From an Engineer to a Goat Breeder

Azhan Jamaludin, 30, an engineer with an automotive company based in Penang, made a drastic decision to quit his job to focus his effort on building a goat farming business with his siblings based in Sik, Kedah, north of Peninsular Malaysia.

His younger sister, alongside with the husband, who both hailed from the IT field, joined the fray. Another younger brother – also not from the farming industry – completed the youth looking team. The company they created, Sinar Utara Agrofarm, breeds various types of goats, alongside a number of other produces and livestock at the back of their grandparents’ house, spanning an area of about 6 acres in size.

What caused an overseas-educated, high flying engineer decided to make a complete overhaul in its career path? In a casually held interview, Azhan revealed his aspiration and the goals behind his life changing decision. Perhaps, his sharing can shed some light to those who are still in the midst of soul searching in their career.

Q: Why did you resign and jumped into the entrepreneurship world?

A: It’s been my consideration for many years. In fact, I’ve started looking at the possibility ever since I was studying. Deep down in my heart, I knew this day would come. I also know that I can achieve a lot more things in life other than limiting myself around the office job and working for others.

So, after 3 years of working for other people, I decided to call it a day, and started a new life altogether.

Q: Any regret?

A: In whatever decision you make, there are bound to be risks and challenges. In the midst of adversity, a lot of negative feelings will come into your mind such as regret, sorry and so on. The question is, can you handle them? For me, I’d be more regretful if I decided to stick to my old job, not knowing what I can achieve in the outside world.

Q: So, how do you find your life now. Any difference?

A: Yes, in many aspects, surely there are a lot of differences. There are also pros and cons. For example, as an engineer, you worked in a confined office, stuck in your desk from 8am until 6pm or so. Not many people can live with this type of lifestyle. Here, you move freely. As long you know what you’re doing, then you’re seemingly on the right track.

If you think working for others requires tough discipline, wait until you’re on your own. Let me tell you that working for yourself requires a lot more discipline than you can imagine. Otherwise never dream of freedom. The fact that no one is there to monitor your work progress or your performance makes things a lot harder. Sure, you can lie to yourself but it will be to your own perils.

In my current business, I spend a lot more time working than during my office days, but I love every moment of it. So, as an advice, if you’re looking for a change, make sure the change is something to your liking, not because of influence from others or because you have nothing else to do.

Q: What types of goats you’re breeding now? How many of them?

A: At the moment, we have around 74 goats from four different species – Boer, Jamnapari, Farrel and Katjang. We started with a much smaller number, which was 25. As the time goes by, we bought more supplies, and the goats started producing offspring. It’s only been about a year since we last embarked on this project and it would not be fair to compare with other big time breeders who have few hundreds or thousands of them, but we think we’re on the right track.

Q: What do you plan to achieve with the business?

A: Our objective is to grow the business and be one of the reliable suppliers of goats around the northern region, and possibly in the country in the long run. Our types of goats are highly sought after especially by the Muslim community who uses them for many purposes such as aqiqah, korban and wedding feasts. From the way we see it, the market is big out there, it’s now up to you to chase for business, grow it, and fulfill your hidden potential.

Q: Your advice to those aspiring to make a career change from the corporate life to entrepreneurship?

A: To repeat again, don’t make a jump just because your close friend, your neighbor or your family member did it. Do soul searching first and make sure you go to where your heart really lies. It can be anything like music, selling goreng pisang, building and designing houses, landscaping, writing novels, acting, drawing, blogging, teaching, crafting and so on. The list is endless.

Make a thorough due diligence, weigh up all the pros and cons, and once you made your mind, go for it. There will be challenges awaiting during your journey to freedom, but if your desire is strong enough, nothing will stop you from reaching your career goals.

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To contact Sinar Utara Agrofarm or its representatives, please do so through editorial.

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