- Aneri Desai started her career coaching business as a part-time job before taking it full-time this year.
- Their goal was to pay off hundreds of thousands of debts while helping immigrant women find jobs.
- Here’s her advice on building a business while in debt, including how to invest your time.
When Aneri Desai started her job hunt after college in 2013, she faced many obstacles. She received nearly 300 job rejections and struggled to find a company that would sponsor her visa First-generation immigrants, she said.
Simultaneously, Desai’s arranged marriage fell through, and she had accumulated hundreds of thousands in debt, she said.
“I found myself in a situation where I was so dependent on others running my life, making decisions and being in charge,” she said. “I just felt like I wasn’t good enough.”
After working her way up the ranks for almost 10 years — a job as senior project manager at the insurance company Unum — She decided to help other migrant women who may have similar difficulties in finding a job.
In 2021, she started a career coaching side business, Aneri Desai Coaching, which aims to help Immigrant women design their CVs and find networking opportunities. So far, Desai has coached more than 100 women and left her job at the company to run her business full-time, she said.
She earned $68,000 in earnings last year, which insiders confirmed through documents. Additionally, she’s on track to rack up more than $250,000 in earnings this year, quadrupling her income from her job at the company, she said.
Desai shared her advice for starting a business with debt. This is an as told story based on an interview with Desai. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Take responsibility for the situation you are in
If you find yourself in a difficult financial situation, you should take a hard look at your job and your lifestyle. If a new business venture is to help you get out of debt or transform your finances, you need to find the power to make it big.
I never intended to be an entrepreneur, but seeing so many women losing their jobs or looking for extra income at the start of the pandemic, I knew I could help them.
At the same time, I knew that my husband and I had debts that we needed to get out of. With this opportunity in front of me, I refused to continue doing my bare minimum by paying my company paycheck and waiting for a promotion that might not come.
I started helping friends improve their resumes or LinkedIn profiles and connecting them with people in my network. Then my mentor introduced my career coaching services to someone in her community and suggested that I charge $900 for 10 coaching calls.
Having my first paying client was really exciting and nerve-wracking, but it showed me that there is business potential.
Invest in what moves the needle
It’s important to invest money in the aspects of your business that can help it grow.
For example, my time as a CEO or a coach is extremely valuable, and no one else on my team can do those things. Then again, I’m not the only one who can reply to emails or Instagram direct messages. As a founder, your job is to come up with innovative ideas to significantly increase your company’s income. Delegate anything else that is holding you back from this growth.
I’ve looked at every task in my company to see what drove the needle — like increasing customer base, strengthening the brand, or planning business strategy.
For other founders looking to make the most of their money, play with your numbers: decide how much your time is worth, set your expected net income, and then determine what tasks you need to invest in to get it reach.
know your numbers
Before I decided to do my coaching full-time, I looked at historical data and income trends from my part-time job. After establishing the minimum I would make as a full-time coach, plus estimates of how much more I could make with additional time, I had plenty of confidence to jump in.
As you learn your numbers, determine how much you need to earn to sustain your lifestyle, cover monthly bills, and pay off debt. When paying off debt, it’s important to budget for more than the recommended amount. In particular, if compound interest is accumulating, try to pay it off before the due date.
Once you have these numbers, work backwards to determine how much you charge per customer and how many customers you want to take on at one time. Set those financial goals and constantly reassess them.