Irfan is the perfect example of how to go from $200 in your pocket to over $1,000,000 in 5 years. Literally.
Between the ages of 20 to 25, he was able to build a business model worth seven figures, pretty much single-handedly. Born in a town in Ipoh, Malaysia, he and his family moved to Kuala Lumpur when Irfan was in secondary school. He then moved to the UK to study Multimedia Graphics at Staffordshire University, and after graduating he started working as a designer.
A self-professed introvert, Irfan always wanted to start a business, but he felt that it was difficult to break into given his shy demeanour. “Until just before the year 2000, Internet business became popular and I saw the opportunity of doing business without actually meeting people face to face and having to talk to them – perfect! That’s when I started learning Internet business and marketing to sell my skill as a designer.”
His first online business was a design service that didn’t require large start-up capital, “I just needed a domain name, a web host, and I had to build my own website.” In his first year, he only had 3 customers – and this made him realise that he had made a big mistake by not learning more about the marketing side of business.
“Since then, I did not take marketing lightly and studied Internet marketing day and night, and applied it to my business”
After this experience, he decided to focus on the marketing side of the Internet. After moving back to Malaysia in 2005, he started his Training and Development Centre that teaches entrepreneurship with a focus on internet business and marketing.
Today, he is a recognised and respected celebrity in Malaysia, often making TV & special guest appearances. He is also living out his dream of travelling around the world and giving talks on new media marketing. In fact, during our interview he was based in Seoul preparing to give a talk on Social Media Marketing at the Entrepreneurship & SME World Conference.
With his wife and four children as his inspiration, Irfan works to achieve his goals in order to give his family the best opportunities in life. He shares that he is a morning person, and owes his productivity to getting up super early and smashing out his daily tasks in a few hours so that the rest of his day is free to spend time with his family – often watching movies!
Irfan’s one golden piece of advice for people struggling with their online marketing is “stop and take a step back. Understand your audience first. Marketing is about understanding the human behaviour – your prospects. What are their likes, wants, need and how you can help them even if they don’t end up buying from you. You will find the answer there.”
And his favourite quote? “You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently” by Steve Jobs.
Next month he is going to be in Dubai delivering a talk called “Growth Hacking Your Brand To Success.” He’ll be sharing his experiences with internet marketing and the techniques and strategies that are proven to work for his own business and that of his students’. Filled with practical advice on what works and is low cost too!