Today we have brought an interview of a successful business consultant Asif Zamir. He is also involved in so many social work activities. Here is our conversation with him.
You had a rather tough childhood, tell us about that.
I was receiving hard daily beatings at home while still earning money to support my family. That’s just how it always was. 5 days a week was school plus work (delivering papers, babysitting, door to door candy sales etc) then on weekends was work work work. This was age 7 for me! On weekends my parents would have the wildest and noisiest parties on the block, making it hard to sleep, and let’s not forget the weekly police visits. Because of this I was behind school and really always behind my peers in every area. My friends would be out playing hockey and I would be working to support my family. I find it hard to complain about this now days because I can afford to have all the leisure I want while my friends work.
Who or what inspired you to start business consulting?
At age 15, I dropped out of high school and started my own business consulting company I wasn’t inspired by any one person, just successful people in general. To be honest I had to drop out of high school and start a business, I was dirt poor for the majority of my life and we were struggling to get by financially so I took a chance at doing something more with my life than just getting by.
What kind of clients you mostly provide consultancy to?
I work with over 500 small businesses ranging from hair salons to hot air balloon ride providers to luxury tree house builders, I help them start, grow and hopefully succeed. If they are failing I help them fail and shut down gracefully. I do this because I love it, it pays well and I’m good at it.
What proved to be the key to success for you?
Having a vision for the long term. I see so many people fail because they think “I’ll start a business today and be successful tomorrow and if not then I’ll quit!” And those people always fail every time. But people who have a vision for 10-20-30 years always succeed. Always. Take a look at any success story, the person worked for many years to achieve what they wanted. Go ahead and read 100 success stories online and you’ll see that it usually averages out to more than 10 years of hard work. People who think it takes a few weeks or months are mentally insane.
What was the inspiration behind starting social work activities?
It was probably November of 1999. On a very chilly night, a group of 8-12 church people teamed up with a visiting college group to make some delicious meals for the homeless people of downtown Toronto in Canada. While walking through the back streets and alleyways of downtown, I wandered away from my group and I came across a lot of people of different ages and backgrounds, but the memory is burned into my mind to this day – a young female child, maybe 7 years old, but possibly as old as 11, sleeping on the streets in a sleeping bag with her mom and one other female who could have been an aunt or sister. Her hair was blonde, she had very fair skin and blueish eyes. I asked her if she wanted food, and the look of fear that she had in her eyes changed my life. This didn’t happen in a 3rd world country, this happened in Canada, one of the richest countries in the world where so many of us suffer from morbid obesity due to too much food. I was young and inexperienced so I didn’t even think of doing anything more than giving her food and drink that night, and after I did I walked away in a daze. Later that night I wandered away from my group once more and got surrounded by some drug dealers in the middle of an exchange and almost got stabbed but that didn’t bother me nearly as much as seeing that young girl, it changed my life.
In 90’s you were on the mission to buying slaves to set them free. How was the response and the result ?
The project was a success or failure depending on how you look at it. Once the money was exchanged and the missionaries left the region, the former slave masters would re-capture the same former slaves and make them slaves all over again, frustrating me, frustrating my missions team, and frustrating the slaves who had their hopes up. It also made me feel rotten because I promised them freedom and of course it was so short lived. Nevertheless, even though most of the slaves remained slaves, several hundred former slaves were permanently set free and are thriving today. I got to meet a group of them in Toronto a few years back and it was incredible for me, they are such good, hard working and sweet people. Even today in 2016 there are tens of millions of slaves, slavery is alive and well in the world, it’s a sad thing. I currently sponsor a mission team in another country that rescue child sex slaves, it’s an extremely successful mission project and I’m almost afraid to talk about it because I don’t want any trouble, you can get into a lot of trouble in some countries for helping slaves.
What will be your advice to those youngsters who want to be in consultancy business?
I get asked this often and this would be it: Stay out of trouble. I see young people getting involved in drugs, booze and a party lifestyle that leads to failure. It’s so hard to build a business if you also need rehab. It’s hard to save up money if you have to pay child support to 4 different women. I know this really smart man who has so many children with so many different women, and he’s not a bad guy and the women aren’t bad, but the stress on him is crazy, he’ll never be able to start a business the way he lives. You know what I mean?
What’s the best way to contact you for consultancy?
I’m booked for the next 3 years and on top of that I have 108 project invitations sitting on my desk that I haven’t even read yet, so unfortunately I can’t take on any new projects. Please don’t contact me.