‘Tough Love Self-Help’ as Mohamed Zubair likes to call it is soon becoming a genre in itself. Books such as ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK’ set the ball rolling, and I recently picked up another book in the same vein called ‘Life Sucks. Get Used to It.’
I reached out to the author to express my thoughts about this fantastically refreshing read and realized Zubair is a former entrepreneur himself.
I invited him to interview for Disrupt Magazine and this is the fascinating and insightful phone conversation that followed.
Thanks for doing this interview Zubair! I love how accessible you are. I loved the book by the way. Even though it’s clearly written for an Indian Audience, it’s very relatable for everybody.
(laughs) I’m not really famous to be inaccessible. But I really appreciate your kind words. It’s my pleasure to talk to you.
I think you’re being a little modest there! How did the idea for the book come about?
Well, I have always identified as a writer. But I was plagued by laziness and indecision. I decided to finally buckle up and offer my hot take on a lot of topics. The book is years in the making, come to think of it. I’m an opinionated person, and thus wanted to offer my honest and uninhibited views.
I had something to say, and I wasn’t really focused on what people would make of it. I always write for myself first, and an audience second.
A lot of reviews suggest that the book has positively impacted and changed lives. How has your life changed since the release of the book?
I have learned to stay humble and stay grounded. It’s been three years and I have evolved as a person. But I don’t think that a lot of it is down to the release of the book. Life has had its ups and downs and that’s given me perspective on a lot of things. My thought process remains the same, but I am a lot more spiritual and patient now. If I had to narrow it down to two things, I’d say – spirituality and patience.
Is publishing a book in India different from, say, the USA?
It’s night and day. The USA is such a big market, it’s almost unfathomable. Selling 10,000 copies in India can give you best-seller status; in the states, you’d have to sell well over 100,000 copies and close to a million to be considered a best-selling author.
Even the top 1% of authors in India have a day job. The unfortunate truth is that you just cannot survive solely by being a writer. It’s almost always a passion project.
As an ex-entrepreneur, is there another venture on the cards?
I haven’t had incredible success in all my ventures. Some have done decently well, some not so much. I have no qualms in admitting that. There is definitely another venture on the cards! The soul of an entrepreneur is very restless. It never finds peace unless it creates its masterpiece. I still work for myself, albeit as a copywriter. Coaching is something that interests me a lot. I aim to transition into that eventually.
What is your advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Play to your strengths. Don’t go after a business just because it’s working for someone else. Know your numbers. You need to wake up every day with your revenues, gross profit, and net profit at your fingertips. Don’t focus on the top line, rather look at your bottom line.
Imagine building up to a million dollars – you hire a lot of people, leverage difficult processes, spend a ton on marketing and end up with a 15% net at the end of the day. That’s 150,000$.
A lot of freelance consultants clear that easily as a one-person business, with much fewer hassles.
And your advice to anybody looking to get ahead in life?
Read my book (laughs). I guess, I’d say just find the right balance between confidence and humility. You need to know what you bring to the table, and there is no harm in broadcasting your worth.
You owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself. So work towards it every day – enhance your IQ, Emotional Intelligence, and any other skill that you feel is required to create your own version of success. Timing is important but that doesn’t mean you wait too long. Start small but start TODAY. Life is happening now.
And finally, what’s next on the cards for you?
I usually don’t think too far ahead. I take each day as it comes. I do have goals that I try to work hard towards though. However, I know fate and luck play an important role in our lives. I’d like to keep my head down and see what life has in store. That’s not probably the most exciting answer (laughs), but I am a pragmatic person, and I just believe in walking the talk.
You can follow Zubair on his Instagram Account reluctant.opportunist