Fifteen years ago, Farhan Rehman was a Wagga High student; today, he’s running his own law firm and has satellite offices around the globe.
What has he learned? That persistence and passion is the only recipe for success.
“I was definitely not a high achiever at Wagga High,” Mr Rehman said.
“If you drop my name there and tell them that I'm a lawyer, they'll probably laugh and think you're joking.”
He turned things around, put in the hard yards when it mattered, and set off for Geelong to start his law degree in 2005, working as everything from a car dealer to a beauty product salesman as he studied.
“I actually left law for a little bit of time and did pizza delivery runs, because I was like ‘this is not for me’, but then I realised that my passion was in helping people,” he said.
After working for a host of suburban law firms over the years, Mr Rehman achieved a huge goal five years ago when he started RSG Lawyers, a firm based on three characteristics: ethical, trustworthy, and responsive.
“I had literally $600 in my account when I opened up the firm, I didn't know if I was going to be able to pay the next fortnight’s rent, but you have to be persistent,” he said.
“Now, we're hitting the 11 to 12 employee mark, and within the next five years we want to hit the mid tier bracket, which means 50 to 100 employees.”
Specialising in immigration law, dispute regulation, and corporate law, Mr Rehman’s firm now has offices in Melbourne and Wagga as well as partnership offices in Mauritius and Dubai.
Mr Rehman said the one piece of advice he’d give a Wagga high school student is simple: living in a regional area is an opportunity, not a hurdle.
“A lot of people think you have to go to the big city and work a certain way to make it, but the truth is if you have the self-confidence and you have a good idea, it doesn’t matter where you are,” he said.
“If someone comes in for a job interview, I don’t look at whether they’ve gone to Melbourne University or have good marks, I look at what real life skills they have, and I feel like if they’ve had more struggles, they’ll have more to offer.”
At the end of the day, Mr Rehman said following your passions was the only way to live a full and happy life.
“It’s not about money – if making money is your primary purpose, you’re going to get burned out and you’re going to hate your life,” he said.
“I think your work has to be your passion – it gives you the drive to wake up every day.”