Moe Falah wouldn’t be where he is today – at the head of a company that’s made $25 million in its first year – without mentorship. In fact, without mentorship, his company, Simple Solar, wouldn’t exist.
“I was very fortunate to have people along the way who recognized my drive and took me under their wing,” Moe says. “Now I’ve been able to pay it forward – passing on what I’ve learned to a team of over 40 people. Together, we’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations.”
Moe knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur from an early age. He’d watched his parents – Palestinian immigrants who moved to the United States just months before 9/11/2001 – deal with the dual burdens of racism and trying to support a large family on a single income. Quickly he developed one consuming interest: how could he build wealth as fast as possible, so that he and his family would never be vulnerable to the whims of the employers or the market again?
His answer came from his first mentor, a friend of his older brother. “If you want to get rich in this world,” the man said to him, “the only way to do that is through sales. You’ve got to connect people to a product that really benefits them. They’ll pay you for the labor you do in bringing the product to their doorstep. Come to Toronto and I’ll take you under my wing. I’ll teach you everything I know.”
Moe dropped out of college, joined his mentor’s sales operation and soon he was making more money than he’d ever seen in his life. He also started to notice a strange phenomenon: he was selling more than other sales reps in his company. Like, a lot more.
“It started to become a problem,” Moe tells us. “Their supply chain wasn’t built to order or install our products that fast. They actually ended up in trouble – unable to pay our commissions, because I’d emptied out their warehouses.”
Fortunately, Moe was about to get a new mentor. He was approached by a solar panel salesman who was impressed by his sales pitch for storm windows – the product Moe was selling at the time. “Come work for me,” the salesman offered. “I promise – solar is one of the best industries out there.”
To Moe’s delight, he soon agreed. “Here was this product that made the buyer energy-independent. No more electric bills, and the installation was without any cost to switch.. The buyer was now immune from any problems affecting their local electric grid, and they weren’t burning any fossil fuels when they used electricity. After learning about this product, I realized, ‘Wow. Who isn’t going to want to buy this?’”
With the help of his new mentor, Moe began selling solar panels – and quickly ran into the same supply chain problem as before. “I don’t know what it was – I just sold more than everyone else. Maybe it was because, growing up Palestinian in rural America in the early 2000s, I learned early not to let rejection bother me.”
Now, Moe knew it was time for him to take the next step. If no company existed that could install solar panels as fast as he could sell them, he’d just have to start his own.
In early 2020, Moe now found himself in the position of a mentor, training a small sales team – just himself and four other people, at first – in how to sell homeowners the best solar panel solutions for their homes, and make generous commissions in the process.
Those of you who noticed the date above might have gotten nervous on Moe’s behalf. Indeed, he started Simple Solar – sells door-to-door – just a few months before COVID-19 shut down the U.S. economy as we once knew it.
But COVID-19 didn’t slow Moe’s team down. They rapidly chose to expand, rather than contract. They doubled down on their work, didn’t stop, and were soon hitting far above the expected benchmarks for the industry. Moe proved that he was able to pay it forward indeed – he took what his mentors had taught him, and his own unique approach to sales, and successfully trained a small army of new recruits. By the end of 2020, Simple Solar was supporting a team of 40 people.
Moe credits the success of Simple Solar entirely to supportive relationships internally within the organization. Without his own mentors, he may have never discovered his gift for sales, or his passion for solar energy. And Simple Solar’s own success relies on a culture of support and mentorship.
“We really are like a family,” Moe says. “High expectations, but also high support. We know the astounding things you are capable of. We’re going to teach you everything we can to help you succeed. Simple Solar is the same. And that’s the only reason I can think of that we’ve been outperforming all the industry benchmarks.”
When asked what’s next, Moe has his answer ready: “$100 million in sales in 2021,” he says. “I think it will be easy – we’ve got an amazing product, an amazing team, and we can even help homeowners save money and secure their homes against infrastructure collapse. Buying solar panels will be a no-brainer in 2021 – and we will support an even larger team and give them security, too.”