Lessons From the Immigrant Hustle: Jonaed Iqbal
NoDegree is an online career resource solution for people without college degrees seeking great jobs. Jonaed Iqbal and the NoDegree team also offer career advice, financial advice, and general life advice to clients so they can navigate the hurdles and issues faced throughout life. Knowledge is power, and they equip clients with the knowledge to improve their lives.
The team at NoDegree wants to remove the stigma attached to people who choose not to pursue a college degree. Intelligent people come from all backgrounds and experiences. Every job contributes value to society. Their aspiration is to reduce the growing economic disparity between non-college grads and college grads. The NoDegree aim to provide a more comprehensive approach to obtaining skills that are increasingly in demand.
What’s your name, company name, and title?
Jonaed Iqbal, NoDegree Inc, Founder & CEO.
Which country did you emigrate from?
Why did you or your family decide to immigrate?
My father immigrated to America when I was just 3 years old in 1994. He immigrated the same reason that many immigrants do, a better life for their children. My parents always emphasized education and would always do whatever he could to make sure that I succeeded in academics. I am very thankful that he immigrated as I can’t imagine living in any other country.
What was your very first job?
I worked at Popeyes in the back. I prepared chicken, cleaned up the store and assisted with stocking and deliveries.
Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur? (c.f. What triggered you?).
I had an idea that I saw could help a lot of people and was needed in the market. I do not mind having a regular job as I did work for a large insurance company as an actuarial assistant for about 3 years. However, I love the flexibility and the work of an entrepreneur. I did not like the bureaucracy and office politics that came with working for a large company. I also liked the fact that I am always forced to learn as an entrepreneur or I get left behind.
How did you raise the money necessary to launch your business? (e.g. did you find an investor? Did you borrow from the bank? Did you save money by working a 9 to 5? Please tell us your story).
My partners and I self-funded the company by working our regular jobs. We are fortunate enough to have a business model that does not incur a lot of expenses and we can be profitable early on. The company is more time intensive as we spend a lot of time writing content and doing research. We have been working on NoDegree.com for a couple of years. I saved up enough to work at it full time as I came to a point where I knew everything I needed to do, but I could only do so much while working a regular job. After some hard thinking, I took the risk and went at NoDegree full-time.
Mental health, stress management and staying positive are important factors in entrepreneurial success. What are some things you like to do when you feel overwhelmed or down?
I make sure to exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and maintain my friendships. For me personally, when I am tired, things always feel much worse. I am able to handle a lot of stress when I am well rested. I am able to bounce things off. It is always motivating to keep in contact with my friends as the progress they make in their lives inspires me to keep going.
Why do you think you have been successful?
I think the fact that I have a great team and we all respect each other goes a long way. We each have different strengths and weaknesses and together we are able to do a lot. We are also always open to criticism so this helps keeps things calm. This allows the best ideas to happen to our company. I have worked in previous companies where certain key people have all the power in decisions, even if the decisions aren’t necessarily the optimal one.
I also really enjoy what I do. I think this is really important. I know I can make my company extremely successful and I like the impact I have on my users. This keeps me going and it is always motivational to talk to someone who tells me that a company like mine is needed.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for this interview!