional world or wanting to enter it. What I find is that people end up spending thousands and thousands of dollars to get a degree, yet they [graduates] come out with at least one out of four being unemployable, even if they have spent thousands of dollars getting educated!
I was one of them. I had two degrees and I couldn’t get a job. That inspired me to create change.
I firmly believe people are talented. Everyone is talented and everyone has something special in them. However, what people are lacking is how to show this special skill, and how to influence and persuade others that they are talented.
The other factor that contributed to me being an entrepreneur is that I wanted to maintain control over how much I can scale the impact.
If you were to work as an employee, you’re basically expected to be there from 9 to 5. Unfortunately, you get bad managers, bad bosses and you get told what to do (micromanaged). You can have a great vision, but that vision can only go as far as your manager. It’s up to that manager whether to implement those changes or not. Unfortunately, in most corporates, there are a lot of politics and multiple layers of change that are required. You just don’t get the recognition or the reward, or the support system needed to create that change.
Being an entrepreneur comes with great risks. But it also comes with greater flexibility and greater impact if you can play your cards right.
Q. How did you get started?
Mustafa: Getting started was not easy. At the time I was battling mental health (and still am, as are many people) and it was in the middle of a pandemic. Everywhere I looked I could see youth, students and young adults struggling to find jobs related to their field.
At the time, the Australian Bureau of Statistics also released data that showed a staggering 1 in 4 unemployed Australians had a degree but they still couldn’t get a job.
I knew something had to be done. Having gone through the challenges of navigating a competitive job market, I knew what was needed to help these people become more employable, while allowing me the flexibility of operating my business at a time that was convenient and that which did not heavily impact my mental health.
Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?
Mustafa: The biggest startup challenge was having adequate finances and resources. It is always a challenge when you’re first starting. You have to be on a thin budget.
It’s all about who you know, and it’s challenging not getting the support of key stakeholders or investors in your network. However, that’s overcome by establishing trust; maintaining solid relationships; being authentic and genuine; and having a true sense of wanting to help people.
You have to be willing to give as much as you’re willing to take. You have got to be prepared to give lots of value to your network so you can build trust and support around yourself.
The number one rule is your network — your network is key to your success.
Also, automation was a big challenge. When we first started, everything was manual which was really time consuming and we were making a lot of mistakes. Luckily, we came across this platform called Zoho which helped automate all of our processes, making it very efficient. It also saved us a lot of time.
You have to be clever enough to be agile and find alternative solutions to making things work. In this uncertain world that we live in, you have to be dynamic. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Q. What is the Most Memorable Thing You’ve Done Since you Started your Business?
Mustafa: One of the most memorable events in the history of Visgrow Internships was getting featured on the front page of the Australian Business Journal. We simply did not envisage that we would make it to the front page of a media website, that was quite special!
Building a small dedicated and passionate team has not only been memorable but also a vital element behind the success and growth of the company.
Another significant time for us was being able to enjoy a dinner at the beginning of 2022 to celebrate our first six months in business.
And last but not least, forming a strategic partnership with the Australian Computer Society (ACS) — a highly reputable body for IT professionals.
Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?
Mustafa: A book I would recommend every business owner to read is “Ten Types of Innovation” by Larry Keeley because it provides a great understanding of how to build an innovation framework for your business — regardless of what industry you’re in.
Q. What are your top 3 favourite online apps, tools, or resources and what do you love about them?
Mustafa: My top three favourite apps and tools include Zoho because it helps us with data analytics and process automation. The second would have to be OneDrive since it allows us to work and collaborate seamlessly. The third would have to be StoryShots because I can be inspired by listening and watching summaries of great entrepreneurial books without having to spend hours reading them.
Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?
Mustafa: Everyone is fighting a battle that is unique to them which you may or may not know about. So be kind and be generous with your offer of help to others, with little to no expectation of something in return. You will be rewarded in other ways, often mysterious, that you may know nothing about it now.
Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
Mustafa: Be patient, be smart with your finances, cherish your loved ones and value your professional networks.. and know that nothing is more important than your health and family… and know without these two, your ideas are not worth much.