Alistair Banerjee is an entrepreneur, tax professional, investor, and crypto enthusiast from Chicago. Alistair studied in France, the UK, and the United States. He has university degrees in Management, Taxation, and Computer Science. He speaks fluent French and Russian. Creator of the award-winning Qetchup Card Game, Alistair has been a part of the domaining industry for almost two decades and he currently owns Moscato.com. His interest includes business development, blockchain technology, and technical analysis. He owns and manages Quaint Media, and is the co-founder of Media Affiliate, a digital investment agency based in Dallas, TX. During his free time, he likes traveling, reading, and sharing his thoughts on personal finance, business, and crypto on BoostMyDream.com.
What have you found to be the biggest challenge as an immigrant in your field?
One of the biggest challenges during my early days was financial backing. I do not come from a wealthy family. My parents did OK but we didn’t have the financial luxury to allocate a ton of money into a new business. I had to bootstrap my first marketing and web development company which I started out of a rented basement in Chicago. Aside from that, Indian-Americans often end up becoming doctors, engineers, and management professionals. Not many were entrepreneurs back in the days unlike today. So, it was tricky to find someone you could partner up with. We were not wealthy, and we did not know many wealthy people either! So, I had to work at different places until I did not have to any longer. If you have ideas but you do not have the money, that can set you back a few years.
What motivates you to keep pursuing your dreams?
If you don’t have a goal, you don’t have a direction. I like giving back to the community and do the best I can for my family. My mom was the kind of person who’d give up her entire paycheck to help someone in need. Over the years, her selfless acts of kindness taught me one simple thing: if you really want to be happy, you have to make others happy. I work with a couple of non-profits that cater to underserved communities. My involvement with them not only helps me understand the harsh reality in this country…located far away from Wall Street but also does it make me want to do more. I believe in doing things that make you happy. I lost both my parents, and I do not have siblings. This experience of life and all the things in it that we are going through is temporary, and I want to become the best version of myself, and hopefully, I will pass some knowledge and good deeds on to my daughters so the cycle can continue. My eldest daughter is about to turn 15, and she already volunteered with multiple non-profits in Chicago.
What advice would you give to others that want to pursue their passion?
Identify what you’re good at and be the best at it! Do whatever it is that makes you happy. Travel. Do not keep the traveling part for later years because traveling helps you evolve at a whole new level. Accept and appreciate random acts of kindness and hospitality from strangers. There’s more to reality than what’s portrayed in the news. Think of money as a tool that you can grow to have more options for yourself and for others. Learn a foreign language; will open up a world of possibilities that you never knew existed. Do not do or buy things to impress others who do not care about you! Use social media as a tool to connect with others, but always remember that you will have a much better time if you can retrain yourself to look up and around and enjoy the real world around you, as opposed to looking down at your phone!
What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as an entrepreneur that would you like to share with others?
A few years ago, I used to own and run a retail food business where we’d receive job applications all the time. Our hiring process would involve a formal interview followed by a background check which usually would flag applicants with prior convictions or public records. I had hired this guy who ran into issues with law enforcement a few years prior despite others trying to talk me out of the idea. The guy turned out to be an asset for the business long term. Customers loved him. I believe in giving others a second chance. We all deserve chances in life and to be fair, we all have received it in the past…How many chances have you received from your parents when you were little?…and even when you were older? People do turn their lives around when given the opportunity!
Who was your biggest influence that inspires you to pursue your dreams in this country?
My biggest influence was my dad who always highlighted the importance of having and nurturing relationships when it comes to prosperity in other areas of life. He was frugal, unlike my mom. But, his focus was to ensure that that the three of us do not ever run into financial hardship. He believed in being friends with everyone. Regardless of their color, religion, or background. Two of my other major influences are Anthony Bourdain and Warren Buffet. Both of them, however different, share a common trait: simplicity. Buffet tells us how you can achieve your dream simply by sticking to what you know, and Bourdain showed us how to identify and cherish the simple things in life. As Bono said, America is an idea. It is an idea that’s always seeking perfection, even though it is aware that perfection is almost never achievable. We are fortunate to be a part of this fantastic country!