Since childhood, I’ve always wanted to stand out with a sense of deviation from the norm. While studying at NUST, I knew I couldn’t follow the herd. Neither the idea of 9-5 job, nor having a ‘conventional design studio’ appealed.
I started freelancing in 2013, while I was in my Junior Year. At that time, freelancing wasn’t very popular- it was hard to find paid gigs, especially for me with no contacts or abilities to advertise. So I worked for THREE YEARS for FREE managing to find unpaid projects, working towards building portfolio; working for whoever approached, in return of referrals. My first paid job emptied me out, with a 9to 6 work routine, for Rs. 10,000 being entirely spent on my commute. Sooner than I knew, my paid gigs started from Rs. 3000 for a complete Residential Design. By senior year, I had a design studio with two paid employees. Fast forward to graduation I was on the verge of expanding the team.
PLOT-TWIST: Post-graduation, I went on to take another leap of faith. Knowing myself who never sits down peacefully without striving for bigger, I erased the concept of a ‘conventional design studio’. Realizing that this would bring in a period of financial instability, didn’t stop me from pursuing the idea. I went for it, even more determined than before. The idea was to introduce a new dimension into Architectural Visualization, to make the process interactive-an idea that had not been implemented at an appreciable scale before, an idea that was certain to sell. I coined the name “mimAR” and emptied into it ALL MY PROFITS so far!
Entering NIC with no revenue or employees, but a product needing refinement, I had high hopes of using the NIC platform to make it big for myself and my startup. Access to great mentors at the NIC enabled us to refine our business model. The NIC opened doors for nationwide and global opportunities. By the end of our first year, we had grown into a team of 8-10 people.
The most memorable achievement was winning the Uber Pitch’19- one of Pakistan’s biggest startup-competitions. The entire experience, being a rollercoaster of emotions and excitement, got us nationwide recognition.
In Summer ‘19, mimAR recruited its first batch of seven interns, from diverse backgrounds. I took it upon myself to develop their skills, and help them maintain the right attitude-which I wished I had learnt while interning. When they left, what we churned out were happy ambassadors of our brand.
The journey so far is filled with excitement, success, and yet opposition, resistance, financial hurdles and even occasionally self-doubt. It was my determination to carve my own niche, that ultimately led me to launch mimAR. My last two cents for you all: BELIEVE IN THE PROCESS as opposed to the end-product, take FAILURE AS STEPPING-STONE, challenge yourself, listen to your gut, and NEVER BE SATISFIED- keep hunting for more!
Muhammad Naqi Ejaz – CEO, mimAR