“I truly believe it’s the little things in life that matter the most. Inner peace and happiness are owned, not given nor bought. If you can truly be happy with yourself, and alone, you will directly radiate Love & Happiness from within to all around you. And without effort too. I stand strong in my truth and own my narrative. I believe being present in the now with a grateful heart helps you heal and grow and carries you forward onto more Greatness.” – Aneshree Pillay Humanitarian & Conversationalist.
Hey Aneshree, can you introduce yourself to us?
I am an apologetically and authentically South African Woman, a daughter of the African soil, of Indian descent and an embodiment of the Spirit of Ubuntu, I stand strong in my own skin, owning my narrative, boldly and truthfully. Born of Hindu faith and raised in hot and beautiful Durban, South Africa, I have always made dreaming my best friend. Whilst in high school, I vividly remember wanting more out of life and as I grew older, I became wiser in my understanding that the world needs more impactful people to make differences in the lives of the ordinary. I have emerged from very humble beginnings and strongly believe that with some hard work and determination, you can achieve all that your mind and heart focus on.
I’m a Scorpio Sun sign in western astrology and have a Capricorn Moon placement in Vedic astrology. I’m both an extrovert and introvert – being able to connect with people from all walks of life and helping people truly brings my many character traits to the fore, the introvert me allows for a time to re-connect with my inner being – reflecting on the past and grounding myself in the present so that I can be more of me to the world and universe. Good strong coffee, dark chocolate, plenty of water and loads of fruits and vegetables forms part of my healthy eating habits. Being a Tamil woman, I strongly believe in the power of prayer and I delight my soul in all the colorful rituals, encompassing many fasts and prayers that make up the DNA of my rich heritage. Although I’ve not become a pure vegetarian or vegan as yet, my meat consumption is about 35% per week, excluding the fasting periods. I’m a firm believer in doing good and being good to fellow humans, however, I’m never afraid to stand my ground, especially if my core values are being attacked or disrespected.
Being a water sign I love the ocean and any water-related activities, music from all genres, and dogs always seem to make my heart beat better, greater and higher with such love and emotion – it ignites my element.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
After matriculation and a one-year gap, I joined my talented father in his small litho print business, which currently still operates from home. I knew nothing about the industry at first, had no formal education so learning was trial & error and the tutelage of my father, I gradually expanded my knowledge encompassing everything from simple print layout to honing my skills in the paper, board, chemical compound and graphics products that are utilised for print and cost estimation. I’ve been in the litho print industry for a solid 15 years. I have attained knowledge through sheer hard work and determination. It was through many struggles I faced in life that I grew stronger in confidence and my resiliency to further my abilities was bar none.
I used to be very fearful of driving and when I set out to achieve this all-important goal in 2013, I unlocked a volt of treasure within me. In November 2015 I decided to take a timeout, followed my intuition and left the print industry, all that I knew in Durban and boarded a plane from Johannesburg, South Africa to Miami, Florida to visit my best friend. I was never afraid of the upheaval as my faith was super strong and I always firmly believed God will never take you to a place the grace of God will never protect you. I returned to South Africa in March 2016 and began the journey of the walk of faith.
Although I struggled to understand God’s plan and purpose for my life as I had been experiencing so much of pain and discomfort on the personal front, I still kept my faith and never gave up trying. In November 2016, just after my 36th birthday, when things where really spiraling out of control in both my inner and outer worlds, I embarked on a 60 day fast that was spiritually inclined – known as the Swami Ayyappa Vrat/Pooja – and by far the toughest ones to endure as the prayer runs during the Christmas and New Years’ festivities and end on the 14th of January every year. This was the birth of my spiritual awakening – the journey towards the Universe began within me.
It’s also in this time that I discovered a gravitational pull to the health and fitness industry and started to take my exercise regime a tat bit serious – although not gym based as yet – I’ve been working out and learning about my own muscle development, how my body performs before, during and after workouts – which has boosted my self-confidence and strength levels to new and rewarding heights. The fitness and weight loss journey together with the spiritual journey have assisted me in handling failure, disappointments, pain, and injury to the soul much better. I’m able to direct that energy in a better and more productive way in my inner world, which directly impacts my outer world. Since 2011, I’ve struggled to do this, which now comes so natural to me.
What is a day in the life of you like?
I have learned that no matter what happens in the outside world, my inner world, mental health, and well-being is so very important to my existence and to create a great inner world, my day starts off with prayer. Upon opening my eyes, I’m already speaking to God and the Universe, expressing my thanks and appreciation for allowing me to awake and live my best life. A good sound breakfast takes priority before I attend to business e-mail, orders and quotes. The day can go from easy going to hectic and highly pressurized, all depends on the workflow and urgency from our loyal clients.
My work now varies from layout and design to print estimation, working in the print department – operating the Rollem machine that numbers, perforates and collates printed books and pads, to the general administrative duties that would require daily attention.
I have recently started to learn how to calculate VAT for our print business and find this new avenue very interesting and I’m aware that I have still a lot of ground to cover in terms of learning the financial aspects of VAT and VAT calculations.
Since I work from home, I’m flexible with my time, so in between work schedules I do take time out to spend with our pet, Chevy, who is a 10-month-old cross Jack Russel pup, pampering her with love and attention, which she thrives on. This activity reduces any of my stress levels, calms me and actually raises my vibrational frequency.
I do try to ensure I post meaningful content on my social media platforms. It’s fairly recent that I converted my normal Instagram account into a personal blog account and in late November I launched the personal blog Facebook page. I am aware that I impact the lives of people on these platforms so taking time out in my day to plan relevant content to post and connect with my audience is a valuable part of my day. I also take time to connect and chat to up and coming business leaders, entrepreneurs, and globetrotters – people outside of my own sphere.
Your family owns a small printing business, can you tell us how this has led on to your current entrepreneurial journey?
I have always encouraged other people to follow their heart’s intentions and pursue what they are really passionate about. Little did I know that whilst doing this, I unearthed my very own passions and talents. Motivating, encouraging, inspiring, empowering and uplifting people started to emerge and I gradually began coaching work acquaintances, work friends, my personal friends, and family, to try new and different avenues in approaching challenges and problems.
Apart from the layouts designing and general administrative duties, I have also assisted my father in managing our small business and developed sound business core ethics, morals, and values. I’ve had first-hand experience with starting small and building gradually and have discovered that with patience and hard work, in time, the entrepreneurial journey will bear beautiful fruits.
Although I’ve not ventured into anything concrete as yet, I have full faith and confidence that, when the timing is right, I will emerge.
As we celebrate all women doing a variety of different things, can you tell us how your own inner relationship with faith has expressed your desire to want to help others through coaching?
I have always promoted faith like a business, and encouraged anyone who crosses paths with me, to always pray and never give up. When my inner and outer worlds were spiraling out of control, the only thing I clung to was my faith – I detached myself from some parts of the material world and dived into prayer with body, mind, and soul. This was my stepping stone to cultivating my own inner faith. I shut the world out and listened from within my core. The connection between God and myself, Wow! That was truly phenomenal. There has been a number of occasions where I followed this inner power and watched it unfold in my outside world – telephone calls and emails for new or existing print work, behavioral patterns of family, friends and random individuals and a clear sense of knowing that something was amiss or wrong with my very own surroundings. I truly believe this is God and the Universe’s way of always protecting and taking care of me and those around me.
I’ve come to realise that I do possess healing energy capabilities and I’m currently working on harnessing this power within, mixed with some clairvoyance and psychic abilities, I know intuitive coaching, whether in business, life or health and fitness, will assist others significantly – directing their paths to lead a more meaningful, positive, happy, loving and productive life.
Can you take us through the steps you are currently taking to get started?
I have a zero tolerance to negativity policy and will walk away from anything that harms or threatens my inner peace. I keep myself open to any possibilities that align with me as I’m constantly evolving. I have learned it is better to flow with the universe than to go against the wind, acceptance is key. I have started to practice meditation on a small scale and I’m constantly mindful of my entire being. I believe we are all energy in motion and once you vibrate at a high-frequency level, you can soar to magnificent heights, both personally and professionally. I believe God and the Universe has me in training as I am attracting people from all walks of life and across the globe, to assist and nurture in a small yet significant way. Although this hasn’t turned into paying clientele, there are some good and meaningful friendships that are being formed, and that’s always a big win for me.
What 3 important key skills do you believe it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?
- To hold the vision and never give up even when the going gets rough and tough.
- To trust the process and persevere because not all days will be the same.
- Confidence and faith in yourself to take the necessary risks to create a brand that will stand the test of time.
Who will the team involve behind you?
My father, I trust his long-term guidance and direction. My life partner, this will become my main support structure and go-to for guidance and moral support. My business partner. I do believe in encompassing another person’s expertise in broadening the spectrum.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
I strongly believe I have the potential to be an international brand. Whether it’s in the print industry, health, and fitness or intuitive coaching, I believe God will be the driver of any of the said brands. Also, moving away from the business aspects of life and concentrating on humanitarian work will be a high priority for me. Aligning myself with charities to elevate poverty and hunger, promote and teach basic life skills will be on my long-term agenda.
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of your business when the time arrives?
Although we are a small print business and we haven’t implemented any such strategies, I would say that I would gravitate towards franchising the business, as we have established a good and remarkable name in the industry, priding ourselves in print quality and service delivery. Strategic partnerships would be another go-to avenue for the required business expansion. I believe that in order for one to grow, another to should be given the opportunity to grow and expand.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
Not being taken seriously as a female empowered business minded individual. I find that as much as the world has embraced and continue to celebrate strong females, there’s still a lot more ground to cover as gender inequality is a huge concern and issue that affects young and old females across the board. Very rarely, decisions that I’ve made on the business front have been embraced with welcome arms. And I feel as long as we continue to address these issues, progress and success will fall into place.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefited you to grow?
Yes, fortunately, I have had the privilege of my aunt, and that, a free service too! Devi Reddy had always been available to advise me during some of my personal challenges. My aunt never allowed me to dwell on only one side of the coin. She would push my inner boundaries to see things/issues/challenges/people from the other side of the coin, which right now, I’m so thankful and grateful for because there have been huge shifts in my inner world, which directly impacted my outer world. Flipping coins and tables causes you to change perspectives and that change is never always easy. Pain and discomfort are always experienced but that is where the most growth occurs – diamonds are made in the rough.
What outlets will you use to market your services?
Print and social media will be the first go to avenues and as the brand/s grow and expand, radio, web, and television will be the ultimate exposure for major growth and expansion.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
Currently, I use my social media platforms, that is Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and Whats-app, as this is the most affordable and reachable platform to connect with people, not only nationally, but globally as well.
I’m a member of the “Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs”, Facebook group and I’ve had the privilege of connecting with some really dynamic and remarkable women from around the world – encompassing an array of professional career fields, from health and fitness, online coaching, strategic planning to mom-entrepreneurs.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about entrepreneurship?
I believe anyone who is outside of the entrepreneurship circle view this path of the road to success as an easy and smooth journey, filled with pots and pots of money with literally no hard work involved. This is truly not the case. Any entrepreneur will attest to the fact that there are many sacrifices made in order to launch the business, maintain and sustain the brand, and drive through competitors without losing their own identity. Entrepreneurship isn’t a clear and cut money making facility – people become entrepreneurs to share their innovations, talent, and expertise to the world and really enjoy the freedom that the journey awards them, for some, the money is just the bonus.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
Have a vision. Direct the vision of the business. Start small and build gradually. Pay who you owe first, pay the bills second and pay yourself last. And always remain humble and stay authentically you.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
To always remain open and adaptable to change, if there are upheavals, the garden is being weeded for a better crop. You have to let go of the old so that new growth can occur. Not everyone will be celebrating your wins and be happy for you, but that is A-OKAY!
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
I have to admit, being able to juggle the many balls in the air, always, poses a challenge. This is always going to be a work in progress for me. You tread on thin lines when you do work from home, however, I have learned to capitalise on free time within the workday to get personal errands done. Being able to add a full stop to the end of the workday despite having work to complete, is something I’m mastering – previously I was known to not leave my office desk until I’ve completed all tasks, which I later learned was detrimental to my health and well being.
My fitness regime, meditation and prayer time is my to-go for releasing any stress from the workday. I feel when I’m internally balanced, I can handle my work schedules better, with confidence and also I’m able to deliver outstanding results. Having a tight social circle of friends and family who understands my journey and appreciates my talent, assists me greatly in grounding myself and prevents me from losing my identity.
A seminal point in your career so far?
With power comes great responsibility. Being able to direct that power to influence an upset in thinking patterns and thought processes, belief systems, and social-economic conformity, to bring about change for a better and brighter tomorrow on Earth, is currently unraveling within me. I have a multi-faith approach to life and believe that Love is always the answer to every problem.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
I feel when I’m connecting via my soul’s purpose, I can truly give off my very best. Being able to impact the lives of others in a productive and meaningful way, creating legacies and re-writing narratives is by far, my ultimate career satisfaction.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
South Africa’s Queen B, Bongang Matheba – Bongang comes from humble beginnings. As a young teenager, she had always envisioned so much for herself. With the support of her mum, she worked hard towards her ambitions and goals. Hard work, determination, and perseverance have driven her into the success story that she can become.
America’s Queen O, Ophra Winfrey – Ahhh man! Do I really need to say anything about this phenomenal woman of courage, strength, and abundance of love!? All I’m going to say is this, I truly aspire to be her one day!
Mr. Worldwide, Pitbull (Armando Christian Pèrez) – Apart from Pitbull’s music, I resonate so well with taking all your negatives and turning them into positives. I love his energy, his boldness for life, appreciating his struggle growing up and now changing the game for his own community.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘How To Heal Your Body’ by Louise Hay.
Top 3 inspirational leaders for you?
- The Late Tata Nelson Mandela
- The Late Mahatma Gandhi
- Oprah Winfrey
How do you define success?
The success story is not defined at the end of the journey, but rather during the journey. The success story in its totality is defined at the beginning (what you do) and in the middle (how you do) of the journey that gives you output results. Success is defined in how you handle, deal with, and face the challenges, adversities, and setbacks that you will encounter and experience on this path of ambitions, goals, and dreams in life.
People come from nothing and thrive through all adversities. Some of them, if not all, are sprouting through concrete floors & walls despite the challenges they face on a daily basis. These are the people who keep it real, own their narratives and push forward, knowing that success is always the in-between of starting and completion.
I strongly believe that every knock that you take, every fall, every failure, every door closed, will always bring you to a successful point in life. You have to take the bad because the good definitely follows. Success is also defined in the many times you fall and in the many more times you arise. I simply love this quote that encapsulates success, “Fall down seven times, get up eight”– Japanese Proverb.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
I’m so honored and thankful for being given this opportunity to connect on this platform with outstanding females doing phenomenal things – trial blazers in their own right. Being able to celebrate, empower and inspire each other and impact the world at large is truly a powerful blessing and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
As we stand strong in our #BEYOUROWN roles – businesswoman, influencer, daughter, wife, sister, mother, caregiver, encompassing all career fields and aspects of life, we have the power to effect change for growth, while still being the beacons of love, light and strength to our families, our communities and to the entire world.
Finally, what can we expect from you?
I truly believe that I was created to make a difference in this world, hence I’ve allowed God and the Universe to guide my path, as I know the possibilities are endless and I’m not known to be confirmed to any box so, please watch this space!
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LinkedIn: Aneshree Pillay