With two small children, medical coder Nazia Ali spent much time trying to figure out how to balance her family with a career. Then, by sheer chance, she found the way – and it was nothing she’d ever imagined.
From homemaker, Ali became a homebaker, making and decorating cakes that are bought for special occasions by clients ranging from individuals to companies. The cake artist and baker then set up her own company, Baking Express, which she also runs out of her home, putting a sweet end to her work-family balance issues.
In an interview, Ali tells Ria Das how she did it.
You studied science. Baking was a departure from that route? Share your journey.
With Master’s in microbiology and experience as a medical coder for two years, I had never imagined that I would venture into something like this. But the baking bug accidentally stung me when I saw a friend bake a cake for her son and wanted to do that for my kids too.
But never did I imaging that such a small desire would lead me to start up Baking Express. Now, with this home business, I am able to balance my career and family.
While setting up, did you face problems because you’re a woman?
Being a woman has never been a hindrance for me. My biggest challenge was to find a way to balance my family and my dreams.
The business never required a big investment: just good baking and decoration tools and quality ingredients. Initially, I didn’t know where to get these. Once I had them, I didn’t know if I’d have customers. But even that worry was short lived. I began with small orders that came in via word of mouth. These gradually grew larger. And then on 15 January, 2014, I officially launched my business on my Facebook page.
Fact BOX: Nazia Ali
Original career: Medical coder
Qualification: Masters in microbiology
Current career: Cake artist and baker; owner of Baking Express
Biggest achievement: Balancing work and family
Who do you think was your source to stay strong and spirited?
God has his own plans for you. After two kids, I couldn’t manage a full-time job. But I wanted to do something for myself; I wanted my own identity. And then suddenly, baking happened.
What particular strengths can women bring into the workplace that perhaps men lack?
Our multitasking ability is our biggest strength. We can be successful entrepreneurs, caring mothers, devoted daughters and supportive wives all at the same time.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
I was fortunate to bake for big brand names like Flipkart, IDENTITI and NVT Quality Lifestyle Group.
Do you have a success mantra to share?
Commitment, honesty and hard-work are the keys to success.
What are your future plans?
Cake art is a really big field. It’s always evolving. So there’s a lot of learning in the pipeline. I also plan to start baking and cake decorating workshops.
How would you like people to remember you and your company?
The best part of this business is that I become part of so many people’s special moments through my cakes. I want people to remember me as the person who brought a big smile to their faces on their special days: a person who is honest and committed to her work.
Any advice for businesswomen?
Follow your passion, stay focused and never give up.
Entrepreneurship gave Nazia Ali what she wanted most: a balance between career and family
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