From Earning 33 Cents To Building a SAS Company with Nosheen Khan | Ep #78
This is a Second Act Success Story you must listen to my friend! Meet Nosheen Khan. Nosheen worked as a senior loan processor and office manager before facing health issues that made her unable to go to work. She was fired from her job, and found herself at home in bed, struggling to find a job. This was before the days of remote work, but Nosheen tried to get any Virtual Assistant job she could finally taking a role that paid a mere 33 cents per hour. However, this led her to land a role as a founding member of the now well-known remote work site Upwork. Nosheen shares her story of consistently trying to carve her way through her career taking opportunity after opportunity. She now runs her own SAS company Easy Sales Automation, and she is an author and podcast host.
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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 - From Earning 33 Cents To Building a SAS Company with Nosheen Khan
Episode - #78
Host: Shannon Russell
Guest: Nosheen Khan
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)
[00:00:00] Nosheen Khan: A lot of people ask me what kind of degree I got or what skills I learned , in order to do this. If I tell you, what my degree is, what my experience has been, that's not even close to what I'm doing right now.
So it is really not the skill that got me here. It was the will that got me here. So anybody who is struggling out there, who is trying to learn the skill, if the will is greater than the skill. Mm-hmm. You got it. Trust me, you are on the right track.
[00:00:27] Shannon Russell: Are you at a crossroads in your career? Ready for a change, but you're not sure how to get there? Don't worry. We are about to produce your best life together. Welcome to the second Act Success podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell. I am a former television producer, turned boy Mom. I left my dream job to find family balance, and in doing so I produced my dream life.
Now I am a business owner, podcaster, and career coach. My mission is to help other women like you find what they are truly [00:01:00] meant to be doing. If you are ready to start over in your career or pivot to a new purpose, then get ready to be inspired by stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice and actionable tips to motivate you as you move along on your path.
It is time to shine. So let's start producing your balanced life of abundance today. This is second act success.
It's time to introduce you to Nosheen Khan. Nosheen worked in startups for some successful companies all until she suffered some health issues that made her unable to work. She knew that she needed to make a living and she decided to pivot. Nosheen took her experience in sales and lead generation in the online world and built her own company, Easy Sales Automation.
She will share her story of career change and finding her second act with us today. Let's meet Nosheen Khan. All right. I'm here with Nosheen Kahn. Hello, Nosheen. It's so nice [00:02:00] to have you here. Hi.
[00:02:02] Nosheen Khan: Hi Shannon. How are you? Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure.
[00:02:05] Shannon Russell: You have a very interesting journey and I'd love to have you just start from where your career journey kind of began.
[00:02:11] Nosheen Khan: Yes, actually. So I mean, it wasn't anything fancy because I had the, the corporate job the high pay and you know, I bought myself a house and I had the car, and you know how it is. We just climbed the corporate ladder and it was all going well, and I was young. Little did I know that I will have.
These health issues and the health issues just prevented me to, you know, do my best or perform at best. Right? So I just, one fine morning, lost my job. I, I got fired. Um, and they told me, you know what, Luci, you just, just stay home and rest. And take care of yourself, which of course I needed to, that's fine.
But you know how you have everything you, you're thinking like you are irreplaceable and it's like the company relies on you so much. Like, oh my God, what are they gonna do without you? So that was [00:03:00] of course, the kind of feeling I had. But of course that was, uh, you know, that came to an end. And so I did take care of, start to take care of myself, like maybe like for a week or two weeks I was.
Of course, like, happy to be not working, right? Mm-hmm. But then it just dawned on me like, wait a minute. This, this health issue is gonna stay with me. So does this mean that I'll never be able to have a good paying job ever? And that's when I realized that whatever it is that I'll be doing, It has to be.
And I, and I actually typed these words, how to work from bed because I was better. Oh, I did not know the word freelancing at that time. Okay. I, I didn't know. That there was such a thing. If I knew that, I mean, my journey would've just not been this, this long. It would not have taken me this long to be where I am today.
[00:03:51] Shannon Russell: anyway, or covid where we're all used to working from home. That would've just been so different. Your company would've been a little bit more understanding maybe? Yes, yes.
[00:03:58] Nosheen Khan: Uh, we didn't have Covid [00:04:00] at that time. If, if it had companies would've been, of course, more, I'm gonna say understanding and more supportive.
But back in the day it was, There was no such thing and there was, no such thing as working online as well. Cuz we're talking 2004, very early on, like very early on. So that is when I started applying for VA type jobs. Like I'll do whatever. I tell everybody, I had this huge title that could be wrapped around the visiting card, but offline I was nobody, like nobody.
[00:04:29] Shannon Russell: What was your role in this corporate position? I was
[00:04:32] Nosheen Khan: a senior loan processor slash office manager. So did
[00:04:35] Shannon Russell: you like it, was it what you went to school for, what you were hoping to do with your career or was it just a nice paying job?
[00:04:42] Nosheen Khan: It was just a nice paying job. I have a master's degree in English literature. Nowhere close to what my job was. I just, uh, started that as, um, an assistant to a senior loan processor, and then we expanded and I had my own department and I became the manager. Online loan [00:05:00] processing software started to appear and I was the first one to kind of learn them
But then I made it my career because I loved doing it. Mm-hmm. It was just so much fun and I had no plans of doing anything else. Then this
[00:05:14] Shannon Russell: Isn't it funny that you can go to college working towards a certain.
Degree, and then you get out. And we're kids, we're kids when we're outta school. So a lot of kids just take the first job and then they get sucked in and end up staying there for so long. And it's, it's so interesting to me because you can think you're going in one path and then you end up in another.
And that paycheck and the steadiness of it is so enticing when we're young. It is.
[00:05:35] Nosheen Khan: It is. When you're young, you've crossed off all of those, you know, the, the list is just done like this. Is it like, you know, an adult, I'm, get a degree, get a good paying job, you know, make your way up and buy a house and buy a car, get married.
I mean, I even tell my kids like, look, this is not the time for you to worry about. Oh my God, I'm gonna be stuck at a job for 40 years.
This is not that time. And I have learned my way the hard way, but [00:06:00] I'm here to teach you. The opportunities are just endless for them. Where we were and where we came are like two different worlds now. Right? And in this such a short, uh, period of time, like 20 years, that's it.
Yep. That's all it took for the world to totally change. Right.
[00:06:15] Shannon Russell: Wow. It's amazing. Our generation is starting to learn that we are replaceable because you'd fell into this job and you really liked it and you had no plans on leaving, but life throws curve balls. You had health issues and then they.
Let you go. Oh yeah. And you're, you know, and then you're sitting here going, okay, well now what? Now? And now you're reassessing everything. Absolutely. So, so what were you thinking? You started looking for some like assistant work, virtual assistant work. I was
[00:06:41] Nosheen Khan: thinking if there's anything that I can just make calls from home, I can send emails from home.
It wasn't the time for this remote work. The remote culture was not even a thing at the time. Mm-hmm. And that is when I started and I could you not, I applied to anything that I came [00:07:00] across, and like I said, online, nobody knew me.
Right. If I tell you I'm, I am capable of doing this, this, this, this, this, and . There's no way for him or her to find me online. Like this online presence was not a thing either. So,
[00:07:13] Shannon Russell: oh, listen, I was just thinking that you're right. We didn't have LinkedIn. We didn't, probably didn't even have Facebook at that point.
No, we didn't. Right, so you really are just, here's my resume. That's it on paper and I'm sending it over.
[00:07:25] Nosheen Khan: Yeah. Yeah. And now, so that is when one gentleman, it was a professor from a university just hired me as, a va, as a, an assistant. He was doing some research for his, book. And so he had me just do like copy pasting thing in a, in a spreadsheet, so that's what it was. I didn't know what it was for at that time. All I knew was I was given instructions and I was supposed to just do that. So, but then the pay at that time, like, I'm coming from this corporate job from 27 plus, uh, an hour plus bonus, plus commission, like every month, right?
I'm coming from that too. A whopping, I'm gonna [00:08:00] call it. 33 cents an hour at the time, and I kid you not, I did not even look at what he was gonna pay me, cuz I was like, oh my God. Finally, somebody's trusting me. Somebody's giving me an opportunity to prove myself that I am capable of doing things right.
And not that I had this huge plan of having this huge business. Of course not. I was just trying to get my foot in the door. Right, eternally grateful. I did not know what this 33 cents opportunity would later lead to, but I cannot thank God enough that I took it.
Because this 33 cents an hour job led me to be a founding member of this freelance marketplace called Upwork Wow. And here I was like, I did not know what a freelancing was, and you know how I could work remotely, or who will trust me and whatever, right? So that is how I got started online.
And of course, from 33 [00:09:00] cents, I went to like a dollar and 75 cents to 3 cents. $3 and, and then I did come to $8, but that's when I got hired by Upwork. And Had I not taken that 33 cents job, I would not have been, you know, a founding member of such a big company.
Upwork led me to another startup called Signified. And that is how I became part of the remote working culture. It just started as a, as a necessity at the time. Um, but you know, that's where it all started. Wow.
[00:09:32] Shannon Russell: I love it because, you know what, you took pride in working.
You wanted to work, show that you were capable. Like you said that this, these health issues weren't keeping you from. Earning a living 33 cents might not be a living, but it was something. And it got you out there feeling like you were contributing. Yes.
[00:09:51] Nosheen Khan: Yes. The whole week I worked like, I don't know, like 30 hours maybe.
But it was, I know the weekly pay was like not more than $7. Mm-hmm. I'll, I'll be honest, I. [00:10:00] Did not tell anybody this. So nobody knew at the time. They were all very impressed that, oh my God, she's working online. You know, that was something unheard of, right? Because who knew that you could have a laptop and you can make a living back in the day.
But I, I will admit, I did not let anybody know at the time. Until I got hired by Upwork again, because we were the early, you know, employees. So I never talked about it. I just took it as an opportunity.
[00:10:30] Shannon Russell: So you worked a couple different remote jobs. Yes. And then how did the opportunity with Upwork come about?
[00:10:36] Nosheen Khan: The employer that hired me, somebody in their group was also working for them and they were looking for more people, and that is how it got started.
It was always like referral or somebody knew me through somebody and. So I do say that networking does help because when people know a good worker, they will recommend you. So that is how I got recommended by the person for Upwork.[00:11:00]
And then from Upwork, I got recommended for another startup because I was part of this startup and we were over like 190 employees by the time I left the Upwork. So massive growth, massive growth. And then we, I became part of another startup called Signified, but yeah, networking is powerful.
[00:11:15] Shannon Russell: I've never been a part of a startup, but I can imagine just the excitement and kind of the hands-on mentality of, of you know, building a company that would go on to be so
[00:11:23] Nosheen Khan: huge.
Yes, it was. I loved it. And I just love creating those processes for them, or training other people and build these, uh, teams or departments. It's, it's a wonderful feeling.
[00:11:35] Shannon Russell: Are you still working from home at this time? Yes.
[00:11:37] Nosheen Khan: I have not stepped foot at an office, like for a job, uh, since 2004.
[00:11:44] Shannon Russell: Fantastic. So you were definitely ahead of your time. You're ahead. But I'm
[00:11:47] Nosheen Khan: telling you, it was all good until Covid hits.
Hmm. Now everybody else is home too. And I hated it. My kids are studying from home and my husband is home. And I, I just couldn't do [00:12:00] it because here I was. I've been by myself. Everybody thought that, you know, it's not a problem for you at all. Which is, yes, it's true. Like for me, nothing changed. And I'm very thankful that we were all okay. Nobody got hit with covid, but just the, the transition for some.
Was close to impossible. People who've never worked from home before and now they're forced to work from home, they don't know how a work from home environment is, or what you gotta do. I mean, I just didn't like the fact that everybody else was home with me. I just wanted them to leave. That's all
[00:12:33] Shannon Russell: I know. It changes. I feel like the grass is always greener, right? Everyone thinks working from home is so great, and then you get there and you realize, well, my personality is not a work from home type person.
I personally, Shannon, I love it. I love working from home when I can but I know a lot of people are like, get me back. Get me back. Yeah.
[00:12:51] Nosheen Khan: Yeah.
[00:12:51] Shannon Russell: After signified, um, what was next?
[00:12:54] Nosheen Khan: So that is when I was like, I'm ready to start something on my own. And so I just started my own [00:13:00] thing and I got into digital marketing and I don't have a degree in and I don't have experience in.
It was purely based off of my own doing and experimenting. I'm just like a passive learner all the time. Like I just wanna learn. Right. And that has helped me a lot in, in reaching
[00:13:18] Shannon Russell: where I am.
[00:13:18] Nosheen Khan: I started off as a digital marketer. Facebook advertising was a huge thing when Covid hit half of my people, my clients, of course, they did not wanna do, I mean, we all thought the world was ending. So nobody was thinking of running ads at the time, right?
They had, you know, more important things to do at the time. But two years into Covid too, I was like, no matter what I'm doing, people pay me for my time. And when you're in the industry long enough, I knew that I don't wanna be paid for my time because I don't know if I can work eight hours a day or not. There will be days that I cannot. Right, and this, this agency model was taking up too much of my time.
Way too [00:14:00] much.
[00:14:02] Shannon Russell: Hey, it's Shannon. If you are enjoying this podcast, then you will love my weekly newsletter. It's full of career advice, productivity tips, and of course inspiring stories of women who have launched a new career that they love. Just go to second act success.co to sign up. Plus you'll get the, my Success Vision Board to help you with your 2023 planning as well.
Now it's back to the episode.
[00:14:28] Nosheen Khan: So again, and that's the beauty of it, when you're doing your own thing, I mean, you, you are in charge, right? You are the c e o, like you do whatever you wanna do. And that is developed my own tool, developed my own software. I. And that is my latest thing. I'm a SAS company owner, which I, I kid you not in a million years, I would not have thought that this will be me. Okay. This is what all these years have led me to become.
That's it. So you're talking to a SAS company owner. And
[00:14:56] Shannon Russell: what is the product that you're
[00:14:57] Nosheen Khan: developing? The product is automations.[00:15:00] I decided I'm gonna create my own software. I'm gonna create my own company. I'm gonna create a tool that will eliminate tech overwhelm for, you know, people like us, you and I. Right. I wanted one login, like one place to take care of all of these instead of I'm sharing my logins with people too, and they may not be careful about it.
And then all of a sudden your Facebook page, accesses denied because you did something and we cannot keep track of all of this. And that was my personal experience and that is what I ended up, , solving. Yeah. For people like this.
[00:15:33] Shannon Russell: So what is the tool called?
[00:15:34] Nosheen Khan: So the tool is called Easy Sales Automation, and um, if somebody goes to EasySalesautomation.com/beta. Is what I am offering for anybody to become Beta member for this app and the features that you get is, of course, nobody else is gonna get that because not everybody's gonna be a beta member, and you get all the features at a fraction of the price and the price that nobody else will pay.
A [00:16:00] lot of people ask me what kind of degree I got or what skills I learned , in order to do this. And I tell them, if I tell you, what my degree is, what my experience has been, that's not even close to what I'm doing right now.
So it is really not the skill that got me here. It was the will that got me here. So anybody who is struggling out there, who is trying to learn the skill, if the will is greater than the skill. Mm-hmm. You got it. Trust me, you are on the right track. And if it's not working for some reason, and we've all been there.
Trust me, I still have days that I'm like, uh, you know, mm-hmm. Like really dumb days, right? So we all have those, but if something is not working and if you're feeling like stuck in wherever you are, if it's your business or your personal life, right? I have learned that I need to sit down and put my problem into one of these three categories.
Is it my mindset that [00:17:00] is keeping me stuck? Is it my, um, tool set that's keeping me stuck? Or is it my skillset that is keeping me stuck? So wherever that problem, whichever bucket it falls into, you just work on that and you will, you know, unstuck yourself in no time. I have learned this since 2004 until now.
So, and I think, uh, if we keep this in mind, there's. There's nothing that we cannot achieve. There's nothing that we can
[00:17:28] Shannon Russell: turn on. Right. Taking your vulnerability and the rejections that you might have faced and your failures, and just turning those around and, and having a, a stronger will and that will
[00:17:38] Nosheen Khan: lead you forward.
We are in our own way almost all the time.
[00:17:42] Shannon Russell: So no sheen. I'm noticing that you kind of.
Dealt with a lot over your journey. You lost your job, you had health issues, you had to kind of reinvent your career over many years, and now you're at this place where you're your own boss and you seem so happy you're creating new things for yourself. Can you kind of speak a little bit to that?
[00:17:59] Nosheen Khan: [00:18:00] Yes, I would say we overthink, so let's just not overthink.
But when I had that, I'm gonna say that incident that led me to start from scratch. Be okay with that. Just enjoy the process because you're learning so much, it is evolving you. Right? If you don't let yourself start again. There's no room for growth at all.
And it is okay. It is totally okay. I tell everybody don't think this is it. Like this is it. Right? Because there's no such thing, right? This, you're gonna fail, you're gonna be frustrated. Things are not gonna work out. Things will not go the way you want it to go, and it is. Okay. So just, just two things.
Just don't overthink, you know, done is better than perfect, right? Mm-hmm. And then be okay with starting over. No big deal. As long as you're alive, you know, be thankful you can start over. That's, uh, beautiful. I can say I started, I don't know how many times, right? And I love it. I do. I love it. Imagine how boring it would be if I would be just doing the same thing.
Mortgage, uh, you know, [00:19:00] running, running these loan, uh, loan applications through mortgage software. Like, imagine, I, I cannot even begin to
[00:19:07] Shannon Russell: imagine. No, what a boring life that would've been for you, for your personality. People might love that. Yeah. But for you, you've had all these other experiences. Yeah. Yeah.
All of those skills and the fears that you overcame are only gonna help you excel your
[00:19:19] Nosheen Khan: next business as well.
[00:19:21] Shannon Russell: All right. It's time for our five fast cues of the week. Here we go. Name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught you be
[00:19:31] Nosheen Khan: okay with multiple
[00:19:32] Shannon Russell: starts. You're the true example. Would you recommend if your best friend wanted to take a leap into a big life change, like starting a business or quitting her job or writing a book, would you recommend it?
[00:19:42] Nosheen Khan: Absolutely. Yes. I've written a book, I had no idea that the person that you're talking to will ever write a book. But that happened too, right? I mean, it may not be perfect, but I'm not saying it's perfect. I'm just saying I wrote a book, right?
So absolutely, I would recommend everybody to start their [00:20:00] own thing. Uh, it will take time in the beginning, but oh boy, it is so worth it. It is so worth it.
[00:20:06] Shannon Russell: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who is starting their second act?
[00:20:10] Nosheen Khan: Make sure your will is stronger than you.
Skill. Well, well said. It's gonna get you there.
[00:20:14] Shannon Russell: What does the next chapter look like for you you've got so much on the horizon.
[00:20:19] Nosheen Khan: So next chapter is, coming up with a tool to automate podcasters, journey or their, their process. And then that is the immediate next.
And then who knows? I will be working on multiple other things too. Call it a d d or whatever, but I can't just not do stuff Early
[00:20:36] Shannon Russell: retirement is not in your future.
[00:20:38] Nosheen Khan: So I do think about it, but I know that if I retire from doing this, what am I gonna do? Right? What am I gonna do? Who knows? Maybe write a few more books, because I love reading I write my biography. That's gonna be a very time consuming thing, but, for that I need, I cannot have these other things going on.
[00:20:55] Shannon Russell: And that's gonna be such a passion project and such a special gift to your family and to your [00:21:00] children. Exactly.
[00:21:01] Nosheen Khan: And that's the whole point of doing it too.
I hope you do it. People know me as Nosheen, but people have no idea what's behind this person, the person that I became, I check all the the boxes too, like being a woman, being a woman of color, and being, you know, all that.
So it's gonna be an interesting read.
[00:21:19] Shannon Russell: I don't doubt it. , where can our audience connect with you?
[00:21:22] Nosheen Khan: Go to easysalesautomation.com/beta and they can either schedule a call with me or, By the tool.
[00:21:30] Shannon Russell: Fantastic. Well, Nosheen, thank you so much for sharing your, your story and everything that you're working on and everything that you're creating. I think a lot of my listeners will resonate with the uncertainty and just the different ever-changing patterns and ever-changing projects that you're working on, so thank you.
[00:21:47] Nosheen Khan: It's been a pleasure, Shannon. Thank you so much for letting me be here with you, share my story, and whoever's listening, look, you got this. Just do not give up. You got this. And we're in this together, so reach out to [00:22:00] anyone, right. We're here to help. But do not give up on your, on your dreams.
[00:22:04] Shannon Russell: I love that. Well, thank you, Nosheen. Thank you. Take care.
[00:22:07] Nosheen Khan: Alrighty. Bye.
[00:22:09] Shannon Russell: Thank you to Nosheen for sharing her story, and I can't wait to see what she does next. To connect with her and learn more about Easy Sales Automation. Check out the info in the show notes below,
don't forget to subscribe to this podcast for more career advice, tips from industry experts, and of course career change success stories that will inspire you. I will be back next time for a new episode of the Second Act Success Podcast. Talk to you soon my friend. Thank you for joining us. I hope you've found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success.
To view show notes from this episode, visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. [00:23:00] Thank you again for listening. I'm Shannon Russell and this is Second Act Success.