Earlier this month, I attended a business convention for the first time. I remember waking up just before Fajr and with one eye open swiftly I scrolled on my phone until I saw a picture of an event that was happening a few hours later that same day. I didn't have anything planned for the day and spontaneously decided that I would attend it. You know those spontaneous decisions? I love them!
A few days before that, I told my mom that I had been thinking about creating a business and my mother -knowing me so well- just laughed out loud. A genuine laugh not a mean one, it was the kind of laughter that induced warm tears in her kind grey eyes. She said: 'You, Libin? Business? You would be the last person I imagine with a business'.. I sulked a bit because that wasn't exactly the response or encouragement I was expecting and said: 'why not? I've been thinking about it..'
So, when I told her that morning that I decided to attend this business convention.. she giggled again and told me to listen and pay attention because I would have to report everything I learnt when I would get back home that evening. She kindly offered to pay for the ticket money for the event, bless her.
The event was being held in a fancy hotel in central London and I arrived ahead of time. I decided to go to a local coffee place and wait there for about 40 mins. I had my journal with me and used this time to jot down what I expected to get from the day, it was nice to have this moment to just reflect before the start of the talks. The event lasted the whole day from 11am to 9pm. It was a really interesting convention overall and I felt like it wasn't a wasted day!
One of the main reason I chose to attend this convention was because of the presence of the Somali couple from the U.S: Ali and Makka. I'm sure you must have heard of them before, they became millionaires this year through their company. I wanted to listen to their story from their own lips and I sure wasn't disappointed because it was inspiring. Ali was very entertaining and the whole crowd just kept cheering him on. Their speech was definitely the highlight of the convention and it was just nice to see all these people recognising this couple's hard work. I felt proud and happy for them.
I came back home buzzing that evening and told my mom about my day and everything I had heard/learnt. I told her that after this event, my mind is even more set on thinking deeper about entering the world of the business but I told her that unlike what I had been hearing all day at the convention, my desire to be a business owner is not to make money. Mom laughed again. To be honest, I laughed too because I was conscious that my comment didn't make sense. 'You want to create a business but not to make money? Then that's a charity ma cherie' said hooyo
I wrote a post on the blog ages ago called 'Money Matters Not Much' and I recall getting some comments on it about people not sharing my vision about money. I do recognise that my relationship with money is peculiar, I don't care much for money. I'm the kind of person that can spend easily (not a stingy person) and at the same time, I can be economical and budget (if there's a need for it) but I never allow money to become a concern more than it needs to be. All I had heard that day at the convention was about getting rich, having huge turnovers, buying huge mansions, going to all these exotic places ect. I just couldn't relate to this aspect at all.
Personally, I want to have a business that will give to people more than I will get in return. I want a business that will prosper and improve people's lives; that's why I don't like products based businesses. I don't want to sell products, I want to share a vision. I want a brand that becomes recognised and loved for the things it does for the people. I want to use my secular knowledge and experience in my business. I want a business that is revolutionary but I don't necessarily want to become rich. The only reason why I would want to be rich is so that I can spend more money in acts of charity, that's all.. and to maybe travel around the world for humanitarian purposes.
I really want 2017 to be the year where I turn this idea and desire into a plan. I need to really get all my thinking on this and start working on coming up with a detailed action plan. I believe having a business -especially for women- is a brilliant venture to go in. Sisters, you may want to look into it if you haven't already. Being a business owner is not only respectable but it fits in nicely with family/marital duties since it is mostly home-based. It is one of the few fields where you are in charge of yourself and you choose how to handle your decisions. Self-employment is also a huge advantage. If the business becomes successful, then it can change a life altogether.
All of the people who spoke at the convention were couple who were in the business together. It was so nice seeing these men and women praising their partners and recognising their efforts. They even admitted that having this business together made them closer and gave them more time to spend together and I can totally see how that could be true.
I guess I need to develop a business mind and I need to also learn the difference between charity and business. I need to think about what it is exactly I want to do and then come up with a business plan. I have no funds to put in at the moment but at least if I can plan and project myself.. then inshAllah when the funds get there, it'll be easy to get started. Another thing for me is that the business I have in mind is one that I want to establish back home; a crazy challenge I know. But I can see such a potential there: a potential for the people, a potential for the business to grow, a potential for myself.
Bring on 2017!