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How to go from corporate life to passion project to thriving business.

This is the story of NoorKids and Amin Aaser. If you've ever wondered what it takes to turn a passion project into a thriving business, then this is a good one and you need to listen to it.

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Key Takeaways

Solve a problem that you're passionate about, iterate, and take some chances.

Get your hands dirty

NoorKids literally setup "lemonade stands" with iPads setup for people to experience the product.

Go above and beyond for your first 50 customers

They had a group of parents who helped them improve the books for launch.

Don't be afraid to launch

They launched Noor Kids internationally during a pandemic and weren't afraid to go bigger.

Study the market

They went to the library and asked the librarian for a list of the hundred best children's books to discover best practices.

Ask for feedback and iterate

They released one book at a time to subscribers and asked for constructive feedback. They then took that feedback to further improve their product.

Solve a problem that you're passionate about

They found a problem that they were genuinely passionate about and set out to solve it.

Interview Bio

Amin G. Aaser - Founder - Noor Kids

Amin G. Aaser is the Founder and Managing Director of Noor Kids. Amind is an expert on identity, self-confidence, and self-esteem among Muslim children in America. He has been featured on NPR, BBC, The Huffington Post, The Boston Heralf, and The Christian Science Monitor, among a host of other media outlets. Amin developed his expertise in storyttelling under the tutelage of Ariana Isaacson, an internationally recognized, and award-winning, theater director actress, master storyteller and visual artist. She is the founder and artistic director f the San Francisco School of Improvisation. Amin receive the Outstanding Instructor award for his service and an Instructor of "Storytelling for Leadership." at the University of California Berkeley. Amin began his career in business management, working for Fortune 500 companies such as 3m, Target Corporation and General Mills. He attained his MBA at the Haas Schoool of Business at UC Berkeley and graduated magna cum laude from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, triple-majoring in finance, makreting, and supply-chain management. He lives with his wife, Sana, in Berkeley, California.

Full Transcript



Josh: : Hello, again, welcome to KickoffLabs On Growth. I'm Josh Ledgard, and I'm one of the founders at KickoffLabs. I started this podcast to share stories of both personal and business growth. In this interview with Amin Aaser, we'll cover both of those things, as he walks us through the launch and growth of Noor Kids. He's a great storyteller. And I enjoyed the conversation, so we let this recording go a little longer than usual. Is totally worth it. And I know you'll learn a lot. If you do enjoy, don't forget to subscribe to The On Growth Podcast. Tell a friend about us and send any feedback you have to josh@kickofflabs.com.

Josh: : Hi, everyone. Today, we're talking to Amin Aaser, from Noor Kids. And I'm looking forward to this conversation. Amin, has been a customer of KickoffLabs for a while. They've run several successful campaigns, which we'll talk about throughout the conversation. And to get started, Amin, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your personal background leading up to starting Noor Kids as a company.

Amin: Sure, I'll be happy to. And Josh, I'm really excited to have this conversation too. And I'm also excited to learn more about you and about KickoffLabs behind the scenes, because we really like your piece of software, and actually I talk about a lot. I recorded a testimonial video on YouTube about it. I really like the work that you guys do, so I'm excited to learn more behind the scenes.

Amin: So, enough about you. Let me tell you about me. So, my name is Amin Aaser. I'm from the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, so born and raised. I went to the University of Minnesota. And after that I worked at a bunch of companies in Minneapolis. A lot of people don't realize this, but man, Minneapolis we like to say that we have more fortune 500 companies per capita, so as a function of the size of the state than any other state in the country. So, I worked at 3M, at General Mills, at Target Corporation, at Cargill, in a number of different capacities.

Amin: Now, before doing Noor Kids, I used to do what's called mergers and acquisitions. So, I used to help buy and sell companies for General Mills. And this was back in 2012. Now, at the time, my older brother, Muhammad, he was an MBA student at Harvard University. And as a part of their MBA program, they say, "Hey, look, solve a problem that you're passionate about. It doesn't matter what the problem is, but find a problem that you're genuinely passionate about and try to solve it."

Amin: And for my brother and I, the problem that we thought about was one that we had as kids. It was related to religious identity. So Josh, for example, I used to love playing baseball. My mom she'd come, she'd sit in the stands and she would cheer. But I remember when I was in middle school, kids would start to tease her. They'd make fun of my mom because of her headscarf. And as a kid, I didn't know what to do.

Amin: I began telling my mom to pick me up 15 minutes after my baseball games were finished, because I didn't want anyone to see my mom. I didn't want anyone to know that I was Muslim. I wanted to fit in. So, that's the problem we wanted to solve. We wanted to figure out how do we help Muslim children build confidence in their religious identity, especially because of the world that they're growing up in. And I won't talk too much more about that, so it's not political or anything like that, but it's a tough environment for them, right?

Josh: : Yeah.

Amin: So, we looked at this and we had a lot of resources at our disposal at Harvard University. So, we started trying to tackle the problem from an academic lens, there's the Jewish community, there's a black community, there's a Latino community, there's a girls'. There's a lot of communities that have experienced difficulties in the past. And there's a lot of research that exists.

Amin: So, we thought to ourselves, "Hey, what can we learn from the world of academic literature related to self esteem and education to help raise confident kids. And we use that and we decided to create a subscription based children's book series. Now, again, we didn't really think much of it. But in 2012, when my brother was a student, we entered into the entrepreneurship business plan competition. And out of over a hundred ideas, we ended up winning.

If Harvard thinks this is good, then it's probably a good idea. Let's run with it.



Josh: Wow.

Amin: And we thought to ourselves, "Whoa, we were just trying to solve a problem, one that we care about, but if Harvard thinks this is good, then it's probably a good idea. Let's run with it."

Josh: : So, did you quit your job the next day?

Amin: Yeah. That's exactly what I did. No, I did not quit my job the next day. So, here's what happened, right? Now, again, people create their organizations for different reasons. And for me it was about impact. It's about solving this problem. And truthfully, when you look at a community, you look at the market size. And the market size of Muslims in America is frankly not that big. So, this was a passion project. So, the same way that people volunteer at their Sunday school, this was our voluntary effort. I would do M&A between 9:00 to 5:00. And then at night, I would write children's books. And it was so cool because that was before I was married, before I met my wife. And I remember when I'd meet people, it was like, "So, what do you do?" And I'm like, "Well, I'm an M&A guy by day and I'm a children's book writer by night." It worked really well. People loved you or really liked that. But this is before all the online stuff. Anyways, all right.

Josh: : So, you started out, you were writing the books yourself?

Let me just talk to the librarian and get the list of the hundred best children's books that she recommends.



Amin: Yeah. I mean, I remember going to the library on weekends and I tackled it with the same perspective I tackle everything. So, I was like, "All right, well, let me just talk to the librarian, get the list of the hundred best children's books, that she recommends." Our librarian was a lady. And I basically checked them out. And then what I would do is I would read them and then I would jot down best practice. I'm like, "Oh, look at the color scheme that they're using." I'm like, "Oh, look at the rhyming." I'm like, "Oh, look at the page count or look at the word count and look at the font size." And I try to learn as much as possible by just seeing what was the best. It's like what you would do with, when you're starting a company.

Amin: And of course we took a really iterative approach. So, we would create one book and then share it with the subscribers. And then they'd be like, "Hey, this book is not very good." And I'd be like, "All right. All right, well, how do we make it better?" And so, we'd get their feedback and we'd improve.

Josh: : So, backup a second for a couple of questions I wanted to follow up on. So, first on the writing on books, I think that's a great strategy that you took just to go to the library and recommend the best books. It's similar to what we tell people all the time, if they're building a sales page, it's like, well, you look at larger companies, look at the standard Amazon sales page. They have studied the heck out of that thing. Right? And they know what works and what doesn't work, and think about those best practices.

Josh: : So, I think it's great, you're doing that for your real product. You basically said like, "Show me the hundred best products out there for the book." And then you were looking at what patterns you saw that you could identify. So, you start writing these books. Did you get a subscriber first or did you have a book first?

Amin: Yeah. I mean, isn't the normal ideas that you like, you just build it and people come, right? That's just how it works. So no, of course, I'm kidding. So no, we took and what was interesting is my brother Muhammad, who was at Harvard, his professor who helped us, his name was Tom Eisenman. Gosh, let me just look this up. I believe he passed away. Let me just make sure. Man, God bless his soul. He's amazing human being. And he really, really helped a lot. No, sorry. I'm so sorry. He did not pass away.

Josh: : Good to know.

Amin: But still God bless his soul. Dude, was a good guy. But anyways, the whole idea is you come up with a hypothesis and you're like, "How do I test this as quickly as possible?" Right? And you do that without creating a product. And I think Kickoff, that was probably a good tool to use. We didn't use KickoffLabs at the time. What we did is we created a survey and we said, "Hey, look, we're creating a Muslim children's magazine." And we said, "Look, we're going to give you your first copy for free. But what we want you to do is we want you to give us advice." I'm like, "What would you want?" It was a 10 minute survey.

Amin: And we put maybe, I want to say $100 or $150 in advertising on Facebook ads. But again, this was in 2012. So, it feels like 2012 was not that long ago, but with respect to Facebook ads, this was like a century ago, right? Because $150 in Facebook ads today would get you like a click. I feel like I am more than that. But we got something like 2000 people to give us feedback. And it got shared. And I was like, "Holy cannoli, this is nuts." It was really, really special. And at that time you have to understand also for a niche population like Muslims, ain't nobody doing nothing for Muslims at that time. So, people were like, "What? This is something for us." And they would share it. And it was pretty extraordinary.

Amin: But we ended up using that as our initial starting point to get a sense of, "Hey, what do we need to do? How are we going to do it?" We actually created, this was before Facebook groups. So, there was another, like offline channel where we created basically a Facebook group with 50 of these parents to get feedback on the characters and the storylines and the problems that we wanted to solve.

Amin: And I mean, I'll give you one example, right? So, Muslims are really diverse, right? They are Nigerian, they're Pakistani, they're Egyptian. They're from Qatar, they're from Tanzania, they're from Singapore, they're from Chicago, they're from Canada. They're super diverse. And one of the principles that we learned in school was, hey, in order to build confidence in the identity of a child, they have to have relatable role models, role models that look like them.

Josh: : Absolutely.

Amin: How are we going to do that given how diverse they are? And so this group, which was really diverse, first we had a black and a white and different characters. And we thought, "No, you know what? What if we made them animals, because animals don't have ethnicity." And that's how we solved that problem. And we did that for example, through this group. So, it was a blessing. We ended up creating it. And yeah, man, this was before lead pages. This is before KickoffLabs. This is before Shopify. This is before all of that. So, we created a custom landing page, with a little timer on it, and social proof, and everything on one page. And man, those first 100 customers were the most difficult customers to get. And that was a huge, huge, huge, it felt like just an incredible undertaking.

Josh: : So, what are some of the things you did to get those first? I mean, obviously you had built some relationships because you send out the survey, you had a list of people that had filled the survey, you had this Facebook group of closer VIPs that you were building a relationship with, getting feedback from. How did you start turning that into the first 100 customers? I mean, people ask us this all the time, so I always want to hear everybody's answer.

Amin: Look, man, I think this is a great question and I want to try to sound smarter than it actually was because of course, hindsight is 2020.

Josh: : Yep.

There were three key things that we did to get our first 100 customers.



Amin: So, Josh, I would say there were three key things that we did to get our first 100 customers. The first critical thing that we did is we set up what are called lemonade stands. This meant actually setting up a little table and going to places where our customers were. For us, it's mosques, right? Mosque is a Muslim version of like a church. So, we literally went to mosques in Minnesota, set it up. We had in a binder, a MVP of what the magazine would look like. And we had a little iPad. And back then, if you had an iPad, they're like, "Whoa, this is pretty sweet."

Josh: : These guys mean business.

Amin: Yeah, these are serious. So, that's what we did. So, we set up lemonade stands. We got our hands dirty. Frankly, I think that's critical. And not only is that important to get your first a hundred sales, you learn so fast when you do a lemonade stand because this is, "Hey, I'm going to test my messaging with you." Noor Kids is no longer a magazine far from it. We are what's called a character building program. So, Noor Kids today, if you go on our website, our messaging is very, very, very different. And it's because of those types of lemonade stand types of experiencing and basically testing like, "Hey, if a customer comes and if I tell them this, are they going to buy?" Well, let me try telling them something out. And if they buy then and it makes me feel like, "Hey, maybe this messaging matters." All right. So, that was one.

Amin: The second thing that we did is we created and iterated, and iterated, and iterated and iterated on our landing page. If I remember it correctly, our landing page, it was a one page. Our website at that time was one page. On that one page, we had a sample that someone could click through to take a look at. We had a part that said, "Hey, look, what are we doing? So, what is the problem that we're solving? What is the value that you're going to get?" We had a, about us where we had a really good wholesome picture of my brother and I, and a story about who we were. We had a countdown timer that said, "Hey, look, you can get this, get a good deal on it for this amount of time."

Amin: And what we would literally have to do, Josh, it's so funny because today with countdown timers, you can make them evergreen. So, it's every day we literally had a log in every morning and we set it. That's what we did. And then we had a chat box. That chat box, this is 2012. This is before Messenger was a big thing. Yeah, we had a chat box on there. That chat box was huge. And then the other thing that we had on there is we had logos of companies. And it's funny because a lot of those things are the same things that we have today on our website, but just a little bit different. And I do believe our website is quite high converting. And so, those are two things I talked about. I talked about lemonade stands. I talked about having a high converting website.

Go over and above for your first the first 50 customers, they're going to help spread the word.



Amin: And the third thing is, is really benefiting from word of mouth, especially early on through friends and family and anyone who's connected with you. So yeah, we did reach out to friends and family. We did have them be the first people who bought. And we asked them to tell their friends. We gave them emails that they could forward. This was before WhatsApp existed. I mean, Facebook existed at the time. But we did that, of course. Having a group of 50 parents, like I mention to you before, each one of those parents who helped us create this work were bought into what we did. And so, each of those people were really proud when our first book actually came out and their names were in it. And those people were some of the people who helped hold our banner when we started. So, those are three, I think very practical ways to get your first a hundred customers.

Josh: : Yeah. I think those are great examples. I mean, I can see some similar things for what we did and I hear from other people all the time. I mean, some of the specifically, like going a little bit over and above for your first the first 50 customers, they're going to help spread the word.

Oh my gosh, these guys just built something for us in real time.



Josh: : I mean, we literally on our side, as before we hit a hundred customers, anybody who actually came in and created a campaign in KickoffLabs, we would reach out personally and say, "Hey, here's some tips for you to do." And then if they were paying us and they said, "Hey, I wish you guys had this feature. We just built it." We're just like, "I don't care if we're going to keep the feature longterm or we're just going to build it for them." And just make them thrill. And then people would be like, "Oh my gosh, these guys just built something for us in real time. We wanted this thing and now we have it and we can use it on our campaign." And getting the names of the people and the first 50 on the books, that had to have made them extremely loyal and willing to spread the word for you guys.

It's all about nurturing customers, loving our customers, treating them like family. We literally call them our family.



Amin: Yeah, man, I think customer relationships is a huge deal. It is a really big deal that I take very seriously. And even to this day Josh, we spend an insignificant amount on ads. Even to this day, even though, I talked about Facebook ads, I don't like Facebook ads. I mean we only use them when we absolutely need to. The overwhelming majority line share something like 90% of our sales come through referrals. And that is all about nurturing customers, loving our customers, treating them like family. We literally call them our family.

Amin: And even for me, I got to tell you, right? I told you a little bit about the story of Noor Kids. I mean, the story didn't end there, right? Just a couple of cliff notes. And so, we ended up creating this 2012. This was a passion project. Again, had no intent for this to be what I worked on. And in 2014 I went to business school at UC Berkeley. Again, had no intention to work on Noor Kids full time. At the time I was looking into Khan Academy. I was looking into other kinds of venture capital-

Josh: : You guys are still slowly building the business at this time, when you decided to go to-

Amin: Josh, I wouldn't even call it a business. This was a passion project, right? This was our way to leave a legacy on earth. This was just a way to serve. And I mean, we were never making enough money to actually make it work. This was just financed out of our own pockets.

Amin: Well, what happened was that in 2015, when I was one year into my MBA program, my mom [Shaheen 00:19:20] at 52 years old, passed away. And that was a really important moment for me. Because for the first time in my life, Josh, I came to terms with the fact that, look, I'm going to die. And that might sound morbid. And that's probably not what people would expect on, On Growth Podcast around business growth. But I'll tell you, man, there's nothing in my life that gave me more meaning, that made me think more about how do I want to spend my time than realizing that I'm going to expire someday. And I think as a young person, it's not something that you really think about very often, perhaps people are meditating on it more during COVID. And I think that's powerful. And I think there's a lot of value in that. I know for me that made me rethink my priorities.

I want to leave my legacy.



Amin: I remember going to my wife, [Sanah 00:20:08] at the time. And I said, "Sanah after business school, we have a real opportunity to think about what we want to do next." This is generally an inflection point in most people's career of, hey, they're going to switch. We had a presidential election in 2016. I had a wife that was really supportive and continues to be very supportive. I had the kind of inspiration of my mom and I thought to myself, "Look, I want to leave my legacy." So in 2016, when I finished graduate school in October, I decided to work on Noor Kids full time. Josh, at that time I paid myself $12,000 a year. That is very little.

Josh: : Yeah, especially if, were you still living in California?

Amin: No, I moved back to Minnesota. You couldn't do that. I don't think you can afford a parking spot for that much. By the way, Josh, where do you guys live?

Josh: : We're scattered. So, I live in Seattle. I've lived here for about 20 years now.

Amin: Nice.

Josh: : And Scott lives in New Jersey. People in Dallas. People scattered all over the place country.

Amin: Nice, nice. So, we're virtual too. But regardless, so we started working on Noor Kids full time.

I started the On Growth Podcast because I wanted to talk about people's journeys as they're evolving into the business and growing as people.



Josh: : By the way, totally appropriate for the On Growth Podcast. So I chose the name, not because I cared as deeply about business growth and talking about that, but because I wanted to talk about people's journeys as they're evolving into the business and growing as people. And so, your whole story just fit right in with what I was hoping to get out of a lot of interviews.

Amin: Great. So, now that you said that, let's transition into marriage. No, I'm kidding. So, long story short, I forgot what dovetailed me into this conversation, but it's just to say that when we started this effort, it was really around, "Hey, how do we solve this problem in the very best way that we can? How do we use the most efficient way possible?" And today our work from Maple Grove, Minnesota, we are publishing one of the world's most widespread tools for Islamic education. So, we have our work in places like India and Pakistan and [inaudible 00:22:36] and Singapore and Saudi Arabia and Malaysia and Indonesia. And I would have never thought in the world that our work would make it so far and wide. And it's a real honor to, I think have helped create this legacy and this impact.

Josh: : So, when you said 2016 and you paid yourself $12,000. And that's the moment where you said you were doing this then full time that year for the first year.

Amin: In October of 2016. Yeah.

Josh: : Yeah. And so, that had to be scary. Right? To all of a sudden say I'm going to pay myself $12,000. I imagine that's less than you were making doing M&A.

Hey, what decision am I going to make that's going to have the most potential impact?



Amin: General Mills actually doesn't pay that well. No, I'm kidding. I'm totally kidding. Yeah. So, General Mills is an excellent company, freaking awesome company. I love that company. But yeah, of course it was less. And it was very difficult. And even to this day, there's the fear of missing out is real, right? Sometimes you wonder like, "Hey, if I would've done this, where would I have been at?" And sometimes you're on LinkedIn and you're like, "Oh, he's there now. Okay."

Amin: And I think what's really valuable is before you do any decision you think about, well, what are you trying to maximize here? What is the rationale for your decision making? And for me, the rationale for my decision making was always around impact to say, "Hey, what decision am I going to make that's going to have the most potential impact?" And there is no doubt in my mind that the decision that I made in 2016 and the help that we've gotten along the way with respect to people and team and good fortune has allowed us to leave an incredible impact.

Amin: But to that question, it was very difficult. Now, what made it easy? What made it easy was probably three things. Number one was, and this sounds very... So, number one was the fact that I had a supportive family. When I was in Berkeley, one of the things that was interesting, right, wrong or indifferent, a lot of founders come from wealth, right? Because that child is able to say, "Hey, you know what? If I fail, I still have my dad to support me."

Amin: Well, my mom passed away. And in my culture it's my obligation to take care of my dad. So, as it turned out, my wife and I actually moved in with my dad. Not in like, in our culture it's like, "Oh man, you moved in with your dad. You're 30 something years old. That's awkward." For me that's not awkward. That's the expectation. Right? My dad is alone. I want him to be a part of my life. And so, as a result of that, in being able to provide that kind of honorable role for my family, I also didn't have to pay for rent, right? So, that was a huge form of support for me that I didn't have to worry about. So, that was one.

Amin: Number two, is I thought to myself, "Look, I'm going to give myself a date. I'm going to give myself two years. In two years, I'm not able to make this viable, then I owe it to my family, I owe it to my wife, I owe it to my future children to take a different route."

The most important skill I used to look for was someone who had an entrepreneurial spirit.



Amin: And then number three I thought to myself, "Look, what's the worst case scenario? Say, for example, I crash and burn. Am I going to be out? No, I'm not." What I believe now more than ever is that I used to recruit at General Mills. I was actually part of the recruiting team. I led diversity recruiting. And I'll tell you something. The most important skill I used to look for was someone who had an entrepreneurial spirit. And I think now more than ever, people are looking for that. So, I thought to myself, "Look, if I crash and burn, I'll go back to General Mills. And I'll knock on their door, someone else's door in 3M and say, "Hey, look, I've come a long way. Why don't you take me back? I can add value." Which by the way, Josh, I said a lot of wonderful things about General Mills in this interview, still hedging my bets, man. Still hedging my bets.

Josh: : I think we all do. As entrepreneurs, there's always that feeling in the back of your head. I look at my job and my role and I say, "I'm really, am decent at a whole lot of things, but I'm really good at nothing at this point." Because I have to put my hands into every part of the business. I'm like, "What am I qualified to do, if I had to leave the business?" And part of me thinks, "I'm not qualified for anything really."

Hey, you know what? I've got a problem. Let me go to the library and solve it.



Amin: No, man. It's interesting that you say that, but it's like, so number one, when you say you're not qualified compared to other people or whatever, don't cut yourself short. Because frankly in my experience, even the scratching the surface of things I've learned about everything from customer service software to marketing automation, to fulfillment management and warehouse and supply chain, is a way far and beyond what other people have done. But I'll tell you something else, man. There's a lot of things that can be learned. Right? I told you when we started this, I didn't know anything about writing books. I went to the library, I figured it out. Right? But what you can't teach is that spirit.

Josh: : Yep.

Amin: Right. You can't teach that, "Hey, you know what? I've got a problem. Let me go to the library and solve it." No, you can't teach that. And that's the entrepreneurial spirit. And I think that's why it's such a incredible and an important skillset that I really do believe that for listeners, who are thinking about that. Of course, we didn't decide to go all in on day one. Right? This was four years after we had started. But yeah, I mean, I hope that that's some inspiration to say, dude, just go for it.

Josh: : No, I think that's absolutely true. Tell me about any failures you've had getting to this point. I mean, I also want to highlight, I was checking out your website before this and you talked about still having some of those practices. You not only do you guys have a subscription, it looked like you guys were running a summer camp over the summer. You guys have expanded beyond just the books, you've got online classes. Is that correct? Am I reading this right on the website?

Amin: Yeah. Yeah, you are right. So, I would say a number of things. So, you asked me two questions. So, first question-

Josh: : Sorry. I jumbled those questions together. The first question was, did you have any failures? And the second point, I was just amazed because you must've tried out a lot of things to have these things that you're offering now. And so, I'm sure some of the things you tried that didn't work. So, the questions were related, just maybe poorly.

Amin: Yeah. So, I want to first talk about failure and then I want to talk about iteration and where we're at as an organization. With respect to failure, I would say me there were two glaring kind of failures that I feel like we had.

Amin: The first failure is look, when you do a subscription, you owe something to your families. And what we promise is that every month families will see a new book delivered in the mail. And by the way, that is a significant undertaking. We have a team of 15 people who help make that happen, in each subject matter experts. Anything about for every book, we do a lot of research. We do a lot of plot development. And we have to do manuscript writing. We have to do art direction. We have to do illustration. We have to do editing. There's a lot of steps involved. And every month, we're putting on a brand new book. And our books stand toe to toe with anything out there. They are excellent, extraordinary.

Amin: And if any of the people who are watching have an inclination towards character, things like gratitude, honesty, patience, so on so forth. Man, I tell you, Josh, this is much better than VeggieTales. I love VeggieTales, man. And anyway, so I share that to say I'm very proud of the work that we do.

This is our kick in the butt to say, never again. We can't let this happen again.



Amin: We haven't always been able to make that commitment. Last year, for example, or two years ago the situation where over the course of 12 months, we actually only put out nine books. No, of course, with respect to customers, we made sure not to overcharge them. People got the appropriate amount. Everyone's still got 12 books and so forth. But that hurts. And I remember there was somebody who wrote on a Facebook group. And today Facebook groups make a huge role. And when you think about a niche community like Muslims, this was a Facebook group of Muslim moms. And this mom, and there was 30,000 parents in there. She's like, "Hey, have any of you guys had issues with Noor Kids and getting the book." And I remember seeing that, and Josh.

Josh: : Your heart stops for a second.

Amin: Dude, I think mine stopped for like 10 seconds, straight up. I was like, "Oh my goodness." I remember my friend Ali, his dad was in the hospital at the time. And it was like the level of stress that I had was so high. And I thought to myself, "Look, man, in this situation, what can I do?" I did two things. The first thing I did is I looked up her name on the customer list and I gave her a call. And I was like, "Hey, my name is Amin, nice to talk to you. I heard you're having some issues. What can I do for you?" Right? So, of course I called her up. But as a team, man, I took a screenshot of it and I scheduled the team meeting and I said, "You guys, we are so freaking fortunate that we even have the ability to make this our day job. Gosh, what an honor, what a privilege that we have. This is our kick in the butt to say, never again. We can't let this happen again."

Amin: And that's when even as an organization, we shifted from startup like, "Oh man, I'm doing everything." To like, "We need formal processes and procedures and gates. And on a monthly basis, we need a rhythm." And that I think was a real inflection point for our organization. So those were, I think two of the ways that I responded to that specific situation, which I felt was a failure.

Amin: The second failure that we had, Josh, and that led to our innovation was with respect to market size. The Muslim community in the United States of America is not that big. And in fact, when I started Noor Kids, I thought it was actually even bigger than what it actually is. Right? And you have to understand. So, okay. So, let's just do the quick math.

Amin: I believe today there is about three and a half million Muslims in the United States of America, and one million Muslims in Canada. Right? So, we service the US and Canada. So, that's about five million Muslims. All right. So, let's just do the math. Five million Muslims, and of which, we'll say the average household has three people in it. So, five million divided by... Let's use six million because it's easier. So, we'll say six million divided by three. That means two million households. Of those two million households, let's assume 25% have kids under the age of eight.

So, now I am dedicating my life and the life of all of my team members to get these 300,000 families.



Josh: : That seems a little higher, right? Do you think that's a... Go with it, sorry.

Amin: Yeah, yeah. So, of two million, right? Now, a quarter that is 500,000. Now, of those 500,000, we assume that 75% of them actually care about religion, right? Or I shouldn't say they care about religion, but they hold religion as something that they're deeply interested in. And there's some Pew Research that relates to that. So now, we take out another 25%. So, that would be a 50, 100, 125. So, that's like 375,000 families left. Now, of those 375,000 families, how many of them can actually even afford our work. Right? And our work is not expensive. It's very accessible. We've done that on purpose. But there's a reality of that. So, then we're like, all right, well, now we're at about maybe 300,000 families.

Amin: So, now I am dedicating my life and the life of all of my team members to get these 300,000 families. Now, when I was at General Mills, you think about something like Cheerios, and you're like, dude, everyone's got Cheerios or everyone knows what Cheerios is. But let me tell you something, not everyone has Cheerios in their house. They just don't, they just don't. They see it. And they're like, "Oh, I don't even want cereal. I don't need it." Right? So, just because there's potentially 300,000 families that we can service, even if everyone about it, it doesn't mean that it's going to be in everyone's house. And I'm proud to say that today, I mean, we've been able to create a significant dent and in terms of like the "market share" but it's just not that big.

I gave myself two years.. I need to get to 10,000 subscribers



Amin: And I'll tell you when I started in 2016, I told myself, "Look, I need to get to 10,000 subscribers by the next year. In the next year, I need to get 10,000." And I was like, "Oh man, this is going to be so easy. We're providing such a great value. People are going to get it." I think in the next year we were at 2000. And I was just depressed. And I said, "Well, I have one more year to do this. I'm going to do it more."

Amin: Again, the next year I gave it everything I got, everything I had. I mean, put all of the things that I've learned throughout my entire life, threw it at this market. And again, the growth was relatively low or it didn't meet that expectation. And Josh, I got to tell you, man, that hurt. I was like, "Gosh." and it made me feel like a failure. It's like, "God, so do I do this?"

Amin: And when we started this, I said, look, in 2016 I gave myself two years. So, I remember in 2018, I was like, "Gosh, man, what should I do?" And by the way, I have to add one more thing. Of those customers, I don't know Josh, if you get customer service emails, dude, customer service emails can be really tough, heart wrenching, heart wrenching. People will say mean stuff over email. And I'm like, "This book was $6 and 99 cents. I'll give you a refund. You don't need to talk to me about the hereafter and what God's going to do to me. Just chill. Come on, man." I'll be honest. I don't think anyone's actually done that. But people take it super serious and I'm like, "All right, dude, don't worry. I'll just give you a refund. It's all right."

Josh: : I always just assumed, because I think anybody who has a large enough market gets those kind of emails. And I always just assume it's like, they've probably been treated so badly by other companies that they go into emailing with the assumption that the world is against them or maybe that's their mindset in some ways. And they just take it out, because they're just like, "I don't want to have this hassle." And they're like, "I need my $6.99." And because we get the same similar sort of things back.

I love KickoffLabs. I freaking love it, so much so that I've created reviews on YouTube about it.



Amin: I don't know, man. I don't know. Honestly, me and my team, we talk about it once in a while. But the biggest thing though, Josh in that conversation is, and the thing that I know about Noor Kids and I think what you know about KickoffLabs, dude, Josh, I love KickoffLabs. I freaking love it, so much so that I've created reviews on YouTube about it. I love it. And with Noor Kids and my product, man, I have met the families. And now we've been doing it long enough that I have met these teenagers, who've talked about how it has literally transformed their lives and their understanding of who they are, and what it means to be a Muslim, such that they can be proud of who they are. Right? And so, you have to remind yourself of those things, because I think those are valuable.

Amin: And so anyways, in 2018, two years after 2016, when I was looking at this situation, I said, "Look, man, this market is just not big enough. We're doing a good job. With our marketing, there's nothing that I would do differently. We're doing all the right things. Our marketing is exceedingly successful. The fact of the matter is this market is not big enough." So, what that meant was, okay, number one, we have to think about international.

As COVID was happening, we actually were able to launch Noor Kids internationally.



Amin: And yes, this year in March and we didn't plan for it, but in March, as COVID was happening, we actually were able to launch Noor Kids internationally. And of course, the population of Muslims outside of the US and Canada, it's a religion of over a billion people, right? So, it's a huge market internationally, number one.

Amin: And then number two, one of the things that we recognized was, I like to think I'm animated in this podcast. One of the reasons why is because I'm a professional storyteller. I actually ended up in Berkeley after spending time at the library, learning under the tutelage of someone named Arina Isaacson, who's a master storyteller. And I spent two years with her to myself become a master storyteller. And so, what we've done is we've created a companion to our books. So, in addition to our children's book every month that you get, every week we do an online class. And we have children from all around the world who join in and we make it interactive. And it's been a lot of fun. And that's completely opened up an entirely new way to add value and also generate sustainable financial returns. That way we can continue investing.

Amin: There's a third thing that's in the pipeline. It's pretty cool, Josh. I'll just give a quick whisper about it. And that's Netflix. So, we're not completely there yet. And I don't want to oversell. But we're working on an animated series. And we're really excited about it. Because if VeggieTales has been successful, which it has been, and other works within the Jewish community and the Hindu community have been successful, there's no reason why Amin, Shireen, Asad and Amira, the four characters within Noor Kids can't help Muslim children across the world benefit through an animated series. So, these are some of the ways that we've iterated and are growing.

We need to think bigger. We're not just about North America.



Josh: : Yeah, that's impressive. So, you would say a big inflection point for you is really the recognition then that sometimes you're going after not the wrong market, but maybe even just not thinking about the market as broadly as you could have been? Because you're going after the right market, but you expanding it internationally, is saying like, "You know what? We need to think bigger. We're not just about North America."

Amin: Yeah. I mean, I agree. Yes. I would say that. However, what I would tell you and what I tell entrepreneurs through my learning experiences, the number one decision you make is what problem you're solving and for who? Because once that ship has set sail, it is very difficult for that ship to change course. Because five degrees being off at the outset may not feel like a lot, but once you've been in it for two, three, four years, it's tough to change.

Amin: And I'll tell you something. Even now today, Josh, Noor Kids is not exceedingly profitable, right? We are paying ourselves and we've got a great team and we invest into a lot of innovation. And basically what that means is, yeah, we're still going to continue doing this, but if the market size isn't big enough, well, that means that we're going to have to transition into taking charitable contributions and focusing on that. And that's okay. Right?

Amin: But if someone is starting, when I used to do venture capital, one of the first pages you look at is how big is the market size. If that market size, if that opportunity is not huge. And again, huge is a relative term and you can define it, how you do. 350,000 is not huge. That is very niche. And you have to make sure that you get everything right in order to be able to survive on that. Right? So yes, at the outset, make sure that you're solving a big problem and for a lot of people.

Josh: : Yeah. So, you've teased it a couple of times the usage of KickoffLabs and that you liked the product. Can you give us an idea of how you guys have used KickoffLabs?

Noor Kids landing page

One of the ways that you sell a subscription product is by doing a demonstration



Amin: Yeah. So, I mentioned these online programs that we do and how that was a key part of our work. Now, these online programs are available for two reasons. Are available because number one, we're offering just incredible value to families. But from an organizational lens this is basically us doing a product demo, right? So, when you think about a subscription product, and one of the ways that you sell a subscription product is by doing a demonstration, right? You say, "Hey, look, this is how it works. Join me in this webinar." Right" Of course, for kids, we're not going to say, "Hey, join me in this webinar where I'm going to talk about books." No, "We're actually going to do a story time program. And if you like it, I'm going to give you an irresistible offer for you to benefit." For us that irresistible offer is to try for 99 cents. And you can do that.

Amin: So, and again, I'm trying to be sensitive to the audience as well. Right? So, in the Christian community on Sundays, oftentimes you'd go for service or mass, or in the Jewish community, oftentimes on Saturdays, it's the Sabbath. So, perhaps you might attend a synagogue. For Muslims, it's on Fridays. You do something called a Jumaa Khutbah, right? And you go to the mosque and you listen to a Khutbah. Now, generally, a Khutbah is something that is a little bit boring. I shouldn't say that. Sorry. I should not say that. It's delivered for an adult audience, is what I should say. It's delivered for an adult audience. So, if you're a child listening, you might get lost or you might not enjoy it. Okay?

Amin: So, we thought to ourselves, what if we create a kid's Khutbah, but do that on Thursday nights? All right. And what we do is we'd invite kids from around the world to be able to join. We'll have this live program. And what would a kid's Khutbah be? Well, it wouldn't just be a lecture. It would be stories. It'd be activities. It'd be silly dad jokes. It'd be hands-on experiments. This would be fun. So, that's exactly what we did.

Amin: And we use it as a lead magnet, right? So, what we would do is we'd say, "Hey, look, you can join for free. All we ask is you put in your name, your email address and your country. So, we're able to organize you to see where you're at." And that's what it costs.

We have a very large email list. And when I say large, I mean, it is massive..KickoffLabs has played a very key role in the development of it through what seems so freaking simple, right?



Amin: Now, the way that we use KickoffLabs was this, after people join, that's when like KickoffLabs comes in. And there's this little video from there. And I'm like, "Hey, we're super excited. Can't wait for you to join us on Thursday, but I need to show you something." And I go into the back of our warehouse and I pull out a T-shirt. I'm like, "This is a T-shirt, and I want your family to get one. And the way that you get it is pretty quick. There's a link right below me, copy that link and share it with anyone else who has a kid between five and 12 years old, who you think might benefit from it. And if 15 of them sign up, we're going to send you this T-shirt as a free gift. And if 15 don't sign up in three days, then we'll send you a coloring book that you'll be able to download." So, that's what we did.

Noor Kids Rewards



Amin: And what I'll tell you is today we have a very large email list. And when I say large, I mean, it is massive. And what I would tell you is that KickoffLabs has played a very key role in the development of it through what seems so freaking simple, right? That's literally what we did. And we have a couple of other use cases that we have used it and want to use it. But it was essentially that. And that's what we use KickoffLabs for.

Josh: : And your campaign, I mean, just looking at KickoffLabs campaign, the one you just described, I can see it, the kids Khutbah?

Amin: Khutbah, yeah.

Josh: : The kids Khutbah. I'm sorry for just completely messing up all of the names. But I can see it's exactly as you described. If there's the page it says, "Hey." You've got the email to join. And you've got a big picture of you with the thank you video, which I won't play, because I think you probably just did the video yourself in person.

You don't have a lot of long form copy..It's just like, hey, you can get a coloring book, if you get three other families to sign up, you get the T-shirt.



Amin: Hey, everybody welcome. Look at this T-shirt. Welcome. I'm kidding.

Josh: : Exactly. And you don't have a lot of long form copy. It's just like, hey, you can get a coloring book, if you get three other families to sign up. And you get 15, you get the T-shirt. People ask all the time, how many coloring books did you give out? If you have any idea, what percentage of people were earning the coloring books?

Amin: Dude, I don't know because the coloring book, so one of the things that KickoffLabs has is an automated email. Right? And so, I don't know how many of those automated emails went out, but I imagine a lot. This was a downloadable coloring book. Right? So, it wasn't something we actually had to ship out. Electronic gifts, good idea. Don't cost you much. Right? I mean, you got to develop it, but then you don't have to ship it. Shipping is expensive.

Amin: The T-shirts, man, I don't know the answer to that question, but what I will tell you is, especially given the fact that we've been working internationally, maybe not the best idea, right? Because international shipping, exceedingly expensive number one. And then number two is also having to deal with sizes, very difficult with respect to inventory. So, I don't know if that's something that we're going to do too much longer. I mean, March is when we started doing things more internationally, but we're learning that that's... And it's funny because the international folks, they're like, "T-Shirt, I'm going to send this to everybody." They really enjoy it. Right? So, maybe it's been a little bit too successful in some of these places.

Josh: : Yeah.

Amin: Yeah.

Josh: : No, that's cool. Any other tips for running a KickoffLabs style campaign and giveaways that you guys have done?

Amin: I would say that like anything else in your funnel, it requires iteration. And it's something to take a look at. So, you have to understand that our business is one where we have existing tools. And it's like, we've been at it now for eight years. And we use a lot of tools. I mean, we use Shopify, for example. We use Drip for email, CRM Marketing, so on and so forth. And so, I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but again, I'm just being honest.

I just gave this guy the keys to the machine. And you helped me out.



Amin: So, for the disclaimer, I mean, we've used lead pages for a very long time with respect to lead page development. So, we use lead pages for our primary lead page. And then what we do is we integrate lead pages with KickoffLabs, which is great. I really do like lead pages because I feel like it's a very powerful lead page development tool, very simple, very easy to use. We've got a lot of really great templates. And so, the only challenge for me, and again, I don't know if the listeners here are people who are currently using KickoffLabs, but are considering it. I mean, if you're considering it, do use it, it's a very good tool. The only part that required a little bit of help. And this was when I first started using KickoffLabs, probably two or three years ago, that was integrating lead pages, KickoffLabs, and then Drip. Drip is where we house all of our emails.

Amin: And we were just in there tinkering with it this week. And I think that there's actually been a lot of improvements made, so it's much easier than I feel like maybe it was three years ago. Or maybe I was just so novice at the time that I felt like it was very difficult. But I did. And Josh, that's when I initially met you, man, because you were very quick to respond. I don't know if this is something I should broadcast or, and I don't know if you guys provide the same level of service now. But back then, I literally gave you, I don't know if you remember this, but I do, because it was a big deal for me. I gave you the login to my Shopify store. And I actually gave you the login to my Drip account. And I gave you the login to my lead pages. And I was like, "Dude, I don't know what's going on. Please help me figure this out." And I just gave this guy the keys to the machine. And you helped me out.

Josh: : I do remember the email where you said, "This store is live, please don't take down our store." Or something into that effect, like when you gave me the Shopify login. I was like, "Okay, don't worry. You can trust me. I will not take down the store."

Amin: Yeah, man, I really appreciate that. And that was a great service. And I'll tell you something else just for the listeners. That's funny. Not funny at the time, but it just showcases, I think the responsiveness of the KickoffLabs team, and why I felt like, hey man, I need to take an hour out of my day to say like, "Let's talk and let's try to do something to help the good cause here at KickoffLabs." But we published children's books and one of the problems we've had is with piracy. Piracy is actually a real thing. We've had to combat it. People take photos of the books and create PDFs and you know what happens.

Amin: So, about two months ago, one of our customers sent us a message on Instagram. She's like, "Hey, Amin, did you see this?" And I was like, "No, what is it?" And she's like, "Take a look." And I go, and it's a company that's saying, "Hey, opt in, share it with five friends. And we're going to send you a free Noor Kids book." Never heard of this company before. And we have distributors, we have retailers, so on, so forth, but we've got a list of all of them. I was like, "Dude, I have never heard of this company before."

Amin: The other thing that's interesting on this page, no terms and condition, no contact information. I'm like, "Dude, what is going on here? These guys are literally, they've pirated our content. They're giving it up for free." I'm going berserk. I'm like, "This is the second group that's pirating our content. Oh my goodness, we got to shut this down." I'm angry. I'm upset. So, what do we do? We go to the domain registrar. And we're like, all right, we let them know. And then I also saw that it was built with KickoffLabs. So, I sent Josh an email. I'm like, "Dude, Josh, this is bad." And actually Josh, truthfully, I sent you a cease that says for $10 million or something like that.

Josh: : Yeah, I know.

Amin: I was like, "Josh, you need to do this right now. Otherwise we're going to pursue charges." And Josh was like, "You, you, you, calm down, calm down." But within like five or 10 minutes, you're like, "Hey, buddy. So, we've just paused your account for now." And you really, really helped us out with it. Turned out the guy was actually a reseller. He changed his name. So, it was no problem at all. Nothing had run a muck. He was completely fine. And a couple of days later things were okay. And I think Josh, what you had done is you had actually shared my grievances with him to help create the dialogue.

Amin: But I share that with everyone to say we, look, man, at Noor Kids, we use a ton of tools. Ton of tools." But this was a Saturday. And the fact that number one, I actually had the ability to email you and get a response pretty quickly, man, that's just a testament to the type of product that you've created and the type of service that you're able to offer. So, man, kudos to you. And of course, I really do appreciate your work and your product. And full disclosure, Josh, is giving me a 50% discount on my subscription. No, I'm kidding, Josh. He's not. Although, if he gave it to me, I wouldn't be angry about it. But yeah, it is what it is.

Josh: : We'll see. We'll see. We'll see how many downloads the podcast gets and then we'll go from there.

Amin: Fair enough, man. All right. So, please download, share it with your friends. And if you get three people to download, I'll send you a coloring book. No, I'm kidding. But yeah, man. So, what other questions do you have for me?

One of the reasons I'm in this business is I really enjoy our customers. I like meeting and working with people who are passionate about their business, who are starting new things or trying to grow something or passionate about growing something



Josh: : I was just going to say that it's been interesting. I'm of course, happy to help out any time, Saturdays, weekends. Because one of the reasons I'm in this business is I really enjoy our customers. I like meeting and working with people who are passionate about their business, who are starting new things or trying to grow something or passionate about growing something. And so, usually 99% of the people I meet through that are just really good people. And so, I just want to help out good people and do the best we can. And in that case, it was pretty obvious when you sent it. And I was like, "That looks like all of their art." I've been on your campaigns before. And I was like, "That looks like all their stuff. I'm just going to pause their campaign and see, I think this is the right thing to do." But I try and put people, connect them and say like, "Hey, this is what's going on."

Josh: : Crazy enough, we actually have had two other cases recently similar. In one case it was the same thing. It was a resaler. The person did not know that this person on another reseller list at their company. And then the other case, it actually was, they completely stole somebody's logo. They completely stole somebody's business. The horrible thing about it is they were 10 times better at marketing than the original person.

What I really appreciate is the level of service that you guys have provided with KickoffLabs



Amin: Oh no. Oh no, man. Well, hopefully, maybe they can hire him. I don't know. And it's interesting territory and it's above my pay grade, because I know that especially a lot of people who do fulfillment by Amazon, there's some funny things that happen, because if you have a supplier that's based abroad, then sometimes things can get taken. And I've heard of those types of stories. And it's like, well, what do you do in that situation? But regardless, man, I think the headline here is around service. And I think what I really appreciate is the level of service that you guys have provided with KickoffLabs. And I think they're great product. Now, I need to ask you a question?

Josh: : Yeah.

Amin: I'm on the KickoffLabs product. And one of the things that I had actually inquired about a couple of years ago was around an integration with Shopify. Tell me a little bit about how this works.

Josh: : Yeah, absolutely. So, you are not alone and people that now that we've grown, and we've had people have started businesses, they're running a Shopify store now, and they want to do a similar campaign, what they're doing when they are growing just the email list. But they want to reward not just giving an email, but purchases. And so, our goal is to figure out an easy way to say, we want to start tracking the purchases being made in Shopify and who refers those purchases via word of mouth. And so, similar to how you set up the word of mouth, growing an email campaign, we now can drop a script, just like you guys used our any form script on your custom, like lead pages. We can drop the same thing into Shopify and work with their checkout systems, so that when somebody checks out on Shopify we know if there was a referral that you can reward with that.

Josh: : And so, you can set up the same reward levels that you had. And when you say reward, you can choose to say, they get five points of purchase. They get 20 points. It's you can get it multiple times, or you could just simply say, for every dollar they're spending, that they get that dollar value back in points that they have. And you can choose to use those points, to enter them in a giveaway. Or you can choose to give those points, when they reach a certain level, they get something as a reward. And so, that's our Shopify integration. In a nutshell is basically trying to reward referral purchases.

Amin: Can I ask you a follow up question?

Josh: : Yeah.

Amin: So, and you may not know the answer to this, but I'm curious. We are a subscription company, so we actually use something called ReCharge, recurring, billing, which is like a added software on top of Shopify. What happens is, is when someone's actually buying our product, they're not buying it through the Shopify cart. They're actually buying it through the ReCharge cart. Now, we have the ability to add script there as well. Would this potentially work in that use case also?

Josh: : Yeah. You just have to give me your ReCharge personal link. No, absolutely. So, we have a general way of tracking purchases as well, and a slightly different set of scripts that can be more specific than the general, like Shopify try and make it easy. Just drop the script in Shopify, if you're using the standard things. It just works. I've helped a couple people with ReCharge as well, that are setting up. And they just want to give like, hey, somebody who refers a subscription gets 20 points or something like that. And we can set that up through ReCharge as well.

Amin: Holy canoli, dude, that super powerful. Okay. Let me ask you one final question before we'll turn the table to ask you about your founder story. Now, I'm kidding. So, for the Shopify integration, which I think is super powerful, so after someone purchases, is there a pop-up that comes up or is this, is the best practice to integrate this into the thank you email or the receipt email, or what's the best way to integrate the messaging with respect to Shopify?

Josh: : Yes and yes, there is a pop-up that we can activate on optionally on checkout. So, you basically imagine like that thank you page you did with the video, but like a mini pop-up version of that, coming up when somebody checks out. And you're just say, "Hey, Craig, congrats you're buying the product. Just one more thing you could really help us out to do, and we'll help you in return." You can do that on little pop-up. And we're also in development of a just a general, more thinking about our product is not my goal, because you mentioned you guys use lead pages, is not to be like the end all be all of a landing page development studio. In fact, I think that's kind of a boring business.

I'm more interested in how do we help people with growth and engagement..We're building a new set of widgets that are meant to be easier integrated into stores like Shopify and websites to run these giveaways and promotions



Josh: : Frankly, I'm more interested in how do we help people with growth and engagement. And so, we're building a new set of widgets that are meant to be easier integrated into stores like Shopify and websites to run these giveaways and promotions encapsulated in a small box on the website. And so, you can activate them, turn them on and off at any time. And the first one is, like I said, there's that checkout on Shopify that's we can do today. But we're also working on a more generalized stack of, you want to run a giveaway, just drop this on your site. It's not a landing page. You could still use a landing page and link to more details if you wanted to. But in general, it's what we do distill down to its most basic element just within the widget on the site.

Amin: Hey man, that is so powerful. That is so powerful. Now, I'll tell you something. We have been using a software for a long time, just for Shopify referrals that we actually pay for on a monthly basis. And we used to do that because I didn't know that KickoffLabs had that potential. And so, for me I think this is not only going to help us build awareness about our work through referrals, but also it's going to save us money because I don't think we're going to need that other piece of software anymore.

Josh: : Yeah. We'd love to figure out if we can help you out and if we're a good fit there. So, now I get to ask questions, it's my turn.

Amin: All right, all right man, please go for it.

Josh: : I wrote this one down in the beginning, but I could tell you are going somewhere with the story. So, I didn't want to ask it then, because I grew up a huge baseball fan as well. So, who is your favorite player growing up?

Amin: My favorite player is a guy named Kirby Puckett, who I mean, back in the day I thought was a big deal, but apparently, it's similar to the whole like Michael Jackson situation. I don't think we can say his name anymore.

Josh: : I remember Kirby Puckett and when the Twins were, a couple of good seasons you heard of the Twins. He was amazing. And I remember he used famous for being really fast. And I remember he chopped a ball off home plate that popped up high enough that he beat it to first base. But it was like a ground ball to the pitcher, but he hit it and he chopped it off the plate and it was so high. He was able to get to first.

Amin: Kirby Puckett was a legend, legend. And I mean, it was because of him, and back in the day, there was a guy named Paul Molitor and Chuck Knoblauch. And who else?

Josh: : And Chuck Knoblauch grew up in my hometown in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

Amin: Really? Wow. Small world.

Josh: : He's got a little league field there. And the joke is still that none of the little leaders can throw to first.

Amin: Oh, that's so funny. Well, but the situation is, I mean, I'm more of a football guy now. Unfortunately, it's sad because man, as much as I love the Minnesota Vikings, gosh, they are just shooting themselves in the foot over and over again this season.

Josh: : Yeah. So, a couple other quick questions. Favorite place to go vacation?

Amin: My favorite place to go on vacation-

Josh: : If you could on vacation anyway.

Amin: It's a very good question. If I could go on vacation right now, I would want to just take a road trip with my wife and daughter through like Yellowstone National Park, probably that's what I'd want to do right now.

Josh: : I think that's on a lot of everybody's mind, it's just the road trip concept. And I've been exploring parks as well. It's something that's fun. Favorite podcast?

Amin: My favorite podcast is, so there's a podcast that just started it's called Djinn, D-J-I-N-N. All right, Djinn. So, all right. In Islam we believe that there are, God created humans, but God also created this entity called the djinn. All right? And these are entities that actually live on earth, but in a parallel kind of world. All right? And like Satan for example is actually a djinn. All right?

Amin: Now, here's the thing. This is a belief, no one really talks about it. It's like, yeah, it is what it is. But everyone has stories. People have stories. They're like, "Oh man, I was in there. And then there was a djinn that came and tickled me on my nose." Or just something crazy. And it's like ghost stories, but I feel like there's an element of truth to it because I genuinely believe. That I'm like, "Oh wow, this is real."

People have this assumption, they can jump straight to A/B testing their way to a hundred customers.



Amin: And so, I have been listening to Djinn, this podcast, and for me, it's just so entertaining. I really like it. And again, it's false. You're getting ready for a spooky season, so I like Djinn. And then the other podcasts, I mean, man, I listen to a lot of them, but I like the Shopify Masters Podcast. It's really, it's very approachable. So, like how I built this is awesome, but I'm like, "Oh man, how I built this? Come on, man. They're so big." With Shopify Masters, I really like it because I'm like, "Oh man, I could be like him." I guess I'm setting the bar a little bit lower, which I shouldn't. But it's just very approachable. I mean, you get some very concrete, specific things that you can work on.

Josh: : Absolutely. I mean, that's why I ask it all the time people, how you got your first a hundred customers, because there's all these podcasts about how you go from a thousand to 10,000 customers and all this advice for that. But nobody, I feel like it's really missing people, don't talk about how you have to scratch and claw for the first hundred. And people have this assumption, they can jump straight to A/B testing their way to a hundred customers. And it just doesn't work that way.

Amin: No.

Josh: : So, something that you learned in the last year.

The most scarce resource that we have is time.



Amin: In the last year, I think, I mean, I would say probably there's two things. One is the power of saying no. I think saying no is very important. Because I believe the most scarce resource that we have is time. And when you are allocating your time towards something that sounds good. And gosh, there's so many times when people send an email and they're like, "Hey, wouldn't it be great if we did this?" I'm like, "Yeah, that would be great. Let's do it." But when you say yes, I mean that siphons part of your time. And so, saying no is just critically important. I'd say that's number one.

Amin: I think number two is the importance of mental health and mental resilience. I think that there's a lot of people right now who are struggling. I think that there's a lot of trauma in our world. I think that there's a lot of challenges that our country and our world are facing. And I think it is abundantly clear that now more than ever, we have to invest into ourselves and our mentality.

Amin: You're from Seattle. I really like a guy named Russell Wilson who talks a lot about mental strength and being able to get back up after you fall down, or being able to weather through a difficult challenge and have hope for a better day. And these are all things that require us to put our screens down, and require us to put our podcasts down. They require us to put our remote down and to sit in silence and to think, and to reflect, and to meditate. And I think now more than ever, I feel like the world is shaking us on our shoulders to say, "Look, man, if not now then when?

Josh: : Exactly. I think that's a great note to go out on, and I want to thank you very much for saying yes, to coming onto the podcast and sharing your story with the listeners, because I think you've got an amazing one. You are an amazing storyteller. The product is amazing. It fills a great need and clearly not just something you're passionate about, but a lot of people are passionate about and needed in the world and it needs to exist. And so, I'm thrilled that you guys had so much success and I wish you the best success going forward. And I hope that we can help along the way.

Amin: Hey man, it means a lot to me. And I genuinely want to share that I am very enthusiastic about KickoffLabs and the product that they've created and the people behind it. And I really, really wish you the absolute best. And I want you to continue to help a lot of people. And I hope that you're able to also make a lot of money, because I think you've created something really great. So, thank you.

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