This is the 3rd and final part my everyday struggles; the constant struggle to something productive with my life. I started out with the car washing business using little kids as employees, then the stock market and now I’m moving on to bigger and better things.
On a side note, I bought a new iPhone 6 Plus, the day I left my job and I’m so impressed at the work these 6 year olds in China can do. They really put my sister and her friends to shame.
Now knowing the stock market isn’t really a viable road to riches, at least for me, it was time to move on to bigger and better things. This next little part of my life was full of throwing a whole bunch of shit at the wall to see what stuck. I tried the following, all at once:
- Real estate including starting my own investment group
- Writing a book
- Creating an app
- Launching a technology start up
And on top of all that I was working as a full time Water Treatment Specialist. No one, including me knew what my real job was. And I could tell people were frustrated by all the things I had going on.
That was fine though because my idea was similar to VCs in Silicon Valley. Spread myself in as many things as possible, and then once I found something that worked I would double down on that.
The best part of this plan was that worse comes to worst, I don’t even really lose much because I was making little bets in every field. If something I was doing wasn’t promising, it was easy to cut it off and move on from without missing a beat.
I learned early that I’m not sharpest tool in the toolbox and my ability to simulate the real world is really poor, so by trying various things I got real world feedback and that’s invaluable.
For real estate, which I still haven’t given up on, I bought a condo which gave me a 100% cash on cash return in my first year and is still lining my pockets every month.
This happened because of leverage and “creative financing”, and it’s something I’m going to keep on doing. After the results I got in my first venture, I realized if I do some things right I can make a massive ROI on my capital invested just by finding the right properties and raising money.
I started an investment group so I could use all the combined brain power of a bunch of successful people to help me analyze my deals. I benefit by having multiple eyes look at my deals in case I miss anything, and other people benefit by getting to know that I exist and the opportunity to invest with me.
That is my definition of win-win.
At the same time, I also wrote a book that everyone makes fun of me for because they are a bunch of butt hurt haters but it went on to sell FIVE copies. That’s FIVE copies, and $50 US (so like $500 CDN) that I didn’t have before.
The reasons why I wrote my book, Wheelin’ & Dealin’, (www.wheelingdealing.net) are the following:
- I wanted to earn some extra money on my days off, but I wanted to do it the right way. I didn’t want to just trade my time for money like a peasant and getting an hourly job
- I’ve always wanted to start a business and learn about web development, marketing, copywriting and all that good stuff. What better to learn than to practice on your own product? So many people say they have the next billion dollar idea, but most of these clowns never even had an idea that made $100.
- This was also more of a hobby project, I worked on this during my downtime when most people would be watching TV or playing video games. It was just a fun little thing on the side for me.
- At the end of it, I gained a bunch of human capital and transferrable skills that I could easily utilize in my next venture.
People always ask me, and it’s a question that annoys the hell out of me. They ask me “Uzair, how the hell do you have so much time on your hands?”
This questions annoys me for two reasons,
- It’s physically impossible for me to have more time than the next person. I have the same 24 hours a day that everyone else has.
- The other reason is it that it highlights how useless people are and don’t understand Expected Value. Everything that I do, has to have a positive effect on my life otherwise I don’t do it. It’s really simple yet no one else gets it. Other people I know are constantly “busy” but none of them actually get anything done. It’s a constant flurry of activity. Being penny wise and pound foolish made no one a healthy and wealthy man.
But the real reason why I’m so effective with my time is because I created a productivity app called Greatifer. The basic idea behind this app is to, and I hate to use this word, leverage your bad habits into getting stuff done.
What it does is block websites that you constantly visit out of habit, like facebook.com or youtube.com but only for 10 minutes. And the app reminds you that you have to work for 10 minutes to get on this site. If you get to work for 10 minutes on whatever you have to do, chances are you’ll get in the zone and completely forget that you intended on wasting time. This app has literally been a god damn life changer for me.
Obviously being the man that I am I’m not going to give this app for free. Uzair & Son’s isn’t running a charity here, but I did create a 1 week trial so people could try it and see the benefits for themselves before they shell me over $50, $45 for the full version.
I came to that price for 2 reasons
- No one values things that come cheaply to them and I want people to use this app
- The people who see the value in the app will easily pay for it because they’re smart and know that the ROI on the $45 spent is huge. People spend well over $45 on a night out buying drinks at a bar and that’s literally money down the drain but will cry when it comes to investing $45 in themselves. That’s human stupidity I’ll never get.
Last but not least, on top of all this I was also working on a technology start-up company. I partnered up with the most doer person I know apart from myself, Asem. He bought the skills to the table that I don’t have like the ability to focus on one thing and execute the plan.
We worked on another project before related to oil and gas. The project went nowhere but we learned a lot from it. Some of our lessons were:
- Do customer development and asking strangers before moving into anything
- Website development and design – learn it because you can’t delegate what you don’t know
- Move quickly and try to build on things that have been done before. It’ll make life much easier
From the lessons we learned, when it came time to starting instaMek (www.instamek.com), we got going very fast. It was easy to create the website, do market research, and all that good stuff because it had all been done before.
The main takeaways from this post are
- Try different things but do it in a systematic way. When you find something that works, then you can double down on it. Don’t make huge uninformed bets at the start
- If you want to start a business, practice by starting with something very small first. You have to crawl before you can walk
- Master the mis-weighting bias and comparative bias. Focus on what’s important and cut out what’s not. Look at the value you gain from every transaction you make of your time and money, and value that return objectively.