top of page

Can I tell you a story? It’s my immigration story.


Early career photo of La Mejor Website owner, Carlos.

Can I tell you a story? It’s my immigration story. It’s the kind you would never see in the news outlets because – although thrilling for me - it’s not sensational in that kind of way.


I arrived from El Salvador by airplane in 2005 wearing a suit and tie. The first thing I did was grab coffee from Starbucks. Don’t Know Why by Nora Jones was playing in the background.


I was excited, filled with hope, and had no idea what was ahead. Like many immigrants, I was leaving an extremely dangerous place to live my dream in the United States. Somehow, by the grace of God and my mom’s loving care, my sister and I survived the civil war while we were growing up. But the MS-13 gang (and others) rose up after the war and controlled everything, along with the help of a severely corrupt government. Life was scary. Life was dangerous. I closed up my business as a supply chain broker and left.


Even though I had been pretty successful in a business sense before, I still had to start over when I arrived here. Not many open their doors to outsiders, so what I thought it would be like didn’t play out right away. I found myself working at LAX slinging bags as a shuttle driver and living in a sketchy apartment in Hawthorne. I learned English by asking people, “what’s your airline?” and nodding my head in response. I only watched movies and shows in English and only listened to American music. I learned the cuss words first and gradually more and more vocabulary after.


I worked like a dog and took as many hours as I could. I kept practicing my English with my passengers. I fearfully followed all the rules laid out before me and didn’t ask for anything. It’s not a popular message, but most immigrants actually don’t. The life I imagined here now felt far out of my reach, but somehow time quickly passed.


Then, one night, I got a phone call from God. No, the phone didn’t actually ring, and there were no hellos and how are yous. But the message I heard was crystal clear. “You will design websites.” It sounds crazy, I know. If you believe in a higher power, or the magic of the universe, or in the mysterious ways that God seems to prefer to operate, then you know it can go just like that. The same God that helped me live through an entire horrifying war and saved my life by directing the bullet of a guerrilla soldier to miss my head by a quarter of an inch while I was sitting in my bed studying, was now telling me very specifically to do something. So, even though I was now a grown man, I did what every good kid does and talked back. “Websites? Really?”


Older photo of Carlos's laptop open to the original home page of La Mejor Website. To the side sits a Starbucks coffee with his name on it.
Our Beginning in 2010 - 190 St. Blvd. Torrance, CA


I encountered my first client the very next day and learned how to build websites as I went. My artistic background carried me through until I became technically proficient. La Mejor Website was born. Translated, it means The Best Website. I schooled myself with every possible resource, poured myself out creatively to help other small businesses, and just kept growing my own.


I fell in love with my work. Every morning, I walked downtown Los Angeles, meticulously covering every block, striking up conversations with business owners. I offered a great deal on business cards and simply asked if they needed a website. Transactional cold-calls were definitely not my style; I just wanted to help people, and most seemed to sense it. Every afternoon, I made my way back to my desk at home to produce the work I drummed up. There were very long days with many sacrifices, and little by little, La Mejor Website continued to grow. I was able to lease a small office in Redondo Beach, which is where I still am to this day. More clients, more experience, more successes for myself and other businesses.


I followed the American dating approach and joined an app in 2016 and fell in love with a woman. No kidding, it worked! We got married, had a son, bought a house, and opened up a second web design studio in Scottsdale, Arizona. To make a happy ending even happier, I’m proud to say my beloved El Salvador has been reformed and is now one of the top (and safest) destinations in the world.


With every ounce of gratitude in my heart, I can say that my American dream has come true. Well, almost. By this time next year, I will officially be a United States citizen. I worked hard for it, but it was ultimately a gift given to me. The path was bumpy and tremendously uncertain at times. I suspect that’s just real life for anyone, anywhere.


What’s your dream? I hope you’re living it.

121 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page