This month we feature Fitzroy Barnett, Operations Manager at Allstyle Finishing and Interiors as well as family man and gifted musician.
Fitzroy, tell us a little about yourself, especially being raised in a Christian home.
I was born and raised in Edmonton. Growing up in our home it was the four of us, my dad, my mom, my older sister and myself, being the youngest. I’ve been in church my entire life. My mother always said that I’ve been going to church before I was born. Being raised in Christian home with both parents has had a positive influence on my life and has shaped my moral system, my character and my perspective on life. In addition to my core belief system and most importantly how to develop my relationship with God. My parents showed me a great example of how a Christian and a Christian family should live. My father past away in 2013 but not before showing me how to be a man of God and how to take care of his family. I consider it a tremendous blessing.
Currently, you are an avid businessman, is this a fulfillment of your lifelong dream or is it the path that life has taken you?
I wouldn’t say that it’s a fulfilment of a lifelong dream because I still have a lot to achieve business wise prior to achieving my lifelong dream. But I’ve always had the entrepreneurial/business spirit within me. From the age of 14 during summer break I would wake up every morning and call “hire-a-student” (a job posting hotline) and find odd temporary jobs that I could do to help generate money to last me through the school year. I would attend weekly real estate investor meetings and earn how to generate income from that. I also did side jobs painting while I attended NAIT. So I can say that because of what is inside of me, it has led to the path that I’m on.
Your disposition as a young man shows that you are very discipline, is your parents responsible for this or is it an innate quality that you managed to nurture?
I have learned a lot of discipline from my father and my mother. My personality is to be more laid back and relax and try not to stress over things. My father was the opposite. But he worked extremely hard to provide for our family. And the first opportunity he had he started his own business doing lawn care and snow removal. I would help him several times before and after school. I can’t say that I enjoyed it but I definitely can say that I have learned discipline and the benefits of it through that period of my life. My mother is also much disciplined in terms of money. I also would watch her sacrifice many things to achieve whatever goal she set financially.
Besides being a businessman, you are a skillful musician, were you self-taught?
I wouldn’t call myself a skilled musician I would consider myself more of someone who aspires to play music. I am self-taught but looking back, I wish that I took guitar lessons, especially at an early age. I believe it would help me to play at a different level. For my son, as soon as he shows interest in any particular instrument, I will definitely put him in professional lessons
You are also a family man, has your immediate family helped you to leverage your current success?
My wife has been a great support for me. Earlier on I used to work ridiculously long hours. At times I have to travel with little to no notice. Sometimes she will accompany me on these road trips. She has always been understanding and supportive. We made the decision for my wife to stay home to raise our son. She has put her career on pause to do so but in doing so it also helps me focus on growing the business. As of late, I try hard to avoid working the long hours, to allow me to spend more time with my family. But I’m not always successful in my attempts
Your business is a partnership, what are the benefits of not taking the journey alone?
I can honestly say that my business partnership with Clive is a blessing from God. We’ve been partners since 2007 when he convinced me partner up with him. We’ve had our ups and downs in business but it definitely helps to have a partner you can depend on. Sometimes in business, it gets stressful and discouraging, but having each other there to run ideas past each other and problem solve, really helps. We’ve been working together for over 10 years and I can say that we’ve never had a major argument. Also, the feeling of not having to do everything alone in a business is great. We have over 15 guys working for us with and many different clients and that is a lot of responsibility to manage and having a partner that has the same value system and has the same invested interest to lean on is really important.
Running a business, attending to family needs and playing an active role in the church can be overwhelming for a lot of people, how have you managed to remain consistent especially as it relates to your commitment to the body?
It comes down to balance. I can admit that in the past I didn’t necessarily have balance and sometimes would sacrifice coming to church for the sake of work. But I realized that it didn’t really get me any farther ahead so then I decided to change my priorities. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you Matthew 6:33. I really get convicted with this scripture when I start to change my priorities around which is God, my family, and then my business. This is what helps me be the most consistent
What advice would you give to someone thinking about self- employment?
Knowledge is key. I see a lot of people start and fail in business because they didn’t get all the important information. It’s important to take the time to research and really learn the in’s and out’s” of the business prior to branching out on their own. It’s also important to be passionate and very diligent in whatever business you decide to do. If you have responsibilities, please just don’t wake up one day and quit your job for whatever reason say that you are going to be self-employed. It’s better to start small and start doing what you think can be a business for you on the side. For example, you really enjoy painting but you have a full-time job. I would say try and get side jobs painting outside of your regular job like on evenings and weekends. Once you are able to grow the side business enough to cover your monthly expenses and you have some savings to cover your expenses for a couple months if things slow down, go for it. If you’re passionate enough about it, done your research and willing to put in the hard work, you will be successful
What else would you like to share with us?
Don’t worry about money, worry about doing a good job with integrity and the money will follow. Also, I love my wife J