Why I Didn't Give Up On Myself Even After My First Cafe Failed

"It's a daily struggle, but what's life without the taste of adventure?"

You may or may not have heard of Muhammad Adib Mohamad Ali but he was that Malaysian who cycled across 25 countries in 17 months

Image via Travel3Sixty

The founder of the cycling community, Sick Siders Malaysia (SSMY), Adib has previously made headlines for his epic cycling expedition as the Johor-born embarked on a trip which he called 'Journey to Homeland' to discover unknown places and people.

He started his adventure in August 2014 after he completed his studies in the UK with a mere RM3,000. He did not have any travel insurance and had no money left in the bank.

Still, with the little money he had, Adib managed to complete his mission and brought home many new experiences and beautiful memories.

He has seen the world but eventually Adib found himself back in Johor Bahru, his hometown. As the saying goes, "Home is where the heart is".

Image via SSMY

Adib was back in Malaysia by January 2016. Just three months later, he founded Haüs by SSMY, a bungalow with a guesthouse upstairs and cafe downstairs.

"The reason I'm going for business after coming back is so that I could be with my family most of the time, during work hours or my off days."

"I have been on the road for too long and now it's time to give back to my family and my people here," the 28-year-old said.

"As I cycled home, I've always thought to myself on what I should be doing to give back to the community, and also to the people like me, 'The Dreamers". From one country to another, hostel to hostel, home to home, I thought of something that suits this vision to have place where I can work together with friends as a family and a workplace that feels like home."

Yet, things didn't work out as planned as Adib had to shut down Haüs in October 2016

He was enjoying his taste of success with travellers making their way even before Haüs was even open but Adib had to put a halt to the business just a few months after starting it.

"Unfortunately, after six months of blood, toil, tears, and sweat, we have to close it by the order of the Johor higher authority, without any arguments," Adib recalled.

The Johor authorities had declared Jalan Skudai in Danga Bay, Johor Bahru a "protocol road" which means that no business can operate along the road as it is frequently used by high-level officials or foreign tourists. Haüs was directly affected since it was located in that area. The unforeseen circumstances forced Adib to close down his cafe business venture.

"Worried, tired, complained, fallen, cried... but to quit? That's not who I am," Adib said.

Adib was not going to dump his grand plan to run a cafe. This was, after all, a dream that he had since 2009 and he wasn't going to give up.

Last month, in December 2016, Adib opened his cafe - now without a hostel - at another location in Bandar Baru Uda, Johor Bahru, Johor. It's called Neühaüs Café.

"Time and travelling brighten my view and strengthen me inside out to believe in my dream also be sincere in anything I do afterwards."

"There's always a time for anything, don't rush, enjoy the present time because it's a gift, good or bad it shapes us to become who we are now."

"Even if it takes seven years to achieved this dream, it doesn't really matter when we trust in His plan for us," he said.

Just like any other business ventures, Adib is met with various challenges

Image via Neuhaus Cafe

Adib started his cycling expedition with the little money he had but the same cannot be said for his business venture as he revealed to spending more than RM400,000 on Haüs and Neühaüs Café so far.

One month after the opening of Neühaüs Café, business has started to pick up again as locals and travellers make their way to this cosy place.

"The cafe business here is highly competitive with respect to price, value and promotions, service, location and food quality. Consumers are highly focused on value and if another cafe is able to promote and deliver a higher degree of value, our traffic may suffer, impacting revenues," Adib admitted.

"It's a daily struggle, but what's life without the taste of adventure?"

"The road taught me, the best wealth is my health and a peaceful mind. Respect the journey and have a good heart towards others," Adib said.

It was those days that he spent overseas which opened his eyes and minds, as strangers who became his friends reached out to him with kindness.

"What I've learnt from them is something that is carved deeply in my heart, and has thus shaped me into who I am today."

There are many things that he has learned from travelling but his parents have also played a major role to help him get back up to where is he today after the first failure with Haüs.

"My parents are my biggest supporters in everything I do, from studying, travelling, even for the business. They will always be my strongest backbone in all of my achievements."

It's no doubt that Adib would be dedicating most of his time and effort into Neühaüs Café this year

"It's more than just a business, it's an adventure to me. Like travelling, we are looking for the best in us, and improving to be a better person, a better nation," Adib said.

"To believe in passion more than the money, to see that this stage in life requires great patience and perseverance, to create another leader and tell them they also can be the doers because entrepreneurs are not just dreamers, they're doers."

Living in the city ain't a piece of cake but it could also be exciting and adventurous. How are you coping? How are you making the best out of things? Do you have a story or experience to share?

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Stay tuned for the next episode!

Previously on Malaysian City Life #44, Subohthini shared about how her mother sacrificed everything just so that she could get a good education:

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