Negar is Founder and CEO Colorful Zone
Colorful Zone is a well-being factory for designing products to improve the state of well-being in individuals. We integrate cognitive science with intelligent technologies to create personalized solutions.
Meet: Joyi - Our product works like a digital vitamin for mental health and it helps our clients improve their quality of life.
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Olivier B: [00:00:00] Welcome to Business Not 1 0 1, a podcast that explores the uncommon side of business, goes beyond the conventional teachings, delves into the practical real world strategies and insights from successful founders, entrepreneurs, industry experts that understand what drives growth and how to achieve success in an ever-changing business landscape.
So join us and let's go beyond the basics.
OlivierB: Hi, Nagar. How are you?
NegarY: Hi. I'm good. How are you?
OlivierB: Excellent. Thank you for joining us on Business on 1 0 1. Let's jump right into it. Please introduce yourself and give us your business pitch.
NegarY: Thanks for having me here. I'm Nagar. I am the C founder of Colorful Zone. Colorful Zone is a psychoeducational startup that aims to make mental health education more. Entertaining for like a larger group of people. And for now we are working on a mobile app that calls Joy. And this app works like a [00:01:00] digital white mean for sustainable happiness.
OlivierB: That's really interesting. So what was the aha moment, the light bulb moment that sort of launched this project?
NegarY: I started my first startup in 2011 and the idea was to improving day-to-day quality of life for women specifically on mental health. And it was a successful startup. More than 700,000 women used our services and products. But something that I learned from that experience was that mental health education, It's something that we should take it seriously.
It's very important. We have a lot of knowledge, we have a lot of science, but it's not engaging. People don't want to take their time to do mental health education and honestly, it, it's boring. So I exit the data startup starting colorful zone, only working on the topic of how [00:02:00] can we make mental health more engaging, more.
Fun and bring it to day-to-day life. So that's why I started this startup,
OlivierB: Yeah, that's so true. It's something that most people don't talk about or when it is presented to them, it's a very difficult subject to sort of create a synergy between the person and sort of the course to talk about mental health.
OlivierB: so what is one thing you feel that your business has that's unique?
The secret sauce behind Colorful Zone that's you feel is your success? That's created a success.
NegarY: First of all, the experience that. Me and my team have from the past experience, like the startup, the, like, a lot of people, a lot of stories that we had and we learn about that. So this one and the other thing is that Our work is personalized. So when I, when we started [00:03:00] working on that first, we had this rule that we need to go through science and also intelligent technology.
We need to have these two, we need to integrate these two, but we also need to bring human connection to that and make it personalized for every person because one fit for all solution doesn't work. And now I can stay after working a few years in our solutions. Bringing personalized solutions for mental health education is something unique that we are working on it.
OlivierB: Yeah, that sounds very interesting. Now looking at it from a business aspect, where were some of the initial roadblocks that, or problems you've hit when you started your business, and how did you overcome them?
NegarY: The problem I. It's everything is unpredictable and you don't know exactly what is your next step. You [00:04:00] know the Destin destination somehow. You know what you wanna make, but it's all. New and it's all unpredictable, so this is something very challenging. If it's just one step to a step, it's okay, but all the, all the experience, all the journey is like that.
And I learned that we need to, at least, I needed to be comfortable with not being comfortable and not being certain in, in a certain situation.
OlivierB: That's a great point. Being comfortable with in uncomfortable situations and becoming normal. It is something that I think as, and I don't just think, I honestly believe as an entrepreneur, you have to get used to that, that constant uncomfortable feeling because you're pushing boundaries. And I a hundred percent agree with not knowing the.
The path you're gonna take, but sort of knowing your destination and how unpredictable that could be. So that's a great [00:05:00] point. . So now looking at it as, as a, as a founder, as a business owner, and as an entrepreneur, we wear so many hats. What is a few of the positions, a few of the hats that you currently wear that you wish you could pass off, that you can hire somebody and you would suggest to our listeners to say, Hey, this is something.
I shouldn't have tried to take on myself and I should have hired somebody right away.
NegarY: So this, this answer would be very About me. It's not something that probably other people have this problem, but for me, something that that is very difficult is being in the battle of gaining attention for your product, for your startup, this social media. Attention, attention, putting content there and being in competition and having like, and having followers and having you, people looking at you and deciding to use you.
So [00:06:00] that's something that I was thinking that, okay, that's not my strength. I don't want to be in that position. And I found the creative. Solution for that. So now I am not in the position of branding and presenting all the time, and I, I call it in a battle of attention gaining.
OlivierB: Yeah. And, and I think that's, that's a great point. You know, social media and sort of the branding of a company is very difficult. And sometimes as owners and as entrepreneurs, I see a lot of people, and myself included, we try to do everything ourselves. Figuring that at one point we're gonna go and hire a team or hire an agency, but sometimes it's wiser just to bring that team right to the beginning and amplify your business so much more than if you try to do it yourself and then bring somebody in afterwards.
So that's a brilliant point. I love that. So now switching gears a little bit, because I, this is a part of the conversations that I wasn't touching so much on in past seasons, but it's now [00:07:00] becoming something a lot of people ask me about, and it's about sales and customer acquisitions. In your experience with your business, what's the hardest part of your customer acquisition and your business cycle?
NegarY: I believe sales is so buying and sailing, like selling, it's it's the output of human connections. You, you don't sell anything. You make human connection. You make trust. You show people how you can help them, and then they decide to buy it. So actually it's not, I, I never had this experience of telling someone that, Hey, I wanna sell my product to you.
I said, oh, fantastic. Let's, let's do it. So it's more about listening what they are doing and what's their problem and what is our solution, and trying to discuss about how can we [00:08:00] help them in their journey. And then they decide. I said, no, you know what? I think that's a good idea. Let's, let's go forward.
So this is the process of the cells, and it took me very long to learn that. I cannot just reach people and say that, Hey, this is my product and I believe it's very good product and you should sell it. You should buy it.
OlivierB: It's really interesting and sort of leads into my next question and if you were to tell listeners and say, okay, in general, speaking about general business, do you believe it's better to have a large following and sort of put your message out to a lot of people and sort of collect those who do come and are interested?
Or do you feel it's more of one-on-one, one customer at a time to grow your business?
NegarY: Two years ago I wanted to, I, I was. I was very trying to learn how to start sales in my startup for this product. And I talked with a friend that he [00:09:00] is very successful in in his business, specifically in sales. And then I had this issue that, oh, my network is not that big. And I traveled in many countries.
I lived in many countries, so I, I don't have that much network that people that they lived in one country, one city they have in. Business. And he told me that all of his business like all the revenues of the last year, came from three people. So he said that actually I don't have more than 10 people in my network.
And I started with three of them and this tree just introduced me to their network, for example, another person who needed that service. And that happened to have a few millions of dollars last year. And I started doing the same thing. Sales. Sometimes needs a lot of patience, but it's, [00:10:00] it's not that you need to have like 1000 people in your network.
I usually go with not more than five. Potential sales conversation at a time. If any of them will realize that, okay, we are not a good fit for their solution and for their products, then we stop that and I will look at other sales potential. But I think more than that, at least for me, it's not working.
OlivierB: Yeah, that's a great point. The 80 20 rule, right? 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. A great example, you know, keeping a small funnel, but a focused small funnel as opposed to having a large group of people like Large Net and try to catch our whole bunch of, of attention and customers, a small funnel concentrate.
Those who are gonna fall off, you replace them with another one. I love that. That's a, that's a really good point. So, sort of switching over a little bit, what has been one of the most successful platforms to increase sales Example, is it, [00:11:00] has it been your website? Has it been in social media or has it been word of mouth.
NegarY: Oh, definitely word of mouth.
OlivierB: So referral and word of mouth. Yeah, I think that's a lot of people as well.
NegarY: If people share their experience and their feedback, even though it's not a hundred percent positive, it makes more sales than if you just see an advertisement, a post, or like a social media thing, because that's what I said, that it's a battle of gaining attention. People don't pay that much attention to social media, but they really.
Listen to their friends.
OlivierB: Yeah. And, and that's a hundred percent true and it sort of, this leads into my question of marketing. So looking at your organic community, those are the people that support you, that support your business, now, you've talked about having a whole bunch of communities around multiple cities, multiple countries. How do you create synergy between all of them to help [00:12:00] the, have them help you increase? Branding and your company awareness, it's are you leveraging them or are you not using that?
NegarY: I, I'm gonna tell you about the solution that we invented for ourselves, and it's not something that very common in specifically startups. So we are a mental health education, so what we are gonna do is to increase the quality of life for people that yet they don't. Face mental issues, but they want to be more resilient in front of general anxiety in front of depression.
So who gonna be more caring about these kind of people? Mental health advocates. What we started to do is that finding mental health advocates in our small community as you are talking with them, that you know what? We cannot change everyone, but if you create a mental health [00:13:00] club in your school, in your workplace, or in your neighborhood, then you will, you will support probably 20 people.
You will do some activities that you like to do and we will support you. So we started focusing on, instead of being very active, a lot of attention, a lot of followers in social media, we started supporting mental health clubs that are like members led, for example, student mental health club. Employees mental health club, that they wanna do something, but they need more resource, they need more support.
And we have that. We have a lot of products and services, so we support them and they support other people. So I can say that even in our marketing, we are B2B two
OlivierB: That's really interesting. And so, and it was gonna lead into my next question, which was like, when you look at your traditional marketing and sort of like the paid advertisements, and I'm assuming, are you doing any [00:14:00] of that or are you just doing the referral
NegarY: No, we don't do any paid advertisement. Instead, we spend our money for like competitions in that clubs for sponsoring some people that they wanna do some events. Some art, performance, anything that they want, and and I think this worked better for us. I tried the traditional one. It
didn't work for
OlivierB: Yeah, and it, it seems that your business does have a unique aspect to it. Is community driven, organically driven through referrals. Now sort of looking at your business, not just today, but also in the future, planning to sort of, uh, would say expand your network and expand your business to sort of outreach across the world?
Right? Do you have a, you want to grow your business? Are you sort of gonna start looking at incorporating new. Marketing solutions or are you gonna just stick to this? Each community, each city, I'm gonna create [00:15:00] communities and sort of build up my, my following and my business market You remember I told you everything is unpredictable, so I don't know. For now it works, but because we are not. Very big community. I am sure it's not gonna work when we change the situation. We have more and more different communities. But definitely I need to think about that. I always need to think about it every day, a new solution.
NegarY: One thing that I have in my mind is that I would love to work on Like partnerships. I don't want to be successful all on my own. I want to work other people. I want to contribute with other organizations. I want to share my message with some like-minded messages so that we have more power.
OlivierB: That's brilliant. Yeah. And it sort of, it leads into [00:16:00] what you've already with your communities and your small organizations that become your voice of your company and partnerships will do the same thing. So I think that's brilliant. So switching it up just a little bit here. If you could leave your past self a message like, you know, leave yourself phone call self to your past self, uh, warn you about this or telling you to do that, what would it be
NegarY: I would, I would have told myself, instead of reading a lot of things and learning a lot of things, work on your mindset. Try to learn how to learn better. Try to improve your mindset instead of like improving your day, your efficiency, your productivity, think better. Like, think in a higher state of mind.
That helps a lot. That's something that I learned [00:17:00] probably a few years ago. It's a little bit late still. It's, I'm very happy that I learned this kind of mindset, but having a growth mindset, I can say. If you learn to have a growth mindset, if you develop that, then everything
OlivierB: brought up a lot. you need to have that growth mindset, but you need to, you know, the hyperscale mindset, you gotta think huge. You can't just think small or big.
You need to think huge. And I think I agree with that a hundred percent. So really open yourself to, with that mindset,
NegarY: One other thing that it's, it's something that I would love to share with a lot of young entrepreneurs, is that I, I learned that very late, maybe after my, like, eight years of working as an entrepreneur, that. Starting in startup, it's not a business. It's more a scientific approach. When you create a product, you don't know really if it [00:18:00] gonna work or not.
You just try to say if it works or not, is it work or not? If not, we can change it. So that mindset, It helps a lot, like avoiding a lot of failure because in this mindset, failure is not actually like not having the result. It's not a failure. It's not end of the word. If that doesn't work well. It's supposed to be like that.
You need to try a load of things to find which one is working. If the first effort is not working, if the first version of the product is not working, it's completely normal, what are you expecting that the first effort gonna happen? So learning this mindset that it's not a business, it's a scientific approach, it's a scientific project, it's an experiment.
It helped me to. To be more
in my business.
OlivierB: I love that. And this sort of leads me to my next question is mentorship. A lot of [00:19:00] people, they learn that through mentorship. Do you have a mentor or a business coach that helps you?
NegarY: Oh yes. I, I always have mentors and advisors around me in different different aspects like finance, business, legal, Branding and I don't, I don't see myself without people helping me whenever I need them. So a lot of time I just want to tell about my strategies and some people tell me what they think, which is like people that they can give you honest feedback.
It's a very, very important and my mentors. And my advisors, this is the most
thing they do for
OlivierB: I love that. That's so true. Uh, Something long time ago, but very late in my career as well, mentor, having a business coach. Uh, It, it helps enormously, so, yeah, I love that answer. [00:20:00] So now looking at you as an entrepreneur, cuz we want to know as an entrepreneur, as a founder, what is one trait?
You honestly believe that every Yes. It's one trait you believe everybody should have starting their own
NegarY: Creativity, you should be creative. You don't know what is next. You need to create the past. The past thing in startup is not existed. You are doing something that nobody almost done it. So you need to be creative to create every
OlivierB: Now one of the questions a lot, and I I love to ask my, uh, my guest, how do you stay productive and focused? It's something that I struggle with my whole life.
So I, I journal, I do things, but how do you do it?
NegarY: Firstly, I learned myself, I, there is some time during the day. [00:21:00] I'm not productive, so I don't do anything there. And the other thing is that so let me tell you the story of the app, Julie, because it's very relevant and it came from my story. This is the strategy I used. Like probably in the past 12 years.
And then we brought that in the, in, in the app. And actually it's very aligned with e e g brainwave science. So imagine you have five containers that are ingredients to make good moments. This containers is health, meaningfulness, mindfulness, togetherness, and curiosity. To make a good moment, you need to feel your jars and keep them feel be filled.
So this is how I take care of my creativity. If I, in, in my weekend, I try to focus on these five trees. I want [00:22:00] to spend time with my family and friends. I need to do some healthy things. I need to read, I need to learn and these kind of things. I keep myself in a good flow of creativity, but for example, I.
I am very creative in early morning. I cannot do anything very productive between two to four. So two to four. I usually go for like walking or like visiting a museum or a gallery, which is like, it's not very usual for especially entrepreneurs that they work so long, but I learned it's not working for me.
2, 2, 4 is not working for me. I can work in different time of day, day, and first I learned about myself and then I try to make some game and some strategies to just
OlivierB: That's really, that's really [00:23:00] interesting. I like that. I like that. That's a great way of putting it. So my next question is, If you could meet any entrepreneur for coffee and get to pick their brain for an hour, who would it be and why?
NegarY: The person that I would love to do that, like, it's not an entrepreneur somehow, but it's a co. It, it was a co. He was so, Bob Eger. The the previous CEO of Disney Company, I love to have a coffee with him. I have a lot of question for him. And entrepreneur, the, the founder of Spotify, my favorite.
Startup my favorite product. I want to know how they manage this much creative [00:24:00] little things every day. They acted this good service.
OlivierB: Yeah, both of them are really brilliant. I love that because it's, it's their. Unique,
OlivierB: My next question is, what is one business book or non-fiction book that has had or is having an impact on your business journey?
NegarY: That's a difficult one because I have a lot of books
in my mind. I, I cannot say this is like the. Best book and the other one, like in the priority, probably I have like 10, 12 Good books, but there is a book that every year, every year and a half, I go back and read it again and I just finished it last month's again, I think for third or first time, and it's blue Oceans.
Blue Ocean's a strategy. I, it's so obvious whenever, when you [00:25:00] read it, I said it. Oh, everyone knows that. But actually I need to read it every year, every year and a half, because it reminds me things and
I learn something new
OlivierB: That's really interesting. I haven't heard of that one yet. I'll check it out. it's a good
OlivierB: thank you. Um, Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?
NegarY: In five years I think I, we will, we will have this pro because we are doing a clinical study on our project, and what I want to create is a real digital vitamin for mental health. It's possible. And the paper, but nobody has done that before. And I want to try it with my team to make, to make it happen.
I don't know if it gonna happens or not. For now, we say 65%. Yes. So I know in [00:26:00] the, in the next five years we're gonna go, go through this process of, to see if we can have a digital vitamin for mental health, which practitioners can prescribe it. And it's, it shows the medical aspect in
OlivierB: That's really interesting. Well, I'm looking forward to see if that happens or not. my last and closing question is how can people reach out and connect with you? What's the best way to do so? And we'll be adding all these to the links on the show as well.
NegarY: So the, the best one is email, which is nagar colorful dot, and the only social media that I am active is LinkedIn. That they can message me on LinkedIn, I can share the, the link with you. And I think, yeah, that's the two things that I use the most. And unfortunately I'm not very active in
OlivierB: perfect. I wanna thank you so much for. Taking the [00:27:00] time to talk to us today was wonderful and I really enjoyed the conversation.
NegarY: Thank you for having me in this podcast test.
Olivier B: Business Not 101 is hosted and written by me, Olivier Bousette and produced and edited by our talented podcast team to listen to Business not 1 1. You'll find us in all your favorite podcast apps as well as YouTube. We hope you've enjoyed this interview and it's given you some valuable insights and helped you along your business journey.
And if you have any comments or questions, please reach out to us. Thank you for joining us and listening to this episode of Business not 1 0 1.