Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Khanna.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Julie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I guess you can say I’m a natural born hustler. But since that’s not professionally accepted, I say I’m an expert in brand expansion- personally or professionally. I was born in New York but raised in South Florida. I grew up challenged by ADHD, raised by a hard-working, but financially compromised single mother who has orphaned herself at a young age, and was never afforded the opportunity for higher education. School seemed impossible to prioritize by the time high school came around because my brothers and I were working odd jobs and juggling full plates. The odds already seemed impossibly stacked against me when I bore a child in those circumstances as a teenager myself. She was literally called Baby A Khanna for the first few days of her life because I was too shook up to accept that reality.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Your life circumstances shape you. They are the fibers of your being. I’ve learned that even the “bad” and the unanswered prayers are a blessing. For example, something ignited in me when my daughter was born and suddenly, I could do more for her than I ever could ever do for myself. I wanted a better life for her, more opportunities, and just the chance for her to live up to her full potential. I always tell my kids that I don’t want them to be the best. I need them to do their best. I wanted her to have the same playing field as anyone else, and that would mean I would need to level my own.
Nursing was my first passion. Oncology nursing specifically. I climbed the ladder of the profession and felt every step. I worked overnights and went to school during the day. I was taking “remedial” classes before I could even take the required courses, except nothing was remedial. For me, it was my first encounter with much of that pre-college knowledge. I got my Nursing Assistant license, then my L.P.N. license, then my A.A. and finally a Bachelor’s in Science of Nursing over a span of 11 years. Meanwhile, I concurrently got married, had my other two children, and started a separate business along the way. Energy creates more energy. Drive creates more drive and success breeds more success.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I eventually stopped nursing to invest full-time in my family and my business, Khanna Connections. I enjoy using creativity to create opportunities, positive exposure, community outreach, form business relationships, and growth for my clients. I feel like if you do everything with integrity, legitimate desire for the expansion of your client and create mutually beneficial situations between the client and the opportunity, then things naturally grow in a positive manner. I have a couple of nationally recognized companies as clients and my background in nursing helped because quite a few of my clients are in the medical field. I also use my professional skills to give back to my community. I am on the Development Board at Community Partners- an organization that supports the community through housing partnerships, community/teen outreach and mental and behavioral health. I am also on the Advisory Board for Camelot Community Cares, a foster agency. I believe we all have something to offer- time, talent, a connection, skill, or a donation and if we’re not helping the world around us, then we’re hurting it.
By far, my most exciting “clients” have been my three kids, whom I also subcontract most of my digital design and videography work to. Kids have so much potential and so much to offer and are often underestimated, but if you help them find the platform they can jump from, you would be amazed at what can be accomplished.
My first born, Lilli, is finishing up high school and is the owner of L Khanna Productions. She specializes in videography and media. In fact, tomorrow, she will be filming Olympic equestrian athletes at a highly anticipated sports event in the Winter Equestrian capital of the world. Her primary clients are non-profits, where she specializes in capturing the mission and essence of the charity so that information can be disseminated into the community in hopes of helping more people. She has a passion for law and ethics and has spoken many times at local and nationally televised political events, alongside her brother and sister, speaking on topics of gun control and school safety.
My youngest, Devi, started her business, Devi Masala, at just nine years old. She makes homemade, Indian inspired, hand-ground craft spice blends. She’s 11 now and to date has sold her products in 4 countries, has added a line of self-designed aprons, made it to the final application round of a national cooking show but refused to handle meat (she’s a die hard vegetarian), draws a substantial income and has even recently applied to sell her products in a national shopping chain. Some of her customers even include Sara Hopkins Ayala, Vanilla Ice, and DJ Menace. She learned so much from her time spent in India and she loves sharing it with the world.
My son, Nikhil, provides all the tech support. He built his own computer and is also a communication art major at BAK Middle School of the Arts. He helps storyboard, produce and edits the videos for Devi Masala and is building the website. He is also a partner, meaning he has to come up with creative marketing ideas in order to draw an income. The kitchen wall at our home is a giant chalkboard where they can map all their artistic initiatives. All three of my kids have learned some pretty tough business lessons, just the same way all of us entrepreneurs have. They have been burnt, reaped the benefits, rode the waves, and had to face their cynics but I don’t shelter or hide them from it. I believe they are getting some of the growing pains out of the way at an earlier age and will be better prepared for their careers in the future. They are also actively involved in all of my charity work.
I was definitely a quiet introvert as a young child. In other words, the complete opposite of my kids or who I am today. I always enjoyed creating: writing poetry, writing fiction stories, drawing, crafts, or just getting lost in a good daydream. I never had the opportunity to join a team sport or to do extracurricular, but I had a few good friends that made up my world. We are all still friends and get together regularly, which I’m grateful for. I also was not the kind of kid that wanted a hamster or a bunny, yet I love my “farmily” now, which consists of my two miniature donkeys, chickens, my chihuahua and my two miniature goats.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My paternal grandmother and my mother definitely led by example and demonstrated strength, perseverance and encouragement throughout each stage of my life. Unfortunately, they passed before the inception of Khanna Connections, but I feel confident that they knew I was always destined for more.
- Website: Www.khannaconnections.com
- Phone: 5616030557
- Email: Julie@khannaconnections.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wishmeluck_/
Tracey Benson Photography