In this ongoing series, we’ll share advice, tips, and insights from real entrepreneurs who go into business battles every day. (Answer has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what is your business?
My name is Diaa El All and I’m co-founder and CEO sound.Soundful is an AI music creation platform that helps artists, creators, singers, songwriters and producers analyze, create and monetize music. Our mission is to democratize music creation just as mobile phones democratized video creation for the masses. It’s not about replacing people as music creators — it’s about providing a tool to help people open doors that they couldn’t open before.
What is your background? What prompted you to get into this business?
I am a musician at heart. I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt and started playing the piano at the age of 3. I went to the Royal Academy in London at 13 to get my first certificate in classical piano and a degree in sound engineering and music production in San Francisco. At school, I was able to work with Rockstar Games and then went on to music as an artist, DJ and producer. Eventually, I turned to the entrepreneurial route. I started multiple businesses, the last of which resulted in the proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning technology that my partners and I used to create Soundful.
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Where do you think your entrepreneurial drive came from?
This is an interesting question. I feel like my family has two sides. On my father’s side, he has been with the company for 36 years. But my mother’s side is very much like the entrepreneurial route. She was always starting new businesses and betting on herself. So I am both a team player and an individual player. But I really like taking the first step – betting that I can control my own destiny. Everything is on me. So I can’t blame anyone for my failures, and I don’t feel that success depends on others.
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What advice do you have for other founders?
I think my biggest piece of advice is to really take that leap of faith in yourself. Not everything will be perfect and not all will be successful, but I believe in the cliché that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I see all failures and things that are not done my way as steps on the staircase. Keep going up the steps, keep climbing, and reach your goal.
What particular mistakes or missteps have you learned from this?
Oh yes! I’ve made the same mistake twice: putting all your eggs in one basket when raising money. You know, you meet someone and it looks great, so you slow down all the other conversations and put other things on hold. But for various reasons things don’t go with that person and you start all over again. It’s normal to get disconnected when raising money, so don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I can’t stress it enough!
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What is the daily life of an entrepreneur like?
I love my job so much that for me, I work 24/7. But when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’re just doing what you love to do. But that’s not to say it’s stress-free. I’ve found that the key to coping with life’s ups and downs is having a good routine.
When I wake up, I start the day by listening to 30 minutes of positive frequencies (you can easily find them on Spotify.) I don’t look at my phone. Then I go to the gym every morning at 5 am. I turn off notifications, don’t check email, don’t answer phone calls. Just getting the blood flowing and spending this time on me. After that? Everything fell apart and it was time to get to work!