Garth Walker: ‘Believe, have passion, work hard’!
Wealth Access boss, Garth Walker counsels aspiring entrepreneurs. Three of the most important things young entrepreneurs must bear in mind as they strive for success are: believing in one’s dream, being passionate passion, and working hard.
This is according to Garth Walker, owner of Adam & Eve Day Spa, Creative Media & Events, and Wealth Access Financial, who addressed a group of young entrepreneurs at the Jade Garden Restaurant in Sovereign Centre in St Andrew. The luncheon was one in the Around The Table Dialogue series organised by the Ministry of Youth, Education and Information as part of activities for Youth Month.
Mr. Garth Walker used his experiences trying to get his businesses off the ground, especially Wealth Access Financial, which houses
Business Access TV and Wealth Magazine as examples to motivate the youngsters.
“You have to believe in your dream. When we launched the Wealth brand in 2009, a lot of persons said, ‘You’re launching a magazine in the heart of a recession,’ ‘People don’t read anymore’, ‘Everything is online,’” he related, adding that despite the naysayers he and his team went ahead with the magazine. The result was a quarterly-turned-bi-monthly publication that grew from 64 to 164 pages by issue three.
From Wealth Magazine, he created two television programmes — Wealth Magazine’s Business Access and
Wealth Magazine Home Sweet Home — until, according to him, the demand in the business community got so great that they had to have their own platform; thus, the creation of the hugely successful lifestyle and business cable channel,
Business Access TV.
It was here that he was almost derailed by discouragement.
“There was a time when we just launched our first programme from the Wealth brand, called Wealth Magazine’s Business Access. I’ll never forget, we went to a sponsor and the vice-president at the time sat back in his chair and he looked at us, and he pretty much scoffed at us — me and my partner at the time — and said to us [that] we are not journalists, so we can’t come and charge that type of money. And he pretty much rushed the meeting and rushed us out.
“And I’ll never forget, I went into the elevator and turned to my business partner and said, ‘Bwoy, a better wi pack up this ting enuh.’ If I wasn’t a strong person I would’ve cried, I mean literally,” Walker recounted.
“I remember I called my wife and I told her about it and she said, ‘Don’t worry.’ And we went back to the office and we re-grouped and we called another company, went to them with the same proposal and they jumped on board. And I lived to see that same person and that same company signing contracts for Business Access Television,” he continued.
“The car that I first drove: when I called to find out the price of it in 2000, I said to myself that I would never be able to buy that car; never. And I never forget I cut out that car out of the magazine and every night I looked on it and said, ‘I want this car’. And within a year-and-a-half I bought that car. So when I look back, everything just starts with a dream. Most people don’t believe in their dream,” he said.
As his story teaches, the road to success isn’t without pitfalls, but for that Walker prescribes perseverance.
“It’s very easy to give up, ‘cause I can tell you, business has its ups and its downs. It’s like a roller coaster; you have very good days and you have very bad days. So it’s for you to believe in your dreams, persevere and work hard for it,” he advised.
From his days at Jamaica College, Garth Walker knew he wanted to become an entrepreneur, he said. After high school, he went on to do a first degree in professional management at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, after which he did a Master of Business Administration at the University of New Orleans. Before forming his own businesses, he worked at Mainland International, where he occupied several posts including sales and marketing manager, group executive, and vice-president of marketing.
He said among the other difficulties young people will encounter as entrepreneurs is taking risks and facing responsibilities; and for this, the passion will drive them.
“A lot of persons want to be entrepreneurs because they see other persons in business and don’t really understand what it takes to be an entrepreneur. To be an entrepreneur it takes risk, and not many persons have the ability to accept risk and be able to manage risk. Risk comes with a lot of headache. Many people don’t like the idea of having payroll on the 26th of the month. It’s a big responsibility. So you’re talking about if you have 10 people working for you, 20 people working for you, 200 people working for you, these 200 persons are in your hands. Their families are in your hands. It’s nothing to be frightened about; it’s just something to accept,” he counselled.
As for hard work, it is not even a question.
“Nothing beats hard work…Nobody will do anything for you. Take nothing for granted. Nobody will call you and give you a contract. You have to go out there and fight for it. You have to work hard and you have to prepare to burn the midnight oil. Now, when you mention about family, your family, whether it’s your spouse, your boyfriend, girlfriend, your mother, father, sister, if they don’t believe in it, they are going to discourage you and sometimes the family situation will have to go on the back burner a little, because it’s going to take hours upon hours to get a business off the ground; long hours too. So sleep is overrated,” he noted, adding that the 5 o’clock cap to a workday is not the case for entrepreneurs.
Critically, Garth Walker told the young people that even when they take his advice and practise the three steps, success may not come immediately, but it is almost guaranteed.
Asked why he decided to participate in the Around the Table Dialogue, Garth Walker said: “I was mentored when I was younger and I got help, so I believe it’s time to impart whatever knowledge and experience I’ve had during the course of my tenure in business. So today was important for me…I believe it was worth it. It resonated well and I’m looking for big things from them in the future,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
“The Around The Table Talk was beneficial. We heard a lot of motivational, inspirational advice from Mr Garth Walker. The general feel of it was energising. I think the advice given was very, very rich and very, very invaluable for those of us who would like to venture out on our own business,” said Andre Blackwood, president, Kingston and St Andrew Parish Youth Council.
He added that he hopes the forum continues beyond Youth Month.
Jahmeila Reid couldn’t help but agree.
“I believe that today’s session was a well-needed one, especially for persons who don’t have access to persons who are very prominent and very popular in the business space. I am definitely energised. I feel like I can go out and conquer the world; not necessarily today, but with the tips and advice that we’ve gotten I can definitely create a plan of action,” she said.
Chrishauna Christie said that Walker’s advice will help her to become a better entrepreneur.
“Currently having companies that I am focusing on and thinking of starting, and some in the process of, it’s nice to get that confirmation that you need sometimes that you need to take a risk and step out there and have a passion and feed that passion and focus on what you really want to achieve,” she told Career Education.
Sourced from the Jamaica Observer by BY ALDANE WALTERS