I have always had this feeling that I’ll do something big in my life. What it would be, that I did not know. But I had faith in myself and the belief that God has a plan for everyone and it’s just a matter of time that you get what you want.
I still remember, 8 years back when I was a young boy and got admission into Lahore School of Economics, I was the most clueless soul on the planet. I had no idea what I’m going to do with my life.
Restlessness, frustration, dissatisfaction started plaguing my soul.
But thanks to my intuition, or whatever you may call, right after my first year of Bachelors I discovered my love for media. That was the life-changing moment of my life.
I decided to revolutionize the face of advertising in Pakistan as we know it. Hence, I joined an advertising agency as an intern. Those two months were no less than a shock for me. Working there opened my eyes to the fact that there were many young, spirited, ambitious souls, just like me who wanted to nail the marketing industry. And it was this realization that suffocated my dream.
Time passed and I was almost about to graduate now. Life gave me two choices. Either join my dad’s business and relax or start something of my own and give my entrepreneurial DNA a chance to breathe. I opted for the latter.
I dived into various business ventures. I LOVED everything about running a business. From the excitement of meeting new people to the thrill of new horizons opening up every day. From AHA- moments to oh-no moments, I enjoyed them all. To my bones!
And it was this pleasure that whispered to me that I give life to my own startup.
Since I was a student back then, I did not drop out and start working on my startup. However, I did not let anything pin down my dream. I kept nurturing it until I got done with my Master’s degree. On my way I turned down so many job offers that I think any other person would have taken up, blindly. But I exactly knew who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life.
We human beings think that it is we who plan our lives. But I believe there’s someone up there who is writing the script of your lives. And He is the best writer. He had some great plans for me and they showed up when one fine day I got a call from a leading international food chain to join them as a marketing person.
And all of a sudden, my love for marketing that was buried somewhere deep into the burrows of disappointment, rose to the surface and I said, “Yes!” instantly!
Despite the fact that the job paid me peanuts as compared to the job offers I had rejected, I was the happiest soul on the face of this Earth. After all I had found my long lost love!
What I learnt from that job cannot be expressed in any language. But the manifestation of it was Daily Deli – my very own restaurant!
I did not have any prior food industry experience. But I had the hunger and the passion to make it a success.
I must admit, my entrepreneurial journey had been a roller coaster ride of experiences. I faced so many challenges on my way up. So many defeats. So many lows in such a short span of time. However, the biggest challenge that I faced was when an outlet of my restaurant had to be shut down due to an accident.
It was not just a financial loss for me. I had put my blood, my sweat, my tears in it. It was my emotional investment. And over coming that loss was the hardest part of it.
But as Prophet Muhammad said, ‘If one door closes, Allah opens many!’ I firmly believed in it and that is the secret to my success, to me not falling prey to depression unlike many people.
And you know what, you might be surprised to know, opening up a restaurant was never part of the plan. Food was my passion though. I decided to turn that passion into business and work for myself rather than grinding for somebody else and being unhappy.
So if you have a dream, a passion and you have that drive to be an entrepreneur then the best piece of advice from me would be,
Do not listen to the naysayers. Do not let anybody tell you that whatever you’re dreaming is too big or you can’t do it. All they want to do is pull you down because they themselves could not achieve it. Don’t listen to them. But listen to that small voice whispering to you inside your head. Listen to your heart and follow your passion. Trust me, money will follow you!
Story: Haris Habib, Founder and CEO, Daily Deli