Yasmin Vorajee Q and A Interview
Can you share your back story with us, a bit about your childhood?
I was born in the late 70’s, in Preston, Lancashire. My parents are Muslim and from India. I’m the youngest of 3 and my childhood was spent playing in the streets with the kids in the neighbourhood, going to school and going to mosque school to learn about our religion.
My parents were big into getting good grades so I spent a lot of time studying – I was a bit of a nerd! I was the first in our family to go away to University which was a big deal as it wasn’t the ‘done’ thing for a girl to leave home unless she was getting married! (my brother and sister stayed at home and went to the uni in our town)
I was always a bit of a rebel, wanting to do things my way!
Were you a determined child or has that developed?
From a young age, I was keenly aware of things I was allowed to do and what I was not allowed to do – cultural and religious restrictions frustrated me! In primary school, I was bullied for being the only ‘brown’ person in a very white middle class area and it made me shrink into myself and create a rich internal world. I used to make up stories and ideas during playtime when no-one would play with me and it created a resilience in me that I wasn’t even aware of until recently.
I’ve always pushed myself into the doing the things I wasn’t comfortable doing – in life, work and business. When I was a student at York University, I put myself up for elections in the Students’ Union. I was the Women’s Rights Officer and the Black Rights Officer. I also stood for Students’ Union President even though it terrified me!
I chose to marry outside of my faith and that was the biggest challenge of them all – but so worth it. We’ve been married for nearly 8 years and we have 3 beautiful children.
Can you share something about yourself that is not widely known?
I suffer with anxiety and I have a worry habit – I worry a lot! (I used to call myself a worrier, now it’s a worry habit!). It’s something that was triggered when I had my first miscarriage (I’ve had 3). I think sometimes people have this view of what life’s like for someone and think all is rosy. You never truly know what goes on in people’s internal world!
It’s something I’m working through.
How and when did you know you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
It was from a young age – even as a teenager, I knew I wanted flexibility and freedom, especially when I had my own family. I had no idea what that looked like but it was always in the back of my mind! It’s interesting to look back and see what was always there – this desire and dream for freedom but with no clear how it was going to happen.
Just goes to show that you just need to have the desire and the how will unfold.
Tell us about your business
My business started after I was made redundant from my corporate role as Vice President of Leadership Development for a multi-national.
It’s an online training and coaching business called Tiny Time Big Results. I have been a trainer and coach for 17+ years, 12 years in corporate and 5+ in my own business.
I help people grow their business in 20 hours a week by leveraging their time and expertise. My babies are young and this approach allows me to run a business that fills my soul and purse and spend time with my babies and do all the things I need to do for them – school runs, homework, after school activities, cooking the dinner, changing nappies, feeding and so on.
When I started the business, my eldest was only 15 months old. In the time I’ve had the business, I’ve had 2 more babies and the growth of my family has evolved my own business model – showing me how important it is to focus on leveraging your time and your expertise. Whether you have a service business or a product business, you have knowledge, skills and experience that others value and I help people package those gifts and skills, create massive value and get paid for it.
This is so important to me because I see so many people struggle with reconciling their desire for a fulfilling family life and balancing that with providing for them financially. When I had my eldest son, I knew I didn’t want to be a commuter mum. I didn’t want to see my kids only in the morning and the evening. I wanted to meet them at the school gates, talk to them about their day, share their joys and their tears and that drives everything I do.
I don’t see why I should give up a high quality of life and financial freedom simply because I choose to raise my family. Which is what it feels like for many women in the workplace. I see a different perspective.
I see that we can use our skills, experience and knowledge and get well paid for it.
What did you give up to get to where you are today? What did you have to sacrifice?
It has not been an easy journey at all. In the time I’ve been self-employed, I’ve had 3 miscarriages. I’ve stressed over money, worried about debt and fought with crippling self-doubt. I’m passionate about what I do and why I do it so it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice.
But having a business and growing it does take its toll – on your health and it can be incredibly hard to switch off.
Some people think you sacrifice security to have your own business. But I think having a job in this day and age is the riskier option! There is no such thing as a secure job or income and one of the biggest gifts someone can give to themselves is the ability to create their own income.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do?
Marrying out of my faith and the associated challenges was by far the hardest thing I have ever done and when I look at my family now, it makes me so happy that I followed my heart.
Giving birth naturally twice (after my first was born via C-section) was also hard but by God, I felt like Superwoman afterwards!!
What are your goals for 2017 and beyond?
- Grow my platform and getting my message out to a bigger audience. There are lots of people who don’t know about Tiny Time Big Results so that’s my job – to show them!
- Help 1000 ‘tiny time’ business owners create their online program
- Publish my book, the first of many!
- Grow the Momentum Circle, my accountability and implementation program.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Do you have any big Goals?
I have a clear idea of how I want to feel in my life, I want to be doing the things I love so I focus on that and try not to get fixated on how it will happen.
A big personal goal is to build our dream home and I see myself publishing more books, speaking on stage and TV about how it is up to us to create our dream lifestyle, full of love, fulfilment and joy.
We have the power. We are co-creators.
Can you share 3 #BizTips for Women in Business
1. Keep it simple – when you’re growing a business with limited time, keep your business as simple as possible! How you make money, how you market, how you make sales, how you work with clients – keep it as simple as possible. Take a look at your business right now and ask yourself, ‘can it be simpler?’
2. Create massive value for a market that wants what you have and is willing to pay for it. Are you selling what people want? Are you trying to sell it to people who can’t afford you? Get clear about who you serve and make sure there is a market there.
3. Be ready for the self-doubt! This has been big for me. My self-doubt has crippled me in the past, the thoughts of not being good enough and fighting the ‘imposter syndrome’. I don’t think it ever goes away but when you’re ready for it, you can work through it instead of it stopping you. Awareness is key!
How can people best connect with you online? twitter, website, youtube?
Website – https://www.yasminvorajee.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/yasleadingwomen
Youtube – http://bit.ly/yvyoutube
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/yasvorajee/
You can read more from Yasmin Vorajee – You Can’t Make Good Money When You Have Tiny Time… Here’s Why inside #BizRocks Magazine Issue 54
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