Going Solo: Tm Mahdi
I knew how to place myself and sell my intended product. I was one of those kids who didn’t bother with a lemonade stand, but went for the bigger picture, greater rewards, well-networked resources. I raised every penny and rehashed on every opportunity. I focused on building a loyal community and made a great return out of it.
I had dreams and I had goals; I was only 12 years old and I wanted an Infiniti Q30 and in no time (that’s months, not years) I had enough in my fish bowl to get me one, but of course I had no buying power for one.
As I grew older, I used my business sense and opportunistic sense for greater values. I not only raised money for myself, but for my community. For endangered species and for a better world, for poverty and for the human race. I learned to budget not only time but resources to commit toward the greater goal. At the same time, at the age of 15 I had my first job — I was a stock boy for a health store. It opened my eyes and my interest to the business world.
Around that same age, I experienced my first Apple, an LC II. To this day, I still remember how they look. I remember how smart they were and enjoyed everything to do with them. Life was created out of them — it was really my life I was creating. I opened a one-man school newspaper to compete against the Tribune, the official school newspaper. I had weekly articles and initiatives, I was passionate in making something out of it. I had no public funding to make it happen, just the school resources — which eventually had to come to an end. I was shut down in a few months.
But my creativity wandered further. I wanted to work on projects — many of them. I enrolled in photography and film classes. I stayed late developing ideas and concepts, took pictures and gained interest in drawing. I was independent. I did not want to be part of group projects; I wanted full creative direction and control. I was young, and there was no teamwork in my vocabulary. I wanted to be unique and create my own works, my own results, my own appreciation — and no teacher could say otherwise.
Over time, my interests grew to be fully independent. I became part of the dot-com wave, with little to no respect for a 9–5 job. I just didn’t have the motivation to last, nor the patience to keep lasting. I wanted to work on many projects and I did. I wanted the flexibility to interact and I did. I wanted my time and I had it. I wanted a challenge and I got it. I knew, and was internally convinced, that I could never receive the same appreciation, passion and love from a nine-to-five job. So far, that’s been true — about half the time.
Over two decades later, I look back today tell you this: my resume is 17 pages long. I have experienced literally 98% of the market industry. I have lived in and travelled to 16 countries. I have the appreciation for not just the artistic side of business, but the opportunistic side of it, too. And though there is nothing new under the sun lately, each day is a new day with a new challenge and a new opportunity that I would never have been able to find through my employer, if I had one. Each day I live through, I’d like to pass on that experience to the person I work with, to the specialist who has the same interest and passion as me.
As a specialist who runs his own agency, I am not in it for the money but for the lifestyle it provides me, for the love and for the community I work with. I love the fact that I am able to create my own challenges and exceed my own expectations uncapped by management. Simply because I am my own management, I am my own leader, I am a dreamer, a realist and a producer.