An immigrant arrives in Canada with hopes of taking up the existing career they had in their home country. The harsh reality hits home when they find that their credentials don’t count for much in their new home, Canada. Now what?

Enter the entrepreneurial spirit, creating a business from past experience or maybe it’s the urge to fulfill a need or even finding a business that fits both need and opportunity is the appropriate thinking process.

A client of mine, Gerardo Lopez, is an educated man, from El Salvador. He has been in Canada for less than 5 years and has brought his mother with him. Gerardo has his Canadian citizenship. He sought employment but was constantly under-employed until he decided to start his own business; any business that he could make a living for him and his mother.

Gerardo decided an easy entry entrepreneurial endeavour was a janitorial business (www.technicleanindustries.org) . Gerardo is an organized, very competent man with a strong sense of commitment and hard working so a janitorial business where he could work at night by himself was ideal.

When he opened his janitorial business he managed a small staff of like minded immigrants. His English in his mind was marginal and he was fearful that he was not accepted as a real entrepreneur.  In fact his English was university level.  He came upon a system where he could buy janitorial contracts from others which would give him working relationships already setup and allow him to employ his mother and others with whom he felt comfortable.

He sought ready-made contracts because he was unsure and maybe a little afraid of trying to find them himself. His fear was how could a Janitor convince a CEO that the latter needed his services. It became clear that Gerardo’s self esteem in a new country had left him feeling inadequate.

Faced with this reality it became clear that he thought of himself only as a janitor. I pointed out that he was the CEO of his business  and if he could actually believe that then he could talk to his clients in a different frame of mind.

Add a suit, a different attitude and a new found confidence and Gerardo the janitor became Gerardo the CEO of his own company. It’s much easier to talk to a President of a small company when you are at the same level. Gerardo rose to the occasion.

It’s a matter of confidence and once Gerardo realized he and his client were both businessmen he had found his common ground.

Talking business is easy once you have established a commonality. The janitor became the Entrepreneur. He secured the contract!

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