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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Start Someplace

In 1984 Ishmael Ahmed hired Ahmad and paid him $5 an hour. The two laugh about this now that Ahmad is such a success with the idea he incubated in that first job.

Key Question:


Get involved in something you love and watch for product or service ideas.

With a fresh college degree in accounting, Ahmad took a job for $5 an hour and he felt blessed. You might think that Ahmad settled for less than he could have gotten had he set higher goals for himself. We met the man who paid Ahmad $5 an hour and we're confident that this was as much as the nonprofit organization could afford at the time. It was the mission of the organization that drew Ahmad in, not the pay.

This turning point in Ahmad's life was critical and we learn from this that who and what he was involved with is more important to him than money. Over and over again we find here at Small Business School that people who are focused on a worthy mission can accomplish great things in their lives and that has proved to be true for Ahmad. After working for the nonprofit for a few years he decided that to provide for his family he needed to earn more money and he is a wealthy man today. However, by being willing to work for a good cause and a small amount of money he got training and experience which he used as a stepping stone to become a business owner.

Q: Why would anyone with a college degree take such a low-paying job?

A: Colleges graduates can be as young as 21 years old. They may be single and still living at home with their parents. They may be still trying to figure out what path their lives should take. Who a young person is around is more important than how much money they make. The mentoring and friendships gained by spending time early with good, hardworking people will do the young person more good than money.

Think about it

How would your life be different if you would have focused on spending time with good people working on a worthy cause rather than just making money? Who would you like to spend time with now? Who could teach and inspire you?

Clip from: Omnex Accounting

Dearborn, Michigan: Meet Ahmad Chebbani. He introduces new Arab Americans to the real heart and soul of their new country.   He represents the United States of America to Arab leaders around the world and helps them to see the profound goodness of this country and to dispel the images they learn from Hollywood and Madison Avenue.

Ahmad Chebbani and his wife, Michelle, began their accounting business in 1987. Today, they are the busiest single tax preparation office in the USA.

Meet the people of Omnex Accounting. This team makes filing tax returns for 3,500+ individuals and 600+ businesses look easy.

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Omnex Accounting & Tax Services

Ahmad Chebbani, Founder, Chairman / CEO

12740 W. Warren Ave.
Suite 200
Dearborn, MI 48126

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:
Accounting, Information Services,

Year Founded: 1987

Start Someplace

AHMAD: Before I graduated, I worked for a non-profit organization as a bookkeeper. They needed the help, so I worked with them for a while. I started at $5 an hour, which was good at the time - excellent.

HATTIE: Now, what year was that?

AHMAD: That was 1984.

HATTIE: 1984, $5 an hour, you are out of college; you're a CPA. And they're paying you $5 an hour.

AHMAD: That's all they could afford. I was blessed with a good job. It was a good start.

You always have to start some place, regardless.

We helped the organization grow. From a $200,000 budget in a year to I think, we got to $3 million budget (within two years). We quadrupled our staff and then we diversified our services.

One of them was, I found, there was a need for free income tax service for new immigrants and low-income people. We work in centers (in the) afternoon and people come in and we help with their taxes. Because the immigrants did not know what they were entitled to legally. So we were able to educate them, and try to get the refunds or file their taxes correctly, basically. And that grew with knowledge for myself. And then I found out there was a need for an independent office, and that the market did not have that. So I planned it for a year, and then I started doing income taxes out of homes, for people who'd call me up, “You know, I heard you were a good tax preparer. Would you come over?”

You know, then I did that out of visiting homes, out of my briefcase. And then a year later, it was justifiable for me open an office and take the risk on that. So we started in 1987, between my wife and myself.

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