Describe your financial journey so far.
My journey so far has been unbelievably fantastic. It has not only taught me the value of money, but also polished my principles in life. From working endless hours on promotions in supermarkets to now getting paid 10 times more for a 30-minute comedy slot. I am very grateful that I have been through the financial experiences I have as it has widened my perspective towards making money as well as spending money.
Are you a spender or a saver?
I am proud to say that I have managed to strike a very healthy balance, so I spend efforts and save moments.
Have you made any financial mistakes?
I have had my share of not so good judgements, but luckily for me the recovery has not only been fast, but much more beneficial.
What is your philosophy towards money?
My philosophy with money is I don't chase it. There is a saying, 'No one can destroy anything I can't rebuild'. Money is a by-product of hard work and strong ethics - not the other way around.
What has been your most valuable financial lesson?
Believe in yourself and what you are selling. It's very important to be convinced with what you are selling/representing. I would definitely mention my life-changing experiences when I was working in Spain as a camera salesman because even though I did not fit in, I worked hard towards not only understanding what I was selling, but also who I was selling to. Once I understood both of these aspects clearly, I ended up not only selling, but creating a business relationship with my customers - who then graduated to regular clients.
When did you become a comedian?
I started working at a very young age and have practically sold everything possible, including french fries, music, real estate and have even been a TV presenter and producer. Since I used to host events regularly, I always used to end up doing improv comedy on stage and always received good feedback. So around the end of 2005, my friend Abdul Basit Qureshi, who was organising comedy shows called One Night Stand, asked me to fill in because one of the opening acts didn't show up. I ended up on stage and have never gotten out of it.
Is it difficult to make a living as a comedian?
Growing up, I was actually a very shy individual, but somehow found a lot of comfort and was able to express myself much better when I was on stage. So thanks to my drama teacher, Suneel Hattangadi, I found a new voice and luckily for me that voice was a funny one. Initially, it was difficult because when I started there were just a handful of local comedians. For many businesses, sustainability is much more difficult than the take off. However, in this market where the concept of comedy was yet to be understood, both taking off and sustainability was extremely difficult. But I am blessed with a very strong will and I believed in my concept and my intentions. I have successfully created my brands Komic Sutra and the most recent Laugh Your Assets Off and am looking forward to new challenges and overcoming them.
How hard is it to bring comedy into the corporate world?
In the past three years, most of my income has been through the corporate world as multinationals locally and internationally have been booking me for seminars and launches and even as an ice-breaker before many important announcements. This actually gave birth to the concept of Laugh Your Assets Off, which is the region's first and only corporate comedy that includes tailor-made comedy sets as well the option of Rent-A-Comic. So far, the response has been remarkable as more and more corporations are not only enjoying the "humourtainment", but also taking ownership of the concept and understanding the importance of having a healthy and happy working environment that directly impacts efficiency.
What do you like to invest in?
Even though I have a few investments in property, I like investing in people and talent.