Arham Muhammad’s Journey From A Challenging Childhood To Establishing A Multi-Million-Dollar Company

Arham MuhammadPhoto Credit: Arham Muhammad

Written in partnership with DN News Desk

You will never become a millionaire, Arham Muhammad. Your dreams and projects are stupid. Forget about this silly notion. Find a real job instead,” said people close to me when I was about 16 years old. The words hurt–deeply. At the time, I had an intense interest in technology and electronics, which had only grown from the age of seven when I began dissecting electronics to understand how they worked. During my early teens, I taught myself how to code and learned reverse engineering, cybersecurity, and cyber forensics. These skills came in handy when I helped find vulnerabilities on some of the world’s most prominent websites, such as Microsoft, Sony, EA, AOL, and ESPN. At the time, I was proud of my self-taught skills. However, people close to me did not feel the same, and I was often told to stop wasting my time and do something productive and familiar.

When you find yourself in a hostile environment and witness toxic relationships, it is easy to let them define your reality and future. But I realized that one has to grow a thick skin and use one’s talent(s) and ambitions to establish your path. Have a clear set of goals, and work hard to achieve them, mitigating the impact of external factors along the way. If you do, whatever freedom you desire usually follows.

Luckily, I didn’t allow the opinions of others to influence my destiny for too long. Instead, I used their negative feedback as a driving force to prove them wrong.

The Long, Hard Road to Success is Filled with Needles and Thistles

We often hear the world’s wealthiest people say that it takes “hard work” to gain success. What is hard work, though?

The term “hard work” has become almost meaningless today, with people frivolously proclaiming their hard work after the smallest of tasks. “I can work hard,” I thought when I was 13. “Everyone works hard, don’t they? Nobody wants to be poor.” Yet, I didn’t fully realize the sacrifices involved when I started my first business as a teen. I soon found out hard work was not the only thing that ensured success; neither did it happen overnight. One has to be dedicated and self-motivated to start a business and then commit and sacrifice a great deal of yourself and your time to create and scale a multi-million-dollar company. I often describe it as a lifestyle.  There is no such thing as a work-life balance for most serious entrepreneurs. It’s more like 95% work-work-work and then some “life.” On top of that, you have to learn leadership skills, overcome personal insecurities, and carry all the stress while others sleep peacefully at night. And after all of that, there is still no guarantee of success.

I have had my fair share of failures in life, but it was from these failures that I believe I learned the most beneficial lessons.

Failures Eventually Lead to Success

My failures started early in life. I focused my attention on AI, technology, automation, and reverse engineering from a young age. We weren’t always struggling, but our finances were still dismal at home once my mum and dad separated, so one of the major driving forces in my life was getting out of that mess so that I could buy the right home for my family and design my own life. I knew money wasn’t everything, but limited resources meant limited opportunities for a young teen, so I thought the only way to improve my experience would be to gain financial freedom. Most people in my life didn’t understand this; maybe they had succumbed to the harsh reality of life without believing that alternative energy is available, even to people like us.

My first entry into the business world was when I created a social media platform based on shared interests called Zstash. It was similar to the Twitter and Facebook of today, except that these weren’t household names back then. I remember working between 20 and 22 hours a day, forgoing food and sleep in favor of coding.

I had big aspirations for Zstash. However, such ambitions were unlikely to come to fruition in the way that I hoped, and I decided that I had to move on to greener pastures. I couldn’t get the level of investment required to actualize my vision for Zstash on a scale I wanted, so with a heavy heart, I abandoned my first business venture.

With Zstash no longer an option, I had to find another business idea to realize my dream of becoming financially independent and buying my family the right home. My home life was particularly troublesome at that time, and my life felt like a rollercoaster. As a child, school was my only escape. I could step into normality, so my world came crashing down when my mom told me I had to leave because we did not have enough money. I was devastated as I enjoyed learning and desired to pursue higher education after school. While other teens were enjoying high school, I had to figure out how to get around life. Back then, I thought it was hell. Today, I look back and realize it was those tough days that taught me most of the valuable lessons in life that have ensured my businesses being successful:

  1. No matter how many obstacles life throws at you, you can overcome them.
  2. We all can rise above the cards we are dealt with and create the life we desire.
  3. Struggle and sacrifices make us stronger and more resilient to face future troubles more effectively.

I started my second business in 2012 with nothing to my name, working relentlessly to make it a success. I knew nothing of advertising, but I had a business concept that revolved around advertising and helping celebrities and public personas with their brands. So, there I was, a 20-year-old nobody from a third-world country, emailing and cold calling the world’s who’s who.

It worked! Determination and resilience paid off, and I soon landed my first big client. From then on, C Media grew into the 9-figure business it is today. Reaching the coveted nine figures was no easy task, though. I know it sounds easy, but it was a road filled with many thorns. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, never believe it when others tell you it will be easy. It is not. To access 6, 7, 8, or 9-figure revenue success, you’ll have to make sacrifices. “Give and take”—that is the way of our three-dimensional world.

It is also said some people are born with a talent for growing plants, while others are better at athletics or academics; a handful are multi-talented, and some have only one skill. I don’t believe in any of these concepts or assumptions. Humans are creative beings who thrive in an environment that brings out the best in them. I believe each of us has dormant talents and develops existing talents, and creates new talents. By continually “upgrading” and expanding our skills, we become multi-talented and more valuable to the marketplace. Talents are like babies. They grow over time through nurture and care. In today’s marketplace (especially now during the pandemic), it would be wise to learn new skills to ensure you continue to grow in your job.

Although we all have talents, these don’t necessarily benefit us unless we work hard to develop and evolve them, all while applying them to real-life scenarios. It’s no different in business. Once you have a company that is hitting the 5-figure mark month after month, you want to get into the 6-figure league. Once you reach six figures, you desire 7, and so on. To get there, though, you can’t continue doing what you did in your 5-figure business. You’ve got to upgrade and evolve, and a different level of commitment and sacrifice is needed. Evolution starts within us as business owners – the leader of the pack.

The Evolutionary Cycle an Entrepreneur has to go through.

I vividly remember one of my best months when we were continually netting $20k-$30k a day. Though these figures were significant, we somehow got stuck on them for months and couldn’t seem to bridge the gap to reach $40K. I used to find myself looking at factors or people to locate the problem.

By chance, around the same time, I was watching a video of a US businessman, J. Earl Shoaff, a well-known and much-respected multi-millionaire. He said: “Most often people blame everything from the government, politics, to their poor upbringing and personal issues for their failure to succeed and become wealthy. That’s a foolish way to look at things because if you blame the only building materials you have, you’ll not get anywhere. Instead, change your perspective as it might be in error. For things to change for you, you’ve got to change.”

His words resonated with me. That day, I realized it was not my team or any other outside element that was at fault – I was the problem. I was not a good enough leader, and I wasn’t using my talents effectively sufficient to come up with solutions. As my team leader and the CEO, I had failed to continue growing my leadership skills, knowledge, expertise, and ideas. To reach greater heights, I had to change my perspective on money and find new money-making ideas.

It’s amazing what happens once you take responsibility for your shortcomings. Once I’d sorted myself out, ides suddenly started pouring in. Two of these ideas revolved around implementing automation and AI tools into our processes to get rid of all the routine, time-sucking administrative tasks are burdening the advertising sphere. By eliminating inefficiency, we managed to scale our business processes drastically, and, in turn, our revenue increased. Drastically. For several months, we went from 40K to $50K, eventually doing way over $100K in daily revenue.

After that, a consistent 9-figure revenue was no stranger to us.

Continue to Grow

I understand most people will settle for $100K a day. I’m very honored and feel exceptionally thankful to be in such a position. But I know that my team and I can always do better. That is the nature of growing and evolving as human beings. We get excited by the prospect of pushing the boundaries of what is possible. I focus intently on internal training and expanding my skills and knowledge every week. Self-study during free time is essential to ensure one stays ahead in a changing world by the minute. What was relevant yesterday quickly becomes inconsequential tomorrow.

Even though your aim might not be to achieve financial success, self-study should still be a part of your weekly program. We can all learn to communicate better and become more confident.

Self-study is a discipline like any other, and it does take some effort to get used to it. But once you do, you’ll be forever thankful that you did.

Proving the Naysayers Wrong

When I earned multi-millionaire status at 24 years of age, many knew me couldn’t believe it. The most important day, though, was the day I showed my family their new house. I can’t even begin to describe my feelings that day. It is, to date, my proudest moment.

When I look back at the things that have happened to me, I am reminded that we can overcome any obstacle in our way. Don’t let your circumstances define you. If you dream of getting out of a challenging situation, don’t listen to the naysayers. Follow your goals, and work hard (whatever that means to you) to make them a reality. And remember, although people will tell you money is not everything (and they are right, it is not), you have the freedom you wish to achieve, and that is your path. Money is simply a form of energy that allows you to change your life and lets you do great things for others.