From refugee to entrepreneur – How to deal with life challenges
By Fatima Gorezi
Edona Lloncari is an Albanian young lady who has been living in Belgium for more than 20 years, having migrated there due to war in her country. She has a masters degree in Human Resources.
She has worked for some years in the corporate world, but soon realised that she was not happy with the idea of having to work from 9 to 5 everyday. Eventually, she decided to open her company, Translating&Interpreting. CO. After 7 years in this sector she decided to work in the MLM sector and since then she has been living her best professional years ever. She is now a successful businesswoman helping people to develop and create the lifestyle they want.
From refugee to entrepreneur: What does it take to build a new career like Edona?
Starting all from scratch is not easy. Having to leave your home town to re-build life in another country, where one has to learn the local language, is actually pretty difficult. After completing a degree in Public Relations and a Masters in Human Resources, I got an employee job at Carrefour, at the headquarters in Belgium. After 3 years, I decided I didn’t want to work for someone else, so I opened my own Translation/ Interpreting Co; Worked for a little over 7 years in a row as T/I. However, I started to feel I was not doing enough. I was not using all my potential, so started to think about what I could do better, to help more people, not only in Belgium but elsewhere as well. Hence using my 6 languages (as a translator I was limited to 2 only), where I could have all my freedom, where I could have fun, travel a lot a meet lots of new people.
At the end of 2015, Forever (MLM sector), crossed my life. The best company I could ever have decided to collaborate with. I am now active a couple of countries. I feel blessed to be able to help others all around the world.
How do you remember your childhood and the time spent in Kosovo?
My childhood was perfect. My dad was well-known and a very respected personality; he was Director of a big auto company, whereas my mom had her own business in cosmetics. I would assist my dad in his daily tasks, as a personal assistant and would give a hand to my mom with her business. Those were really happy times. I am the eldest, Having two sisters and a brother, who I used to take care of when he was a little child.
I have always been people-oriented and always there to help/support whoever I could. When dad would give me money for school I would never ever spend it just for me: I would always give away half and sometimes all to poor children Occasionally I would even stay until the end of the lessons, without having eaten myself, just because I was happier to have made someone else happy. Witnessing others’ happiness always made me feel happy and I knew I wanted to continue doing this. It’s a feeling that can’t be described through words.
How did you found your path and what influenced you to start your entrepreneurial journey?
It was the desire to be an entrepreneur and help others do the same in order to live life and not just survive. Being able to impact other people’s lives is so noble, and within Forever, I can, so I feel blessed for this. Being able to have a home-based business but global at the same time is such a blessing.
You mentioned that the first months in business were difficult. How did you overcome that and what advice would you give others in your situation?
Beginnings are always difficult. I remember when I had my first child: he would cry, I would cry. With my second one it was different, I had become some kind of a “master”. Motivation will gets you started, determination and focus will keep you going. Always bear this in mind. In order to not be tempted and quit, always remember WHY you started. This will keep you on track. It is very important to invest in personal development. If the mindset is set right, if you believe, if you are not the kind of person who thinks they know everything (the one not open to learn), if you are ok in your comfort zone (house is burning but it’s OK), if you want to always please others and be liked by everyone, then chances are you stand far away from being a WINNER. But guess what: “change is possible if one wants to”.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
Wanting to impact others life. Seeing people happy, seeing that I am able to contribute to a better world, with less harshness, less jealousy, less hate, more love, sharing, and smile, truly are things that make me think that a goodness prevails and we are the ones who can make things better. At the end of the day, we all are seeking happiness and if we have found it for ourselves, why not share? This is the way I’ve always been and will be.
In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur?
MAGIC. Stop thinking what others are thinking or saying about you; this holds you back. The winners don’t practise this, so take example in them. Try to understand and use the rule of 80/20. My example is W.Buffett: do less, gain more.
If your brain can imagine it, this means that you can achieve it.
Work pays off, but not always those who work a lot are the happiest or the richest. It is those who find pleasure in doing what they are doing that are a good example to take (mine are Picasso, Michelangelo… who I don’t think were doing things in only thinking money. They made money because their passion was valued. One thing is certain; we create no long-lasting value, if we don’t take pleasure in doing it.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I wish I had known Forever earlier. My health is much better since then. I’ve found my body-shape and the self confidence I had lost due to extra kilos I had gained with my pregnancies and my hair and skin is so much better. Wish I had started to search for it before I did, but better a little late than never.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
First thing is to take an appointment with yourself, to think: “what do I really want”? Vision is important, so if you get to have a clear vision of what and where you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, then chances are you’ll get to it. The only condition is to MOVE, take actions, and even if you fall, you stand up, even if you are rejected, keep going. After every no, the YES gets closer. Affirmations and gratitude are to be practiced every single day, 100 times a day.
DESIRE, DETERMINATION, FOCUS, CONSISTENCY.
Also, it is very important to surround yourself with positive people. People who have vision, who want to go for it, people who encourage you, those who believe in you. We are the average of 5 people we frequent most, so better choose with the highest delicacy.
What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses and entrepreneurs in Europe ?
School doesn’t teach us to be entrepreneurs. We are told to finish school, get a degree, find a job and stay there for our entire life. This is not life. I want to see more people that have the courage to do what they want and not what the society would have them do. I will continue doing my best to empower women (and men) to get connected to their inner depths, to find what is that thing that would help create that self-belief that everything is possible.
If the mind has found a WHY, than the HOW will follow, whatever everyone around thinks or says. No plans necessary.