Successful entrepreneurs are not born, like DreamWorks’ Boss Baby.  They are made-up of many contributing factors: hard work, determination, intelligence, and oftentimes luck.  But those of us who have had some measure of success realize that entrepreneurship is a brother/sisterhood. A pack or family of people who have gone through some of the same challenges.  So, we stick together, protect and educate each other – because we know it takes an amazing amount of risk and commitment, super long hours, and the alienation of those we love to succeed in any entrepreneurial endeavor.

Naeem Choudhri was a legendary entrepreneur.  My Father was kind, humble, hard-working, studious and compassionate.  He gave back to the community and to the people whose grit and determination he respected.  My Mother, was his muse, an entrepreneur in her own right, with her own amazing and inspiring story.  Our family started with a tiny footprint in the United States in the 1980s, an immigrant Muslim family building their way to the American dream.  Nobody knew that my father would only have two decades to build his legacy in the U.S., and in 2012, he passed away sadly and suddenly. 

But he had given me a hunger for knowledge that pushed me, and he gave me the industry experience to be confident of my forward path, so I proudly stepped up as my Father’s protégé and worked diligently to honor his legacy for myself, my family and for my father.

Today, Jetall Capital is the largest independent owner of commercial real estate in the Houston Galleria marketplace. We buy distressed property, often overlooked, under-funded, or downright ignored by previous owners. Then we fight the down-drain sucking at that property’s value, and we turn that business opportunity around. Better for inhabitants, better for lenders, better for shareholders…. better for everyone. 

We primarily buy distressed property, or loans related to said property.  Meaning property that is in foreclosure, property that is in trouble, owners have left and abandoned their tenants, owners that cannot pay their property taxes to the state, owners that have headaches and/or attachments that prevent the property from functioning in the way it should function.

Building ownership is a stewardship.  Stewardship that lasts the life of the building or the land.  As such, we buy real property where the previous steward has lost their way, failed their objectives, and left residents, businesses, and (almost always) investors or creditors exposed.

We invest money, time, and resources into re-building these properties.  Saving jobs, building the economy, and re-developing or re-imagining the property.  It is a battle, which sometimes includes an opposition.  But isn’t that the heart of entrepreneurship?  For every customer who signs up to Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming, there is a minus column for the cable companies that goes further negative.

When a one politician wins, the politician on the other side loses.  For your child to win the Spelling Bee, a bunch of kids had to place in positions below #1.  For electric cars to thrive, gas guzzlers inevitably take a backseat to sustainable progress. 

The lifeblood and history of THIS amazing country is entrepreneurism.  People who take risks.  People who buy when others sell, because they see something others don’t.  People who stand strong, in the face of opposition, because they believe in the purpose and cause.  People who optimistically have a vision of the future that other do not possess.  These are the people who make the needle of our US economy MOVE.

In that spirit, I thought I would share (for future budding entrepreneurs), a few of the entrepreneurial traits I believe you will need to succeed:

  • Optimism – Day 1 of your business or desires is based on a goal. That goal is your focus. And you would NOT get up off the couch, if you were not focused on that goal.  Nobody will try and achieve anything …unless they believe in their ability to “theoretically” get it done.  Belief in oneself.

Notice I didn’t say – You believe you can do it.  You probably don’t know how it will get done.  Most entrepreneurs are so frail in their belief at this stage, that ALL they need to believe in, is simple do YOU BELIEVE that you can get it done, or that you will put in whatever effort is required?

Like Frank Abagnale, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie “Catch Me if You Can,”  You don’t have to believe you can fly a plane or perform surgery; you only need to believe that YOU believe it is possible.  Amazingly, other people then begin to believe alongside of you when your belief is solid, strong, and unwavering.

You deserve the same opportunity to win as anyone else.  And for those who were not born with super smarts, strength, or bravery… you can make up for that with harder work and undying optimism and belief in yourself. 

You need that ridiculous level of self-belief to win.  Because you won’t enter the fight if you do not believe you can win.  Not now or ever.


  • Rhino skin – You have thrown off the skins of self-doubt and weakness and, like Jon Snow from the Game of Thrones, you are now manning The Watch – keeping an ever-vigilant eye out for the enemy. The enemy is any and everyone who doesn’t believe in your goals and dreams.  This could be family, employees, certainly creditors, peers, the press, and lots of hurtful other places from which a negative person could take a pot shot at you by talking behind your back or insidiously seeding disbelief in yourself or in the minds of others. 

If you put a crab in a bucket where it can reach the edge, it will climb out.  But if you put a dozen crabs in the bucket, every time one tries to climb out, the other crabs pull it back down.  You must have a tough skin, and not doubt your objectives just because a few crabs want to pull you down.

It does not matter what others say or think, your self-belief must be impervious to the barbed tongues of anyone who does not stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your entrepreneurial vision. 

  • Hunger – Hunger is the drive in our belly that pushes us, born from the amygdala, often called the ‘lizard brain.’ Like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, it instills us with our insistent need to survive.  Hunger is simple.  Eat or die.  Your goals need to be like food or sustenance to you.  Achieve them or die trying.  There is no failure.  You either succeed or it is game over.  Hunger is in the pit of your belly.  Do you REALLY want to make money, drive, a nicer car, take care of your family, make your parents or children proud, even leave a legacy? 

How hungry are you?

Prolific horror novel author Stephen King wrote a short story called The Long Walk.  In the story, contestants walked non-stop until only one was left.  If they slowed down less than 4 mph, they were shot.  The story is brilliant and is all about hunger.  Your Hunger to succeed needs to be the same as the Hunger the participants in The Long Walk have to live.  Or as Yoda said after Luke says he will try –  “No.  Try not.  Do or do not.  There is no try.”

  • Shrewd – Smart like a fox. Shrewd is defined as, “Having or showing sharp powers of judgement. Astute.”    As an entrepreneur you need to be shrewd about who you surround yourself with, extend credit to/for, hire as employees, business arrangements and partnerships you maintain, initiatives you launch, and customers you allow to become part of your business.  Shrewdness is not an intelligence thing.  It is learned.  Most shrewd people have extended credit to the wrong people, been screwed over a few times, had family members even leave them high and dry.  Providing them an opportunity to learn from past experiences and hone their skills.  Wisdom and shrewdness come with experience.
  • Self-control – The single thing that most commonly takes down the bulk of newly successful artists, musicians, businesspeople, or politicians is their ability to reign in their own arrogance, consumption, greed, frivolity, hubris, anger, and desire for revenge. I could wax poetic here, but let me simply let some astute and amazing people say it for me (and for you):
  • “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius
  • “The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life.  If you don’t, life controls you.” – Tony Robbins
  • “In the midst of movement and chaos keep stillness inside of you.” – Deepak Chopra
  • “He who cannot obey himself will be commanded. That is the nature of living creatures.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • “I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” – Aristotle
  • “The ability to discipline yourself, to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term, is the indispensable prerequisite for success.” – Maxwell Maltz
  • Diplomacy – This is a fancy word for dealing with people in a sensitive and empathetic way, while still being effective and accomplishing your goals. You will have to learn diplomacy in dealing with customers, investors, employees, partners, family, competitors, people who love you and people who hate you.  Because as much as you want to kick them in the rear, or yell at them, or cry to them, or curse them out, or beg them or whatever emotions roll you at that moment…. you must always be like a duck on the water.  Calm on top while kicking furiously underneath.  This requires the previously mentioned self-control, along with a healthy dose of diplomacy and patience.
  • Patience – Rome was not built in a day. While we often hear of entrepreneurs who succeed over-night, those stories are almost always inflated and inaccurate.  I like to imagine that there is a defined battle that must take place for success to happen.  A set number of hours or investment of resources.  You can shorten the hours by increasing the pressure, or you can increase the investment of money and (sometimes) shorten the hours.  Malcom Gladwell’s “10,000-hour rule,” asserts that the key to developing expertise in any skill is practicing that skill, in the correct way, for at least 10,000 hours.

A price must be paid for success to occur.  Sometimes, it simply takes continuous applied effort and the passing of a measure of time.  Many entrepreneurs have toiled at the mortar and pestle for years before finding their own personal success.  If your journey takes time as an added ingredient, then you must add this ingredient.  That said, never keep grinding at a wheel that refuses to move.  If your business is dead or dying, and all signs of death are there, do not just keep hammering a square peg into a round hole.  Move along and find other signs of life.

  • Conviviality – This is simple. Friendly people attract more people and opportunities to themselves than dour people do.    Conviviality is described as the act of being friendly, and lively.  In other word, be the life of the party (or at least be part of the party). 

Simple enough.  Unless that is not in your personality.  Some people are GREAT at making friends.  Some are not.  So, for those of you who are good at bringing the party to wherever you happen to be at that time, skip to the next section.

For those of you who struggle with conviviality, here are some tips:

  • Push yourself to talk to people.
  • Be confident in the fact that nerds and intelligent people are also ‘cool’ and ‘interesting.’ In fact, if you strip off the glamour and glitz, people like Eminem, Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, Tupac, and Lil Wayne are all kind of nerdy.  Even the supposedly coolest people you know have all had bouts of occasional insecurity.  Then one day, they jumped off the cliff and spread their wings… and became the Ellen DeGeneres or Oprah Winfrey the world loves and is inspired by.
  • Communications skills – On a broad level, marketing any industry or business is all about communications. Understanding what message will resonate with the target.  This is the essence of sales – knowing how to communicate to others, in such a way that the message that needs to be heard is received and resonates.

The best entrepreneurs and businesspeople are almost always great marketers.   There are lots of ways to communicate which is why they typically refer to this field as MarComm or Marketing & Communications.  That entails, so many different forms of communicating a message, branding, even selling.  One thing is for sure, if you think of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Phil Knight, everybody on Shark Tank, or almost any other well k known successful entrepreneur; they all know how to hustle, and they all know how to sell.  Learning how to communicate is key to your growth and success, whether that is with investors, creditors, employees, customers, or acquirers, good communications skills will help everything work more smoothly and profitably.

  • Develop a brand – For any great product or service to succeed, the brand and what it stands for must be considered and thought through at length. Being cognizant of what your business, product and brand stand for can make or break any company or product, and thus any businessperson.  To that end, many entrepreneurs don’t just work on developing their company or product brand message, many times the branding is around the entrepreneur themselves as well: Oprah, Sir Richard Branson, and of course Donald Trump are all great examples. 
  • Humility – And last is the gold standard. The reason Michael Jordan, Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant, Keanu Reeves, Venus & Serena Williams, Reese Witherspoon, Dwayne Johnson, Ed Sheeran, Sandra Bullock, Mathew McConaughey, Simone Biles, and Tom Hanks are loved around the world in any culture is because they come across as humble.  Which is highly unusual with the star power of a top athlete or a multi-millionaire movie star or musician.  But, if you can manage to be humble in your success, you will score big in the hearts and minds of your constituents.

It is fascinating how some personalities become beloved, like Taylor Swift or Beyonce, and some become reviled.  Humility, especially in the face of success, is the most beloved trait any entrepreneur can show to their customers, employees, vendors, and suppliers.

You can find more information about start-up funding and early-stage investments here at our blog:

Ali Choudhri and Jetall Capital are not actively soliciting early-stage investments currently. However, if you have something you feel is compelling, feel free to Contact Me through the form below. Include your elevator pitch and contact info.  Any graphics, PPTs, or supporting documents should also be sent along or provided via a Google Drive connection if too large.

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