Tackling financial spreadsheets. Speaking with investors. Developing a competitive brand. Drinking way too much coffee.
These days, I am learning more about myself than I ever expected, something I am sure other young entrepreneurs understand.
For me, dedicating my life to my business has forced me to examine my roots.
After careful reflection, I have reached a humble conclusion: My passion for success stems from my immigrant parents' prime example of entrepreneurship, which they put into practice by thriving and contributing to a new country.
The year was 1996.
My aunt bathed me under the bright Sudanese sun, like she always did. But this time she shed tears that steadily rolled down her cheeks into the bathwater.
She would soon send me off to join my family’s goodbye party before boarding the plane.
We were venturing to America.
Twenty years later, here I am examining how my parents’ decision to come to the United States lay a solid foundation for me as an individual and a businesswoman.
The determination and drive my parents held for our family to have a better life informed my own ambitions, which flourished into a beautiful business venture: NaturAll Club.
With the presidential debate season in full swing, immigration has been the hot topic of many campaigns and news headlines.
As one can imagine, this is an important issue for me.
Not simply because I am an immigrant turned US citizen, but because I am one of many young businesspersons who make up the entrepreneurial fabric of this country.
Think about it: As immigrants, my parents were inherently entrepreneurial.
Submitting one’s name in the United States visa lottery is the proposal. Boarding a plane to the unknown is the risk.
Finding a new home is registering your trademark.
Settling into a new routine is following the business plan.
My folks identifying America as the opportune place for prosperity was not coincidence. Giving back through the legacy of offspring was always at the forefront of their minds.
It is no wonder immigrants are found to have some of the highest business ownership and formation rates in the country.
According to the US Small Business Association, roughly one out of every 10 immigrant workers owns a business.
Additionally, a report from the Partnership for a New American Economy found more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.
The investments made by successful immigrants in this country are often overlooked, yet they are very much a part of the United States’ historical and industrial successes.
Entrepreneurship is the American Dream.
It serves as the connecting thread of our melting pot and is arguably our official, national language.
Here are three reasons why:
A vision is a long-term plan.
Whether you are a budding engineer from Pennsylvania, or an immigrant with an idea for disrupting logistics, entrepreneurial individuals see where they want to be and create a strategy around it.
Their work is not limited to what they are doing in that precise moment.
They strive to reach that bigger goal. All successful entrepreneurs need to have an expansive vision that will help determine their everyday activities, strategies and goals.
Like starting a business venture, moving from one country to another is an exceptional challenge.
For my parents, one major challenge was the ability to give their children a valuable education, so we could prosper and make pathways for generations to come.
Entrepreneurs also have a lot of uncertainties, such as funding, cash flow and business growth. But like any investment professional would tell you, a healthy amount of risk yields returns that are worth it.
To create something from nothing requires a grit and determination.
Immigrants have to create a new life for themselves in a new land, much like the entrepreneur who quits his or her day job for his or her passion.
For my family, we went from sharing space in a family member’s home to owning our own house. Entrepreneurs know hard work is needed to provide themselves the best opportunity.
Collectively, we challenge these uncertainties for the hopes of a greater reward for ourselves and others: our families or customers.
The payoff, whether financial or social capital, ultimately creates a sense of self that affirms your role in society.
The calculated risks immigrants have taken and continue to take are done in a style unique to their circumstances. They leave sizable impacts on the American Dream.
It's a dream so revered, it is fiercely sought by the people who understand the freedoms and virtue of America.
As I continue working on my hair care company, NaturAll Club, I hope I can take from the lessons passed to me by my hard-working parents, in order to improve on my venture.
While I am on my journey, I will encourage the entrepreneur in you by chronicling the start of my business through the good, the bad and the pivotal stages.