‘Indulging in the little pleasures of life’
Turning Passion to Profit since the age of 9
RE: Selling bookmarks and art stuffs in school
Since young, I was exposed to art and craft not in school but through my mom. I do not recollect any toys that my mom bought me. But I remember the trays of poster colours and the 48 water-coloured pencils that I truly treasure. And not forgetting my then favourite possession, the multi-coloured construction papers. At an early age, I discovered my gift of creativity when my classmate offered to pay me to submit his art assignment. I then realized I could employ my passion for art and craft to make money.
I almost never had to ask my parent for school pocket money. I loved art. I had a grand plan. I would buy
coloured papers and pens from my savings and would make bookmarks and sell it to my school mates at recess and at in-between breaks. I would go class to class, make friends with the head monitors and promote my ‘arty-crafty’ ideas. Every month I would churn up a new product line to stay fresh in the ‘market’. The most unforgettable thing that I made and sold was, paper slippers- it was truly not wearable but people loved the designs I crafted and they paid for it. At that tender age, when most of my friends would run out of school towards the ice-cream stand, attempting to finish their daily pocket money, I was walking home with a heavy pocket filled with coins, from my earnings with a beaming smile across my face.
That lesson taught me that money does not make money. Ideas make money. Since then, almost all of my businesses started with little or no money. Zero-capital businesses can thrive.
(NYP days photo)
The CCA you choose in school matters!
RE: President of Makeup Artist Club to makeup artist as a freelance career. That is when I discovered my first love – Henna Art.
The only reason why I chose to opt to pursue my diploma studies in Nanyang Polytechnic was because I chance upon during the open house they had a ‘Makeup Artist Club’ as a core-curricular activity. Prior to that, I was doing freelance modelling and was a big fanatic for participating in beauty pageants.
When I got into the school, I ensured I went to the club, got interviewed and was determined to be the President of the Makeup artist club. I worked my way up. Never missed any meetings and was always the first to volunteer to go shopping to replenish the cosmetic and accessories for the club. I loved my cca for the skills I got to learn, the many new people I get to meet and most importantly, I found my passion for henna and body art. Besides dolling up faces and hairstyling, we were exposed to face painting, special effects makeup, glitter temporary tattoo and henna art. When shopping at a popular makeup academy in Singapore, the principal of the school offered to pay me to teach henna art in her school. I was too young. I did not know I could have taken up the offer.
However, that was the first step for me to realize, I could monetize my talent and my position as President of the club. Coincidentally, soon after that, I received a call from a lady who was studying part-time in my school. She runs a bridal gallery and was looking for a makeup artist for her upcoming photoshoots for her bridal gowns and would like to engage my services. On the event day, I was nervous for my first gig but I knew I just had to be confident and just do it! While working on one of the models, I overheard how distressed the lady was because one of her models did not turn up. I informed her of my passion for modelling and immediately she told me to doll up. She later passed me 5 super gorgeous gowns to model in. I was ecstatically delighted but had to maintain my professionalism and composure. At the end of the day, the lady paid me $400 for the makeup assignment which we agreed upon and handed me an additional $200 for saving her day! I did not expect any payment for the modelling. I was just happy to do it. But she insisted that I take it and I walked home a very happy girl. I remember handing my mom some cash and told her to bless me and my works.
Since then, it has been an exciting journey for me.
(Henna Art in Singapore)
Start small and work with what is within your means and capacity
Many people have dreams so big that they do not know where to start from. To achieve the mountain top, we have to actually make a shift to get to the foot of the mountain.
During one of the festive seasons, my sister took a bazaar to promote some items she was selling. She required a sales assistant and since it was the school holidays, she requested for me to assist her. I agreed with a condition. I requested a little table space to set up a mini-henna art booth.
It was to be my first outdoor henna gig. Again, I was nervous embarking on something I have no knowledge of, but I told myself to chill and pursue my passion. I only knew how to draw like two designs then. My skills were not all that fantastic. But there was demand for henna art during the festive seasons and when I started out, I was the first few henna art pioneers in Singapore.
Because of my commitment to my sister, I had some of my friends who could draw work for me on a freelance basis. It was a 4-weeks event. In the 2nd week, I made friends with the people who had other stalls at the bazaar. One of the lady I met mentioned to me, “You are very talented. You should bring this art to Japan. You will make it big!” Initially, I did not take her seriously. But she repeated it like 10 times over the week and I said I would consider. I had to graduate from school first.
I am so thankful I had a master plan up my sleeves even before my graduation. I cannot imagine taking a different life-route.
(Henna Art Japan photo)
Big in Japan
RE: Henna Art Success in Japan-from winter freeze to heated fame! Blessing in disguise.
(Photo of zai at work doing henna at events)
5th March 2001. That is one of the most remarkable date in my life. It was the day I first set foot in Japan. I recall how I had to struggle and work hard to save money to travel to Japan, not forgetting how I was chided and laughed at by my friends and loved ones for even dreaming of taking henna art to Japan.
I had dreamt to set up a table space on the streets of Harajuku and Shibuya of Tokyo and doing my henna art gig. When I first arrived the airport, it was cold. I thought it was the blast from the air-conditioning. When I stepped out of the airport, it was winter cold. I did not check the weather before travelling. It was my first experience with winter and I told myself, “What in the world did I sign up for?” Due to ego from all the reprimanding and insults back home, I told myself, do or die I had to make it big in Japan.
For two weeks, I thought the winter would subside but it only got colder. I had to visit flea markets to shop for heavy winter clothing. While shopping, one of the ladies saw henna art on my hands she enquired about it. She showed a big sign of interest and wanted to learn. That was when I decided that I can teach henna art. I had no Japanese language – just two words, ‘Arigatogozaimasu and Ohaiyogozaimasu’ (thank you and good morning)! But I was determined I could teach henna art to the Japanese. And I did. My first official interview was in TOKYO FM radio station.
Photo Tokyo FM – my first interview
Soon after, I was featured in a Japanese magazine throughout the country. I was also invited to events and parties’ mostly in Tokyo and Nagoya to work to do henna and body art and that was where I met a lot of my potential students who later became friends and family. It was so much fun!
Photo Ami Magazine feature
Through this life lesson I learnt, “It is not where you are but who you aspire to be. Have faith and take action, the rest will follow.”
(Bridal Henna SG – photo with AB Shaik/ George Young/ Newspaper article)
The ‘Celebrity Henna Artist’
RE: Bridal Henna Art Success in Singapore-booking 2 years in advance.
Living in the ‘land of the rising sun’ for half a year, I returned home, welcomed by numerous media interviews – they evidently heard about my henna story in Japan. I also invited my Japanese students to visit Singapore to do a henna art demonstration. As a result, overwhelming publicity boosted the Miztiq brand.
Photo Japan Henna Student (photo of mikio and SPS crew)
Business was so successful that I even received bookings for bridal henna art two years in advance. Customers were delighted and satisfied engaging my excellent work-of-art service.
I was given an opportunity to contribute bridal henna art articles that was featured in a local bridal magazine and wedding portal.
The rest is history!
Inexorable Creativity: Henna & Body Art and much, much more!
RE: Corporate & family day event activities– How opportunities and ideas turned into money!
Being a licensed busking henna artist for National Arts Council Singapore, I had the liberty to demonstrate my henna art rental free in the streets of Singapore. Being a young hippie kid, I was happy to do what I do. In the streets was where, I ad events companies contact me to provide henna art service at their events and parties. Later they requested for face painting. And then glitter tattoo. Then airbrush body art was trending. Then I realize that doing henna art on the streets may not be lucrative, but the publicity and promotion it was doing for me was amazing. That was when I made a lot of money and had the opportunity to travel, in the name of sourcing for new events activities and supplies. I always receive new ideas and feel recharged after every travel. Up to date, I have more than 20 services that I provide for, for events activities and family days.
And I believe, the list will keep growing as long as I have the passion and confidence in what I do.
(Broken spine photo)
A broken spine is not equal to a broken spirit
RE: My specialist said, “It is a 95% chance that Zai would be paralysed!”
It was 22nd April 2005, at about 4.44 p.m. I met with an accident. My vehicle ramped into the back of an army trailer. Before I knew it, I was being put through numerous medical observations, X-rays and CT scans. I had to submit to an immediate surgery. Only later I found out that despite going through all the surgical procedure, I had to accept a dreadful fact that I could be paralyzed all my life – 95% was the likelihood that I would become a slumbering, couch potato!
After the surgery, I was on self-controlled morphine. I had to ‘click’ for a dose of transfused painkiller to reduce the pain each time I wanted to move. How freely I moved around without giving thanks when I was healthy!
An X-ray image of Zai’s posterior instrumentation and fusion
For one whole year, I dreadfully lived life with no direction. I had the victim-mindset. It took me almost one year to recuperate and get back on my feet again. I knew I was meant for greater things and setbacks like these should not stop me from fulfilling my dreams.
Then I wrote a mission statement to myself, a mantra I live by up till present.
“It is up to you to be a victim or be victorious. You may have a physical disability but you are still gifted with a sound mind and a strong, loving heart to take action. Give thanks for life, help yourself and move on to help others.
I travelled. It was an outward and inward journey. I spotted the hijab fashion and started Miztiq Hijab boutique through Facebook marketing which later included men and children apparel. I was a retailer and at the same time was supplier and had a couple of distributors from within and outside of Singapore up till the Caribbean Islands. Unintentionally, I was beginning to create employment opportunities for individuals who was looking for an opportunity to start a home based business. At the same time, I was seen as a role model for many Muslim women locally and globally, to find support and counsel to embark on the biggest jihad, the jihad to don the hijab.
With the savings from my home-based business, in 2012, I had a calling to pursue my Arabic studies. I travelled for 2 years, and upon my return, I crafted a ‘read.write.speak’ Arabic program, which I taught at Singapore Management University. Later that same year, I had an opportunity to do Arabic translation for Mediacorp TV station.
Up till date, we are supporting requests of individuals to be resellers. This is what I share in the book, ‘Turn Your Passion to Profits’. I spot an opportunity, grab the opportunity and I later move on to create opportunities for others. If I can do it, you can too!
(Travel Magazine articles with my big name)
Travel is in my DNA
RE: Travelled when I had the means to – Freelance travel writer from travel magazines and blogs.
Because I was running my own business, I was not limited to an organization’s 14-days leave cap. I could travel for a week or two or months if I had the means and desire to. Since I travelled so much, I started blogging my travels. And when I was in Bahrain, I met a lady at a fair and she learnt how I loved to travel. She then proposed me to contribute travel articles for her travel magazines. That was when I realized I had a flare for writing. More than working for money, writing, traveling and photography is something I truly was zealous about.
It is said, “A person who is well travelled is better than a person who is well read.”
(Henna Art on cookies n cakes photo)
RE: Henna Art on Hands to Henna Art on Cookies and cakes.
Thanks to my ideation and creativity, I experimented from drawing henna designs on hands to cookies and cakes. Our very first cake appeared on the Berita News. Check out this video:
Video of henna art on cake news feature
And hence forth, we had the opportunity to design a workshop and training program for our bakers and aspiring designers to participate in our ‘Get Creative and Innovative with Henna Art’. A fun activity we recently partake was to offer henna art on cookies for birthday parties. A first hand experience, I saw how it was such an entertaining and fruitful parent and child bonding activity. The cookies made with love were so pretty and lovely and also did the host and guests have a lovely bonding time.
Photo of henna art on cookie workshop
This was what a parent messaged us 2 hours after the event:
‘Safiy’s 8th Birthday Party.’ Futsal for the boys & Henna Art on cookies for the girls. ♡♡♡
“Drawing Henna Art on Cookies explores everyone’s creativity; the children and adults alike. All of us had so much fun. Some of the children refused to stop! Even after the party, we keep receiving text messages telling us how they enjoyed the session. Thank you Zai for your time to share with us this beautiful art.” – Sis Rohana Salleh
(Miztiq Corporate tee photo)
Custom-make your very own Miztiq print-a-Tee!
RE: Miztiq Print-A-Tee – Creating opportunities for talented graphic designers.
Miztiq Print-A-Tee is a great form of self-expression! We allow you to create a custom t-shirt that will make a lasting impression on those around you.
Turning your passion to profits not necessarily means you profit and money goes into your very own pocket. When I spotted this business opportunity, first I saw it as a potential fund-raising idea for charitable cause. The second opportunity I saw was to create employment opportunities for talented graphic designers. They just have to do what they do best, that is to design, and our company will have the works printed on a tee-shirt of your choice and have it delivered to the client. Providing ease and being a solution provider is very fulfilling. Success is not quantifiable only through dollars and cents. It is also the ability to celebrate gifts of others and to collectively strive to use our talents and pursue our passion, which is Success.
That’s why our tagline, ‘Celebrating Hearts, Creating Happiness’. We are happy making people happy. For more info on Miztiq-Print-A-Tee, do visit, www.miztiqprinttee.com If you need help with design, and would like our in-house designer to work on your concepts and ideas, do write to us.
(Photo of book cover)
If you don’t publish, you perish!
RE: My intention to support continuous learning and leaving a legacy.
I am a very strong believer that nothing last forever. Being a human being, there is so long that we will sustain on planet Earth. However I have learnt, that the ongoing rewards after a man dies are 3:
- Knowledge that he teaches.
- Ongoing Charity
- Prayer of a righteous child
The reason why I wrote a book was because I have had way too many individuals come forward to me asking, “Zai, how do u travel? How do you do what you love? What inspires and motivates you?” Then I thought to myself, it is time I have to reach out to more people at any one given time. I started to have strong conviction that I had the gift to empower, educate and enrich lives. How I was going to do it, I was not too certain initially. I only knew this was a great calling. That was when I took the first step to pen down all my past experiences and challenges and how I turned my passion to profits and collated it into a manuscript turned book. And at the same time I was on the search of who am I truly? That was how I got introduced to strengths coaching.
At least today I know, if I were to die the next moment, my life story and works will serve as an inspiration and a source of motivation for you to take purposeful action to be successful and then to move on to empower and educate others.
(Strengths coaching graduation group photo/ photo with dahlia and certificate)
You are stronger than you think you are!
RE: Strengths coached to turning into a Certified Gallup Strengths coach
Many of us are exposed to many learning tools in this world. Be it through books, videos, mentors, coaches and much, much more.
I am blessed to have met a strengths coach, my childhood neighbour, a beautiful soulful sister. Most importantly, when she coached me, I felt her authentic self genuinely wanting the best for me. I made a massive shift in my thinking paradigm and was granted an accelerated gear to get to know me through the strengths finding test.
I loved the science of strengths and eventually registered for the program to be a certified strengths coach. Why did I invest up to $10,000 to earn that certificate and knowledge? It was because I experienced the power of strengths and I want to impart the knowledge to every one of you.
“My observation of the coaching industry today is that everyone is teaching and sharing the same things – do this to get rich – do this and make money – do this and be successful – look outside to get help!
For me, I want to coach you to work inside-out. You have to look inside you and truly get to know who you are really. You have to attain self-love and understand self-appreciation. You have to discover how to be self-sufficient. You must zero yourself and have the attitude and willingness to love, respect and understand yourself first, before people can love, respect and understand you!
When you get to know yourself- you will know your level. Only then will you know where to get the right help and then move on to heal others!”
We are all ambassadors for change. We are all change makers. This is a ‘fardhu kifayah’ – a communal obligation.
‘Celebrating Hearts, Creating Happiness’
(Heart N Action Project photo)
When you help people, God will help you.
Ever since I embarked on my journey to empower, educate and enrich women & youth, it has been leading me to attract wonderful mentors who are my well-wishers wanting the best for me. What goes around, comes around. In reality, all of us are powerless. The One true power that will emerge from us is when we believe with certainty of faith that ‘There is no power and strength except with the Almighty. He is the Highest and the Greatest’. Ameen.
To help others, first you need to find ground and develop a sense of identity and reality. You need insightful knowledge to take purposeful action. Find out more how you can develop and upgrade yourself by engaging in the list of personal development, one-to-one coaching and group training programs available.