8 mins read

From Struggles to Progress: How I Survived 2022, Got Hitched and Emerged Stronger

Written by
Daariq A.Yusuf
Published on
June 20, 2023

The first half of the year was definitely a struggle for us. We had big plans for 144, our impact investment platform for businesses, but it felt like everything was working against us. We hit roadblocks left and right, and it was tough to stay motivated.

But we didn’t let that stop us. We kept pushing forward, and eventually, things started to turn around. In the last five months, we’ve had some major highlights that we’re proud of.

First and foremost, we were accepted into the SIBB Deep Tech accelerator, which was huge for us. This gave us the opportunity for the whole team to go full-time on 144 for the first time in almost a year, as well as the support and resources we needed to take our platform to the next level.

We developed our first version of the MVP for 144, which was a big milestone for us. We’ve been working hard to make our platform as user-friendly and efficient as possible, and we’re excited to see how it evolves in the coming months. In addition to all of this, my co-founder Tobi had the opportunity to meet with potential investors in LA, which has been a fantastic experience making those investors a warm lead and getting their positive response was huge.

Another big highlight of the year for us has been the partnerships and relationships we’ve built. We’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from organizations like The Start-up Tribe, Social Impact Alliance, and the South African Embassy, and we’re grateful for their support, guidance, and introductions to partners of our platform. In addition to these organizations, we’ve also connected with and collaborated with amazing communities like Migrapreneur(Ana, we love you) and Black Aspiring Creators (Respect the hustle Gare & Phil). These relationships have helped us grow and learn in ways that we never could have imagined, and we’re excited to see where they take us in the future.

And last but definitely not least, together with Julieta Alvarez, we launched North-Star Agency, our impact-focused design & consulting agency, which provides branding, marketing, digital transformation, and growth strategies. This was perfect as her design & marketing expertise integrated well with my years of business, growth hacking and strategy-building experience. This has been a dream of ours for a long time, and it’s finally starting to take shape. We’re thrilled to be working with some amazing clients already, a strong team that enables me to always be on track with my work on all fronts and gives me the ability to delegate so I can focus.

But the best part of 2022 for me personally has definitely been getting Hitched to my amazing wifey Julieta (Nikkah — Religious. Official to be announced — We will be sharing our journey soon — The road to our dream union in South Africa). She’s the brains behind North-Star Agency, and she’s been my rock throughout this whole journey. And if that wasn’t enough, she travelled to South Africa to meet my family all on her own, the Balls. This woman, lady, wifey has completely rearranged everything from my lifestyle choices to getting rid of my old single-life habits, and I couldn’t be happier about it. She’s made me realize that it’s time to let this adulting thing kick in and start fighting, and I’m grateful to have her by my side as we build an amazing life together.

As I look back on 2022, there are a few things we’ve learned along the way:

  • Persistence pays off. When things get tough, it’s easy to want to throw in the towel. But if you keep pushing forward and stay focused on your goals, you’ll eventually see progress.
  • Partnerships and relationships are key. Working with organizations and individuals who share your values and vision can make a big difference in your success. These relationships have helped us grow and learn in ways that we never could have imagined.
  • Building a business takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a successful business. It takes time, patience, and a lot of hard work to get things off the ground.
  • It’s important to have a good support system. Whether it’s friends, family, or colleagues, having people you can rely on when things get tough can make all the difference.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks. Sometimes, the biggest rewards come from taking a leap of faith and trying something new.

All in all, it’s been a challenging but rewarding year for 144, Vapaii and North-Star Agency. We’re excited to see what 2023 has in store for us, and we’re ready to tackle whatever comes our way.

We’re confident that this will be a year of great progress and growth for both us and our businesses.

The New Year has arrived and the promise of 2023 is full of hope and possibility, Inshallah.

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