wp_aboutValeriy and Nadia Solodyankin came to the U.S. from Siberia with their six children. Nadia worked full time at one school while working part-time to help launch a new Russian-language school and taking care of her recently paralyzed mother. Valeriy was working in the construction industry full time.

Becoming entrepreneurs was the farthest thing from their minds. That option was simply too different from what they had known growing up; in the former Soviet Union, people worked for the government, not for themselves. But Valeriy knew another Russian immigrant who had started his own business and was doing quite well. Valeriy decided, “If he can do it, I can do it, too!’ We just started spreading the word to our friends and people around us about our business, and that’s how we started.”

It wasn’t easy balancing full-time jobs with a part-time business, but Valeriy and Nadia were soon able to build their business to the point that it could become a full-time career for both of them. The success they’ve achieved through “hard work and following the Golden Rule” was not lost on their children, Anastasia, Max, Anna, Valeriy, Jr., Anatoliy, and Andrey. “They are all so responsible, with good educations,” says Nadia. “We are so proud of them. We tell them, ‘You are in the greatest country in the world, so there are no excuses not to succeed,’” says Valeriy.”

With all the blessings they’ve had in this country, the family feels strongly about helping the less fortunate, especially in their former homeland of Russia. Last year, they bought 400 Christmas presents for underprivileged children there. “It’s not until you start giving things away that you start living a full life,” says Nadia. They also actively support Easter Seals in the area of Charlotte, North Carolina, because of the programs Easter Seals has developed to meet the needs of children and returning veterans.

“For us, the most rewarding part of our business is now being able to mentor other people who want to start their own businesses. We love watching other people reach their goals,” adds Valeriy.