Today we’d like to introduce you to Abdul Aziz (Wallace Fitzpatrick).
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
With myself, as far back as I can remember, I’m 51 now. But I never felt at all comfortable with the idea of having to have to work for someone else and then to have to call that someone, Boss. That just wasn’t for me personally, to each his own, but for myself, that never was something that appealed to me. I’ve always felt that way, even to the point where I can say the in my earlier years, that that way of thinking influenced my decision making, in a negative manner which always returned negative results. Whether it was the influence of my environment growing up or me being who I was, when I finally figured out how to channel all of that negativity and then, to reverse engineer into positivity, the results have been totally the opposite. It was at that point that I began looking at business and life differently and that became like the “Light Bulb” moment for me. So since 2009, along with my wife, we’ve been deeply involved in entrepreneurship and being Business Owners. From starting a daycare in 2009, which we used as an event center on the weekends. This is way before event centers were as popular as they are now. We’ve sold cars, houses, housing products, coffee, my wife had teas and treats, and much of it was online. So when we started items9, which is our SaaS Company, in 2018-2019, we were already transitioning our businesses to being totally online.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
There’s always going to be challenges, especially when starting out out. Every kind imaginable, I believe I faced at onetime or another, whether it was financial or knowledge based. Overcoming them is the key to progressing, whether in business or in life. But today when almost every aspect of ones business is moving more towards online or digitally. Especially, where one can automate entire processes of their business which in turn, allows them to concentrate more on scalability tactics. The biggest challenges that I faced myself, coming from an actual brick and mortar type business/establishment, to being virtual and basically, totally digital, is first, learn early on the importance of spending time working on your business instead of working in your business. Meaning that, if you’re the owner and you are the one doing the opening, the selling, the fulfilling and the closing, which are all business sustaining actions, then you’re working in your business instead of on your business. Which in turn, prevents you from doing those business growth actions. And when a business owner has to spend more time doing business sustaining actions, over business growth action, then the possibility of scaling that business becomes less likely if everything depends on you as the Owner. That’s especially for local and small business owners, who are just starting out or who are trying to figure out why they are not scaling, then they should take a look at there and see if you fall into that category or not.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
Pre-Covid we were more focus on our Software and Mobile App development platforms. During Covid we pivoted slightly with our focus more on trying to find innovative ways to help our local businesses out in these CRAZY times. From virtually the entire country going on lockdown. Small businesses all over the world were being FORCED to close their doors. The reality is that life as we knew it then, for most businesses, especially small businesses, would never be the same. And although “big brother” handed out stimulus money to try and keep small businesses afloat, save jobs and help people pay their bills. That solution was kinda like popping an Ibuprofen to fix a broken arm. Fact is, the way we buy has been changed forever. And the local businesses that don’t know how to adapt to this new economy will fail. That’s the reality. By realizing this early on we were able to provide a free service for the hardworking local and small business owners in the PA BUSINESS GUIDE who don’t have the marketing budgets or digital marketing know-how to get their business exposed to wider audiences by putting their business in front of the right people, right in their area. So I built PA BUSINESS GUIDE and I’m excited to watch our local businesses grow with this new marketing tool.”
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
My advice to everyone is to start working on building your legacy. That’s the main reason that my business exist. What is legacy? Legacy to me is not making the next generation start over from scratch. I don’t want my children to have to start from scratch like I did. Some people say, “I don’t want my children to have it easy. I want them to work hard like I did because that’s what made me who I am.” Me, I’m the total opposite, I’m gonna put in all of the work so that my children don’t have to. But that doesn’t just apply to my children. I don’t want my grand children to start over. I don’t want my great grand kids to have to start over. That’s why I’m building these businesses. I don’t do this just so that I can say that I have 7 businesses or that I have a bigger house. I do this for Legacy. So that when my girls are ready to get married, I can buy them a house. When my sons get married I want to buy them a house. What I do is for me to impact my family first, my community second and the world third. And for me to give them the ability to do the exact same thing. That’s legacy to me, and everyone should be working on that.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success is relative. To me though, it’s being able to be independent for myself and achieving my goals on my own terms, at my own pace, however I want to do them. That’s in business and life in general.
What’s next for you?
To keep coming up with innovative ideas to bring value and provide a quality service to our small community of local business men and women.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?