Ten On The Weekend is a weekly feature on IMI, the concept of which is simple: Each weekend, we ask the same ten questions to a different industry figure, letting readers get to know the interviewee on a more personal and informal level than they might in an ordinary business setting.
This weekend’s guest is Angie Rupert of Rupert Law Group.
How do you spend your weekends?
I’m pretty strict with a “no work” policy for at least one day on the weekend. As a result, I get to spend time with my son and my husband. We typically don’t do anything glamorous, but let’s face it – not working for a 24-hour period feels like a vacation! Most of my weekends are spent at the grocery store and at my son’s hockey practices and games. When I’m in the car, I’m constantly listening to true crime podcasts (Bear Brook rocked my world. Check it out).
What are your top three business goals this year?
1. Start speaking about the E2 visa at international conferences and events. It’s important for clients to see me “in person,” and I hope to start traveling a bit more and meeting clients where they live.
2. Keep building a skilled team of people. Having great employees is the key to any successful business. I couldn’t give the same level of “white glove” service if I didn’t have a wonderful team. I have a great group now, and I’m looking to expand in 2020.
3. Creating new clients. Although the E2 visa is (in my humble opinion) one of the best ways to move to the United States, many people don’t know about this option. It’s my goal to start spreading the word among potential clients through a variety of presentations and online events.
What’s your biggest business concern right now?
United States immigration law is incredibly complex, and it changes a lot. Keeping up with all of the latest E2 visa updates is always on my mind.
I’m also trying to combat misperceptions about immigration to the United States. So many potential clients are nervous about U.S. immigration. Because we have someone with an – ahem – Twitter account, in charge over here, some are concerned that all immigration to the US is hard or impossible. That is simply not true. In fact, the government is starting to realize that the US desperately needs immigrants. Letting my potential clients know that the E2 visa is a great option and brings about 45,000 people or so to the U.S. every year is one of my top priorities.
Which book is on your night-stand right now? How to be a Dictator by Frank Dikotter (It’s not instructional, by the way. Ha!)
The book “on deck” is FDR by Jean Edward Smith. This is the biography of the 32nd president of the U.S. and polio victim, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The first page says it all; “He lifted himself from his wheelchair to lift this nation from its knees.”
How and when did you first get into the investment migration industry?
My road to working in the investment migration industry is a long and dull one. But, to keep it brief, I started as an attorney working in mass torts. After a couple of unhappy years, I left law altogether and worked in business development and marketing for law firms. Eventually, I found myself with a newborn and decided to take a year off to be with him. From there, I started working with US immigration (mostly marriages and other family-based immigration).
After some time learning the immigration ropes from a US immigration master (Mary Mucha, I’m looking at you), I got my first E2 case. That first one was a challenge (the client got the visa, by the way), but I fell in love. Now, for the last three years or so, I’ve done nothing but E2 visas. There is no other type of law I’d like to practice. And, frankly, no other type of visa I like to handle. My business model is narrow: I’ve picked a niche, and I want to be the best. I work at that every day.
What was your proudest moment as a service provider?
Every time a client is approved, I’m so happy and excited; and to think that I had a small part in getting them here is unbelievable.
A couple of years ago, I had a client who had previously applied for an E2 using a business consultant and had been denied. She had so much money tied up in her investment, and she had no idea what to do. She was worried and nervous and anxious. I took a look at her file, and honestly, it was a mess. That said, I thought she had a great entrepreneurial spirit and a drive. I took on the case.
I had a lot of work to do to clean up the mess the consultant had left. (Not to mention that accounting wasn’t my client’s strength.) It took months to get everything right with her case. Right before we sent it to the consulate, we had a talk. She felt that this was really it for her – it was do or die (No pressure!). We sent the file and she went to the interview. She was approved! She was absolutely thrilled and so was I. I’ve never worked so hard to organize a file, but the hard work paid off. She is currently in the U.S. running her business and loving California weather!
Which investment migration market development has surprised you the most in the last year?
I think the Turkey citizenship option is a game-changer for many. Because Turkey is a treaty country, acquisition of this citizenship opens the door for many investors from Russia, China, India, Vietnam, and South Africa to the possibility of an E2 visa.
An unfortunate game-changer is the EB-5 investment amount increase. This change means that many new EB-5 hopefuls will no longer be eligible for the EB-5.
If you could go 10 years back in time, what business decision would you change?
I have a business and personal policy not to look in the rear-view mirror. As my dad would say; “With all your regrets and achievements and a nickel, you still can’t buy a cup of coffee.” The past doesn’t matter except to say that every career experience has led me to the place where I’m at now. I have never enjoyed a career more, and I feel like I’m exactly where I should be.
What investment migration industry personality do you most admire?
My Henley and Partners crew in Montreal has been amazing! Dominik and Ezzedeen have helped me in so many ways. Thank you, thank you, thank you! These two are not only completely loyal, but they are also great guys. I really appreciate them.
If all goes according to plan, what will you be doing five years from now?
I have so many interests and I have plans for them all. My firm will be the largest E2 firm in the United States. I will also have completed working on at least one true-crime podcast. Hopefully, I will be taking more vacations and relaxing a bit more (OK – this one probably won’t happen). And, of course, I will finish the cookbook I’ve been writing. Anyone out there who wants to know what it’s like to eat like a Mid-Western American, this one will be for you!
More from the 10 on the Weekend interview series:
- 10 On The Weekend – David Lesperance: “Governments Are Increasingly Harassing the Wealthy”
- Ten On The Weekend – Jean-Philippe Chetcuti: “Unity in the Industry is Key to Survival”
- Ten On The Weekend #2 – Eric Major: “Our Industry Deserves Some of the Bad Press it Gets”
- Ten On The Weekend #1 – Nuri Katz: “I Live My Life in a Constant State of Jet Lag”
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.