In this installment of Life of Success, Conrad Guthrie explains how his business will allow him to retire at 36 years old…Jamaica is the place to do business! And in this series you’ll learn how ordinary Jamaicans innovate, produce, package and distribute their versions of Brand Jamaica! This is Life of Success.
Meet Conrad Guthrie
This digital entrepreneur registered his first business when he was 23 years old but he closed down the business a year after when his partners withdrew from the venture.
Then Conrad was faced with another struggle, unemployment for 4 years since he had few, marketable skills.
But he didn’t despair.
In that time, Conrad spent hours online exposing himself to content management, audio & video editing, social media management and internet marketing techniques through free and cost-efficient resources; totally reshaping his approach to marketing his personal brand.
In 2011, he returned to the working world with a clear vision and cutting edge marketing techniques. However Conrad soon realised that his innovative marketing solutions could benefit an underserved segment in Jamaica’s commercial sector, small and medium-sized businesses that do not generate large amount of revenue that would allow them to invest in expensive marketing services.
In 2015, he quit his job and established an internet marketing company, Byzmarsol which currently offers affordable digital marketing solutions for Jamaican businesses.
Interestingly, when we had a chat with Conrad, he shared that his business is doing so well, he intends to retire within the next three years.
1.Retirement at 36, how?
I told myself that when I reached the age of 36 (years old), I would be a retired man. How was I going to attain that? I don’t know. I just know I want to have a business, drink a few beers, take a trip down to Negril with the family and just have fun.
Because I do believe that kind of lifestyle and happiness exist. Financial freedom and just enjoy the family.
2. So will you stop working?
No. I won’t stop working but I won’t be getting pay cheques. Not getting pay cheques means you’re not on a payroll. Employees get pay cheques so I’ll just be generating income.
3. So why are you convinced that you will retire at 36 years old?
I’m three years from retirement and I’m dead serious. I’m now at a position where I can manage all my bills, I’m not even worrying about what we’re going to eat tomorrow. Based on where we are in terms of financial standing, I can say I’m secured for the next three years. And within that three years I know I can secure another three years.
October of last year has been the best (month) ever for the business and based on projections and the type of concept that we’re using to run the business that tells me if I can retire at age 36.
When I said earlier that I won’t be getting pay cheques, I know the level of income I’ll be generating and the extent to which I will be operating the business in that time. The aim really is…I’ll be at home, I’ll be drinking coffee and I’ll hanging out with my wife and my son and I’ll be paying someone to do what I should be doing.
4. So let’s back track a bit, in 2015 you decided to quit your job, what business management training did you bring to this venture?
I’m a part of an organisation called the Junior Chamber International, this is a worldwide federation of young leaders and entrepreneurs, roughly in over 200 countries. Being there since 2007, I’ve learnt the art of developing training materials, how to manage businesses, projects, campaigns. I also grew up mainly in sales having my most secure job at Cable and Wireless (where) I learnt sales. The whole idea of starting a business marketing company was relatively easy because what I did was to incorporate all that I’ve learnt over the years. Also I did a great deal of research. I was right where I was supposed to be in terms of what it takes to start up.
And having done marketing management for my previous employer, I learnt what we call ‘internet marketing’ and from that I incorporated internet marketing and business solutions together, making it a wicked comeback for any small or medium-sized company.
5. How many clients do you have?
We have roughly 20 clients.
6. Right across the island?
Yes, right across the island. We have customers in St. Elizabeth, St. James, Westmoreland, we have in Mandeville and majority in Kingston.
7. Which industries are they from?
Finance, Law and Legal Affairs, Retail, etc.
8. What are the internet marketing services you offer?
We offer internet marketing solutions. Our packages include: website management; email marketing tools and training so you can communicate with your customers and clients via email; business cards and fliers so when you have meetings, you look really professional when you hand out a business card or a flier. You are getting a complete package to represent your (brand or company).
9. Is it difficult to get customers?
No. Getting customers is relatively easy. I don’t think JPS (Jamaica Public Service) would really need to advertise unless they have some promotions. It’s the same way when it comes on to internet marketing solutions. All my clients really come from word-of-mouth. Normally, when I send out a proposal, it doesn’t really last a week before it is confirmed. Reason being, we have packaged our services so unique and as a result of that it is something that they (prospective clients) really need and not what they want.
We’re working on volume while others are working on high prices. People will say,
‘it is ridiculous that you’re charging way less than what is expected and giving away way more. Nobody gives more value for less’.
10. What are some of the challenges?
Our greatest fear is that if the worldwide web should go flat tomorrow, what happens then? So I have to come up with strategies that maybe backup (our existing business model if) we don’t have the internet. Everything has to do with the internet, everything we do is virtual.
Thanks for sharing your story Conrad and I look forward to your retirement in 3 years’ time!
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