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May 17, 2018

This week on Just the Tips we have a guest who has been through it all. He’s been homeless, and he’s run multiple seven-figure companies, and he’s always found a way to give back. Akbar Sheikh is a best-selling author, speaker and philanthropist with a concentration on orphans and giving the gift of vision to blind children. Akbar tells us all about finding himself in the hospital near death, and then finding the will and drive to live. He ended up homeless with his brother, and now the two of them are enormously successful entrepreneurs. You have to hear this inspiring story that doesn’t end with Akbar’s success. It’s just the beginning.

Into the closet

Akbar opened up to us about what happened that sent his life into a tailspin. As he says, everything was “off.” He was overweight, he was in a terrible marriage, he had bad friends, he had bad habits. And all of that led him to having a crippling anxiety disorder. Eventually, he says, he ended up half-dead in a hospital. He says he used that experience to go cold turkey: Lose the bad habits, lose the bad relationships and focus on what was good for him. But, he still didn’t have a place to live. And when he moved to San Francisco, he rented an electrical closet in an old office building for $75 a month as he tried to figure out what he should do.

Epiphany on Craigslist

So Akbar was living in a closet, trying to figure out his “why,” what he was supposed to do, when he happened upon one of those “make money from home” ads on Craigslist. And as he says, he went to the “cheeseball” site and something clicked for him: He could see why the person behind the site placed everything on the site where they did, and why everything was there (the smiling woman, the “make money” sticker, etc.). And even though he found the site to be unethical, he did fall in love with the psychology of it, the desire to persuade someone. And that was when it clicked for Akbar and he found his why.

Find a why that makes you cry

Aside from Akbar’s own incredible story, he’s helping rewrite the stories of others. We talked with him about his amazing philanthropy efforts, specifically helping blind children in third-world countries receive the cataract surgery they need to be able to see. And at first, cutting checks for those charities was the fuel behind his hard work on his business, but after a while he says, the check for those kids just became another check. So he’s taklng it to another level and became much more hands-on with his philanthropy efforts, brainstorming amazing ideas. If you’re looking to get inspired, not only on your own journey but in helping others, you have to listen to this week’s episode of Just the Tips.

Outline of This Episode

  • [4:02] How Akbar became homeless
  • [10:06] The moment when Akbar turned things around
  • [14:05] Akbar’s awakening
  • [20:59] How he got out of being homeless
  • [27:30] Akbar’s philanthropy efforts

Resources & People Mentioned

Music for “Just The Tips” is titled, “Happy Happy Game Show” by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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