- Aneri Desai began her professional coaching career as a side job before taking it up full-time this year.
- Her goal was to pay off hundreds of thousands of debts while helping immigrant women find work.
- Here’s her advice on building a business while in debt, including how to invest your time.
When Aneri Desai began 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 grant her visa as first-generation immigrant, he said.
SIMULTANEOUSLY, Desai’s arranged marriage collapsed and she had racked up hundreds of thousands in debt, he said.
“I was in a situation where I was so dependent on others running my life, making decisions, calling the shots,” she said. “I just felt like I wasn’t good enough.”
After climbing the ranks for nearly 10 years — finding a job as a senior project manager at Unum Insurance Company — decided to help other immigrant women who may face similar difficulties in finding work.
In 2021, he started a coaching career, Aneri Desai Coaching, which aims to help immigrant women build their resumes and find networking opportunities. So far, Desai has mentored more than 100 women and left her corporate job to run her business full-time, she said.
It earned $68,000 in revenue last year, which Insider verified with documentation. Additionally, she is on track to close more than $250,000 in revenue this year, quadrupling her income from her corporate job, she said.
Desai shared her advice on building a business while in debt. This is a narrated story based on an interview with Desai. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Take charge of the situation you are in
Anyone in a difficult financial situation should take a deep look at their work and lifestyle. If a new business venture is going to help you get out of debt or turn your finances around, you need to find the strength to go big.
I never intended to be an entrepreneur, but when I noticed the number of women who lost their jobs early in the pandemic or were looking for additional income, I knew I could help them.
At the same time, I knew my husband and I had debt that we needed to get out of. With this opportunity in front of me, I refused to continue doing the bare minimum making my corporate salary and waiting for a promotion that might not come.
I started helping friends improve their resumes or LinkedIn profiles and connected them with people in my network. My mentor then recommended my career coaching services to someone in her community and suggested I charge $900 for 10 coaching calls.
Having my first paying customer was really exciting and nerve-wracking, but it showed me that there was business potential.
Invest in what moves the needle
It is important to invest money in aspects of your business that can help it grow.
For example, my time as a CEO or coach is extremely valuable and no one else on my team can do those things. On the other hand, I’m not the only one who can reply to emails or Instagram direct messages. As a founder, it’s your job to come up with innovative ideas to significantly increase your business’s revenue. Outsource anything else that takes you away from that growth.
I looked at every task in my business to determine what moved the needle forward — like growing the number of customers, strengthening the brand, or planning the business strategy.
For other founders looking to get the most out of their cash, play with your numbers: Decide what your time is worth, set your expected income, then determine what tasks to invest in to get there.
Know your numbers
Before I decided to take my coaching full time, I looked at historical data and income trends from my side hustle. After mapping out the bare minimum I would make as a full-time coach, plus estimates of how much more I could earn with the extra time, I gained a lot of confidence to move forward.
When you learn your numbers, determine how much money you need to earn to maintain your lifestyle, cover monthly bills and pay off debt. When it comes to paying off debt, it is important to consider the amount greater than the recommended amount. Especially with compound interest added, try to pay it off before the due date.
Once you have these numbers, work backwards to determine how much you charge per client and how many clients you want to take on at a time. Set these financial goals for yourself and reassess constantly.