Why You Should Start a Company

by Muhammad Nasrullah

​​Mark Zuckerberg just gave his commencement speech at Harvard and the following really stood out for me:

​​”We all know we don’t succeed just by having a good idea or working hard. We succeed by being lucky too. If I had to support my family growing up instead of having time to code, if I didn’t know I’d be fine if Facebook didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be standing here today. If we’re honest, we all know how much luck we’ve had.”

What Zuckerberg is saying that he was able to make Facebook because he wasn’t poor or worried about supporting his family.

​​Why is this Important?

​​Whenever students ask me: should I do a job or start a businesses? I tell them this: ​​If you’re from a poor family, you don’t have the luxury to ask this question, you need to put food on the table for your family right away.

​​If you’re from a rich family, this question is moot; you might already be joining the family business.

If you’re a middle class kid, your family doesn’t depend upon you for food right now. You can spend a year or two experimenting. If you fail; you can get a job with experience 10x better than your peers. But if there was a 10% chance of your success, it can really make an impact and create more jobs.

​​But if you don’t start a business, literally no one else will and the fate of Pakistan won’t change. So, if you’re a middle class Pakistani with the financial means it is your duty to give this a try.

​​I’ve fielded lots of questions ever since I wrote the above, I’ve answered a few here:

That’s Great but I Don’t Have Any Money

​​If you family doesn’t have the fund to fuel a 1-2 year low cash burn, you shouldn’t think about either.

Work on your startup on the side of your job. Make sure your employer doesn’t have any clause that might get yo in trouble. Sramana has written a great book on this called ‘Bootstrapping on a Paycheck’. Read it for free here: https://www.amazon.com/Bootstrapping-Paycheck-Entrepreneur-Sramana-Mitra-ebook/dp/B00OIE5J78

​​Bootstrap using Services: practically every large Pakistani IT company you see today did this. They bootstrapped by selling software consultancy services. He’ll, that’s even how Microsoft started. Again, a great book on stories of entrepreneurs who did the same is written by Sramana, which you can read for free here:

​Raise funding: Theres been some invigoration in startup investing the past few months with a few fund which have popped up. I recommend you approach these funds after you’ve made progress using financing of he above few methods. If you just apply for funding with an idea alone, you would have a rough time convincing anyone.

Thats Great But I Don’t Know How to Run a Company

That’s alright. The best and fastest way is to learn by jumping into it. Of course; you have to be self-critical and smart. The best thing to do is to surround yourself with good mentors, the kind who have built companies or have knowledge in an area you lack, or have a great network or experience.

Educate yourself: its 2017 as I write this, practically everything you need to know about running a startup you can find online from YC’s Startup School and there are entire courses on enterpreneurship, all for free.

I Want to Start a Company Company But I Don’t Have an Idea

​​Well, then, get a job. Starting a company is no picnic. It’s hard work, you need a lot of determination to standup to many many punches. If there isn’t something you really believe in doing,’it’s going to be really hard making it work. Work on a job or run a consultancy/freelance till the right idea hits you.

What if I Fail?

You most likely will. Lots of startups in Pakistan die, lots of them ​​are dead and they just don’t know it yet. But in the process of building a company, you’ll have to learn as fast as you can about programming your product, learning about your customers, market research, hiring, contracts, finance, banking, legal so on. Your experience will be worth a lot more than the same time spent at a job.

​​What’s Wrong with Doing a Job?

​​There’s nothing wrong in doing a job. Just make sure you’re learning quickly and that your role has impact. Here’s a technique I use to figure out if I’m learning: ​​at the end of week ask yourself “what have I learned?” whatever the answer, was it something that should’ve taken a week? Could your learning have been done in two days? One day? If yes then you’re probably not learning as much as you should be.

You should do this exercise at the end of every month and do a review after the year.
​​
​​Fine Print

As with everything in life, there’s an exception to everything I said above. Entrepreneurs from very poor backgrounds have been successful. Maybe you find funding right away.

​​Whatever you choose, good luck!

​​Nasrullah is an entrepreneur, he founded Pring and is currently VP of Solutions at Convo.com. Have a question, reach out to @nash


  • It seems you’re discouraging people from the poor family or middle class family not to start a business. The major problem among our Pakistani people is that you must have investment, a lot of investment to have a business; but, I strongly disagree.

    In the modern era, you don’t need to have a lot of money, rather Rs.1500 is enough to start a business. For this, your English must be good enough that you can write well. If you’re not good at it, make use of Google until you become a good writer, not necessary to be a great or exceptional.

    I am thankful to Grammarly, Youtube, Google, Propakistani that helped to improve my English. I knew my first comment on Propakistani that was about the grammar rule in 2013. I was criticized, some people helped. Reading became a habit, then the saying goes on, a good reader is a writer.

    Let’s come to the point. After I was good at English thanks to the above mentioned sites. I made a free blog on blogspot, and start writing articles. I was good at researching due to Google as I have been using internet when I was in 4th class thanks to the PTCL Dialup Connection 230kbps.

    That blog start ranking good even I didn’t know the word SEO that time as it is all about ranking a site to the top of Google by finding the words that a lot of people are searching, but nobody or a few people have written articles on the words. We find the words, in SEO called keywords, then articles are written.

    In simple words, you can start a business in Rs. 1500.

    Step 1:
    Spend one month to learn SEO: On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO. Spend a lot of time on Keyword Research.

    Step 2:
    Make a free blog on blogspot on the topic that you have found the keywords. Again these would be the keywords a lot of people are searching, but nobody or a few people have written articles on that. The same when you search for a problem, but Google doesn’t show the results you expect. You find, you write, Google ranks.

    Step 3:
    Buy a domain in .com in Rs.1000 (1 year) or .pk in Rs.2000 (2 years). Different people charge differently.

    Note:
    You would buy a UBL Wiz Card for Rs.1500. It will have Rs.1500 balance. No need to have a bank account to buy the card. You can use the card on Godaddy etc.

    Step 4:
    Attach the domain of Godaddy with Blogspot (free Google hosting). It doesn’t offer WordPress like features, but you can watch many Urdu videos on Blogger that can teach you on Youtube.

    Note:
    If you need a good hosting, you can buy DigitalOcean hosting for 5$ per month. You can watch how to attach Blogspot with Godaddy.

    Step 5:
    Now you have a site, and you’re ready to rock. You have to write the articles, and share on all the famous social media sites.

    How You Would Earn Money?

    When you will have enough traffic, you can place Google Adsense that pays how much traffic you have per month. You can also use Daraz Affiliate Marketing or Daraz D-Force where they would deliver the products, you would provide visitors, and you’re paid in your back account. There are many ways.

    Note:

    Google doesn’t provide quick ranking. You need patience, a lot of patience. Minimum keep writing regularly for 3 to 6 months on the keywords that you found. You should keep in mind that Propakistani started in 2008, it didn’t get success overnights. Within a few years, it got only a few visitors. It was the hard work and the attitude of not giving up at any cost. Many sites fail, but when you decide not to give up, you succeed.

    If you have any question, you can ask here.

    • JazakAllah, bro you’re really helpful.

    • startled

      Dear overzealous simpleton. Please be informed that blogging and SEO
      etc is not a business. Its just a source of income, usually for a
      no-skill no-life bland individual. Still, in your fairy tail, you have
      conveniently skipped the frustrating amount of time, risk and effort it
      would take to go beyond generating pocket money. Even then it sucks life
      out of the sailor to keep the ship afloat.

      If you are happy as a
      peasant or IT laborer, so be it. Dont preach it to others though
      especially when an article is all about starting a company. Its a
      different ball game altogether. Lack of exposure and constricted view of
      the ecosystem has disoriented you. You just dont know it yet.

      • Yeah, you’re right somewhat. Every business has a risk to fail anytime despite your money, effort and time. The same goes for a website.

        I couldn’t write the whole of everything here, here is another point that might let you think.

        Suppose you make a website for the Pakistani audience where you teach English. 1 million people visit your site, and you earn via Google Adsense even it doesn’t give enough money. You have collected in these years much money to get a room on rent. Now, you are getting 1 million, you would advertise on your blog that I teach English for Rs.5000 for a month. If from the 1 million, only 100 people come to your academy, it becomes Rs. 500,000.

        You might be thinking why they would come? They are impressed by your blog. The content you provide on your blog. They are impressed the way you teach. They would come.

        You’re getting traffic, you can establish any business. You have to use your train to leverage the people who are coming to your site. I hope you may get my point.

      • Kamran Usman

        I think you should be respectful of Amir – he is not preaching everyone to become a blogger, he is just sharing his journey towards being self-employed. Whether you agree or not, what Amir is doing is a business. At a purely abstract level, any activity or exchange of asset is a business which benefits the parties involved.

        • amazed

          I am as respectful of Amir, as he is of the guest writer. Constructive criticism is not what he did.
          Once upon a time, I was short sighted as much as everyone around me. I simply changed the company (I mean peers, friends etc) I kept at that time. My horizon expanded and I no more suffered from tunneled view of opportunities scattered around us. I was late though.

          I dont want to list down my follies and blunders, but i must warn whoever would pay heed to my words. When I could aim, I aimed low while others aimed high. Now, I visit their offices for job interviews. There is absolutely no difference between them and I, except the only fact that I only aimed low.

          A business earns for itself. Amir does not. He actually earns for ad publishers etc, and gets some kind of compensation/salary/commission etc in return. As a litmus test, remove ad publishers from his equation, and his income instantly falls to zero. In the equation, Amir is replaceable for the ad publishers, but not the vice versa. A business is not built around such a volatile and unreliable mode of revenue generation . A business does not let other entities dictate / control it or its decision making processes.
          If Amir turns his blog etc into a subscription services, succeeds in retaining sufficient number of paying customers and normal turnover rate, thats when a business is born. He has no such plans apparently.

          Lets learn from Youtube celebrities. As soon as they find a reasonable fan following, they establish their businesses and brands etc to cash on the opportunity. They dont invest in their Youtube personas (except the needful). They just make money from youtube, create a real business and a real asset for themselves using that seed money.
          Another example is HBO. It makes a ton of money, not from ads, but from subscription model. There has to be a reason that Game of Thrones is aired on it.

          If we aim low, we shall settle for even a road side vending business. I dont want/like that. Most dont/wont. In my world, a business is something which is built from ground up within founder’s lifetime, can be made to sustain itself (on nearly on its own ), can be expanded easily afterwards, creates tangible and lasting value, blah blah blah, and feeds next few clueless generations of the founder. Personally, the last characteristic is the only way I define a business:)

    • nashadelic

      Hey Aamir, the last paragraph mentions that there’s an exception to every rule and I specifically mention poverty. It’s definitely doable when you’re poor and there are lots of great examples of that but it is also harder to pull it off. That said, the goal is not at all to discourage anyone and good luck to anyone on this jouenry!

      • Brother, there are many people who made millionaire businesses from nothing. You can Google. The main thing is struggle, hard work, using time wisely.

    • Talha Mahmood

      Aoa, thank you soo much for this information. Bro i need some motivation,
      This is my story. I am a failed blogger, I created a blog first time when i was 13 years old, on that time i really dont know that why blog is created, after several years i have learned every basics of blog, seo, hosting, domain etc.
      After that I asked my brother to buy a domain for me, he just did that, then i started my wordpress blog with free hosting, after 1 month i got adsense, then i have noticed my blog is ranking but very slow, after two months my adsense got disabled, then after a week free hosting comapny deleted my all site data, after that I just give up :(.
      Now the thing which kills me is that why i have gained all that information if i am not using it? What should i do with this information? Why i invested time on it? So these are things which i face.
      I dont even have guts to think those days.
      If you understand me and wanna say something then please.

      • WS! You just created one blog, and you gave up? Nobody gets success in the first try, even the first blog I made got a flop. The second got success. The owner of 2knowmyself is a millionaire now, he failed 5 times in blogs.

        The same goes for Ali Baba owner, he was rejected more than 10 times from Harvard, 30 companies rejected him. The history is full of such people.

        You should create a new blog. It should be focused on Pakistani niche because of having no competition. Learn SEO again as it has changed. Watch courses from Udemy, Youtube, and read the book Art of SEO 3rd Edition written by the Moz Founder, one of the best SEO company on the planet.

        Whenever you face a problem in SEO, you can comment here. I will be happy to help you.

    • Koi Or Business Kar Sakte Hai ??? IT K Elawa ??

    • Uzair Asim

      Thank you for sharing your experience Amir. Really helpful.

  • Artista Batista

    The typos are strong in this one.
    At least hire a proper editor.

    • Muhammad Mohsin Shahzad

      Finally someone said it. Bravo

  • Kamran Usman

    A wise man once said: “Resources are never limited, knowledge is limited” – no matter what your financial situation is, if you have the will to make it big, you will find a way. Haven’t we all heard of kids selling slippers on the streets or newspapers only to become really successful businessmen eventually?

    This article suggests playing safe all throughout – but the fact is, Entrepreneurship is almost always a risky business. I agree that you have less pressure when you don’t have to worry about putting food on the table – but that also sometimes reduces the urgency / hunger to succeed – some people work best when they are in a do or die situation. So every individual should decide what makes more sense for them irrespective of the social situation they have.

    • amazed

      No, we have not heard of any hawkers making it big – except in the case of our politicians. Please stop believing in fairy tales. I humbly urge you. We have a dangerously distorted perception of reality and our imagination runs wild all the time like a headless chicken.

  • The Xpert

    The issue here in Pakistan is we don’t have mentors , from our childhood we are hardwired into opting for professions with stable income or repute !

    • amazed

      Please dont worry about mentorship. Its just a farce. An entrepreneur isnt worth a dime if he needs help and advisors to help him steer through his own vision. Usually, people with daddy issues keep looking for approval, love and praise of mentors etc. You dont want to be like them :)
      @offtopic
      I am amazed that everyone commenting here has absolutely missed the starting point of this blog post. Luck and an enabling environment matter a lot. A lot.

  • Uzair Asim

    Awesome. Very helpful article indeed. Hats off.

  • Abdul Waris

    good