I Gave In


This was the point when I realized that there is a huge difference between coming to Pakistan for a holiday and effectively living here. So here I was, all excited to start a new journey with the imagination of living like a princess. Life in London seemed more like a race on a treadmill. We were all just running to get to our destination then repeated the same route every day. Long story short, I moved to Pakistan.

The first few weeks was my honeymoon period. My life was the perfect example of a fairytale. I’d wake up at 12 in the afternoon while my domestic help had everything ready for me to jump in the shower and recommence my social routine. After two months of me living in LaLa Land, I realized how I’m ruining my life by not doing anything with it. This wasn’t the life my parents wanted me to have by sending me to private schools and universities in London.

Then came this one fine evening when I was having a ranting session with my friend Fahad. I was complaining about how I need to start doing something with my life along with some very serious issues, which I was facing at home. For example; my air conditioner wasn’t working properly, my kitchen needed re-constructing, I needed a maid and a water tanker literally every week. Obviously having no previous experience of how to run the house by myself, I had to call up my friends to help me. Being a Pakistani male, Fahad had the attention span of a Goldfish. To change the topic which was obviously boring him to death, he started showing me funny Indian Advertisement. We came across an ad of an Indian Based app called Sulekha. That advertisement was the answer to all my concerns in life.

Sulekha is an app which provides all sorts of facilities from electricians, plumbers, tailors to domestic help and other domestic and commercial facilitators. After doing my research over night, I identified a gap in the industry and decided to start something of the same kind in Pakistan. So the next day I called my investor also known as my brother and passionately expressed my vision to him. He was impressed by what I had to say and gave me a go ahead. I then called my friend Fahad and told him that we’re going ahead with what we had talked about last night and obviously you’re in this with me. After a lot of thoughts, brainstorming sessions and many many arguments we came up with the name ‘Kaam Waley’.

Here come the barriers. The first obstacle was obviously my own profession. Being a criminologist I had always focused on staying within the profession but with such a wide experience of different fields, I thought I can easily manage both paths. Obviously my friends and family had conflicting views, which was understandable to some extent.  If you’re going to dedicate yourself to starting and nurturing a business to success, it’s going to be nearly impossible to simultaneously manage another career. You might be able to manage the infancy of your business on the side, during weeknights and weekends, but if you want a chance of growing significantly, invariably you’ll have to quit the thought of having another job related to your education. Walking away from a promising, steady long-term opportunity for something unpredictable is scary, especially if you’ve never run a business before. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to address this. Just think through your decision logically, and don’t ignore your instincts. My instincts were very clear; I was convinced with the fact that I CAN manage both.

On the other hand, I had the ‘Unknown Factors’. The Gazillion questions asked by everyone who was introduced to my business idea. How long will your business exist? How profitable will your business be? Will customers like your product? Will you be able to give yourself a steady paycheck? None of these questions had a solid, reliable answer, even in startups based on great ideas with all the resources they’d theoretically need. Obviously, I didn’t have the answer to all these questions which gave all the demoralizers a chance to believe that my idea isn’t as bright as I believe it is.

Having the support of one friend and my brother was never enough. Being the visionary of the whole product, I was still the only one to make all the decisions myself. Be it a big, company-impacting decisions, to tiny, hour-affecting ones. All this can get overwhelming at times which makes you want to give everything up. which is what happened in my case. I gave in