Losing His Job: A Blessing in Disguise
When Benjamin Alexander lost his job a few years ago, it turned out to be a blessing. Now, he’s the Chief Executive Officer of Optimum Solutions, (an air conditioning and refrigeration company), and according to him, the journey has been nothing short of rewarding.
“I’m a very determined individual. Anything I want I’ll work to achieve,” he said.
Benjamin grew up in a humble household, and as a result, most times, he received the things he needed, not the things he wanted. As a child, Benjamin envisioned a successful future for himself, and as soon as he was old enough, he devised a plan.
“I always knew I wanted my own business and as a child I saw myself working for whatever I wanted,” he said.
“When I was younger I used to rake people’s yards—I scrubbed as well, just so I could make a little dollar for myself. I used to wash people’s vehicles—I did that a lot, especially for my cousins. I’ve never been someone who just sits around expecting to get everything and I appreciate my father being hard on us because that drove us a lot,” Benjamin added.
Working in College: How it Benefitted Him
When he started attending the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC), Benjamin’s future certainly looked promising. He started working whilst he was at the college and naturally, he benefitted from the experience.
“I started working with my cousin. Anytime I didn’t have class I’d go to work and when class finished early, I’d (join) him. We worked on ACs. Honestly, me going to school and working at the same time helped me because I was literally doing what I was being taught,” Benjamin said.
“I studied electrical installation at Sir Arthur; electrical work and air conditioning kind of goes hand in hand. I developed an interest (in the latter) when I started working with my cousin, but I always knew I was a hands on person. I worked with him for about two-three years and then I branched off on my own,” he added.
According to him, it’s the best decision he’s ever made. Some things, he could not predict, however.
“I didn’t know I would start a business at 19 or 20,” Benjamin stated.
And although the company is growing (it’s located in Corinth), building it from the ground up certainly wasn’t easy. It’s especially difficult when you’re a youngster, the entrepreneur noted.
Young but Able
“The age factor is one of the biggest challenges. When people invest $100,00.00 in equipment, they need to know that they can trust you. I believe if you’re doing something and you’re comfortable, you’re not doing it (right), so I made myself uncomfortable. I went to different people, I (marketed) myself, and I made my work speak for me. At 19, I was already going to meetings and facing ‘the big boys’,” he informed me.
Whilst it was intimidating, Benjamin knew he would succeed eventually. According to him, God has always been on his side.
“My age is a challenge, but it’s not going to stop me. I’m happy that a lot of people around me are seeing that I’m legit. I take my work seriously,” the 24-year-old said.
Further, he added, “I pray a lot and God has helped me (tremendously). I also have a praying mother. Honestly, I get most of my work through customers telling other individuals about me because I try my best to maintain a standard.”
Founded in 2018, Optimum Cooling no doubt (the company specializes in the maintenance and repairs of air conditioning systems), stands out in an already crowded industry. But the company is different, Benjamin noted.
“We’re very efficient and we work with our customers and try our best to (meet their budget). We’re punctual, we communicate with our clients, our work is very neat, and we have good customer service,” he said.
And he intimated, his customers are his first priority.
Benjamin has a small team and according to him, they are all talented. Most of them are young.
“We want to show people that young people can (excel) too,” he said.
Young, ambitious, and determined, Benjamin Alexander, is certainly your “go-to” guy. A resident of Cacoa, Babonneau, he’s aiming for nothing but the best, and the best is certainly not out of his reach.
“I want to be known as someone you can depend on. Someone you can hire, turn your back on, and know that Optimum Cooling will take care of you no matter what,” Benjamin said towards the end of the interview.
His advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
“Stop (procrastinating). Don’t say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’, do it now. That’s one of the lessons I’ve learned: to never take anything for granted. Also, always be observant and communicate with others, and when you do something, do it from the heart, because you’ll do it better. Lastly, just be yourself. Don’t try to be someone else,” he said. – Story by R. Marvlin
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