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Akmal786
01-26-2010, 03:40 PM
A popular Muslim Blog (www.productivemuslim.com) interviewed Akmal Saleem the founder of UmmahVouchers.co.uk, have a read of this productive interview.

1. Assalamu Alaykum, Br. Akmal, Welcome to ProductiveMuslim.com, tell us about yourself.

Walaikum-Asalaam fellow Productive Muslims, Jazak Allah for inviting me to this fantastic community, there’s not a great deal to tell about me really, except that I am 23 years old, I graduated from Aston University in Birmingham, UK, I live in Reading. I work as a SEO Developer (Search Engine Optimisation) and run www.UmmahVouchers.co.uk, UK's 1st Muslim Voucher Website.I wear size 9 shoes and..... I think we will cap that on the personal info ;)

I really love Productive Muslim efforts as a interactive arena for Muslims to engage and learn in a more digital atmosphere, one of the hardest feat's these days is engaging the Muslims on a scale that actually impacts them and I feel Productive Muslim is doing just that, with creativity and halal innovation.

2. So how did you start UmmahVouchers.co.uk?

This is actually a funny story, around 5 months ago my sister sent me and all my family an e-mail on our work e-mails with a voucher for a pizza place, now my aunties and uncles, my father and cousins started to "reply all" to this email with vouchers and discounts and offers that they often use, this e-mail had become and official bargain hunter thread ! My father travels to London everyday and he replied one day saying, "Promoters at Paddington Station were giving away FREE loafs of bread ! I went and got a couple for the weekend". My cousin who is at university was sending us student discount websites that she uses and my aunty was just sending messages like "lol..loll....lolzz, oh dear this is so funny"

So amongst this thread I thought to myself, why is there no dedicated Muslim Voucher website, where Muslim businesses can showcase their special offers and in one place, and this is where UmmahVouchers.co.uk was born.


3. Running online business sounds challenging, how do you deal with organizing your team?

It is true, online business is hard, but Alhumdulillah hard work and honesty in business are the foundations that our beloved Prophet SAW and the Sahabah build their trade and businesses upon, so I try to emulate these practices for both spiritual reward and financial success. When it comes to organising my team I look at every task and project in 2 perspectives; 1. Islamically (Moral aspects), 2. Commercially (Business Sense) these coupled with motivation, communication and creativity make up the right ingredients for me to manage and organise the team and the project.

4. Sometimes your passion for your vision makes you overwork, and then you get so overwhelmed that you just can't function anymore. That sudden curve of productivity crashes into a straight line on zero. How can one avoid such a fall?

At the end of the day we plan, but Allah plans better and so when I feel like I am falling behind or stressing out, I take a step back and remember my creator, and usually that help me put everything in perspective and normally I get inspired in some shape or form, and when it doesn’t work then I count it as my fault and lacking rather than the fact that Allah is not listening, because we all know that Allah loves his slaves, especially the productive ones. (May Allah make us amongst the productive Muslims of this world, ameen).


5. How about time-management? How do you schedule your time?

Time-management is always a difficult task and usually as much as you try to stay on top of the schedule it never works, however the psychological factor in having a schedule and a checklist is enough to help you manage your efforts. This is an example of the power the mind has, without a schedule you almost feel lost because you have no reference measurability to call upon, however by having some kind of schedule gives an indication and calls upon the desired framework you wish you work upon, this is sufficient in keeping your time managed and productive.

I hope that makes sense, all the people who make random lists will understand exactly what I mean, btw my best friend is a "post-it-note pad".

The best tool to manage your time is actually Salah, but remember, organise your activity around Salah, not the other way around, do NOT organise Salah around your activities.


6. What do you think are the ingredients of a Productive Muslim?


Hmmm, this is very good question, however there is just a whole recipe book to become a Productive Muslim - The Sunnah and Sirah.

The Sunnah gives us the live example of the most Productive Muslim that ever lived, may peace and blessing be upon him for eternity, my opinions have no bearing against this example, all I will say is that the Sunnah was relative 1400 years ago and is even more relevant now, people often say but the etiquettes of the people of the past are not relative in this modern era, quite the opposite. The etiquettes of the past are undoubtedly the best of actions for a Productive Mind, Muslim and Human (You can have that line :P)


7. What is your upcoming venture/ Intiative/ business idea?


Hehe... Well here is an exclusive, the "Voucher Countdown" Campaign. UmmahVouchers.co.uk is giving away FREE Halal Restaurant Voucher Booklets across the UK, we have gone to your favourite halal restaurants in the biggest cities and have persuaded them to give some awesome vouchers.

But there's a catch there's only 5000 per city and no one knows where they are being released, muhahaha. You will have to keep checking UmmahVouchers.co.uk and keeping an eye out in your city for the marketing we are doing.

But you will have to be alert, we anticipate a mad rush to the locations once we publish them, but heres a hint for the first city it will be launched in... Anyone every heard of the balti triangle?


8. May Allah help you succeed in your projects, ameen. Final words of advise to our ProductiveMuslim fans?


Firstly if you liked this interview and you are now excited on saving money and supporting Muslim businesses, then please check our website out www.ummahvouchers.co.uk, register for free and start saving on all your islamic essentials, art, books, modest clothing, al kauthar courses and much more. If you are in the US or Canada, then Insh'Allah you will not have to wait to long, we have started to develop these international websites, however if you would like to help us launch this in your country then please get in touch we me info@ummahvouchers.co.uk

So Productive Muslims, word hard, pray with humility, never give up and remember "in Allah believers put their trust".

I leave you with a piece of advice I was given by a very special person, when I kept failing in every business venture I tried to start didn't work, the person said to me:

"When something doesn't work out its because Allah has something better planned for you"

Jazak Allah to Productive Muslim for featuring UmmahVouchers.co.uk, we make dua that this community prospers and grows and that you get the highest status of Jannah.
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