Entrepreneurs can come from a wide range of backgrounds, as well as financial and personal support structures. However, starting a business and seeing it through to success requires a diverse mix of confidence, risk tolerance, self-discipline, determination, and competitiveness.
It takes a lot to take an idea—or a talent for a trade or specialized profession—and turn it into something tangible. However, the risk, work ethic, and single-mindedness required for making the idea work turned these successful entrepreneurs into unrivaled business builders.
The largest minority real estate developer in New York City is Brisa Builders Corp, and Omar Wala can be attributed to many of its successes, with over a billion dollars in construction contracts in the last five years.
However, Wala says that the success didn’t come overnight, but as he further explains, there are a few things that helped him get where he is now—namely, his grandfather.
“Since I was a child, I always adored my grandfather and perhaps wanted to be the most like him,” says Wala. “He embodied what I thought to be the perfect man: intelligent, good-looking, successful, a family man, but most importantly, he seemed to have earned the respect of everyone he ever came across.”
Wala further explains that his grandfather was his greatest teacher in life, as he taught Wala the most valuable lesson ever: the importance of hard work and the importance of being an entrepreneur.
“My grandfather always encouraged me to work by hiring me after school, during summer vacations, and that’s when I learned the ropes of running a business and having responsibility,” says Omar Wala.
“One of the first things he ever taught me was how to be my own man. When I worked for him, my grandfather would always make pay relevant to the amount of work I was willing to contribute and not just a salary,” Wala explains. “My grandfather would always say that a salary limits growth but that most people choose wages because it provides stability, but if I wanted to be my own man, I would need to overcome the fear of the risk that is associated with being an entrepreneur.”
According to Wala, besides his grandfather, the time he spent abroad also played a significant role in shaping his entrepreneurial attitude.
“As a kid in the summer times, I would be registered for these trips that went to different regions in the world. On one of the trips, we saw all different parts of Italy, Greece, the United Kingdom, France, and that’s when I realized something: the world was vast, and the opportunities were immense,” says Wala.
“I also realized that if I focused on myself and my skills that I could become so much more than the boy from Brooklyn,” Omar Wala explains. “That’s why I strive every day to create what I saw that families across the world had created by entrepreneurship.”