Money & Me: Dubai entrepreneur once bitten, twice shy

Jaspreet Bhatia is the director of Sher Trading, which exports original spare parts of Japanese and Korean vehicles from Dubai to 70 countries around the world. The Australian, 29, who runs the company in partnership with his father, has lived in the UAE for six years.

How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?

Since my father was at a senior level in his company, our upbringing was very smooth, but not luxurious. We studied at decent schools and good universities and had a very nice childhood. From a young age, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. This had nothing to do with family upbringing but more of a business-minded instinct; I always wanted to work for myself.

How much did you get paid for your first job?

I took on a part-time job alongside my university studies, at Ticketmaster, an event ticketing company in Australia. It paid me A$400 (Dh1,064) per month as a salesperson. After graduating, I hopped from job to job for four years and then realised I wanted to be my own boss and have my own business.

Are you spender or saver?

Both, when I see the need for it.

What is your most cherished purchase?

I have a very strong liking towards sports cars and therefore my most cherished purchase is the 2015 Audi RS7. It’s brilliant.

Have you ever had a month where you feared you could not pay the bills?

Yes, in 2009 when my dad and I first shifted to Dubai with all the savings we had to start up the business. It was a big risk and we were in a make-or-break situation. I distinctly remember the fear of whether or not the business would grow, however, that remained a fear; we pulled through those days for the better ones today and I am glad we took the risk.

Do you prefer paying by credit card or in cash?

Credit card, as long as I pay it back in time and spend within the limit. I prefer using a credit card due to the extra time I get to pay for what I spent on. But I keep track of my purchases very strictly and do not get carried away with the credit limit.

What has been your best investment?

Definitely my business. It is my baby and the vision of my dad.

What do you most regret spending money on?

Dh350,000 on a BMW X5. The petrol consumption was too high so I sold it at a loss in May last year. I also once trusted someone with an amount I don’t wish to disclose for a business and unfortunately the money was never returned. Although I did a good background search before investing in him, people can be tricky. It was only later I found that more people were cheated out of bigger amounts by the same person. I learnt you need to do extensive research before trusting someone with your money. After all, it’s your sweat and blood so you need to learn how to value it.

If you won Dh1m, what would you do with it?

I would invest it in one of my business plans. It’s too early to talk about it but I have one really promising idea, which I am working on right now, and the Dh1m could come in handy for getting it moving faster.

What financial advice would you offer your younger self?

Never spend when you don’t need to, but when you do, do your research.

What would you raid your savings account for? 

For an emergency or I would do it any time for the happiness of my loved ones.

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