Zamiha Desai Podcast Transcript

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Zamiha Desai: [00:00:00] It was a disaster because I had never been in a business. I didn't know what I was doing. So I just started a Facebook group with like, there was 200 of my friends. Recommendation professional Asian has never been about me. It's always been about the people in the community. Like it's like, we've got your back.

Zamiha Desai: We want to be your cheerleaders. Some people had 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 percent of their business. It's all come from my networks. That's huge. That is a life changing amount. I really believe in supporting small businesses.

Amardeep Parmar: Just a note before we begin this podcast, shortly after we recorded this episode, Zamiha's husband sadly passed away. So please bear in mind and be considerate that this episode was actually recorded before that happened. And also send your best wishes to her and her family. Hope you enjoyed the episode.

Amardeep Parmar: Welcome to the BAE HQ, where we inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of [00:01:00] British Asian entrepreneurs. If you're watching this on YouTube, make sure you hit that subscribe button. And if you're listening on Apple or Spotify, please remember to give us a five star review. Today we have with us Zamiha Desai.

Amardeep Parmar: Who's the founder of Recommendasian and Professional Asian. How are you doing today? 

Zamiha Desai: I'm good, thank you. So good. How are you? 

Amardeep Parmar: Good, thank you. So it's like very freezing today. So we're recording this when it's snow outside. 

Zamiha Desai: I know it's so unbelievably cold, but it's nice and cozy in here. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah, it's  getting warm in here already, isn't it?

Amardeep Parmar: But when you're growing up, like, did you ever think that today you'd be running such a huge Facebook group that's helping so many people? Like, did you ever think you'd be doing your own thing like this?

Zamiha Desai: Gosh, nobody could be more surprised than me. Growing up was just really normal. There was actually no internet when I was young.

Zamiha Desai: There was no Facebook. There was no Instagram. There was nothing like there is now. And that's it. I kind of, I call myself like an accidental entrepreneur because I'd always worked all my life. I always pictured myself working all my life and I was quite happy with that. But then when I started this Facebook group in [00:02:00] 2016, it just snowballed.

Zamiha Desai: And I think I said to my husband that this is going somewhere and I don't know where and I don't know where to take it and how it's going to happen, but I believe that something can happen. And so he said, okay, well, I'll support you. And I was like, what, 44? So it was like later on in my life, I just went with it.

Zamiha Desai: And honestly, I'm actually really blessed. I feel so lucky and privileged to be part of what I'm doing. Where did the initial idea come from? So it started because I saw one of my friends wear a sari on multiple occasions and I was actually just laughing at myself because I'm like, I'm 43 years old. I still need to go to my mom's house to wear a sari.

Zamiha Desai: And she told me about this gadget that she bought and it helps her pleat her sari. So I went home and I ordered it on Amazon and it was like, It was like a life changing moment. Like, I know it's really small, but that, you know, [00:03:00] independence of being able to actually put some clothes on that you can't normally was really massive for me.

Zamiha Desai: And I was born in the UK and I just thought there's lots of British Asian women that probably... are the same as me. Like they want to access their cultural heritage and sometimes they don't know how to. So I just started a Facebook group with like, there was 200 of my friends and I called it Recommend Asian because it was recommendations for Asians.

Zamiha Desai: Which some people don't get. Some people have that Phoebe moment. Like it's like a, like a penny dropping. Anyways, and then we started talking about, you know, skincare and lipsticks and domestic goddess stuff and recipes. And people started adding their friends and adding their friends. And before you know it, it was like, you know, 2000, 3000, 4000

Zamiha Desai: people, I was going to work and like, uh, on the journey, I'd get into the car park and I'd have like loads of requests to join. And then I'd have go to work [00:04:00] and then have my coffee break. And I was like, every moment this group was just growing and growing. And there was more and more questions and more and more people wanting stuff.

Zamiha Desai: It became a sanctuary for some women. Like they were talking about fertility issues and domestic abuse and, you know, mental health and as well as all the kind of other stuff, where can I get like eggless cakes from? Where can I get vegan this or where can I find a Hindu priest? Where can I get blessing?

Zamiha Desai: What are the differences between I'm a Hindu and I'm going to a Sikh funeral? Like, what do I wear? What's the protocol? Like all these questions that Asian women could just ask each other and get a response. And it's just like, It was phenomenal. It was beyond what I expected. 

Amardeep Parmar: And  when you took those six months to try to like really focus on that, what did you do there?

Amardeep Parmar: ‘Cause obviously you said you're doing it the same time as your day job. What was your plan there of like, okay, what are you going to do? 

Zamiha Desai: The  absolute disaster. Actually, I left my job because I wasn't enjoying it. [00:05:00] I loved, loved, loved my job. And then we had this new change in management and stuff and the structure.

Zamiha Desai: And I was so unhappy. I didn't like the way things were going. And I just said to my husband, I said, let me try doing something, you know, and he, bless him, supported me. He said, leave work, just try it, see what happens. If it doesn't happen, you know, IT project management, you can get back in easy. So I did that, which was probably a bit of a mistake in retrospect, because then I had like no income, but you know, like I said, I had the backing of someone who loved and supported me and believed in me.

Zamiha Desai: And that makes a big difference. And I had started professional Asian about six months after recommendation, mainly because recommendation was a women's group. And I had all these men going, why can't you? Like, why can't you let us in? We want to talk about stuff and I was like, I don't want to talk about male stuff.

Zamiha Desai: I don't know how to talk about male stuff. You know, I don't want to do like a male group. [00:06:00] Like I'm the wrong person. But what they did want to talk about actually was business, and there was a lot of female entrepreneurs in recommendation as well. So I thought, okay, so let's just take this and let's just keep it business focused.

Zamiha Desai: So people that had businesses and could help other people. And then it became like, almost like an Asian Google, I suppose, like people looking for products and services, especially around Diwali and Eid, like very Asian focused and anybody's allowed in that you don't have to be Asian, but it's when you're looking for that kind of understanding of Asian culture.

Zamiha Desai: So with professional Asian, obviously there was this host of amazing businesses and they wanted to market themselves and everything. So my plan was to let people ask and join for free. Um, but if you specifically wanted to market your business, then, you know, there was a membership fee. And within that membership fee, you got a lot of support from us and stuff too.

Zamiha Desai: It was a disaster because I [00:07:00] had never been in a business. I didn't know what I was doing. Like it, it was a good idea, but you slowly realize that you have a lot of issues yourself, right? So like things like, although I had this amazing network, it was really hard just to ask for money from people that like I knew and the amount of objections I got, and I didn't know how to handle them.

Zamiha Desai: People didn't realize how much work and how much effort it was in the background. And so it was like, well, why are you charging you? You know, you're serving the community and yes. I was serving the community, but I was also serving businesses and I was serving individuals. And there was lots of money made in this network.

Zamiha Desai: Lots of businesses reached so much potential. Even now, some people had 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 percent of their business. All come from my networks. Like that's huge. That is a life changing amount for so many of the businesses that [00:08:00] I have. So I learned a lot. It was a very steep learning curve. I wasted a lot of money.

Zamiha Desai: I made some money, but that first year was just, it was crazy because I didn't know what I was getting myself into. 

Amardeep Parmar: There's a few different points I want to pick up there. So you said quite a lot of interesting things. And one of the things you said at the beginning about how the recommendation being focused towards women and then professional Asian.

Zamiha Desai: Yeah. 

Amardeep Parmar: And it's one of these interesting ideas, right? Because We want to be inclusive, but at the same time, people, if women are talking about domestic abuse and talking about fertility issues, they don't necessarily want men to be there. And it's less safe for them to feel, to say what they want to say. So that's where having that exclusion in some ways makes people feel more comfortable, which enables them to get the help they need.

Amardeep Parmar:  So it’s important and it’s working out like how to do different organizations like you did for different needs, rather than what the unique selling point of recommendation is, is that is that community of Asian women and that's where they're really helping each other and we mentioned there as well about asking your friends for money and getting grants because obviously you're doing such amazing work.

Zamiha Desai: [00:09:00] But it was, it was more than that. I wasn't like they were getting something like it was a membership. They were getting access to all these people to promote their businesses. It wasn't. Like I was just saying finance me, it was like, if you are part of my membership, you can tell, you know, however many thousands of people that you have this business and that you can be amazing for them.

Zamiha Desai: And some, we're really like on board and we're just like, yeah, that's fine. That's so cheap. That's amazing. And I was like, okay, and then on the other side, there's like, well, Facebook is free. So why are you charging me to like post on Facebook? And I was like, well, you know, it's taken me a while in dedication and a lot of heart to build these communities.

Zamiha Desai: So yeah. So it was like, it was just, it was amazing how differently people look at businesses. And I mean, even I look at things differently. If I go to Wenzel's [00:10:00] and, you know, I see like doughnuts on sale for like 50 P because it's the end of the day, I might buy them even though I don't really need them.

Zamiha Desai: But I go to a pop up and I see a small business selling like six donuts for 12 quid. I'm like, yeah, yeah. Give me something. Give me some, because I would never spend 12 pounds on donuts, but I guess it's just that I'm, I really believe in supporting small businesses and, you know, for them, it's, it's just a whole different meaning of life when you support them and when you buy for them.

Zamiha Desai: And that is actually more important to me. If you're, if you're not used to having a business and getting paid for something and you feel like you have to constantly justify yourself or that you feel that you're being too salesy or you, you're not communicating, you know, what benefits they get and you, they're not, you're not making yourself clear to them.

Zamiha Desai: And you don't know, it's a skill, it's actually a skill that you don't know. And I think every [00:11:00] entrepreneur I would imagine goes through this, where they have this amazing idea. They have an amazing product, they have an amazing service, and they're so good in that element. They're top of their game. You know, the highest quality, but you know, you have to be your own accountant.

Zamiha Desai: You have to be your own marketer. You have to be your own salesperson. And those are all different skills that help you make your business, but learning them is not easy. And when you're in at the deep end and you've just had this idea, you'd like almost drowning in all the other stuff and your amazing product or service, probably.

Zamiha Desai: Take second place, ‘cause you're so busy trying to just get it out there. 

Amardeep Parmar: And  I think part of it is a tough thing when it's something which has that meaning behind it for you, because you want to support small businesses, but at the same time, it's got, it's a business and it has to make money, like you have to feed yourself, right?

Amardeep Parmar: You're not just doing it just as a service to the community because people are getting things out of it and it is helping the ROI. And it's difficult for different people to understand those [00:12:00] different aspects of it. I think sometimes, isn't it? What you're saying there as well is about making the messaging very clear, which I think takes a bit of time sometimes, right?

Amardeep Parmar: Because at the beginning, you might know it in your own head, but then trying to communicate that in a certain way, it does take iteration. That's completely normal, I think. And obviously now like where you've got to, it's much clearer and like people know what they're getting and why things are happening.

Amardeep Parmar: It's like, how did you turn it around? You said like the first year was very difficult. What things did you do to then? Set you on the path to where you are now.

Zamiha Desai: So to set me on the path I am now, I invested in myself. So I did courses, I read a lot, I talked to a lot of people, I, you know, had a bit of a self discovery.

Zamiha Desai: And I just kind of... Try to take myself away from the business and just focus on me as well on the whole, the people that supported me, I guess I just kind of surrounded myself with them because I think to be in a group of like naysayers is really difficult. And [00:13:00] yeah, some people would really piss me off, I'll be honest, because they just, I felt like they didn't understand or they were trying to take advantage or they didn't appreciate or whatever I was feeling at the time.

Zamiha Desai: And it was, and it's very easy to just get caught up in that negative loop. And so I think I had to learn how to take myself out of it and not focus on that. And, you know, focus on stuff that was good. And I think when you're serving, recommendation professional agent has never been about me. It's always been about the people in the community.

Zamiha Desai: It's never been me. Like evangelizing about myself or trying to be, you know, anything I'm not, I just, you know, wanted to have people to have access to things that were amazing that they wouldn't necessarily have access to some of these, you know, businesses are very hard to find on Google, you know, but they're amazing.

Zamiha Desai: And so I just wanted, I wanted it to be about these phenomenal people. And I wanted to be [00:14:00] about the community that can access this, these phenomenal people. And so I did a lot of networking and I arranged a lot of networking and I, there were people around me that really saw the value in what I was doing and also received the value by being part of the network and they appreciated, you know, what I was doing.

Zamiha Desai: And I think that was really, it was key for my mindset because I think when you, when you talk to people that don't understand. They just don't get it. And then I think a lot of people make the mistake of talking to their family and friends. I mean, I did, before I started the business, I, I was talking to a few people.

Zamiha Desai: One worked in like venture capital. One, you know, worked in like kind of some IT guru type person. And I was like, you know, what do you think? And it was like, no, that you'll never. make any money off that. And I was like, you do listen to them and you just do [00:15:00] think. And, but then I was, they don't really understand, you know, you have to be in it to understand this community.

Zamiha Desai: You have to, you know, participate in the community to really understand how powerful people are when they get together and they communicate with each other and they're authentic and they're genuine and they, they're there to help. And so I guess. because I was like that. I just surrounded myself with people like that.

Zamiha Desai: And the other thing I did was embrace who I was. I always, you know, those Myers Briggs tests you get, I was always like the people pleaser. I was always like the green. I was always like, you know, the lovely fluffy one, which actually in a corporate world, I'm like, I wanted to be red. I wanted to be the leadership.

Zamiha Desai: And I wasn't, and, and I, I didn't like myself for a long time because of that. I felt like I was [00:16:00] like the people pleaser, like was a doormat, you know? And, and then I just thought actually, you know, well, this community wouldn't be what it was if I wasn't a people pleaser, like I, I wanted to help people. And that's what I did.

Zamiha Desai: And I think that really grew the group because like I said, it was never about me, it was always about them, which I, I loved. I loved seeing people's successes. I loved seeing people build businesses. You know, how many businesses were started because of these groups, because it gave people the confidence, it gave them the access to other people to talk about their business.

Zamiha Desai: It's, it was such a game changer that actually, you know what? It's all right being a people pleaser, because lots of people are pleased and that's what makes me happy. So I think you just have to embrace who you are and just don't try and be anybody [00:17:00] else. 

Amardeep Parmar: So much I can relate to that because so we mentioned earlier about how surrounding yourself with people that believe in what you're doing as well, because I think it's important to get the different opinions, but it's also if people are just

Amardeep Parmar: not seeing what you're doing, they're just putting you down. It's not a case of investing more of your time and energy in them. It's just, okay. Like they didn't understand. That's okay. They're just from different backgrounds, whatever it is. Whereas I think sometimes people like that anger consume them.

Amardeep Parmar: And instead of focusing on what they want to do. They're focusing on proving other people wrong or why don't they like my idea or they're doing this and you sometimes see on Instagram, right? People go into their stories and have a rant about these different things and it's good to let out your system.

Amardeep Parmar: But it's also if you're spending all your energy on those negative people, you're losing time away from what you want to achieve and the people you want to help. And I think that can some to be a flaw that sometimes happens to people, especially early in their journeys. And it comes with, as you get further on your journey, you get a bit more secure about what you're doing.

Amardeep Parmar: You know that it's working, but the beginning stage. [00:18:00] When you get these negative opinions, it can really take you off course. And with the people pleasing side as well, I've been for myself a lot recently because it's a similar thing, but I think I'll often put a lot of effort into different people. And sometimes you realize that's not necessarily turned and obviously been going through a tough time recently.

Amardeep Parmar: I'm like, Oh, like if that happened to somebody I know. I'd definitely be there for them. But it's also trying not to project how I'd react to somebody else. And in this, like the modern world, right? Communities are so important. And you're one of the earlier people to do this in like, um, our sphere. So you are a trendsetter in that way.

Amardeep Parmar: And before people really understood how important it is, when you go on the internet now, everybody knows that communities are really important and how much power they have. And like you said, There are people out there trying to build communities. Who are those red type of people who are like trying to be assertive and all strong all the time.

Amardeep Parmar: I was like, I didn't really want to join the communities. And it's the interesting thing that interplay between the corporate world and being entrepreneur. [00:19:00] The, the like Elon Musk style entrepreneur is very over glorified. I've worked, like I've talked to what hundreds of entrepreneurs. I don't like the ones who are like that with me.

Amardeep Parmar: I don't want to interact with you. I don't want to help you if you're trying to throw your weight around or I see how you're treating other people. Whereas if you are that green, that can help you get places because I can, you can see them people, right? You know, when you talk to somebody, whether or not they're actually trying to help people or if they're just trying to show how important they are.

Amardeep Parmar: And it's also something I think a lot of entrepreneurs might themselves. Why are you doing what you're doing? Is it so you can feel self important about like, look at me, look what I've done, or is it because you actually care about your customers or the people you're working with and you're six years in now, what do you think has changed about the business model as well to make it more sustainable?

Amardeep Parmar: Have you got people to really understand that value? 

Zamiha Desai: On Facebook, there's been a lot more interest in communities from Facebook. So they've built a lot of things around it that make it them easier to manage. Some good, some not so great. [00:20:00] We spend quite a lot of time understanding how Facebook works in communities.

Zamiha Desai: And so what we've done in the last kind of two, three years is really. Push the educational side to our premium members. So showing them exactly how to post, how to get the most out of their membership. So we've invested quite a lot of time into our members and make sure that they're getting the best service that they can.

Zamiha Desai: It's not just about posting. You know, your business anymore. It's about everything else that we can do to help. One of the big things that we did is start Hey Gorgeous, which is a massive exhibition. So it's over two days. It's been going since 2017, but it's just grown and grown. And we had these amazing businesses that I'm talking about.

Zamiha Desai: We had 80, around 85 to 90 of them, and we had about 6, 000 people through the door at each event, and it has created somewhere you can go and you can touch and you can feel, you can smell, [00:21:00] you can meet the entrepreneurs, the people behind this business, because one thing I really, really believe is people by people.

Zamiha Desai: You know, when you relate to someone, you, you know, you love them, you love their products, it's just, you have a customer for life, right? And so it's given entrepreneurs the opportunity to really engage with the customers that love what they do. That being in the physical world has been exceptional. For everybody, for us, for everybody.

Zamiha Desai: As a team, so I've grown the team. So we have two Reenas, a Ronnie, a Renu, Natasha, an Aarti and Amit. We've grown the team so that, we're very, we're all on the same page. We're all very similar in terms of we want to build other people up. We want to help people. We all have that same mindset as a team.

Zamiha Desai: We've really bonded and I've put a lot of effort into like we've taken, we've been away on away days. We go, you know, for dinner, we really [00:22:00] socialize and we work together. They really care on a different level. And I think that's, I think the more we get to know our members and the more we care and the better the group becomes and the community becomes, because, you know, like, it's like, we got your back.

Zamiha Desai: We want to be your cheerleaders. You know, it's not about us. It's about you. And I think when you come from a place of serving, it's a game changer when it's not about you and it's about them, no matter who your customer is, it's a game  changer. 

Amardeep Parmar:Yeah. I love that. I want to come back to assume in a moment, but with the Hey Gorgeous events, I went to the latest one.

Zamiha Desai:Did you?

Amardeep Parmar: It was in, when was it? September? 

Zamiha Desai: Yeah. I didn't see you there. 

Amardeep Parmar: Well, I, I, the BAE HQ hadn't launched yet. So I was mainly doing, I was mainly American, I guess, at that point. So I came because I knew a few of the exhibitors. So I came by mainly to say hi to them. 

Zamiha Desai: I'm so pleased you came. 

Amardeep Parmar:Yeah. So it's like, I was gonna say it’s amazing.  

Zamiha Desai: Look how happy I am .

Amardeep Parmar: It was really great, like event.

Amardeep Parmar: And obviously I go to lots of these different kinds of [00:23:00] events and stuff. And what it showed is that you put the time into planning. It looked like very professional. Sometimes you go to these events, they don't seem very professional. It gives a certain vibe, whereas you turn up at your event and straight away it's like, there's people at the front door.

Amardeep Parmar: There's all the stalls look amazing. You can see the footfall. You can see everybody's interested and talk to a lot of different entrepreneurs there as well. And what was it like to put that first event together? Because I imagine that's a big deal to put on something on that scale, but also actually execute it well.

Zamiha Desai: So the first event. Was in 2017 and at the end of 2016, I'd met. This lady called Harry from Black Cubed, who, which is like a kind of funky home interiors, like Eastern inspired gifts type business. I'd seen her on my group, so I recognized her name and I'm like, Oh, Hey, I'm from Recommendation. And she was like, Oh my God, it's so nice to meet you.

Zamiha Desai: And then we just started talking and became really good friends. And she said we should do a  pop up and I was like, actually, I'd quite like to do [00:24:00] that, but again, you know, I just started, I didn't know what I was doing and it's weird how things happen when you're in a place of service and that mindset and you want to do right by people, things just happen out of the blue, you know, the, the right people come to you at the right time, the right opportunities come to you at the right time, like I, like really strongly believe

Zamiha Desai: that you know, when you're helping people, you will get helped. And I think it, Hey Gorgeous was just one of those cases that I met Harry at the right time. I got a phone call about something completely unrelated to Hey Gorgeous. It's something to do with a group and it was an issue that was raised. And the person that called me said, Oh, you know, there's a bit of an incorrect thing on, on professional Asian.

Zamiha Desai: Could you help me out? And he happened to be in the events business. And I was like, Oh, while you're on the phone, do you know any [00:25:00] venues? And we got a venue. He got us a venue and he's like, Oh, I'm happy to sponsor you. And I was like, awesome. So that was Avari events. So Upesh helped us put this show on. He helped us get the venue.

Zamiha Desai: He helped us get food. He, it was just amazing. And then we had about 40 exhibitors and we had maybe a, one and a half thousand people come through the door and it was at the high of cameras. Avenue was like backed up solid, like people couldn't even get into the venue. Like it was crazy. And then actually I didn't, although it was amazing show, we did it again and kind of like, I found it a little bit bossy.

Zamiha Desai: So I was like, Hmm, I don't know what's going to happen with this. And Harry, and at the same time, Harry said to me, Oh. I can't do this because my other business, she does like an interior thing. That's really taking up a lot of my time. And then Upesh [00:26:00] said, Oh, I'll do it with you. And I was like, I don't know.

Zamiha Desai: And I was like, but I love this thing and I need to do it. So, okay, let's try it. And then, so Harry Upesh went into a partnership and actually set it all up properly, like hey, exhibitions and, um, started working together. Oh my God. Best partnership. Ever. I literally, from something that I was so unsure about, everything just conspired to make this just amazing.

Zamiha Desai: So when you say it was professionally done, I have to credit him because he sets up, Hey gorgeous, we've got, we're in Byron Hall now, which is like twice the size of the old venue. It just looks amazing. And I concentrate on like the people. Getting the exhibitors in, making them happy, making sure that people actually turn up to the event, the marketing, and he does all the logistics and it's the perfect balance.

Amardeep Parmar: I was really  hoping there that you're going to say that Upesh was great in the end because it's like, oh, we're going to have to edit this out or if you're just [00:27:00] saying 

Zamiha Desai: he's. Oh my God, he could be fantastic. Honestly, I'm, I'm so blessed because it's weird. It's weird how alike we are and weird how completely different we are as well.

Zamiha Desai: It's like. He, I hate the stuff that he does. I like, I am not interested in like all the kind of tech stuff and the, you know, logistics and I just can't be doing with it. And he doesn't like any of this stuff that like, he doesn't like doing the stuff that I do. 

Amardeep Parmar: You mentioned earlier about how your team has the same values as you and how they all care so much about serving people.

Amardeep Parmar: How did you find this kind of people? Because I'm sure there's some people listening right now who are looking to expand their teams and they're really struggling to find the right people. 

Zamiha Desai: Where did you find these people? They kind of gravitated towards me. I don't think I purposely went out and found them.

Zamiha Desai: I think that we just had conversations offline and it just gelled. It just worked and they were happy to help me. So it's only like recently that I've been able to kind of you know, reach [00:28:00] that point where I can afford to pay everybody, but a lot of it was just for the love of it at the start. None of us were getting paid.

Zamiha Desai: I mean, they've been with me through thick and thin, uh, apart from Ronnie, she was on maternity leave and I'm like, when you're breastfeeding on one side, can you just, you know, go on your phone or the other and interact a bit and engage a bit. I describe it like a dance floor. Like the first few people to get on the dance floor, it's quite hard to get them on.

Zamiha Desai: But once a few people are on, then everyone else kind of joins in and has a good time. 

Amardeep Parmar: So podcast is exactly that right. Now we've had the people who had on everybody wants to come on. 

Zamiha Desai: Oh,  okay. Well, there you go. Right. So, and I guess it was like that with the community with Ronnie and because, you know, I trusted her.

Amardeep Parmar: So it comes across like how much do you enjoy what you're doing now? Like what's the bits that you love the most? Like what's the most exciting bits for you so far? 

Zamiha Desai: There's lots.  Every day, I love the fact that people are so giving of their advice, whether it's on recommendation or professional asian. [00:29:00] I love the fact that somebody can post about whatever they need and there will be like five, 10, 20, a hundred people.

Zamiha Desai: Telling them like where to go or how to do or advice or support, or just like keep your chin up, you know, it could just be as simple as that. So I love the fact that people are genuinely there to, to help other people. Like that is gratifying every day. The other thing I love is seeing people's journeys.

Zamiha Desai: Like I love seeing people that have joined us with like an idea or an inkling or like a business that they don't really know where to take and like a year, six months, a year, two years later, they're like flying, they're spending money on like, you know, this marketing and that. And I'm like, wow, what happened?

Zamiha Desai: But, and, and it was us that happened. Like there's, I love that. Like there's, [00:30:00] it's like the biggest thrill in the world. And sometimes like we do Instagram sessions and we do like Shiv does a business strategy session with our members. So we have things going on constantly to help people. And you see when they've taken on the advice and you see like, wow, look where you've got to look at your Instagram.

Zamiha Desai: Now it's on fire. Like who would have thought? Can't even put a price on it. Honestly. 

Amardeep Parmar: Yeah, I love that. What's the like vision now? Like obviously, you've done so much already. Is there anything you're really excited about for the future? Like is there any, if people like following you, what they might see like in a year's time or in a few years time, what's a big dream you have?

Zamiha Desai: A short  term we're planning Hey gorgeous for the next March now. So that's always exciting and like trying to do different things and innovate every time and long term. I think everything's on Facebook right now and I'd quite like to get it off Facebook and have like a directory of stuff. So we're just working on a few things now.

Zamiha Desai: I should take my own advice [00:31:00] as in nothing is ever going to be perfect. So I'm procrastinating quite a lot because I don't think anything's perfect, but we'll get there. So hopefully 2023 we'll have everything. 

Amardeep Parmar: I think this is something a lot of people underestimate is that like people look from the outside, they can see like how much you have achieved of recommendation, but you're still see human.

Amardeep Parmar: You still procrastinate. I procrastinate. Every entrepreneur I've ever met procrastinates. And that's why I think it's quite reassuring for the listeners is that if you procrastinate too, then you're just like everybody else. 

Zamiha Desai: Oh my God. I'm like the worst. Honestly, I have like some of the worst habits. In fact, my worst habit is that I can't form habits.

Zamiha Desai: But you're happy anyway. I am happy because I think what I have, you know, so many people are like, Oh God, you're sitting on goldmine and I just think maybe I am, but anyone that says this is what you should do. This is what you should do with your group with this. I always feel like they don't understand like keeping the integrity

Zamiha Desai: of the group like they don't get [00:32:00] it. They don't understand that. I don't want to sit there constantly selling, selling, selling to people. That's not what I'm about. I want to raise people and the people that want to be raised can come to me and, you know, and, and my, the membership fee is like nothing in the grand scheme, grand scheme of things.

Zamiha Desai: I mean, we priced it so that, you know, you get one good customer or one good sale. Then you've got your ROI already. Everything else is just gravy. It's not about. , it's not about the money always. It's about, you know, being genuine, having a balance with my life. I've got two kids, I've got a husband, um, you know, my parents, there's, there's so many people around and there's so many things that I would do.

Zamiha Desai: So I think like, it's been great because. I can have that. I can, you know, I can pay a team now. I can, you know, spend time with my husband. I can spend time with the children. I can, the only thing I haven't been able to do is go on holiday, but that will come. 

Amardeep Parmar: 2023. [00:33:00] Let's hope. 

Zamiha Desai: And I, you know, I get to meet phenomenal people every day.

Amardeep Parmar: So I feel like there's so much more we can cover. So we're gonna have to get you on again next year. So we get you around for round two again. 

Zamiha Desai: Okay. 

Amardeep Parmar:  But looking at time, we're going to move on to quick fire questions. The first one is who are three British Asians that you think are doing great work that people should be paying attention to?

Zamiha Desai: First one is Seema Dhanak from V2S Empowerment. She has been instrumental, I would say, in helping our members through any domestic abuse issues. And I think we don't talk about it enough in society. And, you know, there's a road. It's a really hard, long, difficult journey. And she is with you on the kind of practical side all the way.

Zamiha Desai: Like what paperwork do you have to fill out? How, you know, what council person do you need to talk to? All that kind of practical stuff. She's given her time to so many women for so long and just made a complete difference in people's lives. So V2S [00:34:00] empowerment is one. The second one. There's two reasons.

Zamiha Desai: One, I've worked with her myself and she's helped me come out of, like, a bit of a funk. And her name is Jas Bamra from Jas Bamra Hypnotherapist. She does the rapid transformation therapy. Honestly, I was in such a bad place and she, within a week, I feel like my life turned around with her, but it's more than that.

Zamiha Desai: She's just released a book called, um, My Grief Journal for people that have experienced loss. And it's such a beautiful book, like, I think when you experience loss, you go through so many different emotions and anger and why and resentment and you're angry with God and you're angry with them and then you miss them and you feel sorrowful and this journal just helps you capture what you're feeling, but also really good memories and makes you think about, you know, happy times and kind of provoke like good thoughts

Zamiha Desai: and, and it's just, you know, you, [00:35:00] you don't want to talk about it with your friends and your family all the time. Sometimes you just need to be, and this is something you can be with. And I think it's a really important part of grieving. And I'm really proud of her for doing that. And the final one is a charity called GoDharmic that we work with on professional Asian, and they're doing so much when it comes to not only feeding people and, you know, going out and helping people and helping communities, but the environment and like they've done a massive program on Ahimsa and just

Zamiha Desai: such nice people, you know, that, that believe in so much what they're doing and Dharma and you know, all that kind of stuff and I just, I just always surprised at how on it they are and how many people they have in the community and the volunteers that help them and the work they do. It's just, it's just super amazing.

Zamiha Desai: So Go Dharmic. 

Amardeep Parmar: Awesome. And then the [00:36:00] next one is. If people could reach out to you for help, what should they reach out to you for help about?

Zamiha Desai: So just joining the community, but we've also got a hub in Northwood. So if you're feeling a bit lonely or, you know, you're an entrepreneur that has, they're at home and, you know, they're surrounded by laundry and they can't focus, which happens to a lot of us, you know, you can come into Northwood, you can co work with us.

Zamiha Desai: You can like you know, come to our workshops. You can just, um, help yourself to, you know, and we'll help you help yourself too. I think we're just there to support. So anything you need, just give us a shout really. 

Amardeep Parmar: That's  lovely. So then what's something that you're looking for help for at the moment? What recommendation needs help with?

Zamiha Desai: I think next year, what I would really like to do is help educate women. Um, and uh, there's some really amazing experts out there. So I've spoken to a couple of people like Dr. Ravino and [00:37:00] Miramanick and people like that. And I would love them to just to come and talk to the community about, you know, what they're doing and about health and well being and

Zamiha Desai: You know, positivity and anything that anyone can offer that is going to help women empower themselves. So I don't want anyone that's just there to sell a business or sell, you know, sell something. I want someone that is genuinely interested in building women up and educating them and things that they might not know, or that might be a bit taboo to talk about.

Zamiha Desai: So I would like people like that to, to  work with.

Amardeep Parmar: So thank you so much for coming on today. Really enjoyed it.

Zamiha Desai: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. 

Amardeep Parmar:Have you got any final words?

Zamiha Desai:  I think believe in yourself, believe in what you're doing, keep positive people around you and It's okay if things go wrong, it's not the end of the world, you can always come back from stuff and just be cognizant of what's happening [00:38:00] around you, sometimes it's alright to be a bit reactive, you know, be a bit proactive, be a bit reactive and just enjoy what you're doing, enjoy and serve.

Zamiha Desai: And you are just, you'll be fine.

Amardeep Parmar: Thank you for listening to the BAE HQ podcast today in our mission to inspire, connect, and guide the next generation of British Asian entrepreneurs. But it means so much to us. If you could subscribe to our channel, leave a review and share this with your friends.