Owais started to look for work at the age of 11. The most apparent opportunity he could identify at the time, given his age, was delivering newspapers before school. The only route available was one that no other kid wanted because of its uphill rides. The circulation manager refused to give Owais the job because he had no experience as a paperboy and he was too young.
Somehow, Owais convinced the manager to give him an opportunity. Owais did not own a bicycle to carry out his newspaper route duties, so he negotiated a $100 loan from the newspaper’s circulation manager, with $50 allocated for the bicycle, which he purchased from the Salvation Army, and the remaining $50 for the basket holding the newspapers, plus other required accessories.
Even though Owais was very young, he exhibited a natural ability of “searching for solutions”. This newspaper route helped Owais build and develop a recurring characteristic for his future pursuits of applying “raw intelligence.”
He started to deliver the uphill newspapers by taking longer and more unconventional routes that did not require the level of physical strength of the traditional route. He left for his newspaper route two hours early every day, so he wouldn’t be late for school, and could finish the job in time.
Owais started the route backwards, so that he would be delivering the papers downhill. This re-routing enabled him to mitigate the fatigue associated with the traditional route, although it took more time. The newspaper route became methodical. Owais started to renegotiate other routes and incorporated other boys to run certain routes for him.
A few months later, Owais supported his additional economic needs by serving as a cook at a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.
Very early in life, Owais embraced being humble, modest and down-to-earth. There was no shame in working as the local “paper boy” or frying chicken at the neighborhood KFC.
At school, Owais found a new love and passion for basketball. He tried out for the team and was cut due to his height. Being an average 5’6, he lacked the height, physicality and endurance of the ideal candidate. However, he wouldn’t give up so easy.