Work, Career Advice, Now + Beyond

According to Auntie-ji, having big dreams makes me a capitalist pig

There are easier paths towards wealth, like accepting a rishta from a rich family.

Dear Auntie-ji,

I’ve wanted to write to you for some time, in hopes that explaining myself will bring us closer together again. We are not so different, you and I.

I know that you have struggled with finding the balance between work and life and that you had to make some difficult decisions. Our gender always seems to get the short end of the stick, doesn’t it? Like many women, I cast my lot with entrepreneurship as a solution. It seems, on the surface, like the ideal opportunity to prove ourselves, take leadership roles, and actively build our skillsets, while having the flexibility to give attention to other goals as well. But misconceptions and challenges abound.

Am I money hungry? HA! I had to invest my savings into this business and work for a long time without a salary before I started to see any return. I gave up a high paying job to take this risk. If I was in it just for the money, I would have quit a long time ago. There are easier paths towards wealth, like accepting a rishta from a rich family.

Don’t I care about my family? Yes, and that’s half of my motivation for doing this. It lets me aspire towards the highest sense of leadership in my field while giving me the flexibility to take care of a family’s needs. I might fail, but the potential reward of being able to provide for my family in a way that also provides for my own happiness and well-being is worth it.

How will I survive if I fail? I’ve thought a lot about this. Failure never seems far enough away. All the revenues I earn have associated costs as well. I miss getting a clean check every couple of weeks. Having my business taxes audited by the IRS wasn’t fun either. But here’s the thing, why make problems today in fear of problems tomorrow? Plus this business builds my resume, so that mitigates the risk.

Shouldn’t I be doing more appropriate and proper things with my time? I mean, I got a master’s. I got married. I did a lot of the “right stuff.” I no longer feel like there are right and wrong answers. It’s not like I’m gambling away all of my savings in a casino, or shooting up heroin. I’m just not doing something with a straightforward path. It’s scary, so it makes sense if it scares the ones who love us the most, too. Let’s talk about the reality, and maybe it won’t seem so scary anymore.

If I’m not going to make a consistent salary, shouldn’t I at least keep my home clean? This is the hardest part of being a woman entrepreneur for me. When men start businesses, they would also not bring home a consistent salary, but no one would ask them why they don’t manage to make fresh parathas (fried bread) at night for their families. I’m helping my family achieve their goals, but I need my family to support me, too. We all need a dream to survive.

Who am I to think that I’m so special? I don’t think I’m so special. I just do what I do anyway. Sometimes it may seem intimidating that I’m pursuing seemingly lofty goals, but I think it just irritates you because, in your heart, you know that you could be doing this too. And Auntie-ji? It’s 100% true.

Join me.

I need you along with me on this journey.

In order to make our paths viable, we need the buy-in of our support system. Entrepreneurship is contagious, and one of my cousins has already started her own immigration law firm, and another her own PR firm. If you want to join us, I believe that your success will eclipse ours. Even if you do not choose entrepreneurship as your path, let us support you in the path that you do choose, as you support your daughters and me in our paths.

Let our love for each other be a driving force for a circle of shared success.

Always yours,

Sara

  • Sara Haq

    Sara is Founder & Principal of SH International LLC. SH International helps entrepreneurs build multinational businesses, by providing training, guidance, and access to partnerships. She has extensive on-the-ground business and finance experience across Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. She is a sharp negotiator and takes pride in being both business savvy and street smart. She speaks French, Spanish, Arabic, Turkish, Hindi/Urdu, and native English. She was born and raised in Delaware, and currently lives in Washington, DC.