Immigrant of the Week: Nellie Akalp, Serial Entrepreneur From Iran

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My motto is: “Do what you love and love what you do each and every day and if you’re going to do it, do it to win it… otherwise, why do it at all?” – Nellie Akalp

Living with an Entrepreneurial Ethos

When she was just five, Nellie Akalp and her parents left Iran for America, settling in the greater Los Angeles area. Like a great many immigrant families, they set up their own business. In this case, they opened a Persian antique store. That spirit of self-help and entrepreneurial perspective became embedded in Nellie.

She was a good student, good enough to get through law school at the University of LaVerne, located in Southern California. She and her husband didn’t go the corporate law route, serving as an associate for a partner in a big firm, nor did they become in-house counsel anywhere. “Fresh out of law school, she launched an online business with her husband after purchasing a domain name for $100.”

Their first business was an online incorporation service to help new companies legally incorporate or form an LLC. Forming a corporation requires a specialized knowledge that few people running start-ups have. Just forming a corporation in one state rather than another can have huge tax consequences. Forming a corporation is extremely important in American business because doing so protects the owners’ personal assets from lawsuits. Nellie and her husband’s first business was a huge success almost immediately.

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Our two-bedroom apartment was quickly filled with office supplies, outgoing customer packages, and ringing telephones. Frankly, we were surprised by the overwhelming customer demand for our honest, time-saving, and affordable incorporation services,” recalls Mrs. Akalp.” Intuit (the makers of Quickbooks and Turbo Tax) acquired our first business from us in 2005 for a substantial sum of cash. We never ‘had to’ work again!”

Normally, this is where the story ends with “and they lived happily ever after” having made their American dream come true and having put $20 million in their pockets. Except, it doesn’t end there.

“At barely 30 years of age, we had ‘retired’ …and we HATED it! We soon discovered that we were ‘Entrepreneurs’ – Owning and operating a business is the only way we can achieve that true ‘Mind, Body, & and Soul’ balance that is a critical element or our happiness.”

So, they created Corpnet.com. “At CorpNet, Nellie assists entrepreneurs across all 50 states to start a business, incorporate, form an LLC, and apply for trademarks. She also offers free business compliance tools for any entrepreneur to utilize.”

She devotes her time to not only building out her flourishing small business helping other entrepreneurs succeed but packing lunches, checking homework and changing diapers. Nellie has perfected the balance of being a mom , the CEO of CorpNet.com, and maintaining a healthy relationship with her husband and business partner of 14 years.”

Moreover, she shares the wisdom of her years (which makes her sound much older than she is, but she has packed a lot of learning into the time she has been in business). She writes or has written for the Huffington Post, Mashable, Small Business Trends, Entrepreneur, and AllBusiness.com to name a few.

Now let’s listen to Nellie Akalp in her own words:

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Starting a Business? Advice from Corpnet's CEO, Nellie Akalp


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