LTN Company Inc. is my portfolio of digital projects and services created to give companies and people a technological edge. Automating and integrating systems and processes in life will reduce and eliminate manual work while allowing people and teams to focus on critical initiatives. Incorporating technology with human elements will inspire change throughout organizations and households.
"There is power in understanding the journey of others to help create your own."
Hey, my name is Markquin Johnson, Founder of LTN Company Inc. The road to creating LTN Company was a long and winding road filled with many potholes, sharp turns, and dead ends. I would not be who I am today without the help of a few great people along the way. It is essential for me to highlight the true journey because there is nothing quick and straightforward about the life of a solopreneur: the highs, the lows, and a little luck in between. I'll give you the short version.😃
The Gift & Curse
I have always chosen to take the path less traveled. I learn things the hard way. My brain has been wired to find new processes and more productive ways. As a child, most of the authoritative figures in my life probably thought I was rebellious, but I have always been intrigued by finding different solutions to problems. It feels like a puzzle to me. When I come up against an obstacle, I can't sleep until I have figured out a way through it. This way of thinking is a blessing and a curse, but it is the only way to feel complete.
I truly believe that God gives us our unique gift, and it is up to us to find our purpose. I am thankful for the tough times in my life that allowed me to think hard, work hard, and continue to fight. Everyone has a governing value that leads their decisions and motivates them daily. I am blessed to have a tribe of people that see my purpose and allow me to fulfill my vision.
In my Lifetime
In three months, I met three people who changed my life forever. I met Mark Walton through his then-girlfriend (now wife) Summer while he was in Dallas from Melbourne, Australia. We had mutual friends meeting up for dinner and drinks, and we immediately hit it off. We both worked in B2B and D2D energy sales industries. Mark was here from Australia, leading the technical team for direct sales and marketing for TXU energy and selling a Field Sales Management software called iKnock.
Within just a few days, Mark had arranged for me to meet his boss, Jordan Muir(Co-Founder/CEO, Aussie Farmer's Direct, Founder, Interface IT, Investor, Get Wine Direct, etc.). We immediately connected, and I knew then that this would lead to much more than my next business adventure. I told Jordan I was not feeling challenged and had hit a lid in my current role. He offered me a job as VP of Sales and set me up for the small task of firing, rehiring, and training a new team while he was out of the business and back in Australia for a week. That week turned into three months; we were down to one agent by Christmas. That was a very pivotal moment in my life. I'd call him and ask him a question he'd say figure it out, forcing me to make all decisions. Although I had many moments of panic, Jordan stayed relaxed and confident that I had everything under control. Our team grew to 30+ agents in three months, and things were on the upswing.
Everything is Love
At the beginning of 2012, I met my girlfriend, Melissa. This happened just as I was rebuilding an entire organization. She had two kids, ages three and seven. So for me, this was a big deal. My last girlfriend was six years before that, and I never dated a woman with kids. Within the first couple of months, I knew she was special and meant to be a part of my life.
In the first part of April 2012, we got ready to head out on our first trip together to Miami. Shortly after returning, Jordan told me he had been working on a new business venture and would be parting ways with the energy business. He encouraged me to continue without him and start things on my own.
A few times in your life when the stars align just right, and you must seize the moment. Melissa walked away from her job of 11 years with Neiman Marcus. Her family thought she was crazy, but we pulled all our resources together and embarked on our new journey with blood, sweat, and tears.
We officially started the journey and launched Movere Marketing at the end of May 2012. Jordan again helped me by answering legal questions or giving introductions, but always making me do everything myself and figure it out. These small things long term have still helped me to this day. The first contract I had was with Entrust energy, and I quickly discovered what it felt like to be the owner. 100% financially responsible for an entire organization across four Texas offices. Things were going great! We consistently received top partner in sales, and life was but a dream, or so we thought.
On a trip to Coral Gables and Fort Lauderdale with Melissa in 2015, we devised an idea to create a service platform for small businesses and startups that would provide technical resources and support for service-based and growing businesses. I purchased the domain and LLC in the picture below. I had a plan but little did I know at the moment the work, time, and effort it would take to make it right. Life has a funny way of waking you up to things that matter.
From the outside looking in, being a business owner seems so glamorous. The truth is no matter what business you start, it's not easy, especially in the beginning. There are a lot of ups and downs that most people rarely acknowledge. In my case, the trouble all started with the location. I had two offices in Houston and one in South Texas. Melissa could not move past 100 miles because of the kids. My Dallas offices were producing, but my top-volume teams were in Houston, the client and our commercial energy teams. I got an apartment in Houston for a couple of years and traveled back in forth between the two cities, but in this field of business, you are always chasing new and upcoming markets. It came down to two choices, Option 1 move up north for energy, or Option 2, figure something else out and start all over again for my girlfriend.
I chose option two, which was one of the most complex decisions of my life. I was giving up a career I had invested my whole life for love. I thought finding a new job with my background would be easy. I'd get a 9 to 5 for a while until I got my new venture off the ground. Boy, was I wrong. I put hundreds of applications in (it felt like thousands) and got no callbacks or responses. It was terrible, super depressing, and financially devastating. The hardest part was that I was not just providing for myself anymore; I now had a girlfriend with two kids who counted on me. This was tough for quite some time, but you grow and learn from it.
"A loss ain't a loss; it's a lesson. Appreciate the pain. It's a blessing."
Melissa and I got married in February 2016. She has always been my ride or die through the good and bad. To me, loyalty is everything, and in today's world, it is a hard quality to find in people. She went back to work which I felt terrible about, but that's who she is. Work ethic and a heart that's unmatchable. You have this plan in your head of how life will go, but that is not quite how it always works. Life has taught me to be flexible, pivot when needed, and not lose focus on my long-term vision. Everything happens for a reason, and I have gained a deeper understanding of each failure I have had to navigate through. I give all the credit to Melissa; to be frank, I would not be who I am today without Melissa.
Your love is bright as ever, even in the shadows. Baby, kiss me before they turn the lights out.
Count your blessings
Even in your hard times, always believe and bet on yourself. No matter the circumstances, God will get you through; remember, it could be worse. In October 2017, after re-reading Mark Cuban's book "How to Win at the Sport of Business," I sent an email to Mark Cuban. He emailed me back within a few minutes, and although I know he had a million things to do besides answer all my business questions, he had no problem taking the time. He wrapped up our conversation with free season tickets just a few rows up from the floor for our entire family. I have sent him a few more emails along the way, and he always has a quick response. It has taught me continually to make time for people. If Mark Cuban can make time, anyone can make time.
We found out Melissa was pregnant in January 2018 and a month later found out we were having twins. We were in complete shock! Everything happens for a reason, and this was one of those moments.
So here we are, still standing. Some people probably thought it was over. The truth of the matter is it's never over. The drive is too strong, and the marathon continues. I've learned more in the last four years than my entire life. I will continue to aspire to make a difference and help others.
The biggest takeaway from this roller coaster called life is if you genuinely believe in something, do not stop pursuing it. Put in the work, outwork everyone, and stay persistent. When you're sleeping at 5 am, I'm still learning and figuring out what I can do to improve. Admit it or not, we all have failures, but don't quit. Allow that to fuel you and do whatever it takes to be better.
Look yourself in the mirror and know it's 100% your fault and no one else. Cancel out the noise and get back to work. Let people say whatever they want about you and form their own opinions. You control your destiny and are only competing with one person.
"No one knows how much time we have. That's why we must live in the moment; we must enjoy the moment, reach and spend as much time as we can with our loved ones." - MJ