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Entrepreneurship and Mental Health: How to Run a Successful Business After Personal Loss

Entrepreneurship is filled with highs and lows and growing up in a home where both parents were self-employed, I’ve witnessed the good and bad. November is National Entrepreneurship Month and I decided to share how traumatic life events affect entrepreneurs through the eyes of my sister, Khaleelah. It’s been three years since we lost our mom, Susie Ann Amin, and our worlds have changed. So here we go.

SOQWEENLY: Introduce yourself. Who is Khaleelah Amin?

KHALEELAH:“I'm a 39-year-old avid fitness enthusiast. I love exploring and learning who I am from a spiritual perspective. I enjoy singing, personal development, and spending time with loved ones.

I possess a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a minor in Information Systems from DeVry University. I earned my Master in Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management and Financial Analysis from Keller Graduate School of Management.

Since 2014, I’ve been managing our family restaurant, Salaam Seafood, and became the Business Operations Manager in 2016. I’m the sole decision maker from financials to inventory management, forecasting, payroll, hiring, and training.”

SOQWEENLY: I have always wanted to follow in my sister’s footsteps. She is the reason why I went to college and pursued my Master in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. She’s my big sister.

SOQWEENLY: How did you get into entrepreneurship? 

KHALEELAH:“I’ve been around entrepreneurship since the age of six. Honestly, it fell into my lap and it wasn't my first choice. My career goal was to be an executive at a consulting firm presenting to clients globally and travelling the world.

Growing up in an entrepreneurial home you experience early on what it means "to help out at the store". I started helping out at Salaam Seafood at 14 years old a couple days a week. I would help my mother wash off different vegetables, clean refrigerators, and sweep floors. 

At the age of 22, after going through two layoffs due to 9/11, I decided to pursue a business venture with my father and mother. In 2002, we opened Jannah Downtown Cafe in Griffin.

The business concept was created by me while in graduate school and received financial backing from the government agency, Small Business Association. We were in business for six years and this was my first business venture.”

SOQWEENLY: I had no idea at the time when we were preparing to open Jannah Downtown Café what was taking place. I just remember the entire family working seven days a week between both restaurants and having a good time. We were all invested.

SOQWEENLY: What’s the biggest misconception of entrepreneurship?