Maurrean Barger envisions an internationally-recognized online career development platform which allows working-class professionals to demonstrate and promote their professional careers. This mission is materializing through her work as Founder and CEO of Alwaz.Pro.
Q: Tell me about yourself.
A: I’m Maurrean Barger, born and raised in Memphis, TN. I graduated from the University of Memphis with a degree in communications and graphic design. I have bought and sold media in Memphis for a long time.
Q: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
A: Being a marketing consultant, I have worked for entrepreneurs and respect what they do: for putting everything on the line and having the ambition to take action instead of playing it safe. I admire the inspiration they have. For me, making that conversion was a pretty big deal. I have found a product, a hole in the market, and my passion.
Q: What led you to create Alwaz.Pro?
A: There is a host of [working class] people who are not being served. I think it’s unjust that when the internet was formed, somehow, we decided that if you are this class of person with a bachelor’s degree or higher, you can have those [professional] recommendations that follow you, but for those that don’t, those [professional] recommendations go to the employer, and I think that is unjust. The people who aren’t being served are the very backbone of our American economy and society.
Q: How has the Upstart Accelerator at Start Co. provided Alwaz.Pro a competitive edge?
A: The name Start Co. has a power and brand prestige to it. When I say I’m a member of the Start Co. accelerator program, that gets me instant clout with people.
Q: What is the most valuable thing you have learned in the program thus far?
A: How to cut out the clutter. How to communicate on point to the people I am speaking with.
Q: What are the challenges of running a startup? Perks?
A: The challenges are in a lot of ways the same as the perks– you are making your own future. You are forging your own path, which is scary. You can go to the zoo on a Friday afternoon but may be up until 2 AM that night working. It’s a matter of choosing your own destiny and what mark you’re going to leave on the world, on your kids, and on your family.
Q: Describe your leadership style.
A: I like being direct and straightforward. If I ask you to do something, I expect you to come back and tell me you got it done, why you did not get it done, or what your obstacles are so that you can get it done. I think it’s about working together and empowering people to perform the job and tasks in front of them.
Q: 90% of startups fail. What makes you the 10%?
A: I know that the 90% is not in my favor, but I can’t worry about odds. If I cared about odds, I wouldn’t be here. Everything is right for my product to take off and influence other people’s lives. Alwaz.Pro isn’t about me, it is about the people who are the heroes of our lives-those that take care of our parents while we work or protect us while at a ball game. These are the heroes. They need recognition and respect. That’s what Alwaz.Pro is about.
Q: Where do you see Alwaz.Pro in a year?
A: I think the platform will be much larger and stronger in the future. I want more people to know and use my product.
Q: What advice would you offer to an aspiring entrepreneur?
A: Make sure you have a support system that is willing to make sacrifices. Their sacrifice will be supporting you unconditionally while knowing that you won’t always be available to them. Also, don’t forget to workout. Block off time to stay active.
Q: Last question: What book are you reading right now?
A: Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares.
Maurrean Barger is CEO and Founder of Alwaz.Pro, an online career development platform for working-class professionals.