In this Interview, Anvar talks briefly about his journey towards success, his passion for WordPress, and other inspiring facts for those who want to follow his path.
We thank Anvar for inspiring us with his words of wisdom. We hope you guys enjoy going through his informative thoughts.
Hello Anvar, Welcome to LearnWoo! Tell us about your background and experience in Technology, Delivery, Marketing, and Chief Executive roles?
Thank you for this opportunity. I am delighted to share my experiences with you.
I graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Tiruvananthapuram. After graduation, a few of my friends and I started an IT services company. It was a successful venture and I learned a lot. After that, I decided to explore the IT products space and started a product-based company with two of my friends. After a few years I decided to go solo and started Mozilor, where we now have WebToffee and CookieYes.
Technology has always been fascinating to me. In the beginning, I was more into programming and I was fully immersed in the development part. And then I decided to go into a managerial position as I wanted to explore more challenging and different roles.
Marketing, I understood, is key in growing a product and a company. It’s not just enough to have a great product. You have to pair it up with good marketing as well. So I decided to learn more about it and get hands-on with it. And I used marketing principles to grow and improve the products that we were working on.
And now I am serving as the CEO and co-founder of Mozilor. We just celebrated our 5th anniversary and I am happy to say that the journey has been great. It’s not been easy, comes with its challenges, and I am proud of what we have achieved so far.
As the Founder of Mozilor, the makers behind CookieYes, WebToffee, and BootstrapDash; what are the strategies that you are using to manage all the things?
The best strategy is to surround yourself with the right people. Giving them the freedom to do their work. I do not believe in micromanaging every aspect of the company and frankly, I think it would be exhausting.
Delegation is important. The urge to do everything by yourself will be there, but you obviously cannot do everything. You just have to trust your team and they will do great things.
What do you feel is the biggest strength of your company right now?
Our products and the team behind them. We have a great team of expert developers, an amazing customer success team, and a talented marketing team. Our flagship products have managed to become the no.1 in the market with plugins like Product Import Export for WooCommerce, WooCommerce PDF Invoice, Packing Slips, Delivery Notes, and Shipping labels, CookieYes | GDPR Cookie Consent and Compliance Notice, etc. now active on more than 1.5 million websites.
We all have a regular routine to start the day. What’s yours?
I am an early bird. So I get up early morning and I have a basic morning routine. One thing I avoid doing is going through my phone as the first thing of the day.
I live in the UK, and my current team and I have a time zone difference. So by the time I log in on my computer, I have quite a few emails and Slack messages that I have to go through. So, the first thing that I do is prioritize what needs to be done in the day. Then check my calendar for all the meetings.
In between, I find time to pick up and drop off my kids from school and spend some time with them and my wife. I also take some time to get some exercise, and swimming is one of my favorite things to do.
Tell us about some of your failures and how did you overcome them?
I don’t have any particular failure that I can share with you, cause there have been many. Running a company requires you to make a lot of decisions and not all decisions hit the bull’s eye. Also, it depends on how you define failures.
I can’t say that I have overcome all of them. I have had to abandon some projects and ideas completely because they were not feasible at the time. And that’s okay. They have been a learning experience and I think that’s the most important part of it.
What are your interests outside of work?
I like traveling a lot. I like going to different countries and to make it a yearly vacation. Also, I like adventure sports a lot. I have been skydiving, mountaineering, etc. But since Covid and then the lockdown hit, all these have been put to a halt. But slowly we have started to travel and go on trips with friends and family. We recently even did a company retreat to Goa, India.
What is the idea behind CookieYes & WebToffee?
WebToffee was not started from scratch. We had a handful of products in the form of WooCommerce extensions that had a small user base already before we started. I am talking 10,000 active users when starting. It is not a big number when you are talking about the scale of WooCommerce, but a good foundation to start with nonetheless. After, that we started growing our existing products and creating new ones. The idea is to give a complete suite of solutions for e-commerce store owners.
CookieYes emerged from one of our WordPress plugins GDPR Cookie Consent. When GDPR Cookie Consent was launched it could only be used by WordPress websites. We had a lot of users requesting if we had any custom solutions for their websites that did not use WordPress. We found an opportunity there and thought this solution available to every website independent of the platform they are built on.
If you were able to go back in time 10 years, what would you tell yourself about leadership that you didn’t know then?
10 years ago, leadership meant that you have a position of authority. You have people working under you to achieve the vision that you have. Over the years, the work culture has changed, and for the most part, for the better. Now, leadership is working with the people, enabling them to achieve the collective vision of the organization. Also, you are creating something to solve a problem for the users/customers. So you have to change your and your team’s mindset around the point that customers are at the center and you have to actively listen to them if you want to grow.
What are the pros and cons of working for yourself?
I don’t ever feel like I am working for myself. I mean there is an entire team I am working with and I have a huge responsibility of being the facilitator. I am in a way responsible for ensuring they don’t have any hindrance in their work. But I get what you mean. One of the biggest advantages of being a business owner is that I can decide how I manage my time and balance the time with my family and work.
The cons of working for yourself is that your work never leaves. It is constantly with you. I hate to admit it, but even when I am on vacation, I can’t help but check my laptop when I get the time.
What was the path you took to get to where you are today? Any advice you want to give people who want to follow your path?
The path that I took needed a lot of hard work and consistent learning. And that’s what I would advise to anyone who wants to tread a similar path. If you think you have a product that can solve a problem and provide value to users, then go for it. Launch faster, create a feedback loop with customers, and continue improving.