Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ananya Vahal, a freelance writer, based in Kennesaw, GA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a writer and educator. My customers are people who need an expert storyteller for their book, brand, digital platform, or classroom.

Tell us about yourself

I have been a writer since I was a child. However, I didn't know any writers that looked like me growing up in the U.S., so I didn't know I could be a writer too. I majored in English as an undergrad student because it was the only major I enjoyed and felt comfortable in, but I still didn't know I could just be a professional writer as a career. After some life-changing experiences in my mid-twenties, I realized that writing was what I was always meant to do. I decided to get my MFA in writing and become a professional writer. I also started teaching/tutoring writing. I started my own business because the stories I tell are not the type of stories that the publishing industry wants. They are diverse stories that don't center on white characters. In order to tell the stories I wanted to tell, I had to find ways to build my own audience and create my own platform. Also, by being a business owner, I could create opportunities for people who come from underrepresented backgrounds like me and show them that their voice needs to be heard too. Every day I look forward to my work because I get to wake up and work on my passion.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment is being able to help others tell important stories and show them that their voice matters too. As a business owner, I feel it is my duty to support my community as they have supported me. The purpose of my work is to empower them and help them grow with me.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The hardest thing that comes with being a South Asian woman business owner is the lack of opportunities out there for people like me. I had to learn early on in my career to create my own opportunities because there aren't many people willing to support you and your work, especially in the publishing industry.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

First, learn to work with what you got. If like me, you don't come from a privileged background when it comes to economic status, race, or gender, you have to be extra creative in how to leverage what resources you have.

Second, you have to believe in yourself because no one else will. It's really important to find out who you are and what your purpose is and believe wholeheartedly in it if you want to start your own business.

The 3rd tip would be to make sure you are a master of your craft. Never stop learning, and keep updating your skills. Also, learn how to use your skills in ways no one else has. This forces you to see the true power in your skills and makes you a master. When you have mastered something, it is a lot easier to grow and make money from it.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I would love nothing more than to see more racialized women like me learn the power of storytelling and use their words and their voices to share their experiences. It's the only way to change the world for the better.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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