Lessons From Our Heritage

Arriving at Ellis Island was an emotional moment for our forebears. They were so overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunities to build a better life in America, many would drop to their knees and kiss the ground. They had many obstacles to overcome – language barriers, lack of resources, new laws and rules of etiquette. Yet, they were grateful for the opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of the next generation.

The current immigrants to our country are facing similar challenges, and many are succeeding despite them. In a study by the Partnership for a New American Economy, 18% of America’s largest companies were started by immigrants. A further 22% were founded by children of immigrants. It seems, you are more likely to be a successful entrepreneur if you were born abroad.

This research bears out my own personal experience. I have been blessed to meet hundreds of Independent Unfranchise owners who are new arrivals to America through my work with MARKET AMERICA. I have trained entrepreneurs in 10 different countries. I work alongside them, almost on a daily basis.

Here are some observations I have made along the way:

  • Many, perhaps most, of my newly transplanted global partners have a high level of motivation to make money. They are willing to work at things that are not necessarily fulfilling, so they can earn enough to take care of their parents and children. Americans, not all but many, have the attitude, if I don’t love doing it, I’m not doing it.
  • In America, many of us have embraced the 40-hour work week as a right. We are always looking for ways to get out of work. Immigrants are looking for opportunities to work more. Many are willing to work 2-3 jobs to help them get ahead.  In some, they are willing to work harder and longer to improve their chances of success.

I am proud to be an American, for sure. Like most Americans I descended from immigrants –Asian and European. Studying the attitude of modern day immigrants is an opportunity to learn anew from my grandparents. It reminds me of what it takes to live well now and leave a legacy for future generations.