The importance of Passive Income

Aside

Passive income is such as defined by Wikipedia is “an income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it”.

ImageThis is my definition of passive income; passive income is something that can enable you to cover your basic living expenses, regardless of who you are, where you stay and the likes. It is important for us to have or build towards a source of passive income, it doesn’t necessarily require a lot of money, but it does however require a lot of your time and effort in the initial stages. Coming to think about it, I have been bought up in such an environment. Although my parents and my family have no clue about what passive income is, that is what they have been building towards all their lives and successfully done!

ImageI’m proud of my dad for enabling me to be bought up in that atmosphere. Now let’s get to it. There has to be a driving factor for you to build towards a sustainable passive income, it can be anything, your need for the whims and fancies in this world, your love for wealth, anything, but the fact is that you need a driving factor! To me passive income is important so that I can sustain my family, I can dedicate time to them, I can give time for my kids (whenever I have that is) and yet not be worried about the food being on the table when it needs to be there, but most of all, I have time for God when he needs me, that is my primary source of motivation, automating other parts of your life, like your business, your communications, your source of passive income so that you have the time to enjoy the pleasure of doing things manually when it comes to things that really matter.

A friend of mine heard me saying that I wanted to automate certain parts of my life and she said “its funny how people relate to automate with their own personal lives these days” – This is the main reason why I’m writing this blog. I want people to get this notion out of their minds and that it’s okay to automate, as long as you automate for the right reasons.

Have you taken a large home loan? Or did you put your savings in stocks, mutual funds or bonds? If not, then you can relax (not to relax about the fact that it’s essential for you to understand the importance of passive income but to relax about the fact that you are less likely to be affected by a bubble) but all of us who did are living on borrowed time. So you can see why I say passive income, in-order to prepare ourselves for the next financial crisis. You think the Dot com bubble was too big, well, there’s another big one coming and as a matter of fact; we are living in one, the bubble of all bubbles the “bail-out” bubble. The essence of this is that if you have set your passive income to cover your basic living expenses, then you are well on your way to preparing your selves. The clock is ticking and time is not working in our favor, it’s important for us to build a sustainable environment for the generations to come not to mention, to enable them to understand the importance of this sustainability.

ImageI mean what’s the point of going around and making money when you are not there for your child’s recital? So in order to be able to that, firstly you need to prioritize, what I mean by that is, if you prioritize business and money over your family and friends and relationships, then go for it. So what’s the point? Why are you here on this earth? God has given us this life to enjoy. Earth and the relationships that you have is a gift from God; we are its people who are meant to enjoy God’s grandeur.

Building a sustainable vision

ImageBeing entrepreneurs, having a vision is absolutely important to us. So how do we structure this? Where do we start?

There were a couple of starting points to enable me to start building my vision board, the vision for my life in a short term (usually between 3 – 5 years) and my long term vision. (usually between 10 – 15 years). The place you like to be at in a span of x number of years is what needs to be on the vision board.

When I look at my vision board, I see a house, a big one, I see myself in a suit, and I see a Stanford MBA degree with my name on it. I see a factory / company, a link that goes from the company to a picture of people which means that I want to be someone who pays the society back for what she has done for me, particularly for people less fortunate than I am. I am an activist, a man of God, and essentially to me what’s more important than all the money power and fame is to achieve my purpose in this world. So I believe the vision board is an enabler for you to be closer aligned to your purpose in this world. The more aligned you are with your purpose in this world, the better off you are, that is what your vision should be like. In Rick Warren’s book, he mentions C.S Lewis “The more we let God take us over, the more ourselves we become – because he made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be… It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to his personality, that I begin to have a real personality, a personality of my own”

The key to being a successful entrepreneur is to build and be involved in things that enables growth in the society, there has to be that kind of a vision to be successful, when you build something, the thought process should always involve about how you are empowering the society with whatever it is that you are building. The vision board is something that I hold dear to my heart, it’s a living thing, things on my vision board keeps changing, lol it even gets old. It’s pretty easy to maintain a vision board if you see it this way.

So I believe that building a sustainable vision starts with building the perfect vision board, this is even important to companies, a vision board doesn’t have to be boring.

There are two sides to my vision board, a side dedicated to the achievements and a side dedicated to the things that need to be achieved, so this essentially takes off the bad word “loss / lost opportunities” coz the beauty of my vision board coz it’s two sided is that whenever there’s something that I haven’t achieved, it automatically moves to the other side, which shows the things that needs to be achieved.

Tell you what, first things first, close your eyes and think yourself in a happy place, a place you like to be in, now come into a place where you would like to be 3 years down the lane. I recommend some mild melodic music in your background. Be creative, to me Mozart enables my mind to be a lot more creative than I normally am. It’s important for you to hang your vision board where you will be at more often. The whole point is to envision things that will enable your mind to subconsciously imprint into your minds.

Do this vision board if:

– You’re not sure what exactly you want
– You’ve been in a period of depression or grief
– You have a vision of what you want, but are uncertain about it in some way.
– You know you want change but don’t know how it’s possible.

 

 ImageDisclaimer: The vision board is not a shortcut! If anything, the vision board is just going to make you work harder, but the beauty of it is that if you love what you do, you are just not going to feel the pinch, I urge you all, the vision board, is something that can enable you to align your thoughts straight, and something that can help you try and understand what you want from this world. The most sustainable vision is a vision that’s aligned and congruent with the vision of God for you, coz that way you are not alone! Whether you are a company or a single individual, you have to know that you are here for a purpose, and it’s okay, to want the whims and fancies of this world, that’s the way we are wired, have you guys thought about if we didn’t have any desire for worldly benefits, what a world we would be in? It would be so blah! I personally can’t imagine! So I believe that God has wired us with these desires for a purpose. So it’s okay to desire, but just as long as we have our thoughts and visions aligned with that of God’s. The bible says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you” Are you kidding me!? How cool is that! All we have to do is to seek the kingdom of God???? And the Lord will provide us with our hearts desires. 

The Challenge Thus far…

ImageBeing an aspiring entrepreneur, I’ve had a few challenges, there are not many who would agree with me, and however the fact of the matter is that to me it felt quite challenging. I am an entrepreneur by nature and I always will be. I keep travelling up and down from Dubai to Al-Ain coz my folks are there. I have often contemplated during these trips on the different ways in which these challenges could possibly be solved. I’m an entrepreneur, so automatically I’m quite flexible when I want to get something done. I make sure that the thing that I want to get done or the thing that needs to be done is done by hook or by crook!

This song by Mumford and sons – The cave, lovely song, its soooo damn inspirational! I will make my life how it’s meant to be. I will hold on hope, you take what is yours and I’ll take mine. These are lyrics from the song. I will find strength in pain. A wise man once said that what doesn’t kill will only make you stronger. I think the same applies to entrepreneurs, in the context that however you try you gotta give it the push that the project needs. We had Ahmed Abusafia’s leadership training session the other day. It was one of the most inspiring sessions on leadership that I had attended. Damn man, MBTI is such an eye opener; helps you figure out a SWOT analysis of yourself, even this friend of mine went and researched on the perfect partner for him based on his analysis! Lol….

I had the best ideas, the most scalable one on the accelerator program; unfortunately I didn’t have a developer or more specifically a competent co-founder. I think this is really important for a beginner entrepreneur. I need to start being a little more stubborn with myself in the sense that if I want to be a successful entrepreneur I need to start making my own deadlines and program myself in a way that I can reach where I’d like to reach at a certain point not so far away in my life. My company Innovation 360 is awesome, I couldn’t ask for a better place to be at as an entrepreneur. The boss is chill and so is everyone around me. I have made some really good friends who are all entrepreneurs in their own way, very creative and very admirable characters. This life is made of time and choices, an endless blend of innovation. I’m here to serve one and only purpose, the purpose to keep my peace. By that I mean I wanna sleep like a baby when I go to sleep, trust me, to reach that level of satisfaction it requires a lot of hard work. I could be dreaming wide awake, but that’s the beauty of it, dreaming + action on the dreaming = success.

ImageDreaming is okay, its great actually; I think someone who dreams passionately often on something particular tend to do things that enable him / her to make the dream come true. Times when I just can’t, bring myself to say it loud, I often sit back and dream about it, and somehow automatically by default, I do things that enables me to make things happen. It’s probably a very powerful tool that one can use right to his/her advantage. Conclusion – be a dreamer, and act on your dreams. Another interesting and powerful act that I had come across is to teach what you learn. I can’t tell you how awesome that is. It’s pretty amazing, the after effects coz you understand exactly where the one who imparted his knowledge to you was at the time you manage to articulate the information. 

The art of entrepreneurial listening

ImageI stopped pretending to myself that I was anything else than what I was ought to be, had I really succeeded in anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena that I truly belonged, Some failure in life is inevitable, it is impossible to live with out failing at something unless you live with so cautiosly that you might as well not lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. It gives one an inner security that can be acquired by experience alone and no where else.

The Greek author Plutarch says, Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly. I heard this from my dad one day when I was young and I was fighting and going out of my way to make a point as to why I needed a night out, I wanted to go party with my girlfriend and buddies, although mission accomplished after all the drama, that statement made by him somehow reserved in my mind, it was as though a computer language that was entered by a coder, and automatically implemented, me being the computer and my dad being the coder. 
  

Listen to others, if you wanna be a successful entrepreneur, you’ve got to master the art of listening, the way you start is by taking bits and pieces of what you hear from others and go home and try to make sense of it, if you make this a habit, I’m not kidding you when I say that there’s going to be much clarity in your vision and thoughts! 

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Whom should you listen to the most? Your investor! I cannot emphasise more on the importance of keeping a good investor relationship, and by good investor relationship I don’t mean having a conversation or a cup of coffee, although its debatable that its probably the right way to begin, I don’t deny that, however, what is even more important is that you have to, you absolutely have to  find a way to show him/her that you are worth more than his investment in you. 

And how do you do that? by using as little resources as he gives and working out the max in return, put yourself in the investor’s shoes, you yourself haven’t gone to the extent of taking a risk and invested in yourselves (BTW I’m talking about seed fund seekers), by taking a loan or the likes. One has to understand the relevance  of the investor’s expertise, coz at the end of the day realization has to be made that the investor didn’t come to you, instead you went to the investor! for an investee, grab hold of any opportunity that knocks, coz it knocks only once. 

As a budding entrepreneur – 2

Well, so there I was in Binay’s office, so earlier the previous day we had a very interactive session about all the possible pros and cons that could affect whether or not Mr. Shetty would consider this investment with with buddies I am really grateful to Mohammed Ismael, Fayaz, +Jobbin John ,Salman, +denny john and many other guys. That was possibly the most constructive session I could have had at that point before meeting the Shettys. Initially we decided to ask him for AED 100k, close to about $33k but somehow we got carried away by how awesome my idea was and decided that we would ask him to invest AED 1.5m, close to about $350k!!!

So there we were sitting like nothing could stop us, Binay was very welcoming, very down to earth personality, he invited us to his conference hall. We presented the idea, he was impressed, however when we came down to the figures, I could say, although he never showed it out, he was shocked! Bunch of kids asking him for 1.5m dirhams, for an idea! I like to cycle btw. It was a huge risk from an investor’s perspective. Coming to think about it, I don’t think I myself would have invested in myself if I had the resources, unless I was absolutely certain about the ROI. And these days, nothing is certain. And there ended my story with Binay.

The lesson I learned from this experience is that, it’s absolutely imperative that you ask an investor as little as possible and offer him as much as you possibly can, because at the end of the day he made an investment, you and the investor are partners in what you do. And he being the investor, would make an extra investment once you get the first round of seed fund. There is no way an idea will get exorbitant amounts just for the fact that, although the idea might be the next Facebook, there is no solid statement of ROI unless of course they are either Friends, Family or Fools!

As a budding entrepreneur

To me there is nothing more exhilarating than being an entrepreneur. I used to work here in the middle east as a professional accountant, however my my job although was rewarding, was never satisfying. My life was at a stand still career wise, my love life was as it is very boring, never had any serious relationships since the one in India. Actually never intended to get into a relationship until my career was set right.

My dad is a very successful entrepreneur, he has his own thing going on in India. And since the age of sixteen he tried to inject the entrepreneurial spirit into me, and well effectively looks like that paid off, I worked in his firm for a while before I shifted base to Dubai. I like to think that I have the entrepreneurial spirit in me, and needs to be nurtured a lot more.

Have I made any mistakes as a budding entrepreneur? Of course! Haha, I remember I had this fantastic idea, all planned out, excel sheets and the works! I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Binay R Shetty, through a cousin of mine. There is nothing I would give away for that learning experience, we went in with two of my other friends, Denny John and Fayaz Mohammed. We saw Mr. B.R Shetty as well, Binay’s father, someone with a net worth of over $1.7b, one of my inspirations, he started off as a medical representative and eventually started his own group of hospitals and and pharmacies around the middle east, later on to grow as one of the biggest hospital and hotel chains here in the middle east and India.
So what happened at the meeting? 

I have a mentor, Salam, she’s one with a lot of experience and has been a part of SHUAA capital, honestly very fortunate to have a mentor as herself. Today I’m researching about the possible competition that engage-e can have, now coming to think about it, the competition is huge! I have categorized by name, work, services provided, year founded, company size, revenue, clients, pricing, place, my own remarks, number of projects done.

I have to finish this in the best possible manner so that when I graduate from i360 I can use the same templates, to see where I can do best and which of my work can be delegated. Am I ready for the job? I don’t know to be honest, I haven’t gamified anything yet! I need to seriously start thinking of what to gamify to begin with. Gamification of i360 should be a good start. Have I given it due thought? hmmm yea I’ve saved a slide share that I came across. Does that qualify as due thought? I don’t know, well we’ll see. But it also seems like I might not have the time to deviate from the Engage – E project, coz deliverables, deliverables, deliverables! Its good, that they have a system like that, I am focused.

Every time I walk around the metro or go to the competitions, I think of all the different ideas that I’ve heard which can be gamified. Essentially I don’t just want to gamify and leave it with that, ideally would want to use the data and generate some analytics reports. Again that’s upto my awesome tech guy, Mustafa, whenever he can do it.