“Anil… your uncle has passed away,”
I was in shock. How could I not be home for my uncle’s passing? I had already missed all of my children’s first experiences due to work, and now this? I wasn’t happy. I was living in Florida with my wife and two children,
away from my family and friends back in New Jersey. And it was destroying my mother and me. I was letting my career ruin my life… literally. Before I moving to Florida, I had been hospitalized twice for stress.
I needed to regain control of my own happiness. There had to be another way…
The Entrepreneurial Bug
I moved to America at age eleven, a brown-skinned boy with a funny English accent. I was born into entrepreneurship. My parents expanded their retail business into a flea market, where I talked my dad into opening a watch store for me. He agreed and I went to work, but retail was hard and I closed up shop within the first year.
That is, after I made $10,000 during the holiday season. Not bad for a 13-year-old. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be my own boss. But not as the doctor my mother was set on me becoming. So when I switched my focus from pre med to computer science, my mother switched her focus to not talking to me for a year.
“I made $10,000 during the holiday season. Not bad for a 13-year-old.”
It was at this point that I really started getting interested in retail. I began working at my friend’s electronics store - sometimes during school hours. It didn’t take long before we launched his first electronic store in NYC. Just as we began building the business, a new cell phone company emerged and I smelled an opportunity.
My friend wasn’t thrilled, but I sold him on the idea of becoming a dealer. I got the approval, wrote a 100-page business plan, and we were off and running.
In the next few years, I helped my friend open four more businesses. I finished college and joined his company full-time, working my way up to Vice President.
That’s when things got out of hand.
We were partying like rockstars. I bought a Porsche. I rented an apartment in the city. My performance was suffering and I lost all hope of ever becoming a partner. And so, I left. After bouncing around from job to job, I fell into technical sales… for years. I was miserable - even aware of my misery - but my fear of success kept taking the reigns. I felt hopeless.
During this time, my mother introduced me to my future wife, Sarika. Six months after we met, we were married and moved into the apartment in my parents’ basement. Shortly after, the first miracle of my life happened - the love of my life was born. Our first baby, Simran. She is my inspiration, still to this day.