What Courses Have I Taken in College & After?

I have started multiple companies (including a 5 figure, 6 figure, and 7 figure company), been featured in major publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Huffington Post, given a TEDx Talk, co-authored 2 books, and amassed over half a million followers for my blog

So, I often get asked, what did I study in school?

I went to the University of Houston to the Bauer College of Business.

There, I got a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, a Minor in Sales, and a Certificate of Entrepreneurship—

Which are ALL relevant to what I do today as a business owner and blogger, but my education did not end when I graduated.

Every year, I’ve continued to sign up for online courses, including—

Advanced Marketing Program by Neil Patel

Get Booked by Kimanzi Constable

Affiliate Marketing Bootcamp by Adrian Brambila

Pinterest Traffic Secrets by Anastasia Blogger

Instagram Domination by Foundr

…And countless writing courses from Gotham’s Writing Workshop

Since business and marketing change so rapidly, these courses and my degrees have been extremely valuable to my career.

9.14.21 of #HappyDays

I hit 60k on Instagram after dealing with a year or two of literally no growth…

But I’m honestly really proud of myself for not giving up despite the difficulties

And now, I’ve had 7 (almost 10) Instagram Reels hit over a million views within a month

It’s honestly so surreal, and I’m so grateful for each and every person that follows my account

What Business Can You Start While Working a 9-5?

While I haven’t truly worked a “job” since graduating college…

I did spend my 9 to 5 working at my family business (preschools), and in the morning/lunch/after hours, I worked on my side hustle (my blog saniakhiljee.com)

I joined my family business in 2013, and in 2015, I decided to start blogging for fun. I didn’t think of it as a source of income. I mostly wanted to build a following to become an author—but it has become so much more.

With blogging, you can work at any time. You set your hours, and there’s many ways to monetize it, including: ad revenue, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, selling your own products/services, etc.

And the best part? You can build it around what you’re passionate about.

But of course, blogging is not the only kind of business you can start while working a 9 to 5. There’s limitless opportunities on the internet—which never sleeps.

Here’s a list of ways I’ve made one online—outside of my “9 to 5”

  1. Started a subscription box
  2. Offered coaching/consulting services
  3. Social media marketing for companies
  4. Paid to speak
  5. Sold books
  6. Sold “shoutouts” on social media
  7. Charged for “sponsored posts”
  8. Created a digital magazine
  9. Created content that was monetized via ad revenue
  10. Sold online courses
  11. Affiliate marketing
  12. Investing
  13. And more…

What is Better: An Arranged Marriage or Love Marriage?

We had a love marriage—and 6 years later, it is still full of love.

We met each other in high school, and I had a massive crush on him. He was handsome, intelligent, funny…

…Imagine my surprise when I found he liked me back.

Our relationship moved quickly after that.

Does that mean I think love marriages are superior to arranged marriages?

Absolutely not.

I have seen many successful arranged marriages as well as many unsuccessful love marriages…

The problem lies in assuming there is one right answer for all—as if there’s only one correct path to love.

Each of us will find love in our own unique way, and to be honest, it’s not really important how we find it.

It’s important how we maintain it.

Once you say your marriage vows—both a love marriage and arranged marriage will have similar challenges, including:

  1. Finances
  2. Starting a family
  3. Supporting each other’s dreams
  4. Allocating Responsibilities
  5. Conflict Management
  6. Time Management
  7. Getting along with each other’s family & friends
  8. And More!

What Advice do you have for College Students?

Despite living at home during college and commuting to school, I truly felt like college was one of the best times of my life.

I didn’t live on campus.

I didn’t drink.

I did not party.

But I truly enjoyed my major, immersed myself in classes that interested me, made good friends that have lasted over a decade, attended football games and festivals, got really great grades, got an awesome internship—and started a 7 figure business right after graduating.

So, if you want to have a good time in college—but an even better time after graduating—continue reading:

  1. Don’t get so caught up in “having a college experience” that you throw away the rest of your life

Trust me—alcohol, drugs, and sleeping around—are not something that you “have to” experience in college to have a good time. Partying does not mean you’re living your best life. It is, I promise you, a distraction from your best life.

The people that I know that partied the most in high school and college are no where near as happy or as successful as the people I know who kept level-headed.

2. Make friends!

I know it’s harder to make friends for some people than others, but regardless of whether you’re shy or introverted, try to put yourself in the position of meeting new people and making friends.

Chances are, some of the best people you’ll ever meet will be in college—so learn to start conversation, join organizations based off of interests, play intramural sports, go on trips, and more.

But remember, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, so choose wisely.

3. It’s ok to change majors

It’s better to waste a year or two than waste the rest of your life doing something you don’t love. Yes, money matters, but it also matters that you live a life that you are passionate about.

4. Take care of yourself

In between college classes, organizations, hanging out with friends, homework, and more, it can be easy to let yourself go. Especially if you’re not used to living on your own.

But neglecting your physical health can quickly lead you down a spiral of destroying your mental health as well.

Work out, eat healthy when you can, get the right amount of sleep—

You can only abuse your body for so long before it gives up.

5. Find yourself

This is one of the best times in life to truly find yourself. Don’t fall into doing what everyone else is doing around you “because that’s what college is about.”

Find out what you love, and do more of that.

Find people you love, and spend more time with them.

Figure out what your passion, beliefs, and values are, and hold onto them firmly.

How did you start your first business?

I started my first business with my family, and so—when I say this aloud—I often feel like I “cheated” my way to success.

Allow me to explain.

My father immigrated to the United States from Pakistan with literally nothing.

He went to school for engineering, but when he graduated, no one would hire him.

He began to hustle, selling insurance door to door, until he could open his own agency.

He leased a building and started with nothing more than a phone and a desk.

From there, he started several businesses, earning multiple millions.

When I graduated, I helped him open more businesses.

He invested his money, and I invested my time and energy.

And for a long time, we did really, really well.

(Until COVID-19) hit.

The entire time, though, I had imposter’s syndrome.

Though I run a business day in and day out, I felt I didn’t earn my success, so to prove myself, I started my own business: a subscription box company.

In its first year, it amassed over 6 figures in revenue, but ultimately, I began to burn out like crazy running businesses with both my father and my own business on weekends/nights.

I had to pick one.

So I sold my subscription box, but it at least proved to me that I could start a business (and successfully exit) independently of my family.

Confessions of a Former Compulsive Liar

I was a compulsive liar in high school and college…

I’m not saying it was right, but there was a reason. Let me explain

I’m the eldest daughter in a Pakistani household.

My parents were born and raised in Karachi before moving to Houston.

American life was—in many ways—very confusing for them, and its as especially confusing for them to raise a girl in the middle of a culture they knew little about.

They were overprotective to say the least.

I often felt stifled and controlled.

Then, I met a boy…

He was also from Pakistan and had moved as a kid to the U.S.

He was a lot more conservative than I was, and over time, he began to dictate what I could and couldn’t do….

It started slowly at first.

He didn’t want me to hang out with certain guys.

Then, he didn’t want me to hang out with any guys—period.

He started getting frustrated when I would hang out with certain girls.

Then, he would have issues with me going with my family to parties and events.

Eventually, he tried to cut me off from almost everyone I knew, and in between my overprotective parents and my controlling (now ex) boyfriend, I felt like I couldn’t even breathe.

I spent all of high school and college like this…

So I began to lie.

It started off with small, white lies, and then eventually, I began to lie all the time.

I told my parents I was staying after school for various student organizations, but I was actually hanging out.

I would tell my ex I was taking a nap or going to sleep early, but I’d go out instead.

It was the only way I could have some semblance of normalcy in my life, and I do not regret it…

I do regret, however, keeping myself in that situation for so long.

Eventually, I dumped my ex, and I had to have a conversation with my parents about how they were impacting my mental health.

They eased up over time—and especially once I got married and moved out, I felt a level of freedom I’d never felt before.

My husband is super chill.

I have never lied to him, and I never will. I don’t lie ever anymore, and I’m grateful to live a life now where I can 100% be me.

It’s funny, because people will often say that they think my TikTok or social media stories are fabricated.

They are not.

I’ve been a liar in the past–but only based on circumstance.

Now I hold honesty in the highest regard and will NEVER lie on social media, because if there’s anything I’ve learned since my years in school, it’s this:

The truth will always come out