Interview: Entrepreneur Meral Arik

Meet female entrepreneur and DOER Society founder Meral Arik, and learn all about what it’s like to be an empowered young woman in the world of business.

What inspired Meral to found DOER Society?  She “firmly believes that real, shared experiences are the best way to improve and scale mentorship – a resource that is scarce for women in the workplace.”

When Meral’s not working on her passion project of DOER Society, she’s spending her days as a founding team member at the San Francisco startup Hello Chava and documenting her daily experiences on her popular Instagram, @my.startuplife.

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Image: Sergio Gomez

Everly Mag talked to Meral all about her entrepreneurial background, what inspired her to found DOER Society in 2017, her thoughts on social media today, and her advice for young aspiring businesswomen.

Everly Mag: Tell us about your background.  When did you know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur and what were your earliest projects?

Meral: I’ve always known that I wanted to start and grow businesses.

When I was 8 years old, I started a dog walking business that gave me the sense of what it was like to manage my own company. I had to build a team, create a list of services (& how much they cost), and manage a customer base. I had to go door to door every day to pick up dogs to walk, find new customers, and to collect payments for walks I had completed. I was my own boss, and I fell in love with the creative freedom – and the responsibility – that came with operating my own business. That experience built up the entrepreneurial spirit (and the work ethic) that I carry with me to this day.

Since then, I’ve gone on to start numerous businesses, from babysitting and bake sales to selling jewelry, selling concert tickets, and, most recently, to building DOER Society and Hello Chava.

Being an entrepreneur is tough, but it’s truly one of the best and most creative career paths in the world.

Everly Mag: What qualities do you think make a great entrepreneur?

Meral:  Bravery. While great entrepreneurs don’t need to be fearless, they need to be brave. You need to willing to take a chance, and you need to believe in your own ideas, even when no one else does.

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Image: Andrew Ho

Self-Confidence. Peter T. Mcintyre once said, “Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” Believe in your own abilities. Being an entrepreneur involves taking risks, making difficult decisions, and making/learning from many mistakes along the way. If you lack self-confidence throughout this process, it’s easy to feel like giving up.

Self-Motivation. As an entrepreneur running your own business, no one is there to tell you to do anything, or to hold you accountable. You need to show up and get your work done every day, even when you don’t feel like it.

Specialized Knowledge of Your Field. You don’t have to know everything, but you should know your idea or business or product – whatever you’re working on – really, really well. Why did you come up with the idea? Who are you trying to reach and why? What problem are you trying to solve and why are you different than what’s already out there?

Everly Mag: How can women help empower one another in business?  Tell us about your new group DOER Society.

Meral: Starting a business or building a product is difficult, and I believe it is absolutely essential to have a support system made up of like-minded friends throughout that journey. That’s why I built DOER Society, a network of entrepreneurial women of all ages and experiences. When you become a member of DOER Society, you can expect to meet friends and mentors that support you, both professionally and personally.

Women must support each other and empower each other in business and in life, and I truly believe that the best way to do that is by nurturing genuine friendships. I hope you’ll check out DOER Society & join us!

Everly Mag: How can aspiring entrepreneurs get started in their tween and teen years?  Are there any resources you recommend to help get started?

Meral: I believe that entrepreneurship is an “age-agnostic” endeavor, meaning that aspiring entrepreneurs can start building their businesses at any age. If you’re thinking about getting started, my advice is to start spending a lot of time learning from people you want to be like (find ambitious friends, go to networking events, listen to podcasts and YouTube videos, etc). When I was a teen, many people didn’t understand why I wanted to join a startup and work on new businesses – but when I found friends and role models who were like me, it was extremely empowering.

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Image: Sergio Gomez

I really enjoy listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcasts (The Tim Ferriss Show, Tribe of Mentors) and watching Gary Vaynerchuk’s content on YouTube & Instagram. These guys might be a bit edgy at times, but they share some incredible content around mindset, productivity, and getting started in business. Gary, specifically, offers advice for teens and young people exploring the world of entrepreneurship, especially in digital media.

And, of course, be sure to utilize the network in DOER Society! We have many aspiring and existing entrepreneurs who come together to ask questions and share their experiences with one another on, a daily basis. I’m also happy to be a resource- you can follow me on Instagram @my.startuplife to see what I’m working on, and DM me with questions at any time.

Everly Mag: Describe social media in 3 words or phrases.

Meral: Social media is for sharing content, finding inspiration, and building relationships.

Everly Mag: What are the best and worst parts of social media?  How can teens and young adults help make social media a better place?

Meral: The best part of social media is the fact that you can build connections and relationships with people you might not have otherwise met. Like any other online or offline space, social media is filled with all sorts of people- many of whom are incredible, and some you should be sure not to interact with. That said, I’ve met some of the most impressive and encouraging women in tech and in the startup world through investing in my social media presence- to the point where I joke that I’ve made more friends through Instagram and Facebook Groups than I have in my real life.

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Image: Meral Arik

The worst part of social media is the fact that it’s easy to get caught up in meaningless popularity & clout (likes, follows, etc.), and negative comments.

My best advice? Help make social media a better place by producing and sharing positive content, and by supporting people who also produce positive content. Don’t worry about how many likes or followers you have, don’t let negativity affect you (ignore, delete/block, move on), and be sure to remember that social media does not define your worth.

Everly Mag: Tell us 3 fun facts about you that might surprise our readers.

Meral: Turkish was my first language.  [Second], I held over 10 jobs throughout college trying to expand my experience and my professional network- from door-to-door sales to working in retail, hosting a radio show, starting my own company and beyond. 

[Third], I love singing, dancing, and acting! Up until college, I considered performing arts as a potential career path. Maybe that’s why I love hosting events, to this day!

Find Meral on Instagram, and check out DOER Society on Instagram, Facebook, and their website.

Check out Meral’s startup app, Hello Chava.  Everly Mag readers can get 3 free months of Hello Chava Pro – just use the Invite Code “EVERLY” when you sign up! 

Be sure to follow Everly Mag on Instagram to check out Meral’s upcoming story takeover!

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Feature Image Credit: Andrew Ho with Everly Mag Logo


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