9 Ways Thinking Like an Immigrant will Get You Rich
How Immigrant Entrepreneur Values Can Make You Rich
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change,” writes three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, in his 2011 book, That Used to Be Us. In it, he encourages Americans to get back in touch with their immigrant spirit by looking to the values and attitudes of immigrants as a guiding light.
Friedman’s point is that immigrant entrepreneurs, by necessity, have always had to be adaptable to change, by virtue of having to uproot, resettle and find a way to survive—and that when we harness this mentality, we can do great things.
Chew on this for a minute: most entrepreneurs in America are immigrants or first generation. In 2010, more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or by the children of immigrants. Although they make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, immigrants are responsible for a quarter of all new businesses. Research conducted by EthniFacts shows that immigrants in the United States consistently exceed the rest of the population in optimism and in aspiration to reinvent themselves through hard work and entrepreneurism.
The bottom line is that immigrants are natural-born entrepreneurs. They understand the self-made mindset because they have to; it’s also their way of coping with the inevitable ups and downs of life. Immigrants don’t subscribe to magical thinking, and instead tend to be more resilient and determined to bounce back from setbacks and to do a lot with a little because they understand that uncertainty is a part of life.
When you adopt the values of immigrant entrepreneurs as you kickstart your self-made journey, you essentially bootstrap your way to success. Here are 9 ways you can start thinking like immigrant entrepreneurs, so that you can rewrite the economic stories of your families and create true abundance.
1. You live in one of the best places in the world for women and for business.
The U.S. is the land of a opportunity—it’s a cliche because it’s true. Use your environment to max out your visions. Know that there is a myriad of not only opportunities here, but also a wealth of hidden money, from government contracts, grants and tax incentives, to SBA loans, contests and more. Milk it and be grateful!
2. Be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up.
Swallow your pride, roll up your sleeves and be willing to do whatever it takes to climb towards your goal. No task is too menial when you’re on the self-made path. Each step leads you to the next, and it all happens one phase at a time.
3. Give up your sense of entitlement. It’s not serving you.
Your ego is the first thing you need to toss as you get on the road to becoming self-made. Humility, sacrifice, perseverance, stamina and willingness are the kinds of words you should embrace, the ones that should replace any traces of entitlement.
4. You and your family are in it together. Work as a team.
There is strength in numbers, and power in collaboration—and there is no better arsenal of people to rally than your family. Why? Because as your relatives, they have skin in the game, and as such, are stakeholders in whatever endeavor you attempt to create.
5. Start early and leave late, in everything you do.
Here’s another cliche we love: time is money. So it’s safe to say the more time you invest, the more money you can make. That manicure can wait—but your economic future, not so much.
6. Every road has a business lesson to teach you.
Keep you eyes open at every moment, because there is wisdom in every experience. Learn not only to try lots of different things, but to also distill lessons at every turn.
7. Entrepreneurship takes passion and stamina.
Remember, you are training to be an owner. Being an entrepreneur is not a sprint—it’s a long distance marathon. To succeed, you have to be willing to stay the course, even when it feels like nothing is working out.
8. Start with your own community.
Immigrant entrepreneurs always begin with their own people. Look for those like you who are underserved and sell to them first. Always remember that people are your power.
9. Get out of survival mode.
Survival mode means you are living paycheck to paycheck or, even worse, living off someone else’s paycheck. Then some catastrophic thing happens in your life, and you find yourself defenseless, hopeless. Maybe even homeless. Don’t wait until a catastrophic moment in your life forces you to reality check your magical thinking. Prepare for life’s curve-balls by working toward the goal of a secure future—today.