How Resilience Led me to Success
No one loves to hit dead ends, but the resilient among us know how to uncover possibilities!
We can fail time and again standing up stronger than before, use defeats as stepping stones to victories because temporary losses can never predict future gains.
Born and raised by a single mother, I owe my entire success to my mother, without her dedication and sincere efforts I would not have been what I am today. My journey started with odd jobs which I pursued along with my graduation from Paktel (Nowadays Zong) where I worked on new connection forms getting Rs. 1.5 per form. These were the days of the early 2000s while I was residing in Abbottabad and unfortunately, Pakistan got hit by a tragic earth-quake in 2005 back then. I had joined an NGO by that time and was pursuing various roles ranging from humanitarian assistance, coordination to food supply and what not. However, the insane drive in me to succeed profoundly in my career, brought me to the banking industry after years of hard work and dedication. It was 2008 when the economic slump had hit the global economy severely and my dream of working with a multinational bank got a huge upset and I had to move forward. I joined Saif Group of Companies and remained there for a couple of years in different roles from admin positions to marketing till Kulsum International Hospital was launched in Islamabad and I switched my job.
Life changes at every step and teaches you a lot of lessons. You realize it’s not a bed of roses and every step ahead is tougher than the previous one. I had to move to Islamabad leaving my mother back alone for better job opportunities as there were almost none in Abbottabad. I had to travel between the cities as her health was deteriorating and she was not as active as she used to be throughout her working life as a school principal.
My entrepreneurial journey started with a small shop at a local public spot in Abbottabad, which I scaled up gradually with good numbers. I was selling top ups, mobile accessories, cigarettes, and confectionery items, and starting with Rs. 20,000, monthly income, I sold that shop later on for Rs. 800,000 in a span of 2 years. Subsequently, in 2012, I entered the startup world and launched WiOne with a local cable operator and aimed to make Abbottabad a Wifi-enabled city. Luckily, within six months we had about 300 users with monthly packages, however, unfortunately I suffered a major setback and had to shut down my business due to intervention by the local authorities.
An entrepreneur is no stranger to blows and risks in the business world but they can also be incredibly motivating and enticing at the same time. Henceforth, I did not give up and after a few weeks of self-reflection and contemplation, I decided to start again because “Where there is a will, there is a way”.
I moved on trying to catch up with the fast paced world and got a paid project with an NGO, sadly it ended within three months.
Nonetheless, I was unstoppable as I saw the entrepreneur in me aspiring to start something of my own soon. I continued my search and one day my mother asked me to arrange white wash for the house for a family event. I was severely depressed and destitute in those days as there was no work at all and all I could afford was the paint material but not the labour cost whatsoever. So I decided to paint my house myself, learning it all from DIY and from that point till late 2013 I did labour work as a paint guy for different shops and houses in my vicinity. I was earning Rs. 400-500 per day to meet the basic kitchen expenses and it was really hard especially after working for multinationals and big industry giants.
Nevertheless, my mother’s prayers paid off and out of the blue I got a chance to join a Telecom VAS company in Islamabad. Thinking of it as a last chance, I worked more than 14 hours a day and learnt what VAS was all about, how it worked etc. I simply loved the concept, and never knew that it was going to change my life forever. I was traveling to Dubai and other gulf states for work every after 10-15 days, yet in the back of my mind I was saving regularly and continuously thinking about starting something of my own. Therefore one fine day I decided to leave my 400K per month job along with my car and some other lucrative incentives and delve into the entrepreneurial world.
I started another startup named 'Industrus', and that too transformed my life 360 degrees. In 2019 I made a VAS product of my own, an IVR Based radio station and launched it with Telenor and here I would call out a huge industry name Sardar Abu-bakar who saw the strength in me and my product and helped me kick it off succ-essfully.
Through the program "Radio Zamindar", I explored the Agri-Tech world extensively. Although I had no knowledge regarding this field at all, my previous failures and experiences helped me learn it fast. Radio Zamindar did wonders, working with leading telecom operators of Pakistan, however unfortunately during COVID it was slow but this time I was prepared for all sorts of outcomes and situations. Henceforth, I acted proactively and started meeting industry experts and leaders through a mutual connection. I met Nadeem Hussian, co-founder of the Planet N Group and started working under his mentorship. Radio Zamindar did wonders in his presence and here I got another chance to learn about the Fintech industry which fascinated me a lot and I yearned to start a small Fintech startup after the future-proof sustainability of Radio Zamindar.
In 2022, I launched Quwat, a small Fintech startup offering a retail network based Fintech service provider that aims to bank the unbanked population. The initial partnership with Mobilink Micro-finance Bank helped a lot and once again Sardar Abubakar was behind its success believing in me and my product. Currently, Quwat has a wide network of retailers with all sorts of banking services provision for the consumers. Our leading partners are Mobilink Bank, JS Bank Zindigi and Bank Alfalah.
Its easy to write CEO with your name I believe, but its equally tough to achieve this title on the practical ground. I am blessed to have a strong mother and wife (Tooba Saad Khan) also an entrepreneur who always believed in me and pushed me always to make my dreams a reality.
I believe adversities and misfortunes are bound to happen at one time or another, making you take risks time and again, nonetheless they also present a powerful opportunity to bounce back stronger, with newfound perspective and wisdom.