Systemic Racism & Entrepreneurs of Pakistan

In the past few weeks, I came across many videos that highlighted the systemic or institutional racism in the US. They highlighted how the opportunities are blocked for the people of color right from the start which result in the eventual 700% difference in the wealth between whites and people of color especially black.

systemic racism starts right from when you can’t go to the same schools as your white counterparts.

Here are some of the videos that I saw: 1 | 2 | 3

If you can see such contrast in citizens of the same country, how do you expect the same opportunities to be ever available to people of Pakistan? I received the following comment on a thread in one of the Facebook ads group, and it made me think about it (again).

If people of color struggle in the US, as a Pakistani entrepreneur, with limited access to quality education, lack of access to community, nearly no access to funding, not even access to the same softwares, or banking, how do you ever expect to achieve the same things that are achieved by the people of similar intellect in the US? The short is answer is that you can’t.

However, despite making the above statement, I’m extremely optimistic about the people of Pakistan and their future. The reason for that is that I’ve seen them rise up and stay resilient. Sure, they aren’t building any Amazon or Google, but they are doing much better than anyone could have expected given all the odds against them.

I want to write about this resilience in tomorrow’s blog.

The Money Trap That Majority Of The World Population Falls For

There is a money trap. Almost everyone I know falls for it. Most people are so deep in this trap, they are in complete denial. They think it’s not a trap but a safety net. This trap apparently gives them stability and peace of mind.

I’m talking about traditional employment. People like traditional employment because it gives them a false sense of security. I say false sense of security because no employer will keep you hired if you’re no longer profitable for him. So in essence, his business risks do not just apply to him, but to you as well. But since it works best in the favor of employers, they love to sell this false sense of security. I think it’s a trap. You think it’s a safety net.

The second reason people resort to traditional employment is because of instant gratification. You get paid really soon. In comparison, if you choose to be self-employed or a consultant or a freelancer or a business owner, your pay-day may vary.

Lets explain this further.

This is because of the principal called time value of money. Money in your hand today is more valuable than promise of money to be given to you tomorrow. You can spend the money in your hand today. You can’t spend the promise of money. So naturally everyone is attracted to the money that you can get now.

However, there is a reward for waiting which is generally much larger than the combined money you’d have made with your instant monthly payments. And most people are so consumed by small, scheduled payments, they are unable to see the bigger picture.

I don’t expect all of you to become entrepreneurs or business owners. You could be self-employed or a freelancer or a consultant. You still get hired, but at your own terms and with a bigger pay-check as long as you’re willing to display some patience.

Seizing the Opportunity

Opportunities are everywhere. Literally everywhere. You come across them hundreds of times everyday but you often ignore them, or you misread them, or you just can’t see them hidden in plain sight. Some people have the ability to see them very often. This in my opinion is the single biggest differentiator between entrepreneurs and those who are not. Let me give you an example.

In 2012, we considered expanding our marketing business beyond the scope of just promoting our own products. We looked into client servicing (hated it and never did it again). But we learnt a great deal from it. Since one of my businesses at that time was a Pakistani music blog, naturally the first customer for our marketing agency was a band.

They were going to pay us X amount of money for growing their Facebook page, adding organic and authentic views to their youtube videos, and overall assistance with their new song launch. After we had concluded the agreement, they mentioned to us that they are also going to spend Y amount of budget on a radio channel in Pakistan who would play the song a certain number of times in the next month. On hearing this, my co-founder, Saad Bassi, saw an opportunity and seized it. We took all of the budget that they were going to spend on radio, hired a full time resource whose job was to call many hours everyday to all the radio stations in Pakistan. In the end, their song played more frequently than it would have had happened with paid advertising. Not just that, it played on more number of channels increasing their unique reach. They incurred lesser cost and our company made a profit after paying for the resource.

It is one of the many examples of how the world presents you opportunities and how you can seize them.