I've never had the passion for entrepreneurship, really. I just like doing things that makes me feel good about myself.
Since I was a teenager, I had a passion to do volunteering work with local mosques. By doing so, I've gained some experience organizing events, programs, and workshops for the youth.
I also loved the camaraderie and relationships built through the hardships and fun times we had together. In fact, me and my childhood friend joined the group together and became very close even until now.
I was also interested in fitness or outdoor related activities too like trekking, camping, kayaking, cave exploration, outdoor workouts, amazing race programs, and also working out at the gym.
During those times, I'd join any groups or organization just so I could do these activities. Yet, I would do so without having any interest of setting up my own business related to these activities at all - not until I started working on shifts.
From Hobby To Business Idea
So, when I started working on shifts for my full-time job as a process technician, it became difficult to join these programs and life got really boring for me.
I'm either too tired or the event date would clash with my working hours, but I was desperate to socialize and to get involved with a personal development organization just like old times.
In a way, God made it possible when I found out about Hilmi Anwar and MuslimWithMuscles which is an organisation that organizes fitness programs, outdoor activities, and also religious programs as well. It is something that is surely close to my heart.
But, the same problem occurred. I couldn't join most of their events because I was working on shifts!
Then, an idea struck me. What if I could organize my own events? Then I don't have to worry about missing the event dates because I choose the date, time, and place of the event. "POWERLAH," I thought to myself.
At first, I pitched the idea to my best friend who was in the same volunteering youth group when we were a teenager.
In my mind, I thought it would be a dream come true to set up a company with my bestie doing what I like but I got to know he wasn't invested in my idea as he was mostly passionate about teaching.
So, I had to scrap the idea of partnering with him.
Then, I thought, why not pitch the idea to Hilmi Anwar, the founder of MuslimeWithMuscles.
Even though I was nervous at first because we weren't close, I just gave it a go cause he seemed approachable.
From then on...a lot of exciting things happened one after another.
A New Family Was Born
At first, it wasn't easy trying to pin-point what exactly I wanted to do. A few things I had in mind was:
With these points in mind, I could either help Hilmi as an event organizer or a facilitator, but on the other hand, I could also be a speaker or a fitness trainer who trains people in a group or individually.
So, I wasn't sure what was the best thing for me to do.
But, Hilmi Anwar, didn't pushed away any of my ideas. He said, "What do you feel like doing right now, just go ahead. I'll be here to support you,".
Then, I got to know Abam Farid. Later on, I met the soon-to-be Hilmi's wife, Afiqah, and lastly, Nur Aqilah - a respectable lady who had successfully shed a lot of weight to be where she is now.
One thing for sure, we have the same intention to help people live healthier and better lives.
I Want People To Be Healthier and Also, Happier
"I want to help people, especially Malays, to lead healthier lives. I want to inspire healthy living." That was what I told him with a firm voice.
Of course, being the founder of MuslimWithMuscles, he could relate as he is a wellness consultant and a personal trainer who helps chronic patients to start adapting healthy habits.
In fact, that was how I met him in the first place. We met at one of his outdoor fitness events at SCAPE Orchard at the basketball court.
It was then that I fell in love with his idea and concept.
He wanted to help the Malay Muslim community to not only be fit physically, but he wants to help them get fit emotionally and spiritually as well.
Being a Muslim, we all know that our body, mind, and soul are all interconnected and we have an obligation to keep them healthy as much as possible.
I Started To Hustle Through The Storm
To help others get fit and healthier, I have to walk the talk. To show that I am really serious about this, I've decided to go all out - I left my full-time job to take courses.
I still wanted some ways to earn regularly just to be one the safe side. So, I managed to talk to a gym owner about working for him as part-time staff after I quit my job, but he told me that I have to build my portfolio and get myself the required certifications first.
With a new purpose in life, I became more disciplined with my workout routines and diet. I went to the gym 3-4 times a week for 2 hours each sessions and I prepped my meals daily.
I started taking courses and I also hired a personal trainer to help me improve on my techniques and knowledge on fitness and nutrition.
Not long after, I managed to get three weight loss clients of my own. I charged them at an extremely lower price than what other trainers usually charge for a start. I started giving talks and volunteered to be a facilitator on trekking adventures too with MuslimWithMuscles.
After I getting myself certified which took me a total of about 4 months, I contacted the previous gym owner who wanted to hire me as a part-time staff.
Being naïve and young, I assumed the gym owner will hire me after all the experiences I obtained and after getting two certifications too, but sadly, I didn't get the job because he was looking for people with more followers and experience.
I was totally taken aback and upset, but it wasn't his fault, really. When he agreed to hire me few months back it was just in the form of verbal agreement. There was no formal agreement written down on a piece of paper.
I really learned my lesson that time.
I thought to myself, at least I still enjoyed doing all these activities as it leaves a positive impact on people, but of course, it wasn't enough for me to pay the bills.
It was hard trying to get clients consistently. I couldn't market myself that well and the events we had were on and off with only a small token of appreciation.
To make matters worst, I got injured in my back and knee. I couldn't do trekking and train people that well anymore which also means I couldn't earn money at all.
It was quite a depressing moment for me.
My Last Resort
Or maybe my second...who knows?
I decided to join back the workforce as an employee. Alhamdulillah. Thank God. I managed to get my old job back.
But, I wasn't satisfied just yet. I wasn't going to just give up on my dreams and passion. Hilmi and I had a long discussion and we brainstormed for hours. We burned through the midnight oil thinking of ways I can still be a part of his growing team and his aspirations.
Finally, we've decided that since I can't be active physically for most outdoor events anymore, I could still be active in the background organizing and marketing programs and events.
I've chosen to focus mostly on the Islamic niche because it is closer to my heart, but I do organize events that caters to everyone once in awhile as well.
And that was how I decided to focus on my Islamic Organization, Al-busyro Learning Development. "Al-Busyro" is an arabic word which means "The Good news" and that is the main objective I have to think about when organizing any programs.
Sometimes, You Have To Be Flexible And Adaptable To Survive or Just Accept Fate
Life is full of unpredictable moments and factors.
One day you could be comfortably minding your own business, replying to the long list of emails to your superiors and vendors, and the next day you could be facing a mid-life crisis so intense you start asking why are you're still there only to suffer for the rest of your life.
Or maybe even when you're having the best time of your life - you might have the best job and your family is doing fine - then COVID-19 happened.
As humans trying to survive, we have to always be prepared for cases like this. Some say, we have to learn new skills or have multiple source of income, but who are we kidding?
Not everyone has the capabilities to learn new skills as and when they wish, isn't it? We are not computers that can be easily updated. Even old CPU's can't be used anymore for the modern PC capacity and software operating requirements. They will just burn out to crisps.
In the end, some will lose and some will win. The only thing matters to me is the afterlife and that we continue to show love and compassion to those around us. As Muslims, I have to be patient with what has already been determined for me and my loved ones too.
Zaid Omar is the founder and writer of this blog.. He is someone who values being the best version of himself with regards to his Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual aspects.