Congratulations to our No Limits Entrepreneur of the Week, Anjali Bindra Patel!
Name + Title: Anjali Bindra Patel, Co-Founder of Seeing-i2i.com; Principal of Seeing-i2i LLC
Home Base: Northern Virginia/DC Area
Bio: I am a busy mom of Aarav (9), Saranya (8) and Ishaana (5) and am proud to be married to my Army Vet husband, Pranav. I have been a licensed attorney for almost 20 years and currently run our firm’s commercial real estate division, which specializes in helping entrepreneurs with the legalities of building and growing their businesses. I also help my kids run our website called seeing-i2i.com, a virtual pen pal network uniting children and senior citizens.
Why did you start your own business?: People literally hold technology in the palm of their hands and have access to dozens of social media sites, yet so many people report feeling more disconnected than ever. My kids and I saw both the need and the opportunity to help by giving youth and seniors a platform to meet one another and connect online. We want our site to change the conversation towards friendships and prove that age barriers are antiquated. Friendships can come from anywhere and from any age group: kids and seniors have so much to offer one another. We turned the concept into a business for two reasons. One, our children are very entrepreneurial in nature and were very motivated to translate their kitchen table idea into a service people could actually use and enjoy. For me, our kids are a huge driving force behind building this business. If we can build a strong enough foundation, the youth of this generation will know better and do better than we have.
What did you have in place when you made the leap and quit your job? It may be an unconventional choice, but I never stopped practicing law: there is too much knowledge I would be leaving behind. We provide our clients with legal expertise, and in return our clients share their experiences and challenges faced in their entrepreneurial journeys. My legal work really drives the productivity of seeing-i2i.com. I am constantly surrounded by entrepreneurs explaining how their minds are stretched by new ideas and implementations. It motivates me to persevere and do the same.
Name one business obstacle and how you’ve overcome it: The answer to this question is a work in progress. When it comes to starting business in an unfamiliar industry, there are so many unanswered questions. For us, the biggest challenge has centered around online branding. Between the kids and I, we have so many opinions! Recently, we started reaching out to some female powerhouses in the field of branding, because we realized we can’t do it all alone. Their insight has been invaluable. Our site will continue to evolve and progress as all these powerful women help us to brainstorm new and cool ideas.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at the start of your new venture? Unexpected obstacles are an everyday occurrence for entrepreneurs. If need be, pivot and change your direction but never change your decision to reach your goal. Be ruthlessly persistent in chasing your dream. Get used to being ignored or hearing a flat out “NO”. It’s all part of the process. Let it go. Let it happen. Fall down 99 times. Stand up 100.