From School Dropout to CEO: Lessons from a Teenage Entrepreneur’s Journey of Self Discovery

StudentPulse Team
May 1, 2023

Imran Ouhdi was a student at a public school in France, often feeling bored and uninterested in the classroom. He questioned the purpose of learning certain topics and their applicability in his real life. Despite his misgivings, Imran continued in school until he could no longer bear the thought of sitting through another class. At 15, he dropped out and took a leap of faith to launch his own business.

Growing up in a single-parent household with siblings, leaving school was not an easy decision. However, Imran was determined to make it work. Fast forward to today, Imran is an 18-year-old entrepreneur travelling the world, running a successful sales and marketing business and living life on his own terms. In this episode of the StudentPulse podcast, we speak to Imran Ouhdi, founder of Exponensia, on his journey from dropping out to building a thriving business, and the advice he would share with young people and educational institutions in similar situations.

When there’s a will, there’s definitely a way

While Imran was excited to start his own online business, the truth was he did not know how to run it. So he rolled up his sleeves and decided to learn how to do it by searching for resources online. Imran consumed countless YouTube videos, books, and courses to learn the skills he needed. On the back of that effort, he managed to close his very first client for 2000 euros. Today, Imran believes that there are plenty of readily available resources for young people to learn from as long as they want to learn it badly enough and are willing to put in the effort to search for it.

Seek for mentors to show you the ropes

While self-learning is important, Imran shares that having mentors is crucial to fast-track your learning. Recounting a time when he had to build a sales funnel for his client’s business but had no idea how to do it, he had a contractor build one, observed him, and showed him how to do it. Imran's advice to young people is to seek out and learn from those who are already doing what they aspire to do. By doing so, they can save valuable time, as the knowledge and experience gained from a mentor can condense years of learning into just a few months. As Imran puts it, "What you can learn in 10 years, you can achieve in just six months with the right guidance and mentorship."

Negative feelings could be a signal that change is necessary

Feeling dissatisfied with your current situation can be a sign that you need to make a change. Imran believes that everyone has a skill or interest that speaks to them, but people often take action only when remaining stagnant and not pursuing their passions is more painful than the risk involved in pursuing them. While being pulled towards something desirable that aligns with your values and aspirations is important, sometimes being pushed to make a change is even more vital. Imran shares that when you commit to pursuing your passions, even in the face of challenges, you'll develop the drive to succeed and have the freedom to live life on your own terms.

How can educational institutions help students find their path to success?

Imran believes that educational institutions can play a crucial role in supporting students to find their path. It begins by recognizing that each student is unique, with their own strengths, weaknesses, and interests. A one-size-fits-all approach won't work - educators need to understand students' backgrounds and experiences to create a supportive learning environment that fosters personal growth and success.

Schools and universities play a vital role in encouraging students to reflect on their passions and interests and help them identify the path they want to pursue. They can do this by providing various opportunities for students to explore different subjects, extracurricular activities, and by offering mentorship programs that connect them with industry professionals. Through these initiatives, educational institutions can help students develop a sense of purpose, direction, and feel more confident about their choices.

At StudentPulse, we strongly believe that educational institutions are crucial in nurturing young people and helping them reach their full potential. We work closely with schools to understand the needs of their students and connect them to individual solutions. To learn more about our work, please feel free to contact our team or click here to listen to our podcast with Imran.