From the small business owners I have met, I have heard many stories of resilience and success. But my interview this week on The Small Business Radio Show is different. Rarely have I heard someone that overcame so many cultural, physical and financial obstacles for success.
Harma Hartouni is a self-made entrepreneur who owns a real estate company employing hundreds of residential and commercial real estate agents in Southern California, and runs the #1 ranked real estate business in his region. His memoir, “Getting Back Up: A Story of Resilience, Self-Acceptance and Success”, tells the story of his life growing up in Iran with a father “who did not know how to love” and where he suffered from bullying and abuse as a teenager. Then, Harma almost died during a horrific car accident and was told that he would never walk again. He came to America as an outcast: gay Middle Eastern man and built the life of his dreams.
Interview with Harma Hartouni
Harma was going to be dentist here, but he was broke and had to get a real job to support his family. He begged a real estate agent for an assistant position. His first year, Harma sold 21 homes and his career took off. He proudly purchased the company 5 years later (and quit dental school).
He believes that as the CEO, you should not be the sole focus of your business; “Helping the people around you grow and thrive inspires dedication and ownership especially during the pandemic.”
Harma says that the question you must ask yourself before choosing a business partner is: “If I am about to die on a canoe and I am with my son , who will I hand my son to take care of him? If the answer is not that person, they can’t be my business partner.”
He believes that every business leader needs a glass of “shut the F* up water” on their desk to become a better listener. “Whenever you are going to talk with someone in your office, drink (the stale water) instead. It forces you not to talk, stay quiet and listen. “
Listen to the entire journey on The Small Business Radio Show.
Image: Harma Hartouni