Former Software Engineer Ditches IT Job for a home-based business.

By on July 27, 2017

“JOB STRESS WAS KILLING ME”

Right after college, Indian mum Ashitha Sreejesh was hired by an American multinational company as a Software Engineer.The work involved grueling night and weekend shifts with frequent overtime in between.

“All I wanted to do was to work hard and do good in my profession,” says the IT professional.

But for Ashitha, work-related stress took over long before she could find her true raison d’etre.

“Gradually, I started to get affected by stress from the demands of my job. It was at that point I started thinking whether an IT job was what I really wanted to do or not,” admits Ashitha.

Both mom to a 5-year old daughter and a trailing spouse whose husband works as a SAP Technical consultant, Ashitha hardly speaks Japanese. Yet she, like many foreigners living here, got smitten by Japan’s unique environment.

“Japan’s totally a different experience for me. Everything is new to me – its culture, people, and food.”

She attributes her growing admiration for the country she now calls home to the ‘equal respect/treatment given to all kinds of profession’ as opposed to how low-paying jobs are looked down upon back in her native India.

In navigating a new culture, she knew exactly where to start – making friends in Japan and that’s what she did. But what she still hasn’t figured out at the time was what to do next with her career – return to her industry or explore a new option. Not before long, she found the answer.

A friend of Ashitha who started a nail salon in Yokohama pointed her to a path she later took.

“She introduced me to the basics of nail art to which I have taken a strong liking since. Playing with colors gave me a sense of joy,” says Ashitha.

Wanting to learn advanced nail techniques to take her skill to the next level, she enrolled at one of the reputable nail schools in Japan that has been around for 30 years.

“Finding a bilingual nail school was the biggest challenge I have faced to begin with. At the school I learned so many new techniques and working styles. After finishing my course, I successfully passed the JNEC level 3 exams, a nailist skills test run by Japan Nailist Examination Center,” relates Ashitha.

In January 2016, after completing the basic course for Gel/acrylic nails, she was open for business – but not without the day-to-day challenges to overcome. Most of what she calls ‘challenges’ have to do with her limited Japanese ability. Luckily for Ashitha, her Japanese-speaking husband was always ready to help with translation each time she received an online booking in Japanese.

“Another downside to my limited Japanese ability is getting the word out among the locals. The first two months had been tough until an American lady saw my post on a social networking site and decided to give my nail salon a try.”

“Impressed by my work, she gave me a good review. From that time on, appointments came one after the other simply through word of mouth and I never had to worry about finding customers on my own. My customers are mostly Americans,” relates the young entrepreneur.

For many mompreneurs, finding the right balance between keeping the household and business running smoothly can be tricky and at times, downright frustrating. Luckily, Ashitha has a supportive life partner.

“When I told him about my desire to do a course on nails, he gave me his full support and encouraged me to move forward. He always stood by my side in all aspects of the business from setting up my work place to uploading photos on my website, etc. He even got me a mini studio to showcase my work,” proudly says Ashitha of her husband.

“Despite people telling me there’s no future in being a nail professional, the support of my husband is enough to get me fired up to work towards my goal which is to one day be a famous Nail artist in India. I think when your family supports you, then all the other things fall into place.”

“My career is just as important as my family. In the beginning, it was very difficult to manage home, kid and work but with a routine now in place, everything moves like clockwork. As a mom, I try to do what’s best for my daughter and I make sure the day-to-day routine happens – walks to the park, play and learning, etc.”

To all stay-at-home moms thinking of starting a home salon business in their area, Ashitha offers these valuable tips –

1. Setting up a home business is not a piece of cake but it is possible. Usually people are reluctant to go to home-based salons. Many factors like privacy, hygiene, salon set up, service provider`s qualification etc. come under scrutiny. I don`t think people will want to spend their money if the service is not worth it. So all these important factors should be considered before setting up a home business. The most common compliment I receive from most of my customers is “I love your work space, it’s so clean and you offer a professional service`.” It is very important to display your certificates so that the customers are assured that you are well qualified to perform the services being offered.
2. Properly sanitizing your tools and labeling products you use for the customers are all very important.
3. Have a website or Facebook page to display your work. Making printed brochures, service menu and price list all play an important role in making your business stand out. Every setup should be done in a professional way so that people will want to visit your place. Only when they are impressed will they likely share your work with their friends and that’s how word-of-mouth works.

“Japan, is an amazing place as far as I have experienced. It is open to a lot of opportunities for everyone, even for foreigners like me. There may be foreigner-specific hurdles to overcome along the way but if you are patient enough and have confidence in your work, things will definitely work out in the end.”

Great advice from someone who’s living it!

 

Ashitha offers a wide range of nail designs to suit both Japanese and foreign tastes. Check out her work on www.topcoat2016.com/index.html or follow her on facebook: www.facebook.com/TopCoat2015

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