Asami’s children and the desire to provide more income to support her family drove her toward a career change. Now an award-winning bookkeeper, Asami runs her own business and credits much of her success to her studies through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
As one of her children requires full-time care, Asami wanted to be able to work from home in the hours she had available. A friend introduced her to bookkeeping as a career and she decided to give it a try. In 2016 she enrolled in a (now superceded) programme at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to help learn about running a business.
While challenging, the programme allowed her to connect with many people and guided her through everything she needed to know to start a business. In September that year, she took the leap and started out as a bookkeeper.
"I was very shy and didn’t talk much, but I observed everything and everyone. As Japanese, we are not very good at open discussion and public speaking. I just had to be patient and build relationships and work on things bit by bit."
In 2018, Asami completed the Diploma in Business, giving her the confidence to approach her kaiako (teacher) about running a Xero workshop for her fellow tauira. She now goes back every year to run the same workshop for Diploma tauira.
Asami also completed the Certificate in Money Management in 2019, with kaiako, Hamish Anderson, who she describes as a typical energetic kiwi guy, with a lot of knowledge to impart.
"He told me to think about the glass ceiling. Although you may want to go further, if you are a sole trader, you are putting in a glass ceiling that will stop you. I ended up setting up a company, and I have hired another bookkeeper to help me. My goal is to have three employees so I can ease off working and do other things."
Asami hopes to run webinars for other Japanese wanting to start a business in NZ. She plans to offer advice so people can make good business decisions from the beginning and find their own support network.
In 2022, Asami won the ICNZB Bookkeeper of the Year award and she was a finalist in the Trainer of the Year category.
Asami attends many networking events, building connections and growing her business. She often recommends Te Wānanga o Aotearoa as a great place to learn.
"I’m finding that the business courses are getting more international, and there is no barrier for non-native English-speaking business owners in the classes. Everyone is welcomed and supported."