Karina Hayat has some simple advice for college students who aspire to one day start their own business.
“Just absolutely go for it. Don’t be afraid—because you only live once,” she says.
Hayat knows plenty about what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.
She is the co-founder and president of Prizm Media, a multi-million dollar healthcare marketing company.
In the early 2000s, while studying biology and other subjects at Douglas, she co-founded the business with Zeeshan Hayat, then her partner and now her husband.
While their initial goal was to supplement their income, the business soon became the focus of their careers.
Prizm Media is now a well-known success story in the health and wellness sector. The company has generated millions of leads for its clients and seen revenue grow by over 1,200 percent in recent years.
Hayat is also this year’s recipient of the Douglas College Distinguished Alumni Award.
“I’m absolutely humbled and honoured to receive this award,” she says. “I’m very grateful for my experience as a student at Douglas College.”
“During that time, I learned to believe in myself and have confidence that I could achieve my goals.”
Originally, Hayat had planned to study nursing after Douglas.
But when the business began to take off, she decided the right move was to become a full-time entrepreneur with her husband.
“We taught ourselves everything we could about online marketing and that became the passion,” she says.
“And we combined that with our love for health care and wellness and that’s how the business was born.”
Hayat’s tips for aspiring entrepreneurs
Find a mentor
“Don’t be shy. Ask. The worst thing you’re going to get is a ‘no’ and then you just move on to the next person,” she says.
Improve leadership skills
“It doesn’t matter if you are at an entry level position or if you plan to be a CEO one day. Leadership is really essential in order to work with a team,” she says.
Ask for help
“When you need help you should seek out people that have that expertise and not be shy to look within and say ‘well, I don’t know this,’” she says.