Molly Abduali: From a Young Entrepreneur to a Mother Entrepreneur
By Janice Cardoso Gomes
From Kazakhstan to England, Molly Abuduali remained the girl that followed her passion and became something despite the trials and tribulations. She is a young entrepreneur, writer, artist, business trainer, and mother of 2 children. From selling ice creams at the age of nine in Kazakhstan she grew to be an established businesswoman in London helping international clients structure and manage their businesses in Real Estate.
Molly believes her many life experiences shaped her entrepreneurial journey, but she gives credit to being a single mother of two making her stronger. As a successful entrepreneur, she now helps thousands of women overcome difficulties, fears, and limiting beliefs while thriving in business.
“As a woman, I understand how hard it is to find yourself, your true passion and execute your dreams when there are so many other tasks around.”
How has being a single mother shaped you? What impact has it left on your life?
Being a single mother has made me stronger and more grounded. To be honest, I think that in any circumstances by this time I would have had kids and a family because family is very important to me. Perhaps it’s our culture in Kazakhstan because since childhood, we are taught that having a family and kids, is the top priority. Personally, by the age of 30, I was planning to have had four children.
Being a mother has shaped me but being a single mother has shaped me twice as strong. Being a single provider for the family helped me understand men. It is a lot of responsibility not only for yourself but also for the children. Finance aside, being a father and a mother figure at the same time is very challenging. However, I understand that I must take better care of myself for my kids. I laugh when I say I’m a selfish mother which makes my kids more independent. Alisha could make a sandwich for herself at five. They know when mommy needs some “me time”, she means it.
Having kids has made me stronger and given me the motivation to progress and build the abundance not only for me but also for future generations.
You’ve had many different job roles and launched different businesses over the course of your career. What advice would you give to people who are beginning their career journey as an entrepreneur?
The first thing is to identify and be honest with yourself. Do you have this entrepreneurial spirit? Business is not for everyone. You can be an amazing leader in the corporate sphere. You can be even more successful without being an entrepreneur.
Secondly, if you have identified that you are a businessperson, keep exploring different fields if you are not satisfied. If you don’t try, you will never know if this business model or business plan will work. I have tried many businesses.
At nine, I used to sell ice cream during my summer holidays. As a student, I used to sell business plans (I even had a little team). While finishing business college, I used to rent a lounge bar. I opened a boutique at the shopping mall to sell kids’ clothes. I used to order big boxes of stock clothes from London, clothes that even TK Maxx discarded, the quality was amazing though.
These examples show no one is born with a business idea that they implement and become successful. It’s a journey. You try, sometimes fail, sometimes create what you don’t like. If you don’t like it, walk away. Start something new. Everyone says to finish what you start but if what you’ve started is not good enough and isn’t bringing you joy, then it’s better to leave it. At least you tried it and know that it’s not for you.
Every project I have done has had an impact on who I am today. I help my students identify their passion but sometimes they start their businesses in different areas. That’s the necessary step, it could be the puzzle needed to reach the bigger picture.
Thirdly, execute. You can be amazing at finding ideas and creating business plans, but if you don’t execute them, they are nothing. That is the main difference between an entrepreneur and a dreamer. If you don’t know how to start, don’t wait, invest in your education, and learn from those who have already done that.
Why did you migrate from Kazakhstan and did you experience culture shock when you arrived in London?
No. I didn’t experience any culture shock.
First of all, I had always wanted to experience life abroad. Being an ambitious girl, my plans had always been global. I studied at the best university in Kazakhstan – KIMEP which had international professors from all over the world. After my bachelor’s degree, I was accepted into The London School of Economics to study financial mathematics. Havingconservative parents, they worried and thought I was too young to live in a big city on my own.
I started working and realised that I wanted to study business, not finance, and soon was accepted into a London business school for a masters. At this time, my late husband proposed,and I decided to focus on my family and declined the studies, instead planning to study together later. So, London had always been in my plans because I had always wanted to go global.
When my husband passed away, I decided to do what I wanted without hesitating. I decided to become an advocate for living life to its fullest whilst keeping the balance.
So I did. I moved to London a couple of months later. I describe a lot about that period in my book “Moving On: 7 steps from stress to success.” Which will soon be launched on Amazon.
You have helped thousands of women to thrive in business. Why the passion for helping create more women entrepreneurs?
Teaching is not just another business; it is that inner calling that wants to escape. I have been collecting knowledge in psychology, coaching and business for almost 15 years. I am a true believer that the Universe, God, or whomever you believe in, doesn’t give us knowledge and skills without purpose. I always say to my students that we have our talents to be shared with the world and not to keep hidden.
Unfortunately, for generations, women had fewer opportunities to thrive in their professional sphere. We have been seen and raised as housewives with children. It still exists in many families, surprisingly, in western countries too. Women have many ancestral wounds and limiting beliefs related to that. It is my duty to help women to identify and overcome those beliefs.
Also, as a coach I had many women come with business or career-related topics but in the end, we identified that most of their accomplishments were to get parents’ validation. I must admit, I have been there too. Seeking validation affects your self-worth. The WealthiHer Network found that 79% of women admitted to struggling with their self-esteem. I would guess the number is bigger.
As a woman, I understand how hard it is to find yourself, your true passion and execute your dreams when there are so many other tasks around. That is why I studied how to help others and I structured everything into webinars, and courses to help other women find their passion and thrive in business.
How do you balance all your responsibilities and roles?
This is the most popular question I always get. Some people joke that I am a magician.
Here are some tips which I personally use:
1. Don’t think about your tasks. Just do them. If you can’t delegate, just do it. Usually, it doesn’t take as much time as you think.
2. Don’t feel guilty if it seems that other people are more active than you. It will drain your energy. Social media doesn’t always show real life.
3. Start only those projects that inspire and excite you. Sounds obvious but how many times have you done a job that you don’t enjoy? It’s a luxury to do only what you want but it’s a good place to be. I highly encourage you to get there.
4. Put yourself first. If I feel tired, I go to sleep. No matter what. My kids can make themselves a sandwich. My clients can wait. The world will not stop existing. I can take a nap any time.
5. Finally, as you see there is no magic. I love what I do and work a lot. Sometimes I must force myself to stop working because I know that otherwise I will burn out. I remind myself life is not a sprint but a marathon.
What made you get into the real estate business?
I don’t do pure real estate. My services are more related to business structuring. I help international investors structure their businesses in terms of taxation with the help of other consultants like tax advisors, lawyers, accountants, and wealth managers. I help them create a company abroad, pay taxes in the UK, structure deals, source the right projects and connect with other investors. It just happened that my clients have real estate under management.
I love this business because I get to meet incredibly bright and successful people. I travel a lot to meet the clients and analyse the projects. There is not much routine because all the time we have different projects and I constantly learn new things.
What are some challenges you face being in the real estate business and how have you overcome them?
“If you want to achieve something, if you want to build something, you have to work and you have to study. Put in the effort.”
The number one challenge for me was being a young girl.
When teaching at the university, I tried to look older because there is this belief that if you are older, you have more experience and knowledge, which is true. But at the same time, my life is so intense that in one year I can experience what someone else could experience in five. So, it also depends on your lifestyle.
When I came to London, I had meetings with private bankers, lawyers, and tax advisors, who were all men over 40 and 50. When I had to represent my clients, they would sit, looking at me, not taking me seriously. I had to try twice as hard to prove that I was knowledgeable and that I had the right to be considered equal. I wouldn’t say it was too hard because, after 10-15 minutes of presenting myself and my clients, they would have changed their body language. They would be more approaching and become friendlier.
Another example, before COVID, I was mandated to sell oil and gold mining companies in Kazakhstan. I was at a meeting with a billionaire who was so impressed by my knowledge, and my professional language. At one point, he asked, “Molly, where did you study?” I asked him, “Why?”. He told me that his employees who had graduated from top universities in the world, couldn’t source the same good deals as I had. So, it shows that even if I don’t have a Harvard, Cambridge or Oxford degree, and even if I’m not a 40 or 50 plus male, I am reliable and they can work with me.
To overcome this, I worked and studied a lot to increase my competencies. If you know that you excel at what you do, you will have enough confidence to do it. It comes with experience. Of course, you must know the topic to be competent and be sure that the service you are providing is good.
If you want to achieve something, if you want to build something, you have to work and you have to study. Put in the effort.