5 Mistakes Immigrant Entrepreneurs Make in America

5 Mistakes Immigrant Entrepreneurs Make in America
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

How different would your life be without Google?

What if there was no Intel?

What if eBay never launched?

One thing is for certain--the world would be a very different place without the immigrant entrepreneurs who started these companies.

According to a study by the New American economy, more than 40 percent of the 2010 Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.

If you are an immigrant entrepreneur yourself or care about someone who is, this article will touch on some common mistakes that might prevent you from starting your new venture.

Li Lin, the founder of Immigrant CEO School, says:” The biggest shock that I experienced I moved to the US was losing my identity.

I went from being a top student living with an extended family to living with a single mother and being held back a grade, and transitioning her beliefs from what she learned from atheism in a Communist country to a small Catholic school that held mass every Friday morning.

It didn’t feel like I was going to the land of opportunity, it felt like losing home.“

Dr. Perpetua Neo

“People fail to get that identity is fluid and constructed. When we believe our identity is prescribed to us from our home country or static, we feel guilt and shame for daring to taste what a new culture can give to you.

You’ve brought yourself to a new country, to a new experience. To want to live exactly like you live in your home country is like living in the past. This is an illusion because you are not physically there. “

To continuously become better, she suggests “ think of yourself as a book, you’re going through many chapters. “

Patricia Bottero St. Jean

Many modern immigrants who arrive at a new country are doctors, lawyers, engineers, PhDs, diplomats, and have established reputations and may fear losing what they built up.

You can correct course if you are on the wrong one, but if you don’t startthere is no feedback to learn from.

Patricia Bottero-St. Jean, French-born American entrepreneur of Business Ownership Lab explains that franchises can be a great way to minimize risk for immigrant entrepreneurs, especially those who are older.

“When you are 25 years old, you can take all the risk that you want, but if you already have an established reputation and older, it is best to follow a franchise model that suits your personality, skill set, and already has a proven successful blueprint so that you insure more chances of success for your new business."

No matter how far away you might be from your home, with the internet, many connections are possible.

Reelika Schulte, Estonian-born American entrepreneur, was able to find a facebook group called Estonians in Minnesota with a simple search, and has since built up an amazing passive income from networking online and connecting with their clients.

Dr. Neo also addresses an important obstacles for cultures that emphasize modesty: “They don’t think they have the right things to say even if they speak the native language.

Some cultures are steeped in modesty and trained to keep quiet and bottled up. When they encounter an American trained since preschool for show and tell, it can be very intimidating

To sort this out, you can prepare an elevator speech, can be as simple as script, hi I am ____, I help ____ to _____.


When you announce to the world that you’re starting a business, you may get heartfelt congratulations, but you also might get naysayers who give you the wrong advice.

Tepsii, a South-African born copywriter and business coach for 6 figure and 7 figure entrepreneurs, had naysayers who doubted her ability when she first started out.

Her communications teacher in college said that she was not a good writer. But instead of giving up, Tepsii said “ I come from a family of point provers. Tell us we can’t and we will show you how. “

In her first 2 months of business as a copywriter, she was able to generate $25,000 and quit her job. By month four, she was able to retire her husband from a career as a federal lawyer.

Fast forward a few years and she has since been featured on Oprah, Cosmopolitan magazine with people approaching her for features. Tepsii is also the brains behind the salespage of many 6 figure (and some 7 figure) launches in the online coach and consultant space.

Despite the fact she seems to be an overnight success, Tepsii said that her business was the culmination of 12 years of studying, researching, and planning. Along the way she faced many different failures that she was able to lean on to build her successes.

Tepsii suggests that immigrant entrepreneurs lean in to passions and create businesses based on what they enjoy. Along the way you should listen to what resonates with you, and drop the criticism that won’t help you in their career or business.

“Your business is to be great, so just shine.”

You can experience all of the fears and sabotages listed above, and still thrive, if you get the right guidance.

The tops in every field have a team of coaches, mentors, and experts to help them.

Having the right guidance conserves your time and energy-- you can stumble blindly through a mountain of books and courses for the next 10 year, and in the meantime feel completely thrown by it, wanting to give up especially when things go a little awry.

Or you can decide a different path-- by taking guidance from someone from a proven system, by someone who’s been there or done that, you can learn from the wisdom, master yourself, grow to new levels that you might not expected in the past.

Your coaches may also introduce you into a new network which may help you grow your social skills and social capital.

When we are aware of potential mistakes, we are much more able to prevent them first so we can move forward and create our new next ventures.



P.S.: Learn more about our contributors here:

Learn more about Dr. Perpetua Neo

Learn more about Tepsii

Learn more about Patricia Bottero St. Jean

Learn more about Reelika Schulte

To learn more about Li Lin

Popular in the Community


What's Hot