Muhammad Aiman Nursyahmi Hj Mohd Yunus started pursuing a diploma in interior designing after having studied design and technology at Maktab Sains.
He was on his way to a textbook career, but it wasn’t his true passion.
“My grades were dropping too,” the 23-year-old says. The coin dropped and he realised he wanted to get involved in something more hands-on.
He believes there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to make it on their own. And it is this belief which encouraged him to start what is now a successful business born out of a passion for cooking.
“I used to always love barbecuing at home during functions. So I began doing research on the Internet on outdoor cooking and smoking meats really (took my) interest.”
It was in December 2016 when Muhammad Aiman started experimenting with smoking meats, after learning and taking tips by watching Youtube videos on how others around the globe did it.
Today, the young entrepreneur sells up to 20kg of various types of smoked meats.
However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing when he first took the leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship.
“I didn’t have the funds to buy my first smoker because it costs $600,” Muhammad Aiman says.
Fortunately, his elder brother came to the rescue. “When I got (the funding), I began smoking lamb ribs and it tasted great with the right texture and flavours.”
In the early days, he would smoke one kilogramme of lamb ribs a day for an order, but did not get any orders for following days.
“It was worrying, but short lived.”
Soon after, word began to spread about his meats and orders started piling in. During weekdays, he said he would get orders of up to 10kg and up to 20kg during the weekends.
With an existing Instagram account from previously selling sliders and other homemade goodies, Muhd Aiman Nursyahmi decided to change the account name to aa.smokehouse.bn . He currently has over 2,000 followers.
“I am experimenting various side dishes – smoked lamb shoulder and smoked prawns – which I hope to introduce soon,’’ he says.
Being in charge of his own business meant that he had to be responsible and hardworking at all times.
“When orders come in for 8am the next day, I have to wake up at 2am and start smoking the meats. It takes between four to seven hours to smoke beef and lamb ribs. There have been many times where I worked from 2am up until 9pm to complete all orders.”
However, Muhd Aiman Nursyahmi says that since starting this new business in January this year, he has reaped rewards beyond his expectations. Both in terms of profit and personal satisfaction and achievement.
The enterprising youth invested some of his profits to acquire three more meat smokers to meet rising demand.
“While I am thoroughly enjoying smoking meats, my mind cannot help but constantly think of new ideas and ways of expanding the business. I know there are many other opportunities out there yet to be explored.”
He says he understands that it is not easy for anyone to secure a job given the current economic climate, but that does not mean there are no opportunities in entrepreneurship.
Muhd Aiman Nursyahmi is planning to soon register his business and apply for halal certification.
“After that, I will look into employing staff as part of expansion plans and eventually open my own shop.”
Although it may not be for everybody, he says that the decision to leave school and pursue his passion has been “deeply satisfying”.
It has given him the confidence to know he is on the right path towards a sustainable future.
“I know I have to work harder to compete with others and stay focused on my business’ expansion. In five years time I hope to venture into farming,’’ he says.