An Interview With Chad Silverstein
Failures are your biggest teachers! Understand that failure is an integral part of the entrepreneurial journey. Learn from your mistakes and use them as stepping stones to success.
We are starting a new interview series about the world of entrepreneurship beyond the classroom — a realm where theory meets grit, and education meets real-world challenges. We want to hear about critical business wisdom that often goes unspoken in academic settings. I had the honor of interviewing Daniyal Sanaullah.
Daniyal Sanaullah, the brain behind SocialSharings, is rewriting the rules of digital marketing. He’s on a mission to help businesses thrive online. What sets him apart? Daniyal is a firm believer that true learning transcends STEM classrooms, and he’s here to show you a world of endless possibilities.
Thanks for being part of this series. Let’s jump in and focus on your early years. Can you share who was your biggest influence when you were young and provide specific examples of what you learned from them that helped shape who you’ve become and how you live your life today?
In my formative years, I drew inspiration from luminaries like Iman Gadzhi and Joel Kaplan, visionaries who revolutionized the agency landscape. They instilled the belief that creating your own agency could be a catalyst for future business success. Their legacy continues to guide my path today.
Staying on the topic of influence, who has been your biggest catalyst more recently and what can you share that you’ve learned from them that led you to making changes in your life?
Delving into more recent influences, Alex Hormozi emerges as a transformative catalyst. His teachings on discipline, exponential growth from modest beginnings, mastery of high-ticket sales, and the pursuit of a balanced, fulfilling life have propelled profound changes in my journey towards realizing dreams.
In this interview series, we aim to reveal what seasoned entrepreneurs wish they had known when they were starting out and capture what the textbooks and college professors left out. Mistakes are invaluable. Can you name one specific mistake that you made early on, and learned the most from, but wish you’d been forewarned about?
One pivotal lesson learned the hard way was initially hiring for lower salary brackets. While it may have seemed cost-effective at first, I soon realized the toll it took on both stress levels and business development. I wish I had been forewarned about the importance of prioritizing experience over lower pay, as it ultimately proved to be a more fruitful and stress-free path.
Is there a leadership myth you believed early on that you’ve since debunked through your real-world experience?
Certainly, one leadership myth I’ve debunked is the notion that a leader must have all the answers. Through real-world experience, I’ve come to understand that true leadership involves embracing vulnerability, valuing diverse perspectives, and fostering collaboration to collectively arrive at the best solutions.
What’s the key operational insight you’ve gained since running your business that was never mentioned in any classroom?
One of the key operational insights I’ve gained from running my business, which wasn’t emphasized in traditional classrooms, is the importance of starting with just 10–15% of prior knowledge. While formal education often promotes the idea of having everything fully prepared, real-world experience has shown that success often emerges as you navigate the journey, learning and adapting with only a fraction of your initial knowledge.
Did college prepare you for scaling a business? What specifically was missing?
College primarily equipped me for pursuing a career within established corporations, with limited emphasis on entrepreneurship and scaling a business. What was notably absent from my college experience was practical guidance on business strategy, networking, and the intricacies of scaling an enterprise. Fortunately, I drew immense inspiration from visionary mentors like Iman Gadzhi and Joel Kaplan, who ignited my passion for self-education and empowered me to acquire the critical skills needed for entrepreneurial success.
Any unexpected challenges in team dynamics that your academic experience didn’t prepare you for? How did you handle it?
Addressing unforeseen team dynamics challenges, like swift hiring without pre-selection or experience, I introduced a structured hiring process. This approach involved rigorous candidate evaluation and onboarding, ensuring a better fit for roles and smoother team integration. Encouraging a culture of continuous learning and mentorship further helped team members adapt and contribute effectively.
Have you had to unlearn any widely-accepted business ‘wisdom’ in your journey? What was it and how did it affect your strategy?
I’ve had to unlearn the notion that “bigger is always better” in business. Initially, I chased rapid growth at any cost. However, I realized that this approach could compromise quality and sustainability. I shifted to a more balanced strategy, emphasizing customer satisfaction and team building. This shift has not only enhanced our business model but also shown that building a capable team can exponentially increase profits as responsibilities grow.
What’s your advice for new entrepreneurs? What are your “5 Things You Won’t Learn in College But Must Know to Succeed in Business”?
1. Failures are your biggest teachers! Understand that failure is an integral part of the entrepreneurial journey. Learn from your mistakes and use them as stepping stones to success.
2. Stay curious and committed to ongoing self-education. The business landscape evolves rapidly, and staying informed is crucial.
3. Understand your company’s finances inside and out. Effective financial management is fundamental to long-term success.
4. Surround yourself with a talented and diverse team. Building a capable team is vital for scaling your business.
5. Instead of solely chasing profits, focus on creating value for your customers and society. Sustainable success often follows when you prioritize delivering real value.
How do you ensure your team not just understands but embodies your business principles? Any techniques you wish you’d known earlier?
To ensure my team embodies our business principles, I lead by example, communicate our values clearly, and integrate them into our company culture and processes. We recognize and reward employees who exemplify these principles, engage in open dialogue about their application, and encourage ongoing learning and peer accountability. One technique I wish I had known earlier is the effectiveness of peer accountability in fostering a culture of alignment and self-regulation among team members.
If we were sitting together two years from now, looking back at the past 24 months, what specifically has to happen for you personally and professionally, for you to be happy with your results?
Two years from now, I’d be content if I’ve seen substantial business growth, expanded my team, and achieved a work-life balance. Personally, I aim to build a personal brand and inspire others my age to pursue their dreams by taking a leap of faith because being ordinary is uninspiring.
Looking back over the last two years, what key accomplishments make you satisfied with your progress?
Reflecting on the past two years, I find immense satisfaction in our transition from a mere content writing agency to a full-fledged digital marketing powerhouse. The remarkable growth we’ve experienced, evident every two months when I look back, leaves me wondering what I was even doing just two months prior. It’s a testament to the significant strides we’ve made, and it fuels my sense of accomplishment and excitement for what lies ahead.
As someone with significant influence, what’s the one change you’d like to inspire that would benefit the most people?
As someone with influence, the change I’d like to inspire, which could benefit a multitude of people, is to encourage individuals to stop solely relying on traditional college education and to actively pursue their passions and entrepreneurial endeavors while in college. By doing so, they can break free from the pressure to immediately seek traditional employment upon graduation, fostering a mindset of innovation, self-reliance, and lifelong learning that can lead to a more fulfilling and adaptable future for many.
How can our readers keep up with your work?
To stay updated with my work and endeavors, I recommend following me on LinkedIn, checking out our website, and keeping an eye on our Instagram account for regular updates and insights. These platforms will provide you with the latest information and insights into my work and the projects I’m involved in.
Thank you so much for joining us! We wish you only success.
About the Interviewer: Chad Silverstein is an accomplished entrepreneur and visionary leader. He started his first company, Choice Recovery, Inc., while attending Ohio State University and grew it to become an industry outlier before selling the business after 25 successful years. With the launch of his second venture, [re]start, a career development platform, Chad aimed to help people find meaningful career opportunities. Under his leadership, his team was recognized as a “Top Workplace” award winner for over a decade, twice being ranked the #1 small and medium-sized business to work for in Central Ohio. Chad sold [re]start in 2023, enabling him to focus on building an online community of high-performing leaders and continuing to make a positive impact in people’s lives.
Daniyal Sanaullah Of SocialSharings On 5 Things They Forgot To Mention In College was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.