Immigrant Hustle: 100 Success Stories from American Entrepreneurs Born Offshore — Kenneth Fomunung

This article originally appeared on Medium and was written by Amine Rahal.

What’s your name, company name, and title?

Kenneth Fomunung, Founder and CEO, Enrich My Brand.

Which country did you emigrate from?

Cameroon

What was the most difficult thing you faced when you arrived?

Well, I had culture shock coming from a small, third world country to the vast United States with its variety of at once integrated and segregated cultures. I had to adjust in many ways, none more initially challenging than being understood by my new peers in school due to a then heavy accent.

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Why did you choose to become an entrepreneur? (c.f. What triggered you?).

Two words: my parents. Both my parents but particularly my mother, have always had a knack for entrepreneurship — growing up, I would witness her pursue one venture after another even while maintaining gainful employment. I suppose you could say I inherited that same zeal for business. However, beyond that parental influence, I have come to believe in the pursuit of happiness as only time and financial freedom can deliver us, hence my decision to become a successful entrepreneur in my own right. Most importantly, I want to make more than just a living, I want to make a difference, and being an entrepreneur is one great way to accomplish that longstanding personal goal.

What was the most difficult thing you faced when you first started your business?

Where do I begin — uncertainty, fear, and insecurity, to name a few? I had no clients, no significant savings, no loan, no line of credit, and no investors. I would say that the most difficult thing I faced was the prospect of succumbing to my fears and giving up before I even started in earnest. I took a leap of faith and quit my job to start my business. My business plan would come the following day.

Why do you think you have been successful?

Beyond my faith, I would attribute my success to a high emotional quotient or intelligence and willingness to be a student of life so to speak. I am constantly learning to hone my craft, to polish my skills, and to grow personally and professionally. Oftentimes, people focus on Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and think that the smartest people undoubtedly succeed in business. But, as for me, it’s been my ability to network and build mutually beneficial relationships that have allowed me to get off to a fast start in business. I’ve been able to connect with people almost effortlessly and show them that I am genuine, will go to bat for them, will remain loyal during times of adversity, and go above and beyond to meet their needs. I believe it is for this reason my former employer agreed to become my first client.

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What advice do you have for newly arrived immigrants that want to pursue the path of entrepreneurship?

Identify your passion because your purpose in life is often found where your passion lies. Moreover, if you are passion-driven in business, you’ll love what you do, and you’ll be good at it too. I believe that in the United States — the veritable land of opportunity — if you do what you do well enough for long enough, you will be rewarded handsomely in due time, all things being equal.