Arriving in Canada, Ardit hoped to get a job in finance, but quickly found himself shifting to a new career and starting his own business. This is his story.
“My grandfather used to say: ‘it is always better to move around in circles doing nothing than staying in the same place doing nothing. Because moving around in circles doing nothing will give you something to do.’
This is a life lesson I go by every day. Staying active all the time and away from distractions. I learned to strategize my life; I work very hard from October to March, and then I enjoy a good break for a week. I repeat the same and overload myself with work every quarter and then take a good vacation to relax.
I grew up in Albania until the age of 18, and then moved to a different city for university. When I graduated, I traveled to Germany for a year. Spent a year in Greece. Followed by a year in Italy. I landed different jobs; mostly in hospitality, such as waiter and bartender. Then I worked on a cruise ship for two and a half years. I have amazing stories, the best time of my life. You meet people from everywhere. Everything is amazing, you see different ports, cities, and cultures.
I never imagined I’ll get to be a traveler, not in a million years. I still do not know how I pulled it off. I have never stopped moving, like a nomad. You get to meet a lot of people, you get to make lots of friends, you get to know diverse cultures. And when I had travelled around and had enough, I found an opportunity in Seattle as a financial analyst. A year later, I came to Toronto in 2019.
I knew that to grow and be successful, I must change my strategy and have more time for networking where I will get to meet people. My new strategy became focused on my work, reading books, and attending events.
I faced a lot of challenges finding a job, I was focusing on finance because of my experience working in finance. I applied for over four thousand jobs in banking and insurance. I even applied for the lowest positions to get my foot in the door, but I did not get any calls back or anything. I had all the resumes updated, and still, nothing.
I learned about Jumpstart on Facebook, and I reached out. They helped me with my resume and networking events. I applied to the Welcome Talent Canada mentorship program. They put me in touch with one of the mentors from the banking industry. Since it was during a lockdown, we had our virtual coffee chats, went through a lot of strategies on how I can start, and we were progressing a lot.
Seeing how things were going in the banking world, I decided to get out of the banking industry and give my own project a shot. I started working with a friend of mine doing some painting work in Toronto as I was applying for jobs back in 2019. After the pandemic hit, everything became even more challenging. In 2021 we took our business more seriously and I started to get more involved. I was wearing different hats. Being the manager, bookkeeper, client relations, finances, I was fully invested in this startup.
By focusing on my painting business, I was able to meet my goals and achieve huge milestones. I can say that the proudest moment in my life was when I did my taxes this year and found that my business made 15% more than our goal. This was a huge moment for me.
Mentorship plays a huge role in our success. You can learn from the experience of the mentor, receive guidance, and have a path to walk on. Mentorship can help with every aspect, lifestyle, relationships, career, health. Having a mentor is a game changer, it has an enormous impact on everyone.
My advice for refugees is to keep your focus straight, keep your motivation high, and connect with Jumpstart Refugee Talent, It has a lot of impact, it did for me, and it will for you. Try to be on the ground, for the first time get whatever job you can land on to keep you moving and give you the motivation to do something.”
For more information about Jumpstart’s Welcome Talent Canada Program, visit https://jumpstartrefugee.ca/programs/wtc/