Season 2, Episode 37

How Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA)


Mandeep Kaur


If you are inspired to start your own podcast, check out the links on Resource Arena page.

Today’s Guest



In today’s episode I am speaking with Mandeep Kaur.

Mandeep Kaur is an e-commerce seller who successfully left her full-time (9-5) job during
Covid-19 to manage and expand her e-commerce business.

Mandeep Kaur is a 42 year old mom of 3 who stumbled upon e-commerce in 2019 after feeling
frustration from the lack of opportunities at her 9-5 job.  After launching 2 failed products, her 3rd
product took off.

Did you know 50% of products sold on Amazon are by 3rd party sellers like her?
Mandeep uses Amazon’s FBA model (Fulfilled by Amazon) to manage and scale her e-
commerce business.

With no knowledge or experience in e-commerce prior to this, there was a huge learning curve,
but her persistence paid off. She’s now expanding her reach to try to get more BIPOC into this
space through her YouTube Channel.

In this episode she provides advice to people interested in e-commerce and how to get into “non-traditional” careers.

If you love the show please leave a rating or a review here.

If you have a comment or question please reach out to me at or on Instagram @gladiatrixpodcast.




Mandeep Kaur





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Malini Sarma 0:02

Hey, Mandeep, thank you so much for taking the time to be on my podcast and really excited to share your story with with the world.

Mandeep 0:11

Thank you, Malini for having me here. I'm pretty pumped. This is so exciting for me. It's my first official podcast.

Malini Sarma 0:18

Oh, that's awesome. This was that's so cool. And I think you're my first you know, like, Indian, Canadian, or Canadian, and you wish you're where you want to put it. on my show. I do have other Canadians, but you're my first Indian Canadian. So I'm really excited. That's great. So you're the first generation, right? You're born and brought up in Canada, but your parents came over from India?In So tell me, tell me a little bit about you growing up? I mean, do you have any siblings? What was it like growing up? What did you want to be when you grew up that your parents are like yes or no, or, you know?

Mandeep 0:53

Well, so I'm number three of four. I have an older brother, older sister, and then a younger sister, there's four of us. And my older brother and sister were actually born in India. And my dad had immigrated to Toronto. That's where I was born. he immigrated in the 1970s. And then

my brother and sister were born in India during the times he would go back, then I ended up being the firstborn here. Wow, yeah. Which is pretty cool. I had a very close relationship with my dad growing up. And it's amazing how much you reflect on your life, while 2020 was the year of reflection. And I reflected a lot about just my upbringing, and how

the framework was really defined by the relationship I had with my dad, he unfortunately had passed away when I was 17. sorry to hear that. Yeah. So that was I mean, that was a moment in life where he no longer was there. But he raised, you know, he had a very close relationship with me and my younger sister, which isn't common, right, I think, in

indo Canadian, or indo American families, for the dad to have a close relationship with their daughters. But he has, through a lot of reflection this year. And, you know, talking to my siblings, he had a very strong mother. My grandmother was a very strong lady. So I think him having that closest with his mom naturally translated to a great relationship he had with me, which really helped in a lot of my formative years, of what I wanted to be in what I wanted to do. So my dad always worked a job. And he worked for Metro Toronto Police Force, but he always had things on the side. He was always like, there's something else, you know, you got to do it on the side. Because, you know, a nine to five is great to provide for your family. But if you really want to excel in life, you know, there has to be something else going on. So he was always doing entrepreneurial stuff. He never really, like we he never, he, I guess he indirectly was showing us, hey, do these things, grow your skills, always have a backup plan, all these sort of things. But I never really understood it until now later in life, where that passion for entrepreneurship came from, and it's actually my dad. So, yeah, it's he was definitely a huge part of my journey. And I wish he was here to see it. He would be so proud. I would, I would think so. I would hope so. I think

Malini Sarma 3:40

so with your close connection with your dad, I mean, you know, and he probably encouraged a lot of entrepreneurship. So what do you what were you thinking, you know, when you were in high school in college, what do you want to do when I grow up? I mean, how was that with your family as far as what they wanted for you?

Mandeep 3:56

I think, yeah, I think in the 80s and 90s, though, you know, we didn't have the World Wide Web. You know, we didn't have the internet to kind of devolved into these other maybe ideas of what we wanted to do. It was no I'm going to go to university I really loved kind of working for the government. I thought I would work in Ottawa. You know, get a degree in in public policy or political science and work for the government and work a quote nine to five job every day, get up, go on the go train, work in an office come home, and I thought that's what my life would be. Because it was still very nobody, my mom had her own business. So that would have been different enough. Going through that process. And so that's what I thought I would do every day. Wake up, go on a train, go to work, come home, make dinner.

Malini Sarma 4:52

What did your parents want for you? Did they have like a say because you know, most Asian parents are like, okay, we want you to be a doctor or an engineer or a lawyer. or whatever, you know, and sometimes, therefore, if you come up with something different, that'd be great. Or sometimes they'd be like, No, no, this is you have a stable life. You know, you need to grow up, you need to get married, and you need to have a career that you can do even when you have kids and stuff. And, you know, that kind of thing. Or was it like, you know, go find your find whatever you your passion and go for it?

Mandeep 5:20

Yeah, yeah, I think my dad never really told us to be doctors, or, or lawyers, or, I mean, I wish I could ask him now, but I think he saw that that value of working 14 hours and being, you know, doing something for somebody else wasn't because it wasn't him. And he never really told us to do it. Okay, so what we didn't break anybody's hearts. None of my my siblings are all professionals, have great jobs, great families, all that sort of stuff. But they were never told, you know, you need to be a doctor to be successful in life, my lawyer, so that wasn't really ingrained in us it was okay, fine, what you want to do have a good job that provides security, I think that was more of the motto, that was kind of impressed on us,

Malini Sarma 6:10

right? I think that's a very, that's also a very, you know, like an Indian kind of a thing that you need to make sure that you have a job, you know, a nine to five was the easiest way to do it, right? Because then it's like a guaranteed security, of course, nothing. Nothing's guaranteed in life. But there's a very, very Indian kind of a mentality. But now you're married and you have kids, and you're running your own business. And so tell me a little bit more about that. How did you know, especially with immigrant parents, that's always but in your case, it was encouraged. So tell me a little bit more about that journey.

Mandeep 6:42

So after, so I went to university and closer to graduation, I met my now husband, and he lives in Vancouver, even though we met in Toronto. And one of the things that we had decided early on in our relationship that he was very adamant about is that he was going to move back to Vancouver, once his stint with his job was over. So we got married, because that's how you continue to long term relationship. You know, parents are, my mom's very strict. And so is his family. So we got married, and I moved to Vancouver. And then I did work with the same I worked for a communications organization doing actually human resources in Toronto. And then they had an opening here in Vancouver. So I did that for a bit. And then I got pregnant with my oldest daughter, who's almost 16 now and then we just decided to start a family. And then we had three kids in that it was a stay at home mom for eight years. And, you know, I, being a stay at home mom is a very difficult thing, I think to do. And it's very undervalued. Yep, yep. In our society, unfortunately. But I think a lot of I have a friend who is going to be a stay at home mom, and it's a different part of your life that you are then exploring. But I found like I was missing a challenge. And don't get me wrong, raising three kids under three and a half is a challenge. But it's not very mentally stimulating.

Malini Sarma 8:22

No, it's like you're talking, you know, kid talk all the time. And it's like you, you're probably you're trained for a lot more things. You know, your, your brain is designed to do a lot more other things. So, so so you worked your nine to five, you were home for eight years. And then when your kids were probably in middle school, you started going back to work.

Mandeep 8:44

Yeah, I was trying to I was, I wanted a good work life balance. Because I was I was the sole, I guess a caretaker, my husband was busy with his career. So I wanted to ensure that the foundation I laid because my mom had been home for so many years that I wanted to ensure that that didn't just go away. And that was advice my mom gave me is you know, you've put the time in, you know, just make sure you keep that there, like works always going to be there and trying to find the balance between that and then finding a job that could still you know, provide me that mental stimulation. And, you know, some sort of income like this is the first time I've been, you know, those eight years I was home. I wasn't financially independent. That is tough.

Malini Sarma 9:33

Yes. Yes. It really it really does something to your self esteem. You know, when suddenly you're like, Wait, what? I don't have the freedom to decide what I wanted to because I you know, I have to ask somebody else. Yeah, I know the feeling.

Mandeep 9:50

Yeah. And I had been working since I was 16. So for the first time I'm relying and it was never, it was never an issue of Okay, I have bad spending habits. or anything along the lines of that were pretty allied financially, which is great. But it was just that, that freedom of, you know, just I want to pick up and I want to buy a $4 Starbucks coffee, and I don't want to feel that guilt. Right. Right. Right. And it's, yeah, so it was just trying to find a job where I could still be for there for my kids. And still bring some income in and feel good about it, you know, and finding that balance, and it's very difficult,

Unknown Speaker 10:35

very difficult.

Mandeep 10:36

I feel like there's a lot of moms out there who have a lot of amazing skills. But you know, for so many other reasons, working a nine to five doesn't work with their lifestyle anymore.

Malini Sarma 10:49

Mm hmm. Yeah, I mean, you know, it's almost like you, you have to put your, your, your professional life on hold in order to raise your children. Otherwise, it's almost like you have to get somebody else to raise your children because you can't do both. And it's really hard. It's not an you know, there are a lot of people, some people who get it and some people who don't. And, and I guess it's just different for everybody, I guess they just need to find what we know, what's their jam and what works for them.

Mandeep 11:16

Exactly. Exactly. And, you know, not judge other women who work full time and not judge, you know, women who decide to stay home. Right. Right, right. And finding that balance. So I did some kind of I started doing some things in school. So that kind of worked out, I worked for a couple of organizations where I was only working during school hours. And I liked that. And I was contemplating doing one year of getting my Bachelors of education, and then maybe just doing, you know, kind of part time teaching. Because the feedback I was getting was I was really good talking to people, and presenting and when I worked in HR, I did some training and development. So I was comfortable talking in front of people. And that was a skill that I guess I had developed and I how I was able to connect with students, just because I had kids at home, I learned how to speak to them at their level. But it was hard, it was really hard. And then I eventually ended up finding a great organization. And it was working full time remote, which was great. But after just you know doing that, and they're based in in Washington, actually. And then I had applied for a promotion in a different department, and I didn't get it. And I kind of went, that really sucks. And I was like okay, I need to do something else here. This isn't working like I you know, I don't want somebody else to tell me. Essentially. I wasn't the right fit, obviously. And I know that but it felt like I was told I wasn't good enough. Right? You rejected?

Malini Sarma 12:58

Yeah, yeah.

Mandeep 12:59

Yeah. And that sucked. And that's where I had listened to a podcast six months earlier, about side hustles and somebody selling books on Amazon. And I was like, I just that day when I got the email that I wasn't going to be considered further for this position. I just went on YouTube and typed in how to sell products on Amazon. And it just led me down this crazy journey to where I am now. Okay.

Malini Sarma 13:30

But something happened, you said you there was a you know, you wish you were working. And you were you were doing kind of figuring out your side hustle. But then you had a car accident, something happened, you know, it was huge. That kind of shifted your mind and said, Okay, I'm done. I need to focus on me. So tell me a little bit more about that story.

Mandeep 13:50

Yes. So I was actually on my way I was for this organization. I was doing presentations in schools as a part of my role. And I was on my way, and just going through an intersection on speakerphone with my mom, because I call my mom every day and we chat for 10 to 15 minutes. And distracted driver went through a red light as I was going through a green light and T boned me into a utility home.

Malini Sarma 14:18

Holy crap.

Mandeep 14:19

Yeah. And I was kind of like in shock and going well, what's going on here? Like what, what what just happened? And I asked, witnesses quickly came and said, you know, we call 911 and I said my husband's actually working from home today we were this accident happened maybe two blocks from my house. Oh my goodness. Yeah. And I said, Can you just call him like I need him to deal with this car. And I'm just thought I can you know, in typical mom mode, right, right, can leave my purse here. I need him to come figure this out. So can you call him and so I called him. And I remember him seeing me. And he was just like the face. You know, like, Oh my god, like, This isn't good. Good. As long

Malini Sarma 15:11

ago was this,

Mandeep 15:12

this was in in May, it'll be I think four years.

Malini Sarma 15:17

Oh my goodness. Okay. Yeah,

Mandeep 15:18

yeah. So on my road to recovery, you know, work, asking when I would be coming back and just not being ready actually came back earlier than what I had probably should have come back because I still had a lot of issues, soft tissue injuries, you know, I had a concussion, luckily, nothing was broken. But things like that really alter, I think your life is, and you're wanting to change things. You know, after my father had passed away, my mom had breast cancer. And that was in the late 90s. And I hadn't at you know, from that time to my car accident, there wasn't a life altering experience that I had, you know, some people go through a lot of stuff in a short period of time. There wasn't that, you know, reminder by external forces, or God or something that, hey, I can, you know, things can shift really fast. And when I had the car accident, it reminded me again, that Oh, my gosh, I have one life to live. Oh, my gosh, did I am I living to my full potential. And had I passed away in that car accident? I think my biggest regret would have been, I missed out on a lot of things. And for so many reasons, you know, but I didn't, I didn't do all that I wanted to do. And that accident reminded me of that, that things can change really fast and go sideways really fast that you really need to make the most of all the opportunities that you have, or find the opportunities that you want. Not everything's handed to you and find that. So that gave me the confidence between that and then not getting the promotion, and then kind of being forced to go back to work a little bit earlier than I wanted to. That all led the framework of Okay, I need to do something different. And I had listened to a podcast a couple of months earlier about selling on Amazon. And that's when that day I came home. One day, I came home and I just went on YouTube, and I typed in how to sell on Amazon. And it just led me down this this path that I'm in right now.

Malini Sarma 17:41

So we did you continue to work while you were figuring out a side hustle? Or did you just like, Okay, I'm done, handed your resignation. And just like, I don't care what this is, I'm just going to dive into this. And I'm going to be successful no matter what anybody says. And I'm going to continue until I do.

Mandeep 17:58

No, I did both. Okay, I kept my full time job because that provided financial security, that also provided opportunity. We're having an e commerce business is cash intensive. And so I knew if I cut off my cash flow, it would just restrict my growth on my business. So I did both for about I think 18 months. It was very tough, very, very tough because ecommerce, like, you know, what is e commerce? Like, you know, I don't know anybody in this space. And within family and friends. I'm the only ecommerce seller, like a lot of my friends and family don't even know I do this.

Malini Sarma 18:44

Mm hmm. Yeah, let's usually I was gonna ask you that was my next question is, you know, you decided to go into e commerce. And, you know, going from what you had learned online, and so were your friends or your family's reaction? And you know, what did they have to say about And would it make you think about that? Because you were alone?

Mandeep 19:04

Yeah. So my sisters know, my brother kind of knows. He doesn't like he'll send me kind of videos on WhatsApp once in a while. of like, e commerce, he's like, Oh, you should get into this. And I'm like, bro, I'm here. So which is fine, because what I've learned in this journey is I don't ask them about their day to day work. Like I asked them, like, How's work going? I don't talk about their management decisions that they have to make or a strategic direction of their company. And so what I've learned with being a solopreneur that we invest, we invest so much of our personality into our business, right? Because when our business does well, that we feel is a reflection of us.

Malini Sarma 19:52

Yes, that is so true. It is so true.

Mandeep 19:56

And that leads to a very tough emotional rollercoaster. You know, when sales are not great, or maybe you don't have a product that, you know that you thought did well, or was going to do well and doesn't do? Well, it takes a toll on you emotionally because you've put yourself on the line saying, okay, I believe in this, this is going to work, and then it doesn't do as well. So what I've learned through this entrepreneurship journey, the importance of connecting with other entrepreneurs, you know, I didn't go to school on how to become an e commerce seller, it's so new, it's ever evolving and changing. I mean, the changes in 2020 alone, due to the pandemic alone, and the growth and, you know, the ability to shift and all that sort of stuff I'm learning as, as Amazon is, you know, Amazon's doing great, it's expanding, but they're also now in a lot of growth, pains that they didn't anticipate because of the pandemic. And so I'm going along with it. But, you know, one thing I've learned through this now is I've removed the emotions from my business. And once I did that, I found peace in Okay, you know, there's good days, there's bad days, but you have to think long term.

Malini Sarma 21:18

It's like investing in the stock market. Right? Yeah. If you want to grow, then you just need to make the decisions and keep going. and not have to worry about, you know, all the drama that happens with it, right?

Mandeep 21:30

Yes, yes. And, yeah, so not finding, you know, or not connecting with people on this level. In regards to e commerce, I started just posting things on Instagram, you know, just about my journey, because I thought it'd be kind of cool to have some sort of digital record, might you know it in five years be like, oh, wow, you don't remember I made when I made my first sale and how happy I was right. And so I just started doing that. And then just sharing, and I realized how many people in this space are just wanting to connect? Because there's a level of isolation, right? Being an e commerce seller, I could be anywhere in the world. I don't, I'm not going waking up and going into an office. So there's sometimes you want to ask for help, or you want to say, Hey, is this a good idea? Or does this make sense? And it's stuff you can't ask your friends, because they don't understand the world of e commerce. Right?

Malini Sarma 22:33

So So a quick question who you're talking about, you know, you know, your friends and family, because you'd like to set you're the only person in that particular space? So what was the reaction? that surprised you the most, you know, when you told them? Or? Or did you tell them that, you know, this is what you're going to be doing? And you could quit yor jobs? Like, okay, Mom, and guess what, I quit my job. I'm going to go into this full time. You know, that's it. So yeah, did you make an announcement? You know, or did you just kind of gradually go into that? And you, you and your husband discussed it? And we're like, yeah, this is the best move? You know, do you share that? Or did you just kind of keep it to yourself? And then as people started asking, who kind of brought that up?

Mandeep 23:13

Yeah, I found, I was trying to do both as much as I could, running the business and working my job. And, you know, the kids are kind of what, you know, half homeschooling, we're still in a pandemic, there's a lot going on. And I kept saying to the kids, Look, I'm sorry, I just need to get this going. And once this business is going, I promise, I'm going to quit my job. Because if I've replicated my salary on my e commerce business, okay, now I'm going to give up my job. So it frees my time to do more things. And the thing with, you know, being an entrepreneur, you're addicted to just that constant, like growth. And once you realize the potential growth opportunities you have, there's no limit. Yeah.

Malini Sarma 24:06

And I think that's the biggest. I think that's a huge paradigm shift. You know, because you always do when you're at a job, or like, you work your nine to five, you get your 2% or 3% raise, and you think that's about it. I think it's even for me, it's a huge, you know, mind, it's like mind blowing that you can make as much as you want, there is no limit.

Mandeep 24:30

Yeah, with very little investment. You know, because I've invested in other things. And when you see the return on investment, you're like, is this even real? Like, how is this possible,

Malini Sarma 24:42

right? Like, I

Mandeep 24:43

don't get it, you know, and I sell in the US, I don't even live in the country, I sell in. So, yeah, and then, you know, once I once I got to that point where I had a couple of products that were generating enough profit that it was mirroring my full time salary I think I could have kept both. But I felt like I wasn't being the mom I wanted to be. And, you know, money's, you know, you go back and go, Okay, that's great. I'm going to have all this money. But you know, my kids who are teens now, two teens, and a preteen, they're just it's not their fault, right? Ask for this. They want their mom, you know, there's certain things mom does.

Malini Sarma 25:30

So did you. So did you go full time into business? Like two years ago? Is it been two years yet? No, I

Mandeep 25:37

actually just quit my job. My last day of employment was October 30. of this of 2020.

Malini Sarma 25:45

No kidding. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 25:47

Wow. Sorry.

Malini Sarma 25:49

Yeah. It's not even been six months since you're full time into this. Yeah, November, December, January is not three months, 90 days. Oh, my God, girl, you gotta be so proud.

Mandeep 26:02

I yeah. And a part of why I wanted to quit also is, you know, during 2020, and watching everything with Black Lives Matter and realizing the racism that even myself, you know, my name is Mandeep. It's not the greatest name to have in the 1980s. Um, you can imagine, you know, the level of racism felt, and I feel like, I felt like I needed to do something about it. I needed to get it. Now, there's a lot of people in e commerce and entrepreneurship, but they tend to be white males. You know, if you read the stats, which I actually did a large part of entrepreneurs tend to be male, and then white. And so rather than asking them to, you know, kind of give us, hey, we need to have more Indian female entrepreneurs, or we need to have more black female entrepreneurs. Well, what can I do to be a part of that? What What can I help with that? How can I help with that? So I wanted to then invest time and start my YouTube channel. And so that's why I kind of was like, Okay, I can manage my business, I can do YouTube, I can help inspire other women in this space, and people of color in the space, and it will bring me a level of satisfied satisfaction. You know, when you help people that's like, the ultimate you know, Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Right? Right. Right, right. Right. Right. The one thing I learned in grade 10, marketing, used to remember that it's working, it's working. And you know, when I get a message from somebody saying, thanks for your help, are really appreciated. Or, look, I've launched my first product, now I have X amount of sales. Like I now have given them the path to success, they now just have to follow through that.

Malini Sarma 28:01

That is awesome. That is so cool. So now you have your business in play. You know, it's very young. Well, that you're doing it solo. So what was what was the hardest decision? And what was the easiest decision?

Mandeep 28:17

The hardest and easiest was definitely quitting my job. Wow. Yeah. It's both it's two sided. You know, there's something about that sense of security. Having a paycheck every two weeks. And, and you know, and I and I think a lot of like, e commerce, people who are on YouTube are like, oh, bla, bla, bla, you know, you shouldn't trade your time for money. It's like, No, no, no, no, we need doctors. We need nurses. You know, my husband works in health care. No, he, he needs that. No, no, no, we need people like that to run society. Not everybody can can just be an e commerce seller. You know, and there's, there's security and having somebody so my, my husband works a full time job. We have kids, I can't, I can't just be like, Okay, I'm gonna go in on all this business. And if things don't, you know, happen, I can just go move in with my mom. Right? So having him have that security. I was like, Okay, I can do this. It's still scary. Because like I said, I don't I don't sell even in the country I live in. Oh, like, it's like, when you invest in the stock market. It's like, okay, you see the graph go up, but until you sell it or until it's tangible in your bank,

Malini Sarma 29:39

are you really making money? Exactly. So do you have an exit strategy? Do you think about like, Okay, I know I'm successful. I do you know, do you get any pushback to say what if you don't make that much money, you know, that was fine. But now what if you know tomorrow you don't you know, you are expected to make this many sales and you don't? Do you have like okay, if I if I can sistent Lee don't make this much then I'm out in gold for the job was there or it's like my back is to the wall and come hell or high water, I'm going to make this work.

Mandeep 30:08

Because I had failed twice with two products. While I was working my full time job, I made sure I left where I was still replicating my income. That was to be very important. Like, because I had said, I have kids, I have a financial obligations, I can't just be like, Okay, I'm just gonna go be an e commerce seller. So that was really important to me. Do I think, you know, that I have now I'm in the middle of launching a bunch of products. I always think what's the worst case scenario? Right? They might not do well, but it's funny. With entrepreneurship, scaling your business, you know, we have this term and ecommerce, okay, I'm going to be a six, six figure seller, I'm going to be a seven figure seller. There's like this ring of Wow, seven figure seller. And what happened is, once I quit my job, I was devoting actually more time to my business. Because I was seeing a good return going, Okay, if I do this, I'll get to this point, I even did a video saying I want to make X amount of profit next year. And then what happened was, I was like, I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I haven't gone to the gym, and so long. Wait a minute here. Looking at some of my videos, I'm like, that doesn't look like me. You know, Nick, wait, I everybody, everybody's gained pandemic weight. And so it's reevaluating that priority. And saying, well, Mandeep, you made it comfortably. You know, you're you're projected to make the same amount as your salary and you were fine living on your salary. This journey might take longer, you might take two years, three years to get there. But along the way, don't sacrifice the things that are important. Important. Right? Right. And that shift. And that that even you know, with right now, I haven't done a YouTube video in two weeks. Because you're so busy. I've just been busy. And that's okay. Right. And it's this constant shift of priorities. But at the end of the day, as long as you feel that you're doing the best you can, and that the things that are more important to you, you know, when you wake up and you write in your gratitude journal, August, what you're doing is ensuring that those things remain a priority that will bring you peace in your life. I feel, you know,

Malini Sarma 32:30

that's, that's, that's very true. And not very many people get there, you know, long, you know, fast enough, but it takes a lifetime sometimes to get to that point. It doesn't bring

you happiness do No, no, no, no, it

does not. It's a tool. You know, it's a byproduct. But it's good to have. But you're right, it does not bring you happiness. So you should be I mean, I'm really proud of you, you know, you should be really proud being a woman of color running your business. That's a very brave move, and not, you know, and and I think we need to see more of that. Right. So what would you want to tell other women who want to start their own business? What advice would you want to give them? If your daughter is 16? And she wants to start her own business? What would you tell her?

Mandeep 33:15

I actually get a lot of questions from first generation Canadian women, who are, who may be living at home and say, you know, I want to do this, whether whatever it is, you know, to be a Instagram influencer, or to be a YouTuber themselves. And they might feel restricted because their parents say no. Right? And I say, Well, why don't you have a discussion? Because I feel like, I understand their parents too. Because, right? I know what I know, my mom, you know? And I said, it's usually based out of fear, right? So why don't you have a conversation of what they're fearful of. And, you know, I'm not gonna advise a 17 year old daughter to you know, do something that may not align with their family, and you know her to be like, Oh, this doesn't work, I'm going to do this, and blah, blah, blah, because at the end of the day, your parents are providing that support for you. Why not address the situation and give them the information and education because that's what they're lacking? Right? You know, if you said, and I was talking to a young girl who said, I really don't want to go to school, I don't want to go to university to do get my Bachelors of education. I would rather do this, but our parents really wanted to go to school. And I said, Well, you need to really know educate them, and give them that information. That's what they're lacking. And that whole lokibot gay, right? That's always the biggest fear with your parents. And she's like, yeah, that's exactly what my mom says. And I said, Well, you need to now ask, have those conversations with your parents on what success looks like? You know, and at the ultimate end of the day, every child, every parent wants their child to be happy. Right? Right. Right. And and so, you know, what you might uncover is maybe because your mom didn't get the opportunity to go to university. And she doesn't want you to miss out on that.

Malini Sarma 35:17

Right? Right. Education is important. Yeah. Then, and I said, Well, is

Mandeep 35:22

there a way you can balance both? You know, by still, you know, it's not like, you'll go to school and not learn stuff, you'll learn so much about yourself, maybe you'll make connections, you never know what it's going to lead to. But just because one door is shut, you could still maybe do both at the same time, but it's really giving your parents that education and awareness and understanding and speaking their language. They don't understand, you know, like online entrepreneurship,

Malini Sarma 35:54

right? It's a complete it's a, it's a such a, what you call a new animal, right? It's not something people grew up with, you know, even the internet is like, so scary. So this is a completely new thing for them, for them to have to even think about it. So do you have like, you know, cuz you said you were on YouTube? So do you have? Do you have like, clients or courses that you can you know, that, that help people to understand what you know, being an online entrepreneur is, or something that you're thinking about?

Mandeep 36:28

I definitely, there's so many ways of being an online entrepreneur. And one, you have to understand, do you have the skill set for it? Not everybody's cut out to be an entrepreneur. It's not easy. So what I would suggest, and I always tell people, and the reason I, I provide a lot of free content, because I want it to be an equal opportunity to everybody. I don't want somebody to say, Well, I have to buy this $5,000 course in order to succeed, I want that to be a financial hurdle. So I always say, look on look on YouTube, listen to podcasts. There's so many ways whether you know, you have your own Shopify store, or you're an e commerce seller on Amazon, or you have an Instagram page where you're promoting products, look at different things and try them out. Try them out, I tried to be an Instagram fitness influencer for I think about six months. I didn't like it, because it wasn't my cup of tea. But I tried. You know, and I gained experience I gained, I learned so much about algorithms, which now in turn have helped me with YouTube and other things. So it's not a lost skill. If you know, it's something you want to do, you know, devote some time and learn about it. Right, right.

Malini Sarma 37:47

No lost opportunities, everything, you you learn something, even from a failure, you learn something from it, you know, everything is, is a preparation for the next big project that's coming your way, right?

Mandeep 37:57

But we live in a time of such instant gratification, right? You know, and it's like, Well, okay, you can replicate your salary, it'll take you 18 months to two years. Oh, I don't want to do it. I want to replicate it Now. Now. Right? Right. So having that patience is really important. And I always tell students to Steve Jobs, never graduated from Stanford. But he was asked, he got an honorary doctorate. And I always tell students to watch his his commencement speech. And he just talks about once he quit school and just started learning about fonts, you know, that's what's led to all of the fonts that we had on the original Apple computer. You know, and you can't always connect the dots right now. But I, you know, looking back on your life now being 42, I look back and think of all the dots, you know, my dad never told me to be an entrepreneur, but he showed me how to be an entrepreneur. You know, he invested that time in me, my connection with my kids and why we're so we're a tight knit family that comes from my upbringing, that's the connection connecting those dots. So really, it's you know, we have so much free content on the internet,

Malini Sarma 39:15

make use of it, right? No, I completely agree. So looking back, you know, knowing what you know, now, is there anything you would have changed? What would you have told your younger self? Okay, no,

Mandeep 39:30

this is really funny. A lot of people, they're like, wow, when I told so I recently just told my best friend that she knew I left my job. And she came by one day and she goes, Oh, how are things now that you're not working? And I go, Well, I actually just started my e commerce business and doing that full time. And she looked at me like, I'm not surprised. Like, she did. Like, of course he did, like, okay, and she didn't ask me any questions. She's like, yeah, yeah,

Malini Sarma 40:02

makes perfect sense. perfect sense.

Mandeep 40:04

Um, you know, I see a lot of I've been exploring tik tok lately, and I see a lot of people who have limiting beliefs. And it's like, why are you limiting yourself? Why are you being the biggest obstacle in your way, like obstacles in your way should be things like money, okay, I don't have the money to do this. Or I might not be the greatest at this. But when people doubt themselves and saying, Oh, I'm not good enough to do this, why are you doing that? Who put that belief in you? And you need to explore it. And you need to rewire yourself to say, No, I can't do this. You know, and when I see young girls limiting themselves with that belief, for whatever reason, it's really, it's sad. You know, and I think because I had that great relationship with my dad, I never grew up with that limiting belief. So I never understood it. Like, even to this day, like I am, my confidence comes from that is people believing me and believing in me at a young age and saying, you know, you're destined to do great things, and having that positive self talk. And if you don't, if you didn't grow up with that positive self talk, you can recreate that environment every day.

Malini Sarma 41:21

Right? Right. So you're actually extremely lucky to have had that constant, you know, positive reinforcement, because I think like you said, you'd be surprised at how many I know, I do, how many people are constantly they are in their own way. You know, it's like, we need to constantly tell ourselves, get out of your own way. Because you can do so much.

Mandeep 41:43

Yeah. Why? Like, what I don't like it's a foreign concept to me, you know, growing up and you know hearing things like, oh, after you get married, do what you want. I never heard that from my family. I heard that after my father passed away, all of a sudden, I was a burden. But I never heard that growing up. So that was foreign to me. That that limiting belief. So even now with with my husband, you know, when the way we raise, we have three kids, a son and two daughters. I always encourage them just try something different. Just go for it. So they are growing up not knowing what being being your biggest hurdle is.

Malini Sarma 42:31

Right? Yeah. Growing up fearless, right? Yeah, that's awesome. That is so cool.

Mandeep 42:36

Cuz you're going to fail. Everybody feels that stuff.

Malini Sarma 42:40

But yeah, it's it's part of growing up.

Mandeep 42:42

It's part of growing, right? I always say if you can't look back at the person you were five years ago and laugh at yourself, that means you're not growing.

Malini Sarma 42:51

Very, very true.

Mandeep 42:53

Can you imagine the things we did in our 20s? If you're like, God,

Unknown Speaker 42:56

if we can't laugh

Mandeep 43:00

at that, that means we're not growing. So we're doing a disservice to ourselves.

Malini Sarma 43:04

I agree. So what are you big plans for the future? Or do you have like a two year three year five year plan? You know, it's funny, I had this, I had this like, Okay, all right,

Mandeep 43:14

you know, I'm gonna do this and make all of this money and do what and, you know, I'm gonna lay down and have this business plan. And I'm 42. Now, my husband's 40. I don't want to work forever. I realized my time on this earth is very short. I you know, it's COVID. But once COVID is over, I want to actually travel, I want to enjoy time with my family. I would love to be able to now replicate my husband husband's salary. I think that's my kind of financial goal to bring that security to both of us. So then he has the freedom of time and do things that he wants to explore and do. I think that's kind of the goal, I hope to hit late by late this year or early next year. But along the way, just enjoy this journey. You know, I think is really important for me, and just be present.

Malini Sarma 44:09

That is I think an amazing goal. I love that, you know, not having to work till the day you die, right? Enjoy life because life is short. And there's so much in the world that you still have to do and see. So that is awesome. A very the all the very best to you Mandeep. I'm really excited to see how this progress is and you have such an amazing outlook to life and being fearless. I'm sure you will go far and do great things. So good luck with everything. And I will definitely be seeing you more on this journey.

Mandeep 44:41

Thank you so much for having me. And I'm so thankful that I was able to share my journey and I hope it inspires others to do the same.

Malini Sarma 44:51

Oh, I know it will. I know it is inspired me tonight to go back and start thinking about this. You know, self limiting beliefs. This. So thank you. Thank you for your insight. I really appreciate it.

Mandeep 45:05

Thank you

Transcribed by

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This podcast showcases women, predominantly women of color, who in spite of their fear, are forging ahead, chasing their dreams and becoming stronger.

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Malini Sarma

Malini Sarma

Your Host

Hello. I am Malini. I am a dancer, world traveler and storyteller. I am a hard core fan of chai and anything hot. I am always looking for new adventures and would rather be outside than inside.

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