Haroon Ahmed

Feeling lighter

03 Oct 2017

Finally, it’s been a long time coming.

Me and Sam were looking to buy a house, not longer after we got married. Our beloved little girl was nice and comfortable in her mommys tummy, kicking, swimming no doubt. She must have had ants in her pants from back then, she can never sit still now either.

We decided a 3 bedroom house was ideal to raise a small family, we looked through a lot of houses, house hunting is really stressful btw. What school is good, distance of school, good neighbourhood, part of neighbourhood watch? kind neighbours, how easy is it to travel to work or Birmingham (where my wife’s family reside). After a couple of months we finally settled on a home, it was real nice but we thought it was a little too far out of our range. It looked a lot bigger than we could have imagined, 1 bathroom and another toilet downstairs, 1 big room which we split into 2 rooms (office/front room and lounge) and a nice big kitchen which my wife fell in love with instantly — she is a foody and loves cooking.

scott-webb-167099-unsplash

Not our actual home, looks cool though.

After getting all the numbers ready we had to come up with a big deposit (~ 25k), to put down for the house. At the time I was working (and still do) for a startup called Surventrix, we were hoping to make a good deal of money. My low salary was offset with a 25% profit share, I thought I would have this paid off in no time. So we borrowed the money off family and friends. The difference with borrowing money from people and the bank; if you keep making your payments to the bank they will leave you alone, not a zip from them. They will never treat you like they own you, or make you feel bad about borrowing money. However if you borrow from people, you are made to feel like you owe them something (your soul even), like forever. Something that is hanging over you. How many times do we get the bank knocking on our door and be like, remember we loaned you some money, you better bank with us forever or else.

Anyway the success of work had a direct correlation on my personal life, the more we earn — the better off we are, the less we earn — the more it would hurt. Startups are hard, money may not be there at the start, however one hopes with hard work, dedication, listening to customers, we could be successful. I would love to say that happened, rather we struggled for a long time to break even and keep afloat. We believed we could make a dent in the surveyancing industry, we kept hitting a brick wall with the various stuff we tried. A couple of companies (Quest and XIT2) had a real strong hold on the market, so it was very difficult to convince customers to give us a try.

Fast forward to today, it actually took us 4 years to pay all the money back. Me and Sam have worked real hard to clear everything. Every single month for the last 4 years (which seemed like forever), we had to be careful of what we buy, where we eat out, day outs, clothes, groceries, snacks, treats etc. We made do with whatever we can. We were literally scraping through, we only had 1 holiday (Barcelona) in the 4 years and that only happened recently.

Why did I stay at Surventrix for so long? We had a whole load of personal issues we were facing at the time — which I may open up about in the future. We felt stability was very important at that moment for the things we were going through. I felt indebted to my company for the time and effort they invested in me and if Surventrix did kick on, as I was the only employee. I would have gotten a lot more money + 25% profit share. Besides I really did enjoy all my time at Surventrix. Money is not everything, however it is important to be paid enough.

Sam has gotten a lot more of her confidence back — she is even working again, she no longer wants to go back to teaching. Every day, we both are getting stronger and we no longer have that money hanging over us. Just recently I had my house valued and it looks like I am going to make ~ 50k. Whoop! If we decide to move, something I have been contemplating for a while, that kind of money will help us massively.