From the October 2005 issue of Entrepreneur

Oleg Nikishin, 44, owns his own house in Warrington, Pennsylvania, runs his own business and is living what many would call the American Dream. Originally from Russia, Nikishin had been in the merchant marines just long enough to catch a glimpse of the U.S. and know that it was in his future. "After seeing another world and the opportunity," says Nikishin, "I wanted to emigrate." So, determined to get educated before leaving his homeland, he obtained a degree in electrical engineering and moved to the U.S. in 1990 at the age of 29.

By 2003, Nikishin had spent more than a decade learning American business by working various electrical engineering jobs and even running his own computer retail store, but he was still searching for the right business to start. That's when he came across electrical-service franchise Mr. Electric. He was attracted to the fact that the industry fit his background and was trend-proof and recession-proof.

Despite his background in the field, Nikishin found it challenging opening his franchise in a territory that was more than 100 miles away from his home. He credits the support offered by the franchise company with helping him through that first year. Now Nikishin and his three employees are busy serving primarily commercial clients, and he recently purchased a second territory: Montgomery County. He is about a quarter of the way to realizing his goal of reaching $1 million in annual sales by 2008. His key to success? Never lose sight of the vision. "If people just want the quick buck, this is not the business for that," says Nikishin. "They have to have the vision and make sure they go for it."