Featured Member: December // Featured Member // News // Dec 01 2015

 

Shabnam Lofti

What is your background? What got you to where you are now?

I attended the University of Wisconsin Law School. I always wanted to be a lawyer. After graduating, I saw that many of the international community members were struggling with the immigration process. Many of my friends needed help immigrating to the US. And so, I started practicing as an immigration attorney.

What business do you own/work for?

Lotfi Legal LLC

What made you decide to start your business?   

Honestly, the job market was not good when I graduated from law school. It seemed like the only option.

What is your biggest accomplishment so far in life and why?

“I always say that March 28, 2007 was the happiest day of my life. It was the day that I was accepted to the University of Wisconsin Law School. I had worked so hard and studied for so long. At the time, I wanted to get into law school (and not just any law school, but UW Madison) more than anything else in life. It truly was a dream come true.

Aside from that, I would say that being fearless and brave is an accomplishment. Things are scary when they are new. I resigned from a well paying job before I started my own business. It took me about 6 months to finally submit my letter of resignation. I knew that I was underemployed. I believed that something bigger and better was out there for me. It took a lot of courage to make that move, to let go of the familiar and venture out into the unknown.”

What is your biggest accomplishment in your business and why?

“Staying afloat is an accomplishment. The first six months of starting a business are just full of obstacles and challenges. I can understand why many small businesses end up closing shop after 1-2 years. It’s a lot of work, with little or no reward. Pushing through those hard times when it feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel is probably my biggest accomplishment.

In addition, I think seeing happy faces on my clients is an accomplishment. To me, it is a privilege to work and serve as an attorney. I feel honored to have the job I have. When clients put their trust in me, I feel the most amazing feeling inside. I feel that I have earned their trust and with that comes great responsibility. “

What is the biggest obstacle that you have face while in business? What is the biggest fear that you have for your business?

Like most businesses, small or big, getting clients and penetrating the market is the biggest obstacle I face.

If you could give one quote to live by, what would it be?

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.” – Rocky Balboa (2006)

What words of advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

I’m going to offer the brutal truth. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. There is uncertainty and lots of instability. You don’t always know what you are doing. You don’t always know where you next paycheck is going to come from. There is no manual. And even if there was, there are no answers in the back of the book. So you need to have the ability to embrace the unknown. You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you can do that, you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish. One day, you will look back and say, “Wow! I can’t believe I did that!”

Sign up for our newsletter Audacity in Action

You have Successfully Subscribed!