‘I Am Small Business Proud’ Campaign Shares Story of Immigration Lawyer

This week, Capital One’s I Am Small Business Proud campaign is making stops in Texas to interview entrepreneurs in various industries. The nationwide trek is part of a 35-city tour by Brooklyn-based filmmakers Trisha Dalton and John Sears who are “gathering exclusive content and insights into the lives of small business owners,” according to their rep.

Starting a Law Firm

On Monday, the filmmakers visited Austin, Texas where they interviewed Vi Nanthaveth, founder of an immigration law firm. Like many who migrate to America, Nanthaveth started her business after gaining experience in her profession.

Vi Nanthaveth

“I almost feel like [immigration law] was something that fell on my lap,” says Nanthaveth. “I love immigration law because I feel like all the different people I get to meet, … it reminds me of what [my family] went through.”

Nanthaveth was born in Vientane, the capital city of Laos. Her family moved to the United States when she was three-and-a-half years old, and they were stationed in a refugee camp.

Adversity

Being an entrepreneur brings many challenges, including constant expenses and the lack of steady cash flow in the beginning of a venture. However, outstanding service will eventually lead to referrals and word-of-mouth marketing.

“I always wanted to open up my own law firm,” says the Austin-based lawyer. “At the beginning when I first started this [firm], there’s nothing in school … that truly prepares you for what opening up your own business is going to be like. So I have a few scars. At first, I was just [asking myself] ‘When is the phone going to ring?’.”

Nanthaveth says that a sizable portion of her business now comes from referrals. Being sympathetic to the plight of clients is a primary driver of her success.

“I couldn’t really think of going back to working for someone else at this point.”

I Am Small Business Proud

Trisha Dalton and John Sears departed from New York City on April 3rd and are currently traveling 7,300 miles across the country. They have five weeks left on their journey.

According to the Small Business Administration, nearly one-half of U.S. workers are employed by companies with less than 500 employees. Small companies accounted for 64 percent of the net new jobs created between 1993 and 2011.

Interest in entrepreneurship is growing among young U.S. adults. ABC’s venture capital reality show “Shark Tank” is now among the top two shows among viewers 18 to 49 years old.

You can follow the filmmakers’ voyage through the hashtag #SmallBizProud. Capital One’s YouTube page also has video features of the entrepreneurs.

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