This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Moe Abbas. Moe is the founder of GenM, a sponsor of the show and an absolutely amazing company that pairs students looking for internship credits to graduate with the companies looking for them to intern. At nineteen years old, he founded his first two companies. Since then he has founded or co-founded over a dozen startups which over the last 10 years have employed thousands, in industries ranging from real estate, construction, web development, marketing and mobile applications.
At 26 years old, Moe won the NKBA 30 under 30 award and was the youngest recipient ever of the OBJ 40 Under 40 Award. He also won the Immigrant Entrepreneur award from the City of Ottawa and is the youngest ever Board Director for both the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Ontario.
He is also the Co-Founder of the Canadian General Contractors Group of companies. In 5 years, he led the group from a basement office into Canada’s leading residential design build company with 20 million in sales and design centers across the country. Needless to say, Moe has seen and done it all and there is a lot we can learn from him.
@RealMoeAbbas on Instagram
Moe immigrated to Canada from Lebanon with his family as war refugees. They were very poor and he grew up in subsidized housing. There were 5 children and his dad worked and was gone much of the time. Moe was a very curios child and liked to explore. This was fostered by his mother.
When he got into his teens, he wasn’t happy with where he was. He was overweight, poor, and got to a point of rock bottom. He decided to do something about it. He started with what he could control – his body. He started going to the gym every day, changed his diet, and became very fit. This transformed him, not just physically, but mentally as well, and showed him how he could create the world he wanted for himself.
At 18, he hustled his way into fixing phone lines in the Palm Beach area. Doing this job opened his eyes to real wealth as he worked at mansions with yachts, etc. He was surprised that what a lot of the older, wealthy valued most was their youth and health. It taught him that money is just a tool and altered a perspective.
He went back to Canada with a new ambition to create wealth and the life he wanted through entrepreneurship. He began to self-educate and immerse himself into studying business and entrepreneurship. He started some landscaping companies, sold them, and found his way into construction – even though he knew nothing about it. He lost his money on his first job and didn’t even get paid.
Moe pushed through it, learned from it, and ended up doing a million dollars in sales in the next year, basically running his business out of Starbucks.
Your mother was a big influence in your life, what is the #1 lesson that you took away from her?
- Give. Moe’s mom owned nothing. She never bought new clothes for herself. She instead gave of herself to others.
- She would volunteer to wash the bodies of the dead to help prepare them for burial.
- She would bring people off the street to live with the 7 family members in their tiny apartment to help them.
- She gave everything for Moe and his brothers and sisters, including her life. She ended up getting MS and lost her ability to move.
- You can always GIVE. You can always make a difference.
Talk to us about the power of suffering…How has that been an ally in helping you succeed?
- Suffering is something that you have to go through to be successful.
- You will lose. You will lose deals, you will lose money, you will lose relationships, you will lose in a lot of ways.
- People quit because “it gets too hard,” the pain becomes not worth it because a person’s personal “pain threshold” has been reached.
- Imagine being able to increase your “pain threshold” indefinitely
- There is really no limit to the amount of suffering that you can endure
- To illustrate this, Moe uses an example of Monk’s seeking enlightenment sitting on a concrete floor for 12 hours a day for years on end.
- They suffer for an extreme amount of time, eat one meal per day, stay in silence, no air conditioning, etc.
- As you build your pain tolerance, you increase you ability to suffer through the bigger challenges and this allows you to grow and attain new heights. It allows you to level up.
- You should focus on “controlled suffering,” which is suffering that you understand and know that if you go through it will get you to a bigger and better result.
Talk to us about routines and how important they are to keeping you on top of your game….
- How you do anything is how you do everything
- Good habits are critical to success
- Most of the habits we build are done unconsciously – that can be good and bad.
- If you can “consciously” design habits over the long term, there is no better return on investment!
- You can design and build almost anything in your life, but designing the habits that lead to that outcome.
- At the 24 min mark, Moe talks about his personal morning habit:
- Sauna for 30 mins every morning. Big health benefits have been proven for sauna.
- Stretching/Yoga while in sauna to make use of that time.
- Boxed breathing (https://www.healthline.com/health/box-breathing#tips-for-beginners)
Explain your thoughts on “State, Story, and Strategy…”
- The most important thing is your state.
- The story is whatever identity you have for yourself. The story you tell yourself becomes your identity, so be very careful what you tell yourself.
- Moe shares the story he tells himself
- You will become the environment your surround yourself with
- Write your story down and read it each week
- Back to state – your state of mind sets the tone for your success every day
- Make your emotions such as anger your tools to use. Don’t let them control you. You must learn to control them and use them to your advantage – channel the emotion to make a difference for you.
- Your body is a vessel, a tool for your mind and your will to manifest.
Anything else we should know?
- Competition is very important!
- We should compete a lot more often than we do.
- We don’t because we are afraid of what happens if we don’t win. Who cares. Compete!
- When you lose in competition, what do you really lose? Nothing, really…
- Competition is a learning cycle that allows you to get better and grow.
- And you could also win….
- You don’t know if you are winning until you are tested.
- It also healthy to compete against yourself. Every day is a chance for you to be better than yesterday.
Best Quote: “As you build your pain tolerance, you increase your ability to suffer through the bigger challenges and this allows you to grow and attain new heights. It allows you to level up.”
Moe's Misfit 3:
- Go first. For some reason, we don’t like to go first on things. Go first. You lose nothing. Put your pride aside and lead.
- Good artists copy. Great artists steal. You do not have to re-invite the wheel. Take the things that work from others and use them in your life.
- You are the sum of the 5 closest people you surround yourself with. Choose wisely.