Starting a Business in Jamaica: Building and Sustaining Wealth for Entrepreneurial Success

The road to entrepreneurial success in Jamaica is unpaved, bumpy and riddled with potholes (much like some of our actual roads), but a true Jamaican imbued with our natural grit and stick-to-itiveness would know that any road is navigable if you have the requisite knowledge and skills to run that route. Building and sustaining wealth is a skill Jamaican entrepreneurs need to master before taking the first step towards business success. Here are a few tips to help you build and sustain wealth while starting a business in Jamaica.   

Learn how to Budget 

Budgeting is a practice we often neglect as we try to keep our startups afloat. However, it’s important to project your income and expenditure so that you can better plan your finances. A financial planning app such as Money Lover can help you keep track of your actual spending so that you know whether you’ve deviated from what you budgeted.  

I have often wondered if my money evaporated into thin air because I had nothing tangible to justify how quickly it disappeared. As we Jamaicans often say, “Pay done as it reach!” If you’re in the same boat, it’s highly likely that you aren’t budgeting. Some tips that you should follow to budget correctly include:

  • Set clear financial goals so that you know what you’re working towards
  • Using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet so that you can keep track of budgeted and actual expenses on a monthly basis
  • Regularly evaluate your budget to determine if it’s truly realistic based on your spending patterns and financial needs

Saving

This might sound cliché to some but it actually holds true; it’s not how much you earn but how much you can save.The money set aside for saving should be a key component of any budget. In fact, Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, emphasizes that you should always pay yourself first. 

That’s one of the biggest mistakes often made when saving; we pay for everything else and then set aside what’s left (if anything is left) for saving. The “what leff” approach won’t work if you want to achieve your financial goals. Salary deductions and a ‘piggy bank’ for coins are two strategies that you can use to develop a habit of saving.

The discipline to save develops over time.  If you are new to the process, start small with a pan for coins or choose the salary deduction method where your income goes to an account of your choice. It also helps if you don’t have easy access to this account. 

Create multiple income streams

Every known narrative on how millionaires become millionaires cites establishing multiple streams of income as a sure fire way to gain financial leverage. A new income stream could be anything from renting your car on the weekends to selling the surplus from your home garden to your neighbours.  The income may be small at first but many entrepreneurs will tell you that one of these seemingly miniscule side gigs can morph into multimillion dollar business ventures overtime. 

Invest in your Education 

Education may not be the only key to success but it sure can open up avenues to generate more wealth. It’s never a waste of money to get a higher degree or learn a new skill. A higher degree can pave the way for a promotion or higher paying job and acquiring a new skill can be just what you need to create a side gig and a new source of income.

It does not have to cost an arm and a leg. The rise of technology has led to a proliferation of online courses, some of which are absolutely free on sites such as Udemy and EdX. In Jamaica, we’re fortunate to have the HEART Trust NTA which provides numerous skill training programmes at an affordable cost. Some of the courses are even free and having a skill may be just what you need to build the wealth you desire. 

Invest in the Stock Market

The Jamaican stock market has grown in popularity over the past five years with several middle class Jamaicans buying into Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) hoping to cash out big. In fact, Bloomberg has given the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) the prestigious title of Best Stock Exchange in the World! That says a lot about the power of the Jamaican stock market. 

You can start an investment portfolio with as little as $5,000 and, if you keep investing on a monthly basis, you can develop a significant source of income. However, bear in mind that investing in the stock market is a long term investment strategy; you can’t expect great returns with a few months or even within a year unless you’ve bought shares in a highly successful IPO.

Start a Home Garden

I love gardening and the idea of growing your own food. We all have to eat and you will be surprised to see the chuck of your budget that is allocated to buying food. The typical Jamaican family will spend anywhere from $500 to $1500 per week on produce from the market that can easily be grown at home. This may not seem like much but when calculated at an annual rate the cost for produce now becomes $26,000-$78,000 per year.

In addition, gardening can be a viable income stream. What if you were able to sell extra produce to your neighbors? The income gained could be set aside for a specific purpose such as paying property taxes. Gardening is a good way to preserve and build wealth.

Read

You may be a bit puzzled about the connection between reading and wealth. let me share my story. I was never interested really in business growing up but I quickly realized as an adult that the only way to create and sustain wealth is to apply business practices to my everyday life. I learned these business practices through reading. 

Social media is where I got my first taste of business literature. From liking business magazine pages to actually purchasing books on entrepreneurship, I was able to learn a fair amount on managing finances. Flipping through the pages of each issue of Success Lifestyle Magazine will also set you on the right path to building wealth and entrepreneurial success. 

Try Freelancing 

As the gig economy continues to grow, more Jamaicans are doing freelance jobs to supplement their income. I was introduced to freelancing about four years ago by a dear friend of mine from high school. Initially, I was skeptical about doing work online for money; I was pretty sure it was a scam. I eventually took it all back when I landed my first job and earned over $100.00 USD transcribing audio recordings. 

Freelance platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr  connect gig seekers and clients from across the globe. You can use these platforms to transform skills such as graphic design, programming or editing into a new income stream to build wealth.  

Cash in on your Creative Side

We were born with talents. Imagine if we could identify, develop and turn our natural talents into something that can generate wealth? I realized (well, my teacher did) in the fifth grade that I could write well and I was able to use that talent to earn on freelancing platforms. Creative minds who are both talented and business minded can become successful entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs have used the capital gained from exploiting natural talents to launch various business ventures. 

You Can build WEalth while starting a business in Jamaica

Starting a business in Jamaica can lead to wealth creation. However, your business won’t succeed if you don’t learn how to build and sustain wealth. Stick with Success Lifestyle Magazine and learn how to start and grow your business venture in Jamaica.  Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog!

Published by Camile Clarke

Camile Clarke is a geography teacher, geologist and freelance writer who lives to learn while learning to live!

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