Single mum-of-two Salima Manji, 36, runs a flourishing networking club – the Asian Dinner Club. She tells www.motherswhowork.co.uk why turning her back on a successful career in investment banking was the best thing she has done.
How did you fund the business? My personal savings
What profit did you make in the first year?
We have broken even this year, and have high expectation of profits to come in future years!
What was the motivating factor for staring your own business?
I wanted to work around the kids and be in control of my own time, as well as using my skills of communication and networking that were not maximised in my investment banking days.
After spending many a night out with friends who complained about not meeting ?the one? and feeling disheartened with internet dating, I combine our love of dining in nice restaurants and drinking in chic bars with a Supper Club for single Asians.
I have a niche market and the demand for such a service was so high…to the point that I hired a team of people to help host the events and deal with membership queries and marketing.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
I know it?s a clich? but ?being my own boss? is what does it for me. I?m in control of my time and when I want a couple of hours off in the middle of the day, I know I can make that time up later, even if it means working into the night!
Running a business can be a mixed bag sometimes. What have been you highs and lows so far?
Highs: hearing about a couple who got engaged 10 weeks after meeting at one of my dinner parties.
Lows: none yet.
How have you managed to stay on top of your career with the demands of motherhood while running a business?
Having a Blackberry and a reliable babysitter. The Blackberry allows me to work anywhere, even at the school gates you may find me emailing my members! A reliable babysitter…well, need I say more?
How has running your business impacted on your relationship with your partner and children?
The kids have a mum who is very happy and less stressed that before when she was juggling investment banking, motherhood and trying to have a social life. Now I am there at school concerts, on the school run…I?m even class rep for my son?s class, which I never could have done before.
Any tips for expectant mums, or mothers who feel that you can’t have a successful career and a happy family life at the same time?
You can have anything you put your mind to…it just requires a lot of hard work, support from family and friends and a positive attitude.