17 Nov Branding His Future (The Miami Times, Online)
Marketer Asa Paul Sealy carves out a niche for himself in South Florida
November is National Entrepreneurship Month and The Miami Times will spotlight local entrepreneurs who help cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit that resides in South Florida’s landscape.
Branding entrepreneur Asa Paul Sealy’s work ethic is undeniable. When it comes to marketing and branding, Sealy, @thatbrandingguy, has established numerous strategic alliances within the branding, business development and lifestyle arena. He has carved out his niche while enjoying a multi-faceted career in marketing and branding.
A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Sealy migrated to the United States to attend St.Thomas University and Florida International University, where he majored in Mass Media Communications and Economics. Asa launched his career as a Promotions Director of WRGP FIU radio in 1999. While at FIU, he also served as Special Events Coordinator for the Student Organization Council; held the Special Events Chair position in Student Government, and was a key member and influencer of the Caribbean Students Association.
In 2013, Asa opened a boutique agency specializing in branding, marketing, artist management and event planning, Aifos Agency. He has worked with international companies and brands that include: Ato Boldon (Olympic multi-Medalist), Kevin Lyttle (international recording artist), DJ Mad Linx, (TV personality/DJ – BET), Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, Barbados Marketing Agency, City of Hollywood, Hollywood CRA, Verizon Wireless, Miami Children’s Museum, Caribbean Airlines to name a few.
He is also co-founder of Miami Under 40, a platform used to connect young professionals in Miami, highlighting their contributions while building business connections and social relationships. He is chairman of the board of Miami Carnival Inc., sits on the board of directors for the Rhythm Foundation and is the Miami representative for the Hip Hop Caucus.
In 2016 he was recognized by Legacy Magazine as one of South Florida Leaders under 40.
What made you leap into entrepreneurship?
Being raised by a successful entrepreneur myself, I would say gave me the start I needed to venture into the land of entrepreneurship. From a young age, I would always be re-selling my toys or making deals with my friends, basically testing my abilities to take advantage of any and every opportunity I had to make money. Coming to the US in 1999, was the tipping point for me, as it opened me up to many more opportunities for trade and business, most of which wasn’t accessible while growing up in the little island of Trinidad. From throwing events, to marketing and selling consumer goods, I tried it all and one thing was for sure, I loved being an entrepreneur, having the ability to provide for myself without having to worry about “what my boss would think” really gave me the drive and determination to make something of myself in the “land of opportunity”.
What’s a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me starts by giving thanks for life and the many opportunities and blessing I have received. This is followed by my morning gym workout session setting me up for a productive day in the office, where I help small businesses prepare themselves to successfully compete in their respective industries. From concept development to their visual communication I take pride in providing them a quality service at a fraction of the cost, not because I am cheap, but because I can appreciate a great idea and genuinely want to help them grow their business into a profitable space. They grow, I grow, and for those that know me well can attest to the fact that I am all for GROWTH.
How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
Not to sound cliche, but my family motivates me. Before my family it was about me being selfish and not wanting to work for anyone, but as I grew, and my responsibilities grew, my priorities changed, I became a more responsible and conscious entrepreneur making more calculated and strategic business decisions, ultimately looking at how it would affect my family versus it being just for me. I believe that this perspective has allowed my to grow with more clarity, having a clearer picture of the road ahead, and how best to position myself so my family can benefit from my entrepreneurial ways.
Describe a major business or another challenge you had, and how you resolved it.
A major challenge for me is being a small business and choosing to work with other small businesses. We all know that with marketing and branding, comes a huge outlay of capital which you are investing into the development of your idea or brand. This leaves you, an entrepreneur, in a position to either risk it all or to be conservative and minimize the initial marketing investment which sometimes is the first line item to get cut, big and small businesses alike. My challenge comes from a client having an idea and expectation on where they are and where they want to go, and what their research has told them that it would cost to get there, then they meet me. I strategically manage their expectations and break their journey up into clear phases which we work together on, allowing for a less stressed client, measurable and visible returns on their investment, and a clear picture on the road ahead. Now spending all of that money doesn’t seem like a lot when you see the returns coming in and the business and brand grow.
What was your business’ original mission? How has that mission evolved in the time since?
My business has always been about marketing and branding. Over the years, I have been able to focus on the small business client who gives me a bit more satisfaction knowing that I helped someone develop their idea into a viable business and to see them go from employee to boss over time is a feeling I couldn’t put into words. “Your brand is my business”, my company mantra gives you ideas as to the level of dedication that goes into every hand-picked client.
If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
Over the years, what I have learned from both reading books and from being around uber successful professionals, is that you need to be consistent. Once consistency is a big part of your formula you will always be successful. No matter if you are selling bottles of water on the side of the road or writing grants for large corporations, once you are consistent with your efforts, success will always find you. In addition to being consistent, a major key, which may sound extremely simple, is to listen. Listening allows you to process, understand and ultimately think, which gives you the power to rise above challenges and soar with the birds.
What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?
I have learned that no matter how much you know, or how much education you have been exposed to, you are always learning.