MEET BUSINESSWOMAN ZAHRA RANGWALA

James Truslow Adams called America the Land of Opportunities.  It has truly been that for me.

I came to USA in late 90s to get a degree in computer science. Coming from Pakistan, the experience was a cultural shock for me. There were so many different ideas, beliefs, way of life and ideologies all around.  It took awhile to acclimate to the changes while I was in school but the experience was incredible.

During this period, life happened. I found the love of my life, got married, had two wonderful children and discovered the bliss of marital life. Things were difficult as I tried to finish school with two small children and a husband who had a very demanding job schedule. My persistency definitely paid off when I walked on the stage on my graduation day to get my degree. It was more than a piece of paper for me as I had earned while I was taking temperatures, sewing buttons and making hot dinners. It was the pathway to a new beginning.

I started my business, K Business Solutions Inc, from my dining table. Due to financial difficulties I could not afford to rent office space. However that did not stop me from building my own company which did graphic designing and creating websites. As any new business owner would tell you that the most difficult aspect of starting a new business is getting that first client through the door. I achieved that by making 150-200 cold calls per day from yellow pages. It took me six months of calls, follow ups and client presentations to get my first client to sign up with my company. When I got that $50 deposit check in my hands, I felt the door had finally opened and world was mine for the taking.

For years,  I had to wade through the sea of nay sayers who claimed that a working mother could never raise well rounded children and face waves of racism, prejudice and sexism due to the fact that I was a Muslim business owner who wore a rida (hijab).

Unfortunately, my happily ever after did not come immediately after that check came. For years,  I had to wade through the sea of nay sayers who claimed that a working mother could never raise well rounded children and face waves of racism, prejudice and sexism due to the fact that I was a Muslim business owner who wore a rida (hijab). During these turbulent times, my family was the beacon who guided me through. Slowly but steadily, I built my business over a period of a decade. My work ethic, attention to detail, and tenacious nature won me several clients who not only are still with my company till date but gave me amazing word of mouth referrals.  After fourteen long years, I can finally say that I now have my happily ever after.

My business has not only bought me fulfillment but it has also given me the opportunity to give back to the community that had so graciously embraced me. I started Hosting110.com whose main purpose is to donate all profits in helping developing countries around the world such as Indian, Pakistan, and Cambodia to have access to clean water. This basic amenity for us is a priceless luxury in these countries.

While I went through my journey, I did not realize how carefully my children were observing my trials and tribulations. Inspired by actions, my children launched their own business and became teenage entrepreneurs. They introduced Yemeni coffee grown by farmers in Haraaz in the Global market.

Today as I look back to where I started and where I am, I realize I could have used several excuses to give up. I had every hindrance stop me at several junctions but I just kept going. I believe that  opportunities were not for a few but for anyone who worked hard enough and long enough to achieve them.  As James Truslow Adams said, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”.