Time is never the same. If a person is determined then he can decide his own destiny. For Aamir Qutub, 31, this fits perfectly. Aamir’s journey from Aligarh to Australia is a success story of all kinds of challenges, patience, hard work and success. Aamir says that “Never be satisfied with your ability for less.”
He has done every small task, from cleaning the airport to distributing newspapers for a livelihood and then in 2014, launched his company ‘Enterprise Monkey’ in Australia, which now has an annual turnover of Rs 10 crore.
Small town boy’s big dreams
Aamir’s parents, who belonged to Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh, moved to Aligarh for their better education. Aamir spent a lot of time here. He says, “If my father had just walked, he would have left me as a doctor.” But Aamir did not do MBBS and started doing mechanical engineering. However, he did not want to make his career in it either.
He says that he had no attachment to his course, due to which his numbers started coming down. His interest in the course was also becoming less. This was the time when a professor in his college told him that he would not be able to do anything in life. Recalling that moment, he explains, “The professor made me stand in front of everyone in the class and said that I would not be able to do anything in life because my grades were very bad. At that moment I broke down. My self-confidence was falling all over and I could see it all around me.
But, life continued to move forward and Aamir also moved forward. He started participating in different college events and here his confidence started growing once again. He says that he participated in debating competitions and started winning. The professor who gave him the award was the one who scolded him in front of everyone in the class. He adds, “At that moment I felt that perhaps the professor did not know all about my strengths.” Then I decided that I would definitely do something in my life because I can. ”
A social network created in 2008
This was a time when, apart from Orkut, other social networking sites were becoming popular among people. Aamir started working on the idea of creating a social networking platform for his college. But being a mechanical engineering student, he was not taken seriously. He says he was always asked why a mechanical engineering student is trying to do programming and a social networking site. But, he took it as a challenge and worked on it for four months.
In 2008, after its launch, about 10 thousand members had signed up on their social networking site in the first week itself. After a little more time, this number reached 50 thousand. He says, “I realized then that I love using technology to solve problems.” But what was it that kept them up? To this he says, “I was already unsuccessful and I had nothing else to lose. If this work is done then very good and if not! Even then I would have stayed in the same place. ”
Aamir worked at Honda in Greater Noida in 2012, his first job after graduation. He worked as a production engineer for almost a year, and it was here that he realized that he was not made to work 9 to 5. He says, “I did this job for the happiness of the family.” But it was not what I wanted to do. ” He felt as if both his talent and passion were becoming useless. Aamir says that he knew he wanted to become an entrepreneur.
At the age of 23, Aamir quit his job and at that time he did not know what he would do next. But, he says he felt ‘free’ at the time. Subsequently, he started doing freelance (independently) projects for web designing and most of his clients were from Australia and London. The experiences he gained while taking part in extracurricular activities came in handy here. He used his previous experiences when he used to tell his potential clients his ideas. He says, “I was a mechanical engineering graduate and when I started working, during that time, nobody helped me. Despite this I succeeded because, I loved doing what I was doing. ”
One of his clients suggested him to come to Australia to work. But, Aamir Australia could only go on student visas. Therefore, he applied for an MBA and was awarded a partial scholarship. He says, “I never thought I would go to Australia.” It was the first time in life, when I was sitting in Hawaii. Earlier I had seen him only in the sky. I was lucky, in the first year, my father and sister helped me financially. ”
He says, “The Indians I initially met in Australia were all qualified in their own way, but still working at a petrol pump or driving a taxi.” It was disappointing to see this. Because I came to Australia with millions of dreams. ” Initially everything was challenging – the dialect here, their accent and everything else that they were surrounded by at the time. Even he found it difficult to do something as simple as ordering coffee.
He says, “But I was confident that I would get a job because, I did mechanical engineering.” But the reality was very different. For almost four months, Aamir continued to apply to various companies and positions but, nowhere did he get a job. He says he has received more than 150 rejections. With all this, his college fees, bills and own expenses, everything was going up. In such a situation, he did the cleaning work.
He says, “At the airport, I got a job as a cleaner. In India, I had never cleaned my own garbage and here we had to clean the garbage cans of the entire airport. ” But this experience taught him a lot. He learned to respect all kinds of work. Along with this, Aamir also did a night job, which was from 2 pm to 7 am. In this, he used to distribute newspapers in the surrounding area.
He says, “It was difficult – two jobs, my MBA course and trying to establish my business, I was doing everything at the same time.” He had only three hours left for himself and all this lasted for a year. Eventually, Aamir obtained an internship at ICT Geelong and was confirmed there after a week’s work. This recognition, he says, was a wonderful feeling for him and was a big deal. Within the next two years, Aamir moved to the post of general manager there. At the age of just 25, he was managing people twice his age. Then he felt that he had achieved something now. Here he was a young Indian immigrant who was making a mark in Australia.
2000 dollars and lots of dreams
In 2014, while working at ICT Geelong, Aamir registered his venture- ‘Enterprise Monkey Proprietor Limited’, a web and app development company. Today his company has a presence in four countries. With an initial investment of two thousand dollars, he started work from his garage. He says, “It was not easy at all, I remember that I used to distribute my cards at bus and railway stations and I would tell my company to everyone I would get. After about four months, I found a person who at least gave me some time to explain my plan. ” After his first client, he started getting more customers because, people were talking about his work. It was Aamir’s determination that he continued to move forward.
Today, the company is also in service of virtual reality and augmented reality and artificial intelligence and some large corporations and now Aamir has enough capital to do all this. He is now actively looking for companies to invest in, and says he has put in about $ 6,40,000, into several small start-ups.
Painkillers or vitamins
In evaluating a company or start-up where they can invest, see whether that company works as a painkiller or as a vitamin. He explains, “Nowadays there is no shortage of ideas/tricks but, I try to find out whether this idea can solve any problem or just make you feel good. I am looking for painkillers and not a single dose of vitamin. ” He also considers it necessary for the team, which not only works on these ideas but also plays an important role in fulfilling them properly.
So far, Aamir has invested in eight startups, up to 80 thousand dollars in each startup. Now he and seven are looking to invest in start-ups. In these seven startups, he will fund from 50 thousand dollars to 100 thousand dollars each. He says that not every startup needs to work well, some fail. Therefore, it is risky to be an investor.
All the investments he has made so far have been in Australia. But, now he is looking for opportunities to invest in Tier 2 and 3 cities of India. He says, “I see a lot of untold possibilities here.” Indians have great ideas and business plans. ”
* Do not listen to others: Often people who worry about you like parents, teachers, they are from a different generation and do not necessarily understand your reality and other business aspects.
* Do what you believe in: If you work hard to achieve your set goal, then you definitely achieve it.
* Stay away from popular trends: Look for what you want to do with your life, rather than looking outside for things.
* Do not be afraid of failures: Failures open the way to your success.
Rapid Fire with Aamir Qutub:
* What is the thing of India that you remember: Food and ‘news’
* What is the thing that you would like to send from Australia to India: Morality, respect and equality
* One thing you would like to change about India: Class system and rank system
* Most Extraordinary Purchase: My car (mercedes benz)
* A matter of knowledge: After thinking, take concrete steps.