Take risks and be resilient. You must take risks in order to achieve something out of the ordinary. My family took a huge risk leaving everything behind to immigrate to the US and I must continue to take risks to make that worthwhile.
Is the American Dream still alive? If you speak to many of the immigrants we spoke to, who came to this country with nothing but grit, resilience, and a dream, they will tell you that it certainly is still alive.
As a part of our series about immigrant success stories, I had the pleasure of interviewing Muamer Avdic.
Muamer is a tech entrepreneur who immigrated from Bosnia and Herzegovina as a young child. Muamer has been in the eCommerce industry for over 10 years with experience founding multiple companies, including an expedited logistics company that was successfully acquired in 2019. His most recent venture is Ladels.com, a web-based shipping software for eCommerce.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in an ever-changing environment. My parents decided to leave our home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina when I was two months old in order to escape war and genocide. We left for Slovenia in 1991 and lived in a Red Cross center for over a year. After that, my parents made the move to Germany with hopes of finding a home there. We lived in Germany for about five years before moving to the United States. Our first stop in the US was Washington D.C., where we lived for about a year.
As a young child, it took a while for me to find my home. I did not feel like my home was in the United States until we made the permanent move to a small town in Central Pennsylvania. It was not always easy, but my parents did everything they could to give me the best childhood possible given the circumstances.
Was there a particular trigger point that made you emigrate to the US? Can you tell us the story?
The trigger point that made us leave Bosnia was the war and genocide that the country was going through between 1991–1995. My parents made the difficult decision to leave as soon as they could, which was soon after war broke out, and after that, the search for our new home was not an easy one. We ultimately decided to emigrate to the US from Germany because Germany could not be a permanent home for us, and the United States was accepting immigrants like my family that were escaping the war.
Can you tell us the story of how you came to the USA? What was that experience like?
Before my family and I came to the US, I was starting to become assimilated to life in Germany. I was picking up on the language, making friends, and starting to feel at home. We spent about five years in Germany, so leaving to another country was not easy. Life in the US was very tough at the beginning. Since we could not really communicate with anyone in English, my parents struggled to make ends meet and find good schools or a decent job. Once we were able to communicate with others from Bosnia that were in a similar situation to us, we decided to move to Pennsylvania where we knew a few people and had somewhat of a community there.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped make the move more manageable? Can you share a story?
This person is most definitely my father. His resilience and perseverance to change my life for the better is something that I will hold onto forever. Both of my parents were incredibly open minded and accepting of the whole process and they have always allowed me to pursue my dreams without getting in the way or pushing me to do one thing over another. They never asked me to follow the status quo, because their life and their decisions were far from what they expected it to be when they were my age. My father always encouraged me to be myself and be creative. He gave guidance but let me learn from my own mistakes. I think that mindset is what lead me to who I am today and influenced me to make decisions that shaped my personal life, my career, and my own views.
So how are things going today?
Things are going great today. I am incredibly grateful. The US has allowed me to pursue my dreams, build multiple companies, get married to my dream girl, buy a home, travel, and much more. I have done things in my life that I am incredibly proud of and you can say that I have achieved some version of The American Dream, but I do not plan on stopping anytime soon. There have been ups and downs along the way and I still have so much to learn, but if I am doing things that give me purpose, it is all worth it to me.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
One of my goals is to help those with small businesses grow. Ever since I was 17, I have had some sort of small business and relate a lot to people trying to start something of their own. I think about where I would be and what my life would be like if I did not immigrate to the US all the time, and I want to be a leader for those that have dreams of creating something of their own like I did throughout my life. I have encouraged many people around me to start their own business and try something new. My current company, Ladels.com, aims to help small online businesses grow in the competitive eCommerce marketplace. There are so many talented, creative people and my goal is to provide a platform for them to grow.
You have first hand experience with the US immigration system. If you had the power, which three things would you suggest to improve the system?
–Immigration should always be about humanity rather than politics,race, religion, etc.
-Protect family union and put an end to family separation.
-Provide a solid path for immigrants. This includes job assistance, health insurance, and community guidance to get them on their feet.
Can you share “5 keys to achieving the American dream” that others can learn from you? Please share a story or example for each.
- Take risks and be resilient. You must take risks in order to achieve something out of the ordinary. My family took a huge risk leaving everything behind to immigrate to the US and I must continue to take risks to make that worthwhile.
- You will get a lot of “no’s” before getting “yes’s”. Accept feedback and criticism and use it to grow. Don’t give up or hold back on your dreams because of the fear of getting rejected. In business, you’ll get a lot of “no’s” before you getting “yes’s”.
- Adaptation is necessary to grow. As I mentioned before, adaptation is necessary. Be ready to pivot when needed but hold on to your main goal.
- Start small but think big. Your first product, idea, or decision will likely feel small compared to the result, and your first venture most likely will not be your final one. Start with something attainable and work your way up to your goals.
- Aim for the “small” wins. It is difficult to have a one-billion-dollar idea, but you can have many smaller ideas that you can build on. Whether these are side businesses, hobbies, or new ventures, creating many small businesses is easier and often overlooked compared to creating one big business.
We know that the US needs improvement. But are there 3 things that make you optimistic about the US’s future?
I am incredibly optimistic for the future because of today’s youth that will be running the US one day. People today are a lot more accepting and open minded which I think will do a lot of good for the future of the US and the world overall. Another thing that makes me optimistic is the resources that are available to people in the US. We are incredibly lucky to have the talent, economic resources, and education that we have here in the US. I am optimistic because despite its issues, the US is still a leader in the world in many ways. It is a leader through its economics, innovation, diversity, education, and much more.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to have a conversation with Elon Musk. His way of thinking really resonates with me. He continues to work on complex ideas that are moving humans forward and continues to push us as humans to think about not only the world we live in, but what we will leave behind.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
LinkedIn is the best way to follow my work.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!