Whether you’re inspired by Gary Vee, the changing workplace, or just down right baffled by the decreasing success rate of university graduates, people around the world are ready for a change. The term “entrepreneur” has never been hotter, and many want to know what they can do to increase the odds of success. We had the opportunity to sit down with Kyle X. Mufti, CEO of Mufti Holdings, to ask him how he’s grown so rapidly over the past 10 years in varying industries.
UBJ: After reading your bio, I was increasingly curios what made you enter business at the age of 18, and what were the initial struggles you had as young entrepreneur?
I’ve naturally been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember, the first memory being at around 10 years old. I would sign the surrounding neighborhoods up for seasonal services. Everyone would skip school and I would arrange 20 or more houses to shovel at a time. The plan was to shovel my own contracts and take 50% of what everyone else shoveled since I signed up the blocks myself. My mom was shocked when I’d have $300 or more dollars shoved in a vase after she’d work the whole day for just $60. Those were some tough times. I was able to buy her a winter coat that year and I remembered that feeling good.
However, at that time you’re referring to, I was running an international charity called Educate One which aimed to help kids get off the streets and into classrooms. That was my first legally registered entity at 17. That way they had access to clean drinking water, nutritious meals, safety (especially for the girls), and a foundation of literacy. It was a result of me flying out to Nepal to find an editorial piece to write on a year earlier but as it turned out, journalism wasn’t for me. We ended up with efforts throughout Asia, India, and Africa.
The lawyer fees were piling above my head and our overhead model was 0%, meaning funding for the organization would have to come from social enterprise or other endeavors. Being 18, I had to compete with lawyer fees that cost me $420 per hour and complex tax structures from chartered accountants. So, at an early age, I learned the value of time and a unique skillset. It set a good bar for me to compete with.
Like anything else, learning how to build and run a business is difficult. But if you have passion and a hard work ethic, anything is possible. The harder you work, the luckier you get. There’s an entrance cost to every business so be prepared to lose money and take some good lickings at first. Be patient and commit to your vision. 3 months later I incorporated my construction company and began building in the concrete industry.
UBJ: Would you recommend a college or university degree to entrepreneurs before establishing a start up?
Honestly, I wouldn’t. But that’s entirely dependent on the business you’re starting. The best people I’ve hired over the years were street smart. Self-starters. Problem solvers that knew how to find a solution to any every problem. Those are the types of people that go on to be shareholders with me and eventually entrepreneurs and partners with Mufti Holdings. Character and will trump education 10/10 times.
UBJ: I don’t know if you realize this, but your life on social media comes off as surreal. On Instagram, it seems as though you’re travelling somewhere new every week to work on a completely different venture then the last, in a market you can’t have much experience with. Is that real life or does Instagram blur the truth at times?
Don’t believe everything you see on social media. Platforms like Instagram especially tend to only show you the good, and not the grit of a day in the life. Startup entrepreneurs work twice as hard as people with a 9-5. After 10 years, I still work 16-18 hour days most of the time. As David Goggins said, balance is good for a lot of F%$#ing people, but not those who are looking to go to that edge and push the limits. That resonates deeply with me and the time I’ve spent building Mufti Holdings.
It is true however that I travel often for work, working on projects in several different industries. The key isn’t to know everything about a market. It’s to know enough to build and run a team of people smarter than you.
UBJ: If you could give people a piece advice before launching their own start up, what would it be?
Commit beforehand or don’t start in the first place. If you have a plan B, you’ve already screwed plan A. I’m not saying to not diversify later, but if you want your time to amount to something, engulf yourself in the company’s vision until you achieve it. Once that vehicle is outfitted with the right clients, cash flow, procedures, and staff, you can consider plan B once it’s self-driving.
UBJ: How has the pandemic impacted both you personally and Mufti Holdings over the past 20 months?
To be honest, it’s been one of the greatest financial accelerators for both construction and ecommerce I’ve ever experienced. It also taught me the strength of our family, and how important it is to maintain a diverse portfolio. The greatest thing you can do to reduce stress in your life is have a plethora options available. That ultimately creates freedom. To me, freedom is the ultimate flex. Freedom with time, wealth and health are the springboards to my freedom spiritually.
UBJ: If you could only recommend 5 books to our readers what would they be?
- The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
- The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene
- Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
UBJ: Lastly, is there any final advice you could offer to entrepreneurs early in the game?
You’re going to be successful at whatever you put your mind to. I’ve never in my life met anyone who hasn’t succeeded after working hard and being disciplined with their vision. The key is to be specific with what you’re asking the universe for, what you’re building, and where you’re heading. Base that decision around passion, and don’t settle. If you can believe, you can achieve it. The group you surround yourself with makes a massive impact on your potential. Level up or level out. Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the journey and have fun along the way.
Well, there have you guys. You can follow Kyle Mufti @kylemufti on Instagram and Facebook for his latest ventures and projects with Mufti Holdings.