“We the Prosperous” – Meet Khanna, An Entrepreneur Empowering a New Generation of Female Engineers

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Every Intuit customer has their own story. Along each of their journeys, they find passion, share advice, take risks, celebrate success, and form a community of their own.

From small business owners, to the self-employed and those simply seeking ways to be more financially savvy – we’re here to be a part of each story and champion our customers as they take steps forward on their path to prosperity. Hear how the power of many comes together to support the business of one with #WeTheProsperous.

Meet Khanna – she’s an avid TurboTax user who is teaching young girls how to find careers in the tech world through her company, Pretty Tech.

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Intuit: Khanna, tell us about your business!

Khanna: Pretty Tech is a career accelerator and school-based enterprise that teaches students basic engineering skills and places them in tech jobs. I started the business in May 2017 to overcome the underrepresentation of minorities in tech.

Intuit: Why did you choose to start your own business/become self-employed?

Khanna: My background is in electrical engineering and systems engineering management from Georgia Tech. As I looked around at my classmates and my job setting, I quickly realized that as a black woman, I was a double minority in the field. Not only is that unsettling, but I think America is struggling from a lack of qualified talent in tech, and corporate culture is driving young women away. This has left millions of STEM jobs unfilled, as well as an overall lack of student interest in the field.

If the tech industry doesn’t find a better way to diversify, then innovation will never represent or help the communities that need it the most. I knew I could solve this problem, and ended up leaving my job to start a company that would give back to women and other underrepresented groups in tech and engineering. I was accepted into Georgia Tech’s Create-X Accelerator, and from there, I received funding and mentorship, and was able to get the company off the ground.

Intuit: What do you wish someone told you before you started your self-employed journey?

Khanna: Fear is our biggest hindrance, so there will never be a right time to start. So just do it! Also, your talents and your background are unique; if you see a problem that needs solving, you might be the only one able to find a solution. Lastly, just because a solution exists doesn’t mean it’s the best solution. Make it better.

Intuit: What would you say was your main obstacle to becoming successful? How did you overcome it?

Khanna: I dealt with the fear that I might fail. I worried that if this didn’t work out, I would disappoint the people that believe in me. I kept telling myself that I have the rest of my life to work for someone else, so I have nothing to lose now. The more I work on Pretty Tech, the more confident I become. Research and customer discovery helped me find how I can best use my efforts to help others. I don’t fear that this won’t work anymore; it is working, and will change the lives of millions.

Intuit: What’s been most surprising and challenging about your self-employed journey?

Khanna: The most challenging part has been struggling with not being where I thought I should be, and seeing others succeed or take credit for my ideas. You work so hard to accomplish something, and you want to have success early. I’m realizing it’s OK to not be completely there yet, and that the hard work will pay off eventually.

The most surprising thing was that so many people believed in my ideas when I barely believed in myself. It’s a little crazy to me that people would hear my story and ideas, and want to be a part of it.

Intuit: Starting a business and becoming self-employed isn’t easy; what has made the journey worth it to you?

Khanna: I feel like I’ve found my passion and purpose. I believe I struggle to help others. I struggled being a mom and as a female in the engineering industry. Pretty Tech is proof that other girls can make a difference and accomplish great things. That’s what keeps me going.

Intuit: What drew you to Intuit’s products? How do you use them?

Khanna: I use TurboTax for everything! I file with it every year, because it’s so easy to use. I’ve tried other products, but felt like I always got the biggest refund with TurboTax, which is important so I could put this extra money back into my business.

Intuit: What are your prosperity hacks? What are some things you do each day to set yourself up for success?

Khanna: Positive affirmations. I pray every morning to keep my mind right. A lot of it is being mentally strong and focused on what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

Intuit: Who do you lean on for support? Who do you go to for questions about your business?

Khanna: Honestly, the first six months of working, I had very few people to go to. I just used the internet—Google mostly— to ask questions. Then, when I joined the tech accelerator, I was connected with so many new people and other businesses whose wealth of knowledge I could tap into.

Intuit: What does prosperity mean to you?

Khanna: Prosperity to me is comprised of three things: value (people that are willing to invest their money for my services), impact (the number of people I can reach), and financial success (generating enough revenue to serve the wants and needs of my own family and children).

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