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Sundas Jabeen | Interview

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Times of Youth: In brief, could you enlighten our readers about yourself for those who may be unaware?

I am CEO of this company. My name is Sundas Jabeen and I am a software engineer. I started working as a freelance writer when I was 16 years old. Before that, I use to write poems, stories and content for my school’s newsletters and magazines. I also contributed for free in national digests, newspapers and magazines. When I finished my college, I got admission in Software engineering on my best friend’s advice. At that time I never knew it would suit me so well. I so loved this field that I started learning from online trainings, did many courses from distant learning universities from abroad, participated in many events, competitions and was able to bag National Youth Icon award in 2012. Since then, I earned many titles as Youngest Entrepreneur Award Best Female Entrepreneur, Women in business – Face of Pakistan award etc.

Apart from social aspects, I started grabbing development projects and became a full time freelancer. At a very young age, I have been working for brands like Zara (UK), Dell (UK), Silicon Valley Innovation Center (USA) and hundreds of small to large companies from all over the world. I use to share projects with my friends too. With an intention to create employment opportunities in Pakistan, I made a company. Initially I had only few people from Pakistan and most of them from abroad. But by now, most of my team is from Pakistan.

I am Microsoft certified and also a trainer. I conduct workshops and seminars to train people about how they can earn money online using internet. I keep people aware about high tech solutions and how to make technology common in Pakistan, starting from their homes. I run a blog named Likho Pakistan, where I post tutorials and motivational material for the ones who are planning to launch a startup or looking to raise funding. In coming year, you will see another startup of mine that will create a big impact if everything went well. I am a pure patriot and I always make sure to represent a positive Pakistan. I play my part to contribute to a better Pakistan and I also encourage others to promote a positive Pakistan.

Times of Youth: What is the name of the startup? 

Name of this innovative startup is “Devstroke”. We say it like “Devstroke – Innovation at its best”. The name comes from two different words, Development and Stroke. Just like an artist creates a magic with his strokes, we digitalize businesses across the globe with our development stroke.

Times of Youth: What is your startup, what does it do?

We are a design and development company, innovating the traditional design and branding in different parts of the world. Devstroke started in December 2014 with a vision to create a first in its kind entrepreneurial firm that gathered talented and creative young entrepreneurs and freelancers at one platform. We are a team of certified professionals who are experts in their own respective fields and possess a great experience as a freelancer or entrepreneur serving people all over the world. We are now united as TEAM DEVSTROKE and provide state of the art IT services to the people all over the world. Our success lies in our ability of being multi cultured and able to bring out the best solution within the budget. Working with Devstroke will be a unique experience for employees as well as clients as they will meet a team virtually connected from different parts of the world understanding them the better way and uniting different ideas to come up with a magical masterpiece.

Times of Youth: Who are the founders and key team members of your startup?

I am the founder and sole proprietor of Devstroke. We have Project Managers, designers, developers, writers, virtual assistants, book keeper, spokesperson, legal consultant, strategy analysts, business development team, auditors, coordinators, helpers and event organizers (They help us conduct workshops and seminars for learning in different cities). We also have a lot of members (freelancers who attend our training) that we keep on recommending to our clients for their freelance jobs that fit their skills.

Times of Youth: How does your startup stand out against it’s competitors, what makes you different?

We provide everything at one place. From brainstorming to testing, we have people from all over the world with different skills. We never say “NO” to anything just because it is NOT our domain. If there is anything that is relevant to your company’s digital identity, we offer it. We are making it affordable for people to digitalize. Big companies are offering good services but they charge a high amount so their target market is rich customers. Small companies are asking for less fee but they are doing the things the traditional and old way and their target market is the customer with low budget and NO idea of latest techniques. We not only make our customer realize the importance of using the latest techniques, we provide them those quality services in the same rates that they pay to get the obsolete ones. We want to make sure that everyone gets the best solutions and make most out of their websites. If your website is not bringing you leads and business, it’s not the fault of your business or idea, it’s a fault of your website. With us, you don’t need to pay something you cannot afford to get the services you deserve.

Times of Youth: Where did the idea for the startup come from?

I was already developing websites and was a writer. I had contacts with good designers, app developers and SEO experts. I had a huge network of freelancers from different parts of the world who became my friends during my freelancing tenure. I wanted to unite them at one place and grab more projects. Doing that, Allah almighty helped me and we got more than expected projects. This was the time when I wanted to hire more freelancers. I hired Pakistani people because I wanted to create employments here. I noticed that expert freelancers were already getting projects and they knew all the tools and techniques that are being less practiced in Pakistan. I made them managers and hired those struggling ones who were not able to get the jobs because they were not yet ready or didn’t knew much or were simply taking freelancing wrong. I, along with managers, trained them, told them what to do and what not to do. How to apply, how to behave and everything they wanted to know. We then conducted many events and taught people how to become successful freelancers. They are now earning well and teaching their friends. This way, they not only work for us, they get even more projects and create opportunities for their friends and family too. This way Devstroke is changing the vision of foreign clients about Pakistani Freelancers.

Times of Youth: What is your vision for the company?

My vision for Devstroke is to be a Pakistan Based international Company in IT industry. I want to expand the setup to other countries and promote the “made in Pakistan” label. Also, to contribute my part towards Pakistan’s economical and digital development. To bring business in Pakistan and empower the current businesses. To make technology common and affordable and to take the Pakistani Businesses to reach international market.

Times of Youth: What is the actual addressable market?

We have a huge market. Anyone, selling anything or selling nothing at all is our lead. We tell people how they can get benefit by turning their passion into money. Suppose you like cooking and I will make you a blog where you would share your recipes, get followers and generate revenue. Would you be able to resist? See, you are my lead too.

Times of Youth: Can you state, in clear language, the key features of your product or service?

We help you grow digitally. We do industry analysis, market analysis, research and follow ups to make sure you are making most out of your digital identity. We offer,
 Web development (HTML5, WordPress, PHP, Magento, Joomla, Drupal, Shopify, Foursquare, Wix)
 App Development (Android, HTML5, IOS, C#, ASP.NET, JAVA, Unity 2D, Unity 3D)
 Design Services (Web design, graphic design, print media design)
 Writing services ( Articles, web content, blogs, press release, seo content, product reviews, product description, biography, ebooks, reports)
 Internet Marketing (SEO, SMM, SEM, Email Marketing, Content Marketing)
 Maintenance Services
 Web and Blog administration
 ERPs ( Point of sales, school management, hospital management, clinic management, restaurant management)
 Virtual Assistants
 Skill Training through seminars and workshops
 Testing Services (Scrum Testing, Agile Testing, Unit Testing, Integration Testing and System Testing)

Times of Youth: Where did the idea for the startup come from? What was the inspiration behind the business?

I always wanted to something extra ordinary. I wanted to strengthen myself because I was told that girls are fragile. Growing up as a girl, circumstances were always different. On one hand, women empowerment was rising, people were offering more jobs to girls etc. On the other hand, parents were not satisfied with their daughters earning money. On one side, it was a proud to see our women rising, on other side harassment was a big threat. Though society was changing in favor of girls but parents were still afraid. I wanted to be an example.

I wanted to change the perspective of parents so that they can proudly get their daughters educated and allow them to rise and shine. My parents didn’t wanted me to join any office. They didn’t wanted me to work along with my studies because they felt I don’t need to earn because they are earning for me. I wanted to change this mind set by telling them that it’s not about earning, it’s about being able to help others and be a responsible human. I took this path to stand out while sitting at home. Today I am running a company and planning projects that can make a big impact on entire nation. My parents are now proud of me. Alhamdulillah, I am glad that I have made many housewives, single mothers, students and widows freelancers. They now earn by sitting at home. Few are Devstroke’s employees too.

Times of Youth: What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?

I am bought up in a family with business background. My family and friends encouraged me throughout. I always wanted to do something big but I never thought it will be so early and this good. I started freelancing to bare the expense of my university. I wanted to feel financially independent. Eventually, things turned this way around. I always helped people, even before the startup. When I learn something productive, I teach it to others too. So, when I got much projects, I thought to share them. When people completed projects for me, I was never satisfied and I use to refine them my way. The difference was due to the level of technology in abroad and here. Then, I thought to make a company and get everything done in a modern way. So I trained my team accordingly. I always hire the one who is determined and wants to learn, not the one who wants to count their hours and get the salary. This way I got the most productive team. However, it took much hard work to achieve this level of productivity.

Times of Youth: What are the major product milestones/achievements?

We were founded in December 2014 and within 5 months, we were labelled as one of the Top 100 startups of Pakistan. I get a lot of invites to attend various organizations and conduct learning sessions. My team as well as clients are very happy with us and this is what I consider the biggest achievement. They own Devstroke and Devstroke owns them.

Times of Youth: How did you initially raise funding for your company?

We had no physical office. I only invested few hundred dollars to get my website ready and register the company. Initially, for projects, I used freelancing platforms to grab projects. Those clients became our happy customers and outsourced their entire development departments to us. We work 24/7 and this is the reason most of the companies have outsourced us their work. Apart from companies, many individual clients contacted us for their websites and referred us. The only thing that get us clients is quality of our work and my best ever Team, specially my project Manager.

Times of Youth: What early traction has the company gotten (sales, traffic to the company’s website, app downloads, etc., as relevant).

We have been able to get trusted by people and companies all over the world. They gave us their projects. Most of our clients are recurring and long term. We are capable and ready to deliver as much work as a client needs. There is no limit when it comes to Devstroke.

Times of Youth: What has been your biggest challenge so far as a startup owner?

Luckily, satisfying the clients was never the problem for me. The biggest challenge for me was to gather the best team. I knew the importance of good team since the start. It took me months to gather the cream at one place. It was very difficult to find the gems. You always have to dig deep to grab one.  Now, I have the best team. I value them, encourage them and I feel glad that they all love Devstroke and are working here because they find it a better place to grow and achieve.

Times of Youth: What will the company look like in a year? From any and all perspectives — product, people, team, revenue?

In a year, I see Devstroke innovating the local Pakistani Market. We are already working for foreign clients. In the year 2016, we are planning to cover and digitalize the local market. We will reach empower maximum local businesses and launch them with a great force in the global market. Making Pakistan go Global will be our New Year resolution for 2016.

Times of Youth: How can investors in your idea make a profit?

Investors can help us reach our business in different parts of the world and then, they can sit back and see us innovating businesses in that area and generating a decent profit. Devstroke have a best team, ability to handle load, ability to learn new things and adapt to new culture, and ability to say YES to every challenge. What else would a client need? All we are expecting from investors is to connect us with potential market and clients in different developing as well as developed countries. This way, we will be able to connect technologies and techniques from all over the world to one place i.e. DEVSTROKE.

Times of Youth: Finally, If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?

For anyone who is looking to start a business, I would say that if you are not doing something because you think it’s not the right time, please do it. There is no such thing as “the right time”. The moment you think of something indicates that God wants you to do it. I will also say that if you are afraid of risks, there is no such thing as “risk”. If you play wise, and use your brain the smart way, there is no risk in anything. You never need investment or money to start a business. You have internet, it’s worth treasure. Use it to minimize the risk and always trust the right people to build a team. In a long span, a stranger might be more helpful than your best friend. So take wiser decision, minimize the initial costs to as low as possible and wait for the public’s interest in your product/service to make any big investment.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DevstrokeTech

Questionnaire was filled by Founder of Devstroke – Miss Sundas Jabeen

Times of Youth is an International Youth Magazine read by the youth of more than 82 countries. Times of Youth brings the latest Youth Opportunities, News, Interviews, Fully Funded Scholarships, Paid Internships, Future Stars, Rising Stars, etc. For further details you can email us at: [email protected]

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Future Stars

Muhammad Ali | Interview

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Times of Youth: How would tell our readers about yourself and your work in brief for those who may not be aware?

Muhammad Ali: Right now in this century the most powerful thing is Internet. The world population is 7.2 billion from which 40% of population is using Internet. To spread my work and make others aware about my work I can use Internet on Social Media. The Social Media top listed apps are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram e.t.c.

On Facebook daily 1.23 billion people log in. I mostly uses Facebook for my work to spread on my Facebook page. My friends, teachers also helps me to spread my work along with that my Parents  inspires me to make more videos.

Times of Youth: What makes you come up with so many ideas with such enormous potential to do these magic tricks? Who designs the final concepts?

Muhammad Ali: All the ideas which are shown on my videos are my own mostly, To get these ideas I give myself some free time to think about more and more creative ideas, Sometimes I get help from internet I watch some simple videos and come up with ideas to make it in magical vine. I have seen many magical vines and after watching them I creates a different type of video from it. The final concept is designed by myself I first rehearse my ideas off camera and thinks of final shot! Sometimes I share my ideas with my parents to get if my idea is good or not! My father also helps me in making videos, He gives me ideas!

Times of Youth: When did you decide that making magic tricks video was your calling?

Muhammad Ali: As I have got a great God gifted knowledge about editing I thought of making some magic vines. I decided that this magic vines videos are my calling when I made my first video. I was stunned by my own video that how good it was. To see how others likes my video I posted it on social media and got good views from which I started making vines.

Times of Youth: So, what are your current endeavors in academics?

Muhammad Ali: Right now I am in class 8th and I am studying in The City School, Chenab Campus, Faisalabad, My goals in academics are to be what my parents wants from me to become.

Times of Youth: At the end of it all, what is your real aim in life? 

Muhammad Ali: My real aim of life is to make my parents proud of my work and to make them happy to see my work. My aim is to be a successful person to make my friends and teachers feel good about myself. My aim of life is also to make people smile by watching my videos.

Times of Youth: Considering your enormous intellectual potential, we believe that you have the power to bring a rational change in the world. If given a chance, what would you like to do to make this world place a better place? 

Muhammad Ali: To make this world better place from my work is that to make other kids learn about these editing skills from my work and to educate others to help them for better future. I will try my best to use my videos to make this world a better place.

Times of Youth: Which was your first video? How was the response to it?

Muhammad Ali: My first video about magical vine was that the copy of myself is playing with me. This was my first video and the response I got from this video was awesome everyone appreciated me.

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Future Stars

David Uzumaki | Interview

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Times of Youth: Do tell our readers about your work in brief for those who may be unaware.

Sure thing. Well, my name is David Uzumaki and I am known as “8gaming” online. I have a Facebook page and also am YouTuber that does a variety of things. On my Facebook, I post video game facts and trivia that many people would have not known about before. On YouTube, I dwell deeper in the whole video game world of things. (‘Let’s play…’, funny moment videos, informative gaming videos, etc). Essentially it’s just me having fun with video games.

Times of Youth: When did you decide that being a gamer was your calling?

Quite recently actually. I’d say around 2013 when I started 8gaming. I’ve played for many years before that of course (the earliest I can recall is ‘Sonic on’ of the original Sega system and Crash Bandicoot and Tomb Raider on the PS1). I feel the creation of 8gaming made me a more focused gamer as I invested quite a lot of time in it subsequently increasing my love for the hobby.

Times of Youth: ‘8gaming’ is an unusual name. What made you choose it for your project?

I get this one a lot actually. It’s really simple actually. The 8 represents an infinity symbol so technically you can call me infinite gaming. It represents the never ending love for video games that we all have. However, originally the name was derived from “8fact”. A partner of 9gag who essentially does the same thing but posts more general content. I noticed nobody made an 8gaming page so took the chance to make it.

Times of Youth: How did you conjure up the idea of revealing gaming facts using web and mobile apps as a portal?

I got to give credit where credit is due. 8fact. As I previously said they posted general facts and trivia of life, I simply did the same thing but refined it to video games (which I recently expanded to YouTube).

Times of Youth: From where do you gather all these facts? How authentic are they?

Among the positivity of the ‘m8s’ (what I name my supporters). There is always the one or two who try to disprove everything I say. The facts are gathered in 3 ways:

I simply look for pre-existing facts that are already confirmed (but this is difficult to do now since I’m using everything up)

I use different apps and sites to try and learn something nobody has mentioned before or I would use the said apps to post current interesting information. An example is the built in Google Now Cards installed on my phone which provides me with information about things I regularly search. This sometimes provides sources for posts. I also use an app called “Flipboard” which allows me to specifically look for video game related news which I use on the page.

This is the more interesting method. However, I should tell you a bit more about me. I have a keen intrigue when it comes to Physics. As a hobbyist and in formal education. So I use this knowledge and the knowledge I already have of video games to “create” a fact. An example is when I posted about Portal 2 and compared portals to real life using the knowledge I know from physics. However, this is longer process when it comes to gathering information as I must 100% make sure what I say is 100% coherent in a short manner.

Regarding their authenticity, I wouldn’t post something if it was false and this is something that those few people who say otherwise don’t realize. They can simply confirm the information by researching it themselves so I would never post something non-genuine.

Times of Youth: What is your idea of a perfect game?

One that applies real-life theoretical physics in a world of its own to a finite degree. A light example would be the idea behind Delsin Rowe’s (Infamous Second Son) powers being introduced into a real-world environment. Basically anything that is not about real-life but can be explained by real-life (which is why I don’t like Grand Theft Auto).

Times of Youth: Which has been your most favorite game of all time?

“The Last of Us”

Times of Youth: Any achievement of yours which you’re most proud of?

Definitely! I won a national animation competition twice in Ireland and got to travel to Microsoft to their Games localization division to spend a week with them including the Windows team. Although, I am also more proud of 8gaming as a whole. As one can deduce I am still trying to find myself, still trying to carve myself in the gaming world and I’m only in the early stages of that. There’s still a long journey for me ahead!

Times of Youth: Has your work ever been criticized? How did you handle it?

Yes. A lot. Specifically YouTube. For the main reason being when I first got into YouTube, I was clueless (like any other YouTuber). My videos were frankly sub-par and I was having a hard time getting peoples’ attention. This is due to the size of my Facebook page and people comparing it to my YouTube. They ignore the fact that my Facebook page was once small and are condescending regarding my YouTube. In the back of my head though, I know that the hard times will be over as I experienced it with my Facebook page. Recently, things have been going well with my YouTube and I’m in the budding stage of becoming something noteworthy. It’s only a matter of time until both my YouTube and Facebook are at the same level.

When it comes to handling the critics I simply shrug them off (or so I try) as I’ve been hardened from many in the past. You become so used to the positive comments that one negative comment will get to you. 99% of what they say is lacking in background knowledge and they ramble on about things they don’t understand. This goes for both my YouTube and Facebook. I usually block people who say things that simply don’t make sense and their sole intent is to loathe me.

Times of Youth: What advice would you give to the young emerging gamers who still have a long way to go?

Well, since I’m a young emerging gamer myself and am tasting small snippets of success, I’d say (and I know this is cliche) have fun. I feel my short time on YouTube has thought me this. People can sense when you’re not real. When you don’t like what you’re doing. Plus, it would be a waste of your time and you’ll ultimately get nowhere. Whether this is YouTube, Facebook or even just you as a person. The thing you have to do is find something you like and stick with it. There’s no real specifics I can discuss unless you’re super rich and can just advertise your image everywhere (and even that wouldn’t work so well).

Times of Youth: Any message that you would like to share for the youth via Times Of Youth?

Sure! I wanna first thank you for reading this far and I’ll like to tell you one thing. Don’t give up. Once again, cliche as ever but these sayings exist for a reason. Whatever it is you’re passionate about, you will fail and fail over and over again in the beginning. I mean, I still fail all the time. It’s the fact that you can learn from your mistakes and become a better person.
Side tip: Be original or originally recreate something that already exists, make it better.

Times of Youth: Do tell us how fans and admirers can contact you to share their appreciation and feedback.

I reply to ‘m8s’ on a variety of platforms. My personal Facebook page (David Uzumaki)
Snapchat: m8gaming
Youtube: 8gaming
Twitter: @8gaming
PSN: narutouzumaki16

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Future Stars

Levi Boulis | Interview

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For those who don’t know about you and your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a 20 year old from Ohio exploring the world of art. I did not attend college or study art in a classroom past my high school. Through this journey, I’ve gotten to exhibit in London and Barcelona in the past year. Hopefully many more trips will be taken to exhibit my art through out the world. The opportunities I’ve gotten through art has also helped me grow as a person. It’s forced me to become a more outgoing person, which naturally I keep to myself. At first I was just making art because I loved it, and then some people in the art community took notice. So now It’s become a pursuit of a career.

How would you describe your work to someone who has never known about it?

My work consists of various styles and subject matter, as I experiment a great amount with my art. The majority consists of vibrant colors that highlight the emotion I feel from the subject matter. Some of the subject matter includes portraits, animals, water, and city street views. Older artwork was created mainly with charcoal, which has helped tremendously in creating paintings. My more current artwork is done in oil and acrylics on canvas.

What sparked your initial interest in arts?

There isn’t a specific moment that set off my interest. Most kids have a favorite thing to kill time, and mine just happened to be drawing. I continued to draw more and more, and as I got older I grew in talent due to the practice. In my last year of high school, I really began to take it more seriously, as I was taking many art classes.

At what age did you start doing all this work? Has your family always been supportive of this choice of career?

I’ve always been creating art. At 17, I started making the majority of the artwork that is featured on my website and captured the attention of others. My family has been very supportive during this adventure. They have even let me use a room in the house for a small studio space. I think most parents don’t take the news of their children wanting to become artists very well. To parents, the phrase, “I want to be an artist” can be interpreted as “I’m going to have no money”. But this thinking isn’t always true and my parents recognize that.

If not this, what else would you have taken up as your 2nd career of choice and why?

My second choice would be computer programming. I’ve always been interested in why and how the technology works. Since I have a great interest in this field, I’ve taken it upon myself to study it through free online resources and books. My hope is to integrate my creativity and experiences in art with my programming knowledge, to help other artists.

Do tell us how has your experience has been in your current field so far.

I can tell you right away, that it is not easy. There are plenty of times that I don’t want to do anything creative, or a project that is taking a lot longer than I had planned. Forcing myself to work on projects is very important, because practice is necessary to become better. Another challenge is having ideas. Writers may have writers’ block, but a painter has “painters’ block”. This field is also hard to make an income with, if you’re like me and just create original artwork. Others rely on selling prints or paintings. It’s possible though! All it takes is the right person seeing your artwork to really get things moving forward. All that being said, it has been an incredible experience. Unique opportunities have been made available that are just so exciting to be a part of. Getting to exhibit internationally has got to be my favorite part and also, meeting other crazy artists and people from all over the world united by the love for art.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself as an artist, honestly?

Currently, I would rate myself a 6. It doesn’t seem very high, but there’s a reason for that. There is ALWAYS more room to improve, so I could never reach 10. Some artists are in the studio almost every day. Right now, that’s just not me. I have many things I am interested in. So I can’t dedicate every hour to my art. I have just set a new goal for myself to help me improve, create one new piece of work every 10 days.

Which of your projects are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of my recent paintings of Barcelona. It challenged me to step away from just doing unrealistic colors and portraits for a time, and try to expand my talent. These paintings included more natural colors, and new subject matter. The biggest part of why I’m so proud of these paintings is I captured the atmosphere I felt while I was there, which is extremely important to me.

Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?

In 5 years, I see myself with a more professional art studio space. Getting the right atmosphere to create my art is very important to becoming better. I hope to be exhibiting at 2 international exhibits a year by that point. Teaching art classes might be something I see myself doing as well. Referencing what I had talked about earlier, I hope to have developed a website to really help artists get discovered and connect them with job opportunities.

What is one question nobody has ever asked you— that you wish they asked you?

“What were you thinking about/what mood were you in while you created this piece of work?” is a question I at least don’t remember being asked before. Most people ask questions such as, “Why did you use this color?” or “How long did it take?”. These questions don’t really have answers that provide any depth to a work of art. Sometimes I choose a color, just because it looks good. The question about what mood or what I was thinking about while painting a particular piece can provide something more than just the visual aspect, and add a better understanding of my work.

Any message to your fans or followers via TIMES OF YOUTH?

I would encourage everyone to pursue their passion relentlessly. I even know many people who have given up on what they love, simply because they doubt themselves. It’s not fair to yourself to limit yourself by fear of failure, and it’s also not fair to everyone else who is prevented from witnessing your unique talents. I firmly believe that choosing a career that you are passionate about will allow you to maximize your potential, because when you’re passionate about something, you will work harder towards it.

Do tell us how can fans contact you to share their appreciation/feedback/suggestions.

Anyone can contact me through my Facebook art page, “Levi Boulis Artist”, or through my website www.leviboulis.com

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