Meera Balouchi is a leading expert in opportunity-based business models and has built her business whilst simultaneously raising her ten children. Over the past 20+ years, she has mastered the art of transformational advantage, authority, and alignment for entrepreneurs, experts, and young adults moving into the world of life-aligned entrepreneurship and impact-based business. With her movement, Change Everything, Meera is empowering the next generation of change-makers by providing elite business education, strategic advisory, and personal brand development and management through her revolutionary I AM EVERYTHING mentorship program for young women ages 14-24.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Meera Balouchi: Change Everything is more than a business. It is a movement. We are extreme pioneers in our space. We are redefining, realigning, revolutionaries. Our mission is to break down every. single. barrier. that women face while starting, growing, and scaling a business by establishing the world’s first complete opportunity equalization ecosystem built for women, by women.
Doing so requires a radical realignment of education, economics, and entrepreneurship that is intentionally skewed in favor of women. This realignment is the inevitable outcome of the redefining of business education that will result when we launch Academy Collection, the world’s first curated collection of new economy-based business schools tailor-made for 14-24-year-old women and life-aligned entrepreneurship.
Our vision is a world where women come into adulthood extremely well-positioned for self-defined personal and professional success whilst being beautifully, authentically, and unapologetically them. The first phase of the revolution is our world-class I AM EVERYTHING business advisory and mentorship program. This program gives small groups of young women the time, space, and place to explore self, skills, and redefined success.
For each young woman who enters our program, we gift a place to a young woman who would otherwise be unable to afford the opportunity. The cross-pollination and long-term bonding between women of strong economic circumstances and those from weaker economic circumstances are intentional and game-changing.
After completing the I AM EVERYTHING exploratory program, our star students are invited to join our incubator and we will work with them to build a product or service-based business and portfolio of work that spurs personal and professional growth. For those who do not have a business idea, we have ready-made businesses that they can utilize.
Every young woman who takes part in our program gets access to world-class strategic advisory and agency services so they never get ‘stuck’. They also are given a $5,000 spending account and a proposal process that they can use to fund the personal and business development projects of their choosing. Eventually, we would like to have our own digital bank.
I AM EVERYTHING is not about business for the sake of making money. This is an elite, high-touch, and bespoke experience that will change the trajectory of a young woman’s life by setting her up to enter into professional, academic, social, and/or entrepreneurial opportunities as the leader of her own revolution.
Empowered. Empathetic. Engaged. And on top of the world.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Meera Balouchi: HaHa! I ALWAYS said I was going to be a CEO. This was always the dream. What I realized over time is that being a CEO and being an entrepreneur are not one and the same.
I got the CEO bug out of me by working at the highest levels of private corporate consulting for over a decade. When I transitioned from Corporate to full-time mom to seven and eventually ten I realized titles are meaningless. The point of business and of life is one and the same. To be beautifully, authentically, and unapologetically YOU.
I am a visionary. A change maker. A feather ruffler. I don’t fit on a business card. And I am cool with that.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Meera Balouchi: I don’t know what work is. I have been a happy hard worker since I went out of my way to get my first job when I was 15. I have had multiple jobs throughout my entire life and always loved it. I love working with people. I loved my first job, even when it meant washing the dishes, or mopping the floors. I am classically trained in customer service a la Nordstrom and multiple retail jobs held in my teens.
I am still the same way, although I operate at a higher level. Everything I do and have done – from 9 figure strategic planning and serial entrepreneurship to web design to copywriting to APP building and branding has been self-taught. I have picked up certifications along the way but learning how to learn and taking imperfect action without fear is the key to my success. My brain lives in opportunity mode. Adrenaline, for me, is seeing – very clearly – a limitless opportunity for others that they do not see in themselves and I have developed a framework around that.
I don’t know what limits are. Last summer I entered my 12-year-old in a business competition for 18-35-year-olds at NYU Abu Dhabi and her work was featured on the second day of the program. I have a 16-year-old writing a screenplay and designing a board game. I have an 11-year-old who is so confident in himself as a personal brand that he knows he is going to win the next business competition and is allocating his award money even though he doesn’t have the idea yet. This is how I want young people to walk through life.
I also am the mother of at least four children on the Autism spectrum and I can tell you with 100% certainly that our neurodivergent superheroes are the greatest most underutilized intellectual asset on the planet.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Meera Balouchi: I love this question because this is one of the many things I am redefining. The textbook definition of an entrepreneur (according to the Oxford Dictionary) is someone who “sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.”
Business for me is about more than money. If you are going into business simply to make a lot of money you are very likely to be disappointed. Businesses fail. Products fail. Launches fail. You don’t get awarded retroactively for hard work. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle choice and given the importance of entrepreneurs to the strong economic growth we need to find a way to teach the next generation of change-makers, especially young women, how to run a business that does not interfere with a well-lived life.
At Change Everything, life-aligned entrepreneurship is at the center of all that we do. Life-aligned entrepreneurship is the means by which a business owner enjoys a self-defined level of success in terms of time, money, and energy in both their personal and professional life while being beautifully, authentically, and unapologetically themselves. It is the state in which work and play become one, friction is replaced with the flow, and the value of the business transcends a specific product, service, or launch.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Meera Balouchi: How you treat people matters. And how you do business matters. We have access to anyone and anything at any time. There is no excuse to do anything less than lead by example in business and in life. Having a supportive, inclusive culture is the only way to do business moving forward. Consumers are becoming increasingly astute and selective in who they do business with.
Companies and individuals who exclude groups of people or have cultures that mimick high school cliques have their days numbered. For me personally, I have no interest in doing business with anyone for whom inclusivity is purely a bottom-line issue. I work with change-makers to nurture the next generation of change-makers and the more diverse our sisterhood is, the better.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Meera Balouchi: There are many ways to be disruptive, some good and some bad. What I am interested in is how to disrupt for the greater good and this is what I will be instilling in the young women who participate in the I AM EVERYTHING revolution.
Disruption comes from challenging the status quo, thinking out of the box, and amplifying your intuition. There are a few things that we are doing at Change Everything that will create waves of positive disruption.
- Putting the personal brand first.
Personal brands allow us to free ourselves from overreliance on a specific product, service, or market for success. We are able to do things differently when our efforts are authentic and life-aligned. The first assets we create for the young women in the I AM EVERYTHING program are their personal brand, their declaration, and their rules of engagement. This makes them resilient and almost invincible because the more they explore, and even the more they fail, the more they grow and their personal brand becomes increasingly unique.
- Mind the opportunity gap.
It used to be that you would look for a gap in the market. With the rapid pace of change, development, and innovation in today’s world there is a bigger and bolder gap to look for. I call this the opportunity gap, the gap between what is, and what should be. There is no more what ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ be done. Almost anything is possible these days. And most anything has been done. It is doing things differently and with your own unique way of doing them that leads to disruption for the greater good.
- Build minimum viable businesses.
Staying agile is simple when you let go of perfection and put the most potent version of your passion out into the world. There is no need for heavy market studies, burdensome bank loans, or overinvesting in inventory. When you combine a personal brand with a minimum viable business the competition becomes irrelevant. You become so special and swift that exhaustive strategies give way to simplicity and serendipity.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Meera Balouchi: I do good things. For good people. With a good attitude.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Meera Balouchi: The most difficult decision that I had to make was to stop operating in non-profit mode. I started the Change Everything movement to make the world a better place. But the thing is, the world is not short on non-profits. There are many incredible men and women doing life-changing work in all kinds of industries. But I feel like we have hit somewhat of a glass ceiling in terms of impact.
This is not to say that we don’t need non-profits. The world needs them more now than ever, I support many of them personally, and the more we have, the better. But we need to introduce a new type of business model into the world if we want to make a next-level impact.
The trouble with being non-profit, or with trying to help everyone, is that your time and energy is spent explaining, conforming, asking, hunting, and gathering. If I was a non-profit, it would be extremely difficult for me to give the women in the I AM EVERYTHING program the support that they need to actually get out into the world and start making an impact. It is a five-figure investment to join I AM EVERYTHING. It is also an exceptional means for young women who are able, to step into their next-level selves sooner rather than later and give back by operating impact-based businesses. By giving them world-class everything I am increasing their chances of success and they will be fully capable and engaged in paying it forward.
We do have a gifting business model. For every young woman who joins I AM EVERYTHING, a scholarship is granted to a deserving woman who otherwise would not be able to afford the program.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Meera Balouchi: I am a really good shopper. I used to stay in KMart for hours just looking at everything on the shelves and read the advertisements in the Sunday paper for hours. I could stay in Target all day long and not buy anything.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Meera Balouchi: I actually already have this book planned out and need to look for a literary agent.
It is called ‘F The A’s’ and it is about my journey through institutionalized education as a mother of ten, with a mixed bag of neurotypical and neurodivergent rock stars. It starts with my unique story. How I ended up in College in High School. In my MBA when I should have been in College. Consulting internationally at 23. In SPITE of, not because of, education and school. It plays on the ridiculousness of what we are asking of our children in the first 18 years of their lives, how irrelevant and ludicrous external assessments of everything are, and what we need to do about it.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Meera Balouchi for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Meera Balouchi or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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