Personal Development University / Career

Financial Freedom and How To Escape The Rat Race – 10 Questions With Tanim Zaman

One of my long term career goal is to have the flexibility to write books for six months and spend the consecutive six months doing contract jobs in the corporate or public sector. I want to have the best of both worlds exploring my creativity and also being in spaces where I learn rapidly and get to interact with different people. Achieving financial and time freedom is important for this goal so this year I’m investing in my self by learning more about wealth creation.
Money Mastery For Purpose

Next weekend, I will be attending the 2 day Money Mastery workshop by Golden Touch Academy to gain more information about investment strategies, how to develop the right mindset and develop an feasible financial blue print that works for my vision. Part of my goal in running myrihla is to make it a space where I share opportunities and information that helps you to live the best version of your life. I didn’t just want to share information about the workshop so I decided to interview Tanim Zaman, the co-founder of Golden Touch Academy and one of the facilitators of the workshop to learn more about his entrepreneurial journey, practical financial advice and how he manages his mental health.

Read and enjoy below!

1. The Golden Touch Academy is your latest business adventure, what inspired you to create the company and offer the services you do? 

I am very grateful for the education I was able to have, but sadly it taught me nothing about how to live a fulfilling, happy and meaningful life. From year 7 to my degree at LSE, all I was being told was that I needed to get good grades so I could get a well-paying job. I did what I was told then I realised the fallacy of this ‘life plan.’ Why am I spending the best hours of my life working for someone else and advancing their ambitions (and bank balance)? Why do I suddenly have no time for anything else? Why do I feel such a dip in my spirituality?

All of this was happening while I watched a new generation of entrepreneurs (and kids) making a very healthy living doing what they love, while having complete freedom to travel and control over their time. A week before graduating I decided to take a risk and give entrepreneurship a go. What followed was 3 years of hustle, sacrifice, struggle and at times utter desperation. Alhamdulilah I am now in a much better place and the pain was definitely worth it. I take 2 months off every year (1 month for travelling and 1 month for Ramadan) and I have complete time and geographical freedom.  Every day I work on things I am passionate about, making a difference each day in my own small way.

Something I have learnt along the way, from my own experience and from mentors, is that this ‘switch’ does not need to be so painful! All you need is a proven business model and someone to hold your hand and help you set it up, grow it, automate it and maintain it. Golden Touch Academy is my attempt to help people make this switch. Firstly we aim to re-wire your mindset through educational videos and programmes, then we show you halal investment and business opportunities to help you set up passive income streams.

We do not promise to make you into a millionaire, but we can show you how to make a healthy income from working very little.

For many years I have noticed very driven and talented muslims being sucked into the corporate world and becoming trapped. They have such wonderful ambitions and contributions for the Ummah but they are having to spend the best years of their lives working for others in order to pay the bills and maintain their families. How can we help them escape the grip of employment and free them up to do more meaningful endeavours? This is a core mission at Golden Touch Academy. I want to help people achieve this, in the least possible painful way.

2. Golden Touch Academy aims to help people achieve financial and time freedom, what do those concepts mean to you?

To me financial freedom just means that you do not have to work to pay your bills and maintain your family. Your passive income (from business or investments) covers all your living expenses. Time freedom for me is the ability to have total control over my time. I currently have this freedom and I feel blessed to be able to design each day exactly the way I want to. It doesn’t however mean that you don’t do any work, it means that you do the work you want, when you want. You also have to be conscious that this freedom comes with a lot of accountability! So I have no excuse not to be at the masjid for prayer or not to be available to take my mum to an appointment.

3. For a lot of people getting a good job and saving money is the only path they’ve learnt to wealth creation. With a lot of uncertainties in the economy and new opportunities to be explored, how important is developing the ‘right’ mindset for attaining financial and time freedom? And what other means are there to create wealth?

I love this question because it very innocently highlights exactly what is wrong with the mindset that has been implanted in us. Unless you are a CEO on a multi-million package, it is almost impossible to become wealthy through employment. Employment means selling your time in exchange for money. Therefore to amass more money you have to sell more time. But time is the most limited resource we have! Even if you become more valuable over time and you get paid more for your time, you will still struggle to become ‘wealthy’.

The first rule of wealth creation is to break the relationship between time and money.

How can I make 50k in one month instead of one year? The only answer is through business. What we teach in our ‘Money Mastery for Purpose’ programme is that if you  have a job, spend your evenings and weekends working on a proven business which can help you to make money on the side. Keep growing it over time and when it is healthy enough to replace your income, you are now in a position where you have a choice: you can finally quit or you can invest all your business income so it grows and compounds.

Once you have systemised your first side business, move on to the next (then repeat until you have 6 independent income streams). This is our simple formula for the average Moe to get rich.

4. You are quite a voracious reader. What are the three books that have had the most impact on you?

  • ‘The Go-Giver’ by Bob Burg and John David Mann
  • The classic ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki
  • ‘Life Leverage’ by Rob Moore (my co-founder’s mentor)

5. What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from?

I regret not having a system for managing my money. Am I investing for the future? Do I have a rainy pot day? Am I spending too much on leisure? Luckily I came across a life changing system a few years ago thanks to my co-founder. It was an absolute game changer and we did a video on it on our YouTube channel.

6. What financial advice would you give your 25 year old self?

The best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Be proactive when it comes to reading, relationship building and managing time. Work on yourself obsessively and become more valuable as a person.

Time is more valuable than money.

If you lose £1, you can earn it again. If you lose 1 minute it is gone forever and it will never come again. Be ruthless with your time, avoid wasting it and most certainly avoid selling it for money!

7. What are the three main lessons you’ve learnt from your entrepreneurial journey so far?

Whatever you want to achieve, find someone who has already done it successfully and ask them to show you the best path. This can save you years of trial and error and tons of wasted effort/time/money.

It is very difficult to ‘make a difference’ or ‘change the world’ when you are broke. Solve the money problem first, then bi’ithnillah you will be able to impact the world at a much higher magnitude.

The more you give the more you receive. In business always focus on giving more. More value, more benefit, better service, better quality.

Islam encourages us to be people who benefit others.

So let us use businesses and systems to help us benefit thousands of people per day!

8. Being a founder can sometimes be a lonely journey, what are the practical things that you do to take care of your mental health/ overcome challenges?

You can never feel lonely if you have Allah SWT. In the early days I really struggled with the loneliness of being a solopreneur hustling from my bedroom. You feel like you are swimming against the tide with no legs sometimes. And often a massive rock comes out of nowhere and crushes you into pulp. What really helps me nowadays is having a conversation with Allah SWT every morning and reminding myself of His Presence.

The morning conversation consists of presenting 7 sins I am sorry for, 7 blessings I am grateful for, 7 problems I need to get rid of, 7 things I need help with, 7 issues I need guidance for, and finally putting everything in a basket and assigning it to Him, the All Powerful, All Knowing.

Starting the day with this every morning has been life changing. This method of ‘intimate conversation’ was taught to me by Shaykh Ahmed Dabbagh, who is a teacher to both me and my co-founder Usman Ahmed.

9. What ayah in the Qur’an inspires you the most and why?

It’s difficult to narrow it down to just one ayah but at the moment I would say, ayah 172 in Surah Araf,

And (mention) when your Lord took out the offspring from the loins of the Children of Adam and made them bear witness about themselves, He said, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ and they replied, ‘Yes, we bear witness.’ So you cannot say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘We were not aware of this,’

This verse is motivating for me because it is a potent reminder of what out life is all about and what we are here to do. This temporal life is a test to prove how true we are to the declaration we made before our birth.

10. Lastly, what is your five year vision for Golden Touch Academy and the long run impact you want it to have for Muslims?

Our vision in the next five years is to help 1000 talented Muslims to ‘solve the money problem’ and be able to dedicate themselves to their own personal meaningful endeavours. Whether you want to seek sacred knowledge, run an NGO, start a social enterprise, home-school your children or serve your community full time, we want Golden Touch Academy to be a vehicle to help people achieve financial and time freedom.

I hope you benefitted from this interview. I wanted to share this opportunity last week when I booked my ticket but the second early bird offer finishes tomorrow on the 7th so it’s not too late! If you are interested, click on this link to read more about the workshop and book your ticket. It would be great to embark on this journey with you all!
Money Mastery Workshop

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