We had the good fortune of connecting with Ayad Mirjan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ayad, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
In 2015, I left a full-time job, overseas, as a Procurement Director with a six-figure salary to start a new chapter, a new profession. I wanted to start a fitness gym in Southern California.
This new chapter would require a new set of skills and qualifications. First, I needed to get certified as a trainer and learn the trade. So, I completed my ACE personal training certificate, which I did online, and decided to move to Brazil for several months and immerse myself in the teachings of Capoeira—a Brazilian martial arts technique that relies heavily on bodyweight management and control.
Upon the completion of my program in Brazil, I moved to Los Angeles and decided that I needed to work at a gym to understand the intricacies of how a gym runs before starting my own business. I got a job at Box ‘N Burn, a Southern California based private gym, where I happily accepted an hourly wage of $14 per hour (after tax).
While honing my skills as a trainer and future gym owner, I was also working on a business plan to set myself up for the next stage of starting a fitness gym. At the time I was living in a one-bedroom apartment that didn’t have a washer and dryer, a typical arrangement in Los Angeles. So, I would find time during my seven-day workweek to get my laundry done at the local laundromat; a simple task, I thought, that took a huge toll. I’d wash, dry, and worst of all, fold! I thought If I dreaded it this much, I knew there had to be others who felt the same way.
I did this for an entire year—work 60 hours a week, run out of clean clothes, go to the local laundromat, repeat—before I realized that I should forget all about the gym idea and start a laundry pickup & delivery company and I would be its first customer! At this time, the idea of OrangeBag® was born.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Nothing is easy, but you enjoy it then you stick with it and that consistency is everything. Of course, I got the right education, I read the right books, and I surrounded myself with the right people. All those fractional contributions help propel me and my business forward. But it goes without saying, that without the team I have to support me and lead the way, I have nothing. The right employees make all the difference and I am so grateful for each member of our staff. I treat my employees as partners, not as employees. They all understand that the success of the business is their success. Those two elements are positively correlated.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would probably start by taking them to brunch at one of my favorite and understated diners/cafes in LA, Metro Cafe in Culver City. I would then take them on a bike ride on the beach starting in Playa del Rey and making our way to Hermosa Beach. On the way back, we would stop at Hiho burgers In Marina del Rey for lunch (perhaps the best burger in LA). At some point during the week, I’d try to get tix to the Lakers, because no trip to LA is complete without seeing the Lakers at Crypto.com Arena.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am a member of the Entrepreneurs Organization, Accelerator (EOA). This program has had a profound impact on me personally and on my business as a whole. It’s a mastermind that holds me accountable to my annual, quarterly, and monthly goals. I would recommend it to anyone who is already running their own business.