On the second episode of #BLUEPRINT I had the pleasure to sit down with George Khalife.
George is the director of business development and marketing at Sampford Advisors, Canada's number one mid-market tech Mergers and Acquisitions advisor. By night he is an entrepreneur and the CEO and Co-Founder of BookBack, a top one hundred app that allows university students to buy and sell textbooks efficiently. Additionally, he is a speaker, community builder and blogger who is leveraging the power of social media to bring about positive change. Thank you George, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to make this interview possible.
Q.1. What’s your story? How did you get to where you are now?
High school was definitely where I started to learn more about myself. I was a little overweight, all over the place and the typical class clown. From Ottawa, my family moved to Bahrain for my father's work, and I was put into a very rigorous and strict private school. Looking back, this was probably one of the best things to ever happen in my life. The discipline, high standards and fourteen exams a week forced me to mature and become a lot more serious about my future. After high school I attended the Telfer School of Management and cruised through my first-year courses, implementing the work ethic I had learned in high school. In second year, I got a lot more involved within the community and I found my group. Partaking in extra curricular actives made my university experience much more enjoyable and gave me a sense of how the real world operates. After graduating, I started working as an associate at the TMX Group in Toronto. At that time, I really didn’t understand how big entrepreneurship was, I thought like everyone else I would go through the corporate route. However, I was very strategic and built an image and brand for myself. I was not ready for the full-time hustle yet, but figuring how to make the right chess moves through the corporate side helped me a ton in my transition to entrepreneurship.
Q.2. How have you managed to work a full-time job and be an entrepreneur?
It's not easy, that is for sure. If you are going to try to do two things at once, it is really important that you enjoy the work. There will be times when things get challenging and time consuming, but if you truly enjoy it, even through those ups and downs you will stay committed. Being committed, consistent and executing on your idea properly are the factors that really matter. You must find alignment in what you do; and create synergy between your main gig and your side hustle. Through my full-time job with Sampford Advisors, I interact with entrepreneurs and venture capitalist every day, which is helping me to pivot myself into entrepreneurship. Creating a win, win strategy across the two will allow you to excel in both domains!
Q.3. You’ve interviewed many successful business leaders on your podcast, what are the underlying principles of success they share?
They all have a strong sense of themselves, they are very grounded. Secondly, they have a passion for the chase. They have a hunger, a desire to be more than what they currently are. They also have a relentless work ethic, day in and day out they are putting in the work to make it happen. Overall, I think it comes down to self-belief. You really need to have the belief in yourself at the times when no one else will, and thick skin to not listen to the people who will doubt you and try to shut you down.
"They have a hunger, a desire to be more than what they currently are"
Q.4. What advice would you give to that college student who doesn’t know what their passion is?
Just start. You don’t have to be perfect or have it all figured out. If its building a personal brand or even building a company, put yourself out there and figure it out. Whatever that thing is, you have to start from the position where you and make steps in the forward direction. Also, get rid of the fear of what others will think, that is definitely the biggest one for me. Respect yourself enough, in every aspect of life. Be diligent with who you choose to give your time to, who you surround yourself with and what you put inside your head.
Q.5. What do the next 6 months look like for you?
There are a couple of things over the next six months! On the mergers and acquisitions side for Sampford Advisors, I want to close more deals for the firm and help grow the business to the point where we can become number one in Toronto. For BookBack, the goal is to reach ten thousand users and to release a new version with better features for the customers. Lastly, for my podcast, I want to interview at least two to three people that I will look back on and wonder how I got them on the show. Aside from business side, I think it’s important to have goals and strive to grow and improve in all aspects of life such as health, relationships and personal.
Check out George on LinkedIn or at and his blog at georgekhalife.com Connect with him and check out his awesome content and message! He also has his own interview series, Let's Grab Coffee, where he interviews top business and industry leaders.
If Georges's thoughts resonated with you, share this on LinkedIn with #BLUEPRINT and follow along with this series!