Mohammed Kashif, owner of Light House Studio, ties his spending with investment in his business.
Studio focuses on fine balance
Mohamed Kashif, who opened Light House Studio in Dubai two years ago, always had an inclination towards photography. Mr Kashif, 30, is from South Africa and worked for an import and export company when he first came to Dubai nine years ago.
q How would you describe your financial journey so far?
a Obviously finance is the backbone of every business set-up. Although I had a bit of help at the beginning, it was important to ensure that every penny was spent wisely. Right from the beginning it was important to be disciplined with money. Maintaining a full-time operation and ensuring its success has been a major challenge. Every penny counted and every financial decision was crucial. I worked long hours to balance the cash flow. Studio equipment is very expensive and major [spending] was on getting the right equipment for the job.
Are you a spender or a saver?
I would say I'm a wise spender and I tend to balance between the two. When it comes to spending [for business] I'm usually cautious as I treat spending as investment opportunities. Therefore, while purchasing products like new cameras, new light equipment and so on, it is very important to look for high-quality and trustworthy brands. Being an entrepreneur, I have to be constantly checking on my expense sheet to ensure that every purchase is a wise one. I have recently launched a production studio, which means I cannot afford to be careless with the investment - so the expenditure is more business-centric. Personally I'm a saver as I inject the finances into my business venture.
What is your philosophy regarding money?
You can never have enough of it - people always want more. There's always that house you want, the new car, a new gadget - endless really. For me personally, money has its perks but at the same time I don't let it rule or dictate my life. When it is there, I enjoy it but in its absence I don't stress out. It's so important to be grounded about these matters because it can easily get out of control.
Did you make any financial mistakes along the way?
These are not necessarily mistakes. I would call them a learning curve. I was involved in the property market before the recession and made huge losses to my investment then. Eventually I had to sell off the property to free myself from bank liabilities. After setting up Light House Studio I invested a lot on people and talent that resulted in poor performance and I had to let them go. As an entrepreneur there's several elements that can result in bad judgement, but I guess you just have to take it as part of the set-up process, learn from it and move on.
Do you believe in planning for the future?
Certainly, this allows you some direction as opposed to just going with the flow. There has to be a strategy involved when you are setting up a business. I am very focused on the present to ensure that we are secure for the future.
Is money important to you?
Money is what we would need as an exchange for comforts and living. But I think I'm pretty balanced as I do make time to smell the roses.
What is your idea of financial freedom?
Being able to expand without financial worry. Right now I'm still expanding the studio and I have so many ideas and visions on the growth of the brand.
What do you enjoy spending money on?
I don't have a specific amount of money allotted for myself to spend. It differs from month to month, depending on what the needs are. Generally I spend a lot on technology such as cameras, cell phones and the latest gadgets launched in the market. On a personal level I enjoy spending on movies, grooming, dining and occasionally on cars.