“All successful people have two common traits: patience and persistence.”– this belief has turned yesterday’s young law college dropout into today’s
successful entrepreneur, Adam A. Azim.
Adam A. Azim is an essayist and writer on International Affairs, an entrepreneur (Azim Enterprises LLC) with a background in Real Estate Development and Investment. He had always been an advocate for change & reform, as well as cross-civilizational dialogue and understanding.
He is the author of the book, “Is the West in Decline? A Study of World Order and U.S. Relative Decline.”
Adam shares his views on success strategies and tips, and motivation with Business Upside in this interview. Edited excerpts from the interview:
Business Upside [BU]: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Adam Azim [AA]: I ended up becoming an entrepreneur through trial and error. At first, I was too young and inexperienced to know what it was that I wanted in life. I had been pushed into various directions by family and friends when I was young. For example, as an Asian-American or Middle Eastern family, you tend to be pushed by friends and family towards conventional career routes, such as law or medicine. I tried taking the required classes for medical school admission when I was in college, and I was eventually lured into changing my major to history by a brilliant history professor.
I was admitted to law school in 2014 after acquiring a Master’s degree in U.S. foreign policy, only to drop out in the first semester to travel and write a book. In my view, entrepreneurship is about the vision that underpins the entrepreneurial activity. With the vision, how we realize the vision starts to develop.
[BU]: What was your mission at the outset?
Adam Azim [AA]: My mission initially was to build on what I have to inherit from my parents. My parents migrated to the United States in the 1980s from Afghanistan, after a civil war broke out there. My father became a doctor, and my mother became a successful real estate developer and investor. Family wealth and assets have to be managed by someone, and I am the oldest out of a total of three siblings. My brother is a psychiatrist, and my sister is an emergency medicine resident.
I was the black sheep in the family who decided that business and risk-taking would be my path forward rather than following my dad’s footsteps, and my mission was initially to preserve the gains that my family has acquired in terms of assets and wealth for four decades. But missions and strategies evolve with context, and at this point, the mission is to expand, not merely to preserve.
[BU]: How do you market your business, and which method has been most successful?
Adam Azim [AA]: I am not necessarily marketing a business. I am marketing a brand, and that brand is my identity. Most immigrants from the Middle East and Asia live in the shadows in American society. Not many of them seek to become mainstream brands or names. But as a millennial who was born and raised in the United States with immigrant parents, you tend to pivot away from the conservative approach taken by your parents in some cases. I am one of those cases where I am pivoting away from my parents’ conservative approach towards unchartered territories for many children of immigrant parents from the Middle East and Asia.
[BU]: What is unique about your business?
Adam Azim [AA]: What is unique is the way I have utilized my business, not necessarily the business itself. There are plenty of medical professionals and real estate developers and investors. What is unique about my case is that I am trying to add a powerful dimension to my repertoire through the business, which is uncommon for many people of Middle Eastern or Asian descent in the United States. But I am willing to take the risk, and if the risk does not pay off, there is always a fallback option.
[BU]: How do you generate new ideas?
Adam Azim [AA]: Through creative writing and imagination. In addition to the business, I am a writer. I have published a book (it is titled “Is The West in Decline? A Study of ‘World Order’ and U.S. ‘Relative Decline’ and you can find it on Amazon) and I am an author of a blog (www.adam-azim.com), which I began in June of 2019. The business was the stepping stone for the writing, and the writing became a stepping stone for the political and social activity which I seek to engage in sometime in the future.
The writing enabled me admission into a highly competitive master’s program that focuses on strategic and intelligence studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), which begins in August 2021. At a certain point, education and knowledge clear a path for intuition and instinct to take root. Ideas, at least for me, are a result of intuition and instinct after the copious reading and research I have done through the course of my youth and adulthood.
[BU]: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting, what would it be??
Adam Azim [AA]: My advice would be to use your imagination and to seek answers to all your questions. Read as much as you can until you find the answers you are seeking from life. Curious minds usually have lots of questions, and the spice of life is to get those answers. Once you get the answers to your questions, there is a sense of calm and relief that results, and that itself is a source of contentment and satisfaction, even if it does not translate into material success. In the end, psychic income is perhaps better than monetary income.
[BU]: What do you look for in an employee?
Adam Azim [AA]: If I were hiring, I would want someone who brings energy, optimism, and a helping hand. Everything is energy, and we feed off the energy we give to one another. If the energy is good, then I would hire. If there is no energy there, then I would suggest that the individual find what it is in life that boosts their energy and motivation for life.
[BU]: Do you believe there is some sort of formula or pattern to become a successful Businessman?
Adam Azim [AA]: All successful people have two common traits: patience and persistence. They see success and failure as two sides of the same coin, and both as mechanisms aimed towards the accomplishment of a goal or a set of goals, which they have set out for themselves. They tend to go big in accomplishing their goals, and they do not settle until they get what it is that they want out of life. In the end, it is about getting what you want out of life. Be true to yourself and be sincere about what it is that you want, and then set out a strategy for getting what it is that you seek in life. If you succeed, great; if not, then find what it is that makes you content and happy.
[BU]: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Adam Azim [AA]: At this early stage in my career, the most satisfying moment has been the confirmation I got that dropping out of law school in my mid-20’s to author a book and a blog wasn’t a death sentence. Most people in my community wrote me off as a lunatic for dropping out of law school at the age of 25. I am now 32 years old. As I mentioned before, the definition of success for immigrant families is to either become a lawyer or a medical doctor. When I opted out of both career paths to write a book and a blog, I was officially deemed a lunatic in my community, especially when I disappeared from everyone’s sight to write a book about seven years ago.
My confirmation that my gamble paid off came earlier this year when Johns Hopkins SAIS offered me admission to their strategic studies and intelligence program, which happens to be a highly competitive program. I know now that aiming high was a better bet than settling for less at a young age. For me, settling for law or medicine would have been the death sentence, not dropping out to do what it was that I loved, which was to become a writer that is self-financed through a family business.
[BU]: What motivates you to become an Entrepreneur?
Adam Azim [AA]: My motivation comes from the fact that I had no other option but to succeed at a very young age. At a certain stage in my life, namely, in my early to mid-twenties, I was running into all sorts of problems, and in some cases through very little fault of my own. I had mental health problems, weight issues, relationship problems, and even legal problems at one point. Getting out of those problems would be challenging enough, let alone coming out of those problems to become an entrepreneur and a writer who is on track to accomplish their goals in life.
Many people never get out of those problems. But I realized that if I was fortunate enough through the grace of God to be able to get out of those problems relatively unscathed, then let me use my energy to try something else, namely, to become an entrepreneur and a writer who ends up breaking the bank one day and spreads the energy and wealth to others in the future.