Hamzah Malik is the CEO of digital agency Regent Branding and the founder of Drench, a discount voucher app. In this episode Hamzah talks about being obsessed with CEO’s whilst his friends were idolising footballers; finding customers on train journeys; and how he manages a team dotted around the globe.

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Hamzah Malik 0:03
My name is Hamzah Malik and I’m 27 and I’m from Peterborough.

Manish Verma 0:33
And you’re from Peterborough?

Hamzah Malik 0:35

Manish Verma 0:36
This is the Leicester Startups Podcast! (laughter) Okay, so we’re making a bit of an exception for this episode. An exception for fairly exceptional person. 27 year old Hamza Malik runs his own digital marketing consultancy. He’s also launched an app and he’s written and published a novel. Okay, yes, he’s from Peterborough, but check it out. He really loves Leicester.

Hamzah Malik 1:02
I went to University here in 2010 until 2013 I studied English. I love the city. I worked there for a bit after I graduated. I love how enterprising it is and how friendly, and how there’s always possibilities and you guys are always building something new.

Manish Verma 1:16
Told you! So consider Hamzah an honorary, Leicest-arian…. If you’re from Manchester. You’re a Manc. I don’t know- I’ve heard Leicester-arian. Lester- fari! That’s a funny one. What’s what if you’re from Peterborough?

Hamzah Malik 1:33
The Peter-borean. No one wants to really put out there too much. We’ve got a passport office though!

Manish Verma 1:41
From Peterborough, to Leicester, to Australia, to North America to Japan and beyond. Hamzah has built a company with a global workforce building not one, but two startups in the process. Hi, I’m Manish Verma. And welcome To the Leicester startups podcast.

Hamzah Malik 2:08
I remember in year seven, we were doing a presentation on your favourite thing. And it was a PowerPoint presentation, right. Some kid did it on David Beckham, another kid did it on their favourite cricket team, someone else to do on a list celebrities. And I was a weird kid. And I did it on the board of directors for Sony. I looked up to them. This guy, the CEO, this guy took the stage and introduced the new PS2 to had their image and their bios and everything. And to me, it was completely natural to hold these people up as superheroes. And everyone else was like, what are you doing, who are these people? They’re not celebrities. And I was like ‘no, no, they are man!’ They they made Sony what it is. So to me, I remember seeing a keynote for these guys and they all came on stage. I didn’t understand what they were saying because they were talking about chip architecture and stuff but I was just super impressed at how confident they were and how they captivated the crowd. So I remember like, looking at all their body cues and just trying to copy them desperately, like thinking I want I want to present like this right.

Manish Verma 3:16
Their body cues? What were they doing that you could pick up on?

Hamzah Malik 3:21
So it’s stuff like when they made a big point their hands expanded when they wanted to make a salient point. And politicians still do this but they kind of put their thumb on top of the things and did a jabbing motion and I was like ‘everyone’s believing it’ and I thought if you could use words to make someone believe something to me that was closest thing to magic, because it’s like you made a thought come into their head by using some words. Like I was like that’s complete magic to me and I was I want to learn this magic. So yeah, that’s kind of when I realised and then as I got a bit older and I became a little bit more savvy I back in the day before this is before iPhone, so we had like standard brick phones and everyone was bluetoothing music to each other. And obviously we add what 32 megabytes of memory on these things. So I bought memory cards from Amazon, that was one seller selling them for 36 pence a pop. These are like four gigabyte memory cards from China or something. And I thought, great buying loads. And so I sold my iPod to pay – this is business capital- sold the iPod and bought these memory cards, I must have bought, like, only bought like 30 or 40. Right? Not a huge amount. Then I started selling them in school. So there’s two people and suddenly it’s like Hammy’s the guy you want to go to for these memory cards. So I start sending these memory cards to these people. I sold them for a fiver. So good mark up. So I was working at working out the markup. And I was like, I thought this was completely normal markup and I was like ‘well, I guess it’s all right’. And then then I started doing headphones as well. I did covers for a little bit but it was just a complete headache because the different phones and everything. Yeah. So then I kind of like sort of gently it was it was was a very light light and didn’t make loads of money. It was kind of like, ‘Oh, look, I made enough to get a cheeseburger on the way home’. And that to me was like, you know, I’m making money because I can buy cheeseburger. So that was kind of the first dip into business.

Manish Verma 5:15
When Hamzah was old enough to work, he got his first part time job at PC World. And it’s here, he was able to put into practice what he’d learned from those keynotes he’d spent hours studying online. But it was pretty tough.

Hamzah Malik 5:30
Back then it was it was quite a sort of solid sales environment you had to sell, right? That was just how it is you don’t get away with standing around all day. And I came into this environment and realised I really, really didn’t want to be bottom of the league table in the store. So like I basically looked and these guys were amazing. I remember looking at them and being like, so for example, when anyone would come in for plasma TV, the top salesperson would take them to the back with a massive plasma TV and he’d start with “so you want to know the difference with the plasma and LED”, and he he wrapped his knuckles on the glass. And I was like, why are you doing that? And he went, well, it looks cool, it makes a noise, you know, they get interested. And then they start touching it. And then they start using it and it’s the best plasma TV and most of the time, they don’t have enough money to buy it. So they’ll just buy the model below and save some money but he sold the TV. So I copied that and like, but I wasn’t like the most shrewd kid. So I was doing on all TVs, even if it’s not glass, and the managers like why are you killing the pixels and our TV?

Manish Verma 6:28
You’re just punching a TV?

Hamzah Malik 6:32
Yeah, yeah, but look, look, it’s plasma. No, that’s LED. But I realised that you know, you have to, it’s always the tiny little things. So for example, you know, I realised you learn learn to read people. So I was like someone’s got the hand in their pockets might be a little bit reserved. They need a different approach to someone that’s standing there quite with their shoulders back with you know, looking around. You learn to read people quite quickly and it was really about it wasn’t even about selling was about building a relationship, getting to the point where they have a casual trust in you and then giving your honest opinion on the product.

Manish Verma 7:03
What’s coming across is you’re just a shrewd, shrewd salesman. And that’s a bit devious, a bit Machiavellian, but actually, you’re giving your honest opinion. Yeah, actually, when it came down to it?

Hamzah Malik 7:12
Yeah, it was, it was, to me, it’s really important to be honest, because I think the truth always wins. You know, you someone will always find out the truth. And I believe in the concept of long term partnerships, right? Even if you’re not going to see this person again, if this person happens to bump into someone you might know in 20 years, it’s that one experience they had with you. And to me, as cold as it seems in business for that’s just that social currency. You know, your trust, your reputation, your honesty, your integrity. And if you you know, you can make good money by being a little bit sneaky, but you’ll damage your own brand long term. To me, it’s important, you know, even if I don’t win every time, that’s fine, as long as the relationship remains intact, I don’t like to burn bridges.

Manish Verma 7:59
So as you can tell from a young age Hamzah had a real appetite for enterprise. The psychology of the sell was something he obviously enjoyed. But despite his clear knack for it, he didn’t pursue entrepreneurship straight away. In fact, he didn’t even have to study it at uni. Instead, he chose English literature, partly because he didn’t know what he wanted to do. And partly because of a very supportive teacher, Mr. Schwartz told him that if he could grasp the English language, and everything would come easy, so off, he went to uni, to learn literature. But

Unknown Speaker 8:37
I did nearly get kicked out of uni. I wasn’t attending any lectures because I was doing i’d launched a business, right, so like, so it was it was in first year, and the recession was pretty much in full swing. So 2010 right. And I read this, this article saying there’s a lot of people that are depressed or suicidal. Because they’re losing their jobs, redundant redundancies were everywhere, right? So I thought, well, I’m good at English. You know, I’m all right at writing CVs. So I said, I’m going to make a website. And I went online, literally, this was in my bedroom late one evening, went to a domain provider put in create my CV dot co dot UK. And then I made a website the next day, which was terrible, but did the job right. And suddenly, I had my first customer, his name was John and he said, I’m going to Australia to become a swimming pool cleaner. Can you write me a CV? I said, Yeah, sure thing, john. Yeah. And he’s like, want me to pay you and I was like, no, no, you pay at the end when you see and if you’re happy right? There. Okay. That’s good. So right in the CV, send it to him. He loved it. He got a job as when he got there pretty quickly. Wow. And then he sent 15 pounds by PayPal. And then I transferred that 15 pounds into my account. And I said, Hey, that that’s like three subways, but that’s and that was my business model. How many subway says it’s gonna net me?

Manish Verma 9:55
Is it always been your profit relates to what food items you can get?!

Hamzah Malik 10:03
Back in school that was pretty much all I spent my money on. Oh, wow, I can get a pizza or a cheeseburger. And then when I went into uni, natural I was broke as a student, and I thought was the first thing you worry about when you have no money? It’s I’m going to starve right? Now naturally if I was in serious trouble, they would have helped my parents would have helped first, but I didn’t want to ask. So I thought I wonder if I can fix this myself. And I did. But it was tense at times. Because, you know, I was getting calls from clients when I was in lectures, and they were like, Hey, I can hear some kids in the background. What’s going on? Some some clients asked my age, you know, they were like, so how old are you like because you sound kinda young. And I was about 20 ish at the time. And I had made my first CV when I was about 12. Like, it was like in a class like, Oh, this is how you write a CV, right? Not real. So I used to say like you know, I’ve been in the game for nearly 10 years, right? So you’re See the results when you see them, and you don’t have to pay if you don’t like it. That’s why I never felt guilty because I was like, if they don’t like it, and if they think it’s rubbish, I don’t get paid. Yeah, but not one customer refused to pay. We had hundreds and hundreds of customers over the years. Yeah. And it did pretty well and went international and customers from Dubai, saying, hey, I want to apply to be a CEO with this company. Can you help me out? And yeah, but at that point, it was like, I had a system where when they called, I would have office ambience for the background noise on YouTube playing. And then when they called my mobile, I’d basically pick it up, put the phone to the speaker so they can hear some office ambient chit chat keyboards clacking, then three seconds later put it in say sorry with chockablock in the office today. How can I help you and in terms of merit get credit? I’m your CV consultant. And it was me and my bedroom basically, usually my boxers!

Manish Verma 11:53
You put some production value in those conversations!

Hamzah Malik 11:56
Details is the thing! But to be honest, like, I think what I did in uni was out of necessity and probably a little bit irregular, and that a lot of people had lives in uni, like a lot of people had more fun than I did.

Manish Verma 12:13
When did you realise that?

Hamzah Malik 12:21
Oh, I clearly remember right. Yeah, it’s so funny. Like, I was out to Tinseltown. Okay. I have some friends from from my course. There’s like, five of us are some things guys and some girls and they went, should we go out? And all that? Yeah, yeah, come let’s go read Leicester or something. And I was like, No, guys haven’t read the clubbing type anyway, but I was like no. And they’re like, oh, come on, what have you got to do? And I was like, I’ve got to fix the services page of my website. And because this doesn’t work in the user flow and the retention, the bounce rate and like, and I realised I just lost them. They’re just looking at me like, weird, right, right. And they’re like, yeah, wg this way and I went home and I was sat down typing and I was like, Oh, I thought I thought everyone knew about bounce rate was!

Manish Verma 13:17
Coming up on the Leicester startups podcast, one of the most audacious ways to make a sale i have ever heard and how Hamzah is building not one, but possibly two startups, whilst also trying to create the next Harry Potter.

But first, you know where this podcast comes from, right. Leicester Startups. It’s a community for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs. If you want help with your startup, or you want to stay up to date with what’s happening in your city, visit Lester startups.com. Okay, so back to our episode. Hamzah Malik is a self professed weirdo, from idolising CEOs to punching TVs. His business methods have been somewhat alternative. And these methods continued when he tried to find customers for his very first venture at university, a business where people would come to him to write their CV. It did pretty well with customers from all around the world. But how did he get these customers? Well through, let’s say, interesting methods, like this time at the train station.

Hamzah Malik 14:35
So at the station I remember platform one, I think it was was going to Peterborough opposite of that platform to was going somewhere else. I jumped onto the train platform to a few minutes before everything departed, sat down in a carriage in the quiet carriage and said, open like basically like I set an alarm on my phone to ring. It was my ringtone, and I pretended to pick it up and I said, “Hey, hey, how’s it going, man? Yeah, I’ve got a new job as you know I was in London got new job. Where is it? Yeah you know it’s in central really nice job. Yeah. And I got my CV done from create my CV. Great company by the way” And I realised that on a train everyone stops. Everyone eaves drops. So it was loud enough to be heard, but not loud enough to be obnoxious. So I’m basically dropped the name three times. And after that, I thought, I don’t want to be unnatural. Put the phone down to my non existent person. And by the time I got home, I had like three people in the inbox saying, Can we have CV please? Because like, that’s at the point of most misery when you’re competing home after a long sweaty tiring day your bosses yelled at you. You know, the meeting didn’t go well. You didn’t get yourself speakers. And then someone saying I got a new job in central and it’s great and create my CV help me and it’s cheap. And people were like, cool, like, you know, let’s try it out.

Manish Verma 15:53
You did basically a live advert?

Hamzah Malik 15:54
Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. And it was very fine line because back in uni, when I wasn’t as refined I’d literally go through tescos with my trolley just yelling at the brand name.

Manish Verma 16:06
Going through Tesco create my cv.co.uk?! Just shouting it out?! You’re a mad person.

Hamzah Malik 16:12
Absolutely. 100% like you’ve got to be a bit crazy. You have to be crazy

Manish Verma 16:16
I’m dumbfounded by this because I’m really fascinated about where this comes from and your personality. I met you you’re you’re kind of a regular, smart guy. Not necessarily. I wouldn’t put you down for an extrovert at all.

Hamzah Malik 16:36
Ya know, where does come from? I think it comes from necessity because I quickly realised that whilst my character, I’ve built it over a number of years and I’ve tried to make sure that it’s one of integrity. I am naturally quite introverted, and I like to be polite and professional. Sometimes another character is needed, right? So you have a kind of like a mask. Will Smith actually, like put it really, really well. And he, weirdly enough was like a massive inspiration back in the day because I was very quiet in school, I was very unsure. Is this going to be funny if I say it, that type of thing. And then I started watching Fresh Prince. And I’m like, wow, this guy doesn’t care. And he’s so naturally charming and charismatic. And so naturally, I tried to I think many guys did this when they saw the show. Like, I tried to become a little bit more outspoken. And you see what kind of lands with the right people, what gets people smiling. And so I realised that there was a character that you can kind of control when the time is right. And then you can kind of ask that character to leave once you’re done because who when we met, like, that’s me, right? That’s just who I am. I’m kind of quiet and like, you know, I like to talk to people and find out what they’re up to. But in these moments, like that version has to sit in the backseat. And the other version has to basically take the steering wheel for a few minutes and say, This is what we’re doing and it’s before every present. as well, because I’m usually a little bit terrified, especially if it’s a big crowd. And every investment meeting, that guy has to come to the front. And you have to basically say, and now, I mean, it’s weird because they’re, they’re pretty much the same person, right? It’s not like that much of a jarring difference, but it is essentially right. I’m basically turning up the confidence turning down the judgement thing of all what do they think about me? Do they like me? And then afterwards just stabilised again? So yeah, it’s, it’s a necessity of knowing that business is run by personality.

Manish Verma 18:30
Is that to say then, it’s harder to do business for people who are reserved, do you think and quiet and naturally?

Hamzah Malik 18:37
No, I’d say that’s a really good question. Um, so with people who are naturally quiet and more reserved, they don’t have to change themselves. In my case, I really enjoyed being found for a bit. It was quite refreshing and liberating, but I know many people that are very shy, and they’re incredibly successful. So one of my business role models Is the woman who started to Canva Melanie Perkins. And I watch all her videos and podcasts and stuff. And she’s very well put together a professional woman. And she’s not sort of screaming and being all rambunctious and everything, except she runs a multibillion pound company, right? It’s amazing. It’s really about the personality and what’s required. But there are moments and even if you’re reserved, you will have to accept there are moments where you will have to take a leap and have courage, that courage is going to be needed, whether you’re introverted or extroverted. It’s the same courage, right? Because it’s scary. But if you can overcome that fear, on the other side, there is either growth or failure. Either way, you as a person, go to the next level.

Manish Verma 19:45
And Hamza could really have taken his business to the next level. He could have scaled, he could have hired other CV writers, but he got bored. He didn’t want to spend the rest of his life writing CDs. So when you need ended So did the business. He instead just got into a grad scheme, the john lewis grad scheme. It should have lasted three years, but he left after 18 months. He says that the corporate hierarchy went against every fibre in his body. Bureaucracy just sucked the magic out of ideas. But during this time at John Lewis Hamzah up was building a side project, a digital marketing company. But again, he didn’t start working on it full time straight away. His mentor told him to go and work for an established company first. So he did. It was a firm in Narborough. And after learning everything he could there, he went back to Peterborough, to work at a publishing house. And over these years, he began recruiting,

Hamzah Malik 20:48
And I was getting in touch with freelancers all over the world. Right. So I was like, Who’s the best developer who’s the best designer, who’s the best brand manager project manager. So I got in touch with these people on up work and fibre and talk to people per hour. But then before long, I had a roster of like the a team. And I thought instead of calling them the a team, I’m going to call them regents, right? Because the regent is someone who looks after the throne by the king or queen is away. So the client is the king or queen. And they love being called royalty, every single one that we work with, and we’re just looking after their kingdom, which is their brand, because we absolutely love to protect and grow and sort of nurture their business. So we, you know, back then there was like nine or 10 of us, and I said, hey, I’ve got these guys. They’re freelancers. They’re great. I’ve already vetted them. They’re all over the world. You want to work with them? And they said, sure. This is the publishing house. And so we built their digital marketing department and their revenue shots up as well, which was great. And then before long region branding was at a point where, you know, it was born, it was healthy. And I started growing it independently on the side after work. And then you know, give it sort of another year, and regional branding was making more than myself So I said, Guys, it’s been great. You know, region branding is the core goal here. I want to be my own boss. So I quit.

Manish Verma 22:08
So Regent Branding was born. And his A-team was formed all over the globe, from Russia,

Unknown Speaker 22:15
Barcelona, Ukraine, Bangladesh, Australia, Pakistan, India,

Manish Verma 22:19

Hamzah Malik 22:20
And we just spoke to a team Japan to onboard in the Japanese team for the time difference. Absolutely killing me. Like it’s ridiculous.

Manish Verma 22:29
Today Regent Branding does all sorts web design, app development, games, social media, marketing, influencer marketing, and way more.

Hamzah Malik 22:38
So that’s when people pay us. It’s kind of like we’re paying you to do the best work. And my job is to essentially manage these people to make sure they’re providing that but I mean, I couldn’t be prouder of them because, you know, I I knew recently when I reached a brilliant milestone, because my team basically told me to shut up like, yeah, which was great because, well, because like before, it’d be like, I’d say, hey, We should do it this way. And they’d be like, okay, we’ll do it that way. And now, because of the current team, we’ve gotten the structure. They’re like, no, that’s terrible idea what you smoking like, No, we’ll do it this way. And I’ll push back and say, Well, why? And they’ll say, well, because of this, this and this, and there’s a new version of Chrome out and everything, and I’ll go through the reasons. And they’ll say, so kindly let us get on with it. And you know, at first I was a bit like, Hey, come on, and I meant to be the boss. And I was like, Wait a second. That is a mistake. I’m not the boss. Boss to me is quite derogatory word. I’m trying to be a leader. I’m trying to be a manager to help them. So like now I’m like, Guys, fantastic. Brilliant for justifying the idea. Go for it. Wow. Yeah. And every single region is they have to be paid above market rate. Work of region. Branding is kind of like it’s meant to be sort of an accolade. Your region verified. You’ll usually have a constant stream of work from clients all over the world will be challenging work. But yeah, you can say that you work with sort of rebranding, and before no one, no one cared. They were like, Who are you like, you know, your original Running, no one’s heard of you. But now, we’re lucky enough to get people saying, Can I do work experience with you? Can I work for free for region for a bit because I really want you on my CV, which is lovely. But it’s taken us years and years to get there. It’s been very painful, but there are plans to grow in the future. And the idea is to become a centre point of excellence for digital marketing. And by that I mean like, I want to be able to start something called the regions Academy, where young, fledgling digital marketers go, we train them up, they become Regent verified, they put it on the CV, because no one’s no one’s offering a digital marketing like badge right at the moment, right. So there are there are some official bodies doing it, but they don’t move fast enough right to realise the changes that are happening but with your region verified, you’re on a database, anyone in the world can search the database to see if you’re still verified because you have to renew your licence every year. We teach you all the latest techniques give you access to all the latest tools. All the best minds are at your disposal as well. So essentially, if you’re a region and your region verified You didn’t have to work for the company, you know, you can just you can get you can go work for Deloitte, where you can go and work for Procter and Gamble or whatever, and say, Hey, by the way, I’m region verified. And I want that to get to a point where it’s like, Oh, fantastic. So that means you’re a brilliant digital marketer. Yes, yeah. Yeah. So that that sort of quality bar,

Manish Verma 25:18
But Regent isn’t your only, only hustle, your only entrepreneurial endeavour. Drench talk to me about this.

Hamzah Malik 25:27
Yeah. drench drench is a mobile app that we’ve been working on. It’s released now on iOS and Android, and essentially, it sends you offers based on your exact location. So if you’re walking near a subway or something, your phone will pick up with a message and say you just got drenched by subway with, I don’t know any offer. They live in half price of a foot long or something. But then you’ve got to claim that drench before it dries up and disappears because each trench has a timer on it. And when it dries up, it just you can’t have the offer anymore. It’s gone.

Manish Verma 25:55
It’s kind of like gamified, this sort of voucher cloud sort of thing?

Hamzah Malik 26:00
Yeah, because I was like, I’ve got a bit of a thing about, like, trying to go against massive companies just see what happened. And you know, yeah, it’s probably not healthy. But sometimes I get my ass kicksed. And I’m not yet sure I’ve annoyed that company. But other times I’m like, Guys, you only pretending to know what you’re doing and I’m figuring out your flaws. So it’s fun because, you know, massive companies work differently. They can’t move as fast as a startup. So I was like, you know, these these apps are boring me like, all these apps where you can just get endless list of coupons. It’s just so boring. And so drench is about relevant, timely surprises based on exactly where you are. And you can get drenched with food. You can get drenched with the desert books, you can get drenched with clothes. You can get drenched if you’re at a concert and say, I know you’re your favourite. Beyonce is kind of like you know, you’re a tour and she finished as a thank you for coming out. Just for you guys in the stadium. I’m drenching everyone with my latest album or something, if you’re outside the stadium. But if we’re inside you get it same with football so

Manish Verma 27:06
because it works on a five feet,

Unknown Speaker 27:09
five metres so we’re at about five metres

Manish Verma 27:12
accurate up to five metres of that individual person. Yeah,

Hamzah Malik 27:15
Yeah, I mean we’ve got plans to sort of go and sort of like theme parks and football and you know Pogba scores a goal is the second the ball crosses the line everyone gets drenched with a drink so yeah, trenches release now it’s in Peterborough. It’s got a few thousand users.

Manish Verma 27:28
I mean, it sounds brilliant and it it does sound really fun. But it is in Peterborough only because I guess there is a lot of groundwork to do your an app like this right? You have to physically sign up businesses?

Hamzah Malik 27:43
Hundred percent. Yeah, I started this when I was back at the media, the publishers. So nine to six I’d work there and six till midnight, I’d be out knocking on doors and saying hi I made an app called trench Would you like to sign up and at this point restaurants have been approached by Just Eat, deliveroo, UberEATS and like so many others, right? And they’re, they’re tired of it. So had to refine my pitch of it because I failed quite a few times. And they were just like, go away. But now we’re getting restaurants approach us, which is lovely. And I had to, you know, back in when we started, I was writing up the contracts, getting them printed, stapling them. So I’m basically doing customer service marketing operations accounting the whole lot. So yeah, it was it wasn’t easy, but I’m glad it’s where it is. Now. It’s just in Peterborough for now. But we have got imminent plans to kind of roll out nationwide because it’s got a worldwide application, which is great thing everyone loves surprises.

Manish Verma 28:35
And if you thought drench and Regent Branding were’nt keeping him busy enough, Hamzah has written a novel. That’s right, an actual 636 page book. It’s called areas Archer and the Shadow Cloak, and it follows a boy called Areas on his quest to save his sister’s life from the evil Kasabus!

Hamzah Malik 28:59
But he’s like an anxiety ridden, very, very nervous, young boy. So mental health was basically a massive element in the book where he’s on medication. He’s very, very open about it. You know, when I looked into the type of medication to make sure it was accurate, he’s not perfect hero is nowhere near the top of Marvel superheroes. You see, this guy makes so many mistakes in the book and the stumbling and fumbling and he doesn’t know what to say at the right time. And he doesn’t have these cool one line finishes or superhero landings. He’s relatable. He’s basically like, similar to me in business. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, but I kind of fumble through and ah that’s how it works cool. The book took seven years to write. And any money he makes from it actually goes to help build a refugee birth clinic in Yemen.

Manish Verma 29:43
But it doesn’t stop with just one book. Hamzah has big plans for this and the many other sequels he’s planning.

Hamzah Malik 29:50
It’s written to be a film, you know, I really want it to become to be picked up. I mean, that that’s the idea because it’s every page is written like you’d read a script, it’s action oriented.

Manish Verma 30:02
So what does the Peter-borean doing business in Leicester have to say about the startup scene in his second city?

Hamzah Malik 30:10
I think Leicester as the city has everything in the right place. And it is at the inflection point where I think it will become known as the startup hub of the Midlands, right? But people leaving their job need a clear structure, you need to almost have a programme where employers know they’re going to lose someone. And they let them they give them the freedom to pursue this business idea, almost like a sabbatical. And hey, they might even want to fund it. And they might even want to take some equity, because they believe in their employees. And this means that the people leaving can put everything into an idea. By the same time they know they can either get a different job, go back to their job, if it doesn’t work out, hate a lot of business ideas fail, that’s fine. And they also know the community around them, that won’t let them fail in silence. And lastly, to kind of wrap up that failure needs to be spoken about more openly, right? I like the talks where it’s like, this is how it failed 100 times, and it has some really funny stories. And I’m like nodding along, because I’m like, you have made that mistake. Like, I’ve tried to cold call a VC before. Yeah, I’ve done that. Yeah, don’t ever do that. It’s a bad idea. If this culture is fostered of failing forward, you know, failing properly, in that, you fail, and it’s almost like doing a roller coaster, you don’t stop when you’re on your head, because then you just bang your head on the ground, you roll forward, and you get back up again. So forward momentum and failure and allowing a safety net to be implemented on an official basis to allow people to make that transition. I think the entrepreneurial community will grow and it will will foster you know, much better engagement and less will be known for what it is, you know, a fantastic place for startups to grow.

Manish Verma 31:49
How has it benefited you from being in the city?

Hamzah Malik 31:53
Oh, it’s fantastic, like so. So I was invited back to speak at the end of Leicester. This led to a few new clients. I’ve always and this is recent, I’ve tried to stop thinking about something of value helping me and thinking of the other way the other way around. So, me being here, in a couple of people in the crowd when they’ve heard my stories that I can you do my CV? I’m like, Yeah, sure. And they’ve got jobs from that. There are people who’ve asked for business ideas from me, there are people that have asked introductions to people that I know. And I’ve been happy to give them. So to me, helping others, like makes me feel like I’m actually contributing, right? Because the startup community, the only the best way to kill it is if everyone looks out for themselves, if everyone actually looks out for each other, and your success correlates to how well you’ve helped someone else, then you’ve basically created an entity that is unbreakable. So yeah, for me last has been really supportive and it’s always been a place I can go where ideas will be welcome and however crazy they are. People always take the time out that you know yourself as well. Like, you’ve taken the time out. You messaged me we sort something out. That to me is Leicester.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai