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Danijel VelickiDanijel Velicki is the Founder and CEO of Sqwire and the Founder and Senior Partner of Opus Wealth Strategies LLC. With only $40 in his pocket,  Danijel left Croatia in pursuit of the American Dream. After working his way through college, he became a successful entrepreneur.

With decades of experience in personal finance, education, and communication, Danijel and the team at Sqwire help low to moderate-income families realize their financial promise by providing them with financial education. Opus Wealth Strategies is an independent financial and insurance services firm that guides businesses, families, and individuals nationwide to achieve the financial goals that are most important to them.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Danijel explains what it was like to grow up in Croatia in times of war
  • What made Danijel decide to move to America?
  • Danijel explains how an Italian immigrant and entrepreneur gave him his first chance in America
  • How Danijel’s educational and life goals evolved
  • How meeting a financial advisor changed Danijel’s plans
  • Businesses Danijel worked in and how Crossfit and other experiences and relationships shaped his future
  • Why he decided to create Sqwire
  • What sets Danijel apart from others who have finance degrees

In this episode…

How do you go from a 17-year-old Croatian immigrant with only $40 in his pocket to a successful entrepreneur in America? Hard work, dedication, and some chance-taking.

Sqwire Founder and CEO and Opus Wealth Strategies Founder and Senior Partner Danijel Velicki says, “you miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.” Danijel took a shot in 1995 when he came to America and began working his way through college. He now owns several businesses and has a family of his own. He enjoys the financial advisement work he does and continues to give back to his community.

In this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, Chad Franzen sits down with Danijel Velicki to discuss how his early life shaped his entrepreneurship, career, and family.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:04  

Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show. Powered by Rise25 Media, we featured top founders, executives and business leaders from all over the world.

Chad Franzen  0:20

Chad Franzen here Co-host of the Top Business Leaders Show where we feature CEOs, entrepreneurs and top leaders in the business world. This episode is brought to you by Rise25. We help B2B businesses reach their dream relationships and connect with more clients referrals and strategic partnerships to get ROI through done for you podcasts. If you have a B2B business and want to build great relationships, there’s no better way than to profile the people and companies you admire on your podcast. To learn more, go to or email us at Entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author Danijel Velicki, transformed a difficult childhood and war ravaged Croatia into his very own American dream as a successful entrepreneur, passionate community leader and devoted family man with just $40 in his pocket and an unwavering commitment to designing a successful life that awarded him the freedom to dream big, while also providing the very best for his family. He built a rock solid foundation under his two entrepreneur, entrepreneurial adventures, and independent financial and insurance, his firm, and a financial literacy and wellness platform. Daniel, thanks so much for joining me. How are you today?

Danijel Velicki 1:30  

I’m doing awesome. Thank you very much for the time. I appreciate it, Chad.

Chad Franzen  1:34  

Hey, my pleasure to speak with you. So as we heard, in your introduction, you have quite a story. Tell me a little bit about where you’re from and what life was like before you came to the US.

Danijel Velicki  1:44  

You know, it’s funny, I talk about this, obviously, it’s my story. So it’s just normal stuff. But when I tell people, they’re like, oh my gosh, this is crazy. So I came from Croatia. And for most people now know that Croatia is just a gorgeous, beautiful, you know, a lot of beaches, just amazing country. But, you know, growing up there, it was fantastic. And then 1991 We entered a war with Serbia. They invaded us. And, you know, the war lasted for about four years. So I was 14 to 18 that the the war was there. And it was, you know, all over the place. He was in our cities, he was, you know, in the front yard and backyard. So, you know, it was every day life was different. I remember going to school and you know, having to run to the closest shelter because an air raid started or, you know, snipers were shooting, and we had to figure out a way to get get to safety. So it was a it was an interesting way to live for years. For sure.

Chad Franzen  2:42  

Wow, how old were you at that time?

Danijel Velicki  2:45  

started when I was 14. And then door ended August 5, of 95. August 6 was my birthday. And then August 11, I was on a plane to America as if when exchange student.

Chad Franzen  2:56  

So when did you decide? Or how did the decision to come to America came about it during that time.

Danijel Velicki  3:03  

So we, you know, country of Croatia even before was was just one of those places where a lot of stuff is done based on connections, you know, what kind of what kind of family ties you have to what kind of places schools jobs, or you know, how much money to bribe somebody to do something. And it’s still, you know, kind of like that today. So my dad was an electrician or a mechanic, my mom was a retail worker, we didn’t have any money, we didn’t have any connections. So I was a 4.0 student in school. And, you know, since I was little, my parents were like, You got to go somewhere where, you know, hard work pays off rather than, you know, who you know, or we can buy. And two years prior to me leaving, I had a friend who did a foreign exchange student program in Maine. And she had a great experience. And when she came home in the summertime, I went to my parents and I was like, hey, you know, I would really love to do this. And, you know, like, absolutely. So we figured out a way to come up with the money for it. And yeah, I applied for the for the programs. It was an exchange student program. And I got on a plane August 11. To get all West Virginia. It was awesome.

Chad Franzen  4:12  

West Virginia. So what was so what was the plan that you’re on a plane at West Virginia? What’s the plan at that point?

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