"There is power in understanding the journey of others to help create your own."��
LTNeighbors is the first everything-as-a-service platform with a human element. Our goal is not only to help homes and businesses but to also change the landscape of how the home service industry is operated today. Everyone should be given a fair shot to make a respectful wage. By integrating our smart technology with human elements we'll inspire change that's better for everyone.
Hey, my name is Markquin Johnson Founder and CEO of Lifetime Neighbors, Inc. The road to creating Lifetime Neighbors was a long and winding road filled with lots of potholes, sharp turns, and quite a few dead ends.
I would not have arrived at my final destination without the help of a few great people along the way. It is so important to me to highlight the true journey of how I got to this point in 2020. The highs, the lows and little luck in between. Don’t worry I’ll give you the short version.😃
The Gift & The Curse
I have always chosen to take the path less traveled. I guess I like to learn things the hard way. My brain has always been wired to find new ways or new processes. As a child, most of the authoritative people in my life probably thought I was just being rebellious but really I was intrigued at finding different solutions to problems. It feels like a puzzle to me. When I come up against an obstacle I literally 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 I know.
I truly believe that God gives each of us our own special 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 fight even harder. Everyone has a governing value of why you make the choices you make and motivates you daily to do what you do and keep going. I am blessed to have a tribe of people that see my purpose and allow me to fulfill my vision.
In my Lifetime
In a span of about three months, I met three people that changed the course of my life forever. I first met Mark Walton through his then-girlfriend (now wife) Summer while he was here in Dallas from Melbourne, Australia working. We had mutual friends that were all meeting up for dinner and drinks and immediately he and I hit it off and discovered that we both worked in the same industry. We started talking and found out the company he worked for was here from Australia doing door to door sales 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. I told Jordan I was not feeling challenged and I 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 and by Christmas, we were down to one agent. That was a very pivotal moment in my life. I'd call him and ask a question he'd say figure it out which forced me to make all decisions. Our team grew to 30+ agents in four months and things were on the upswing.
Everything is Love
At the beginning of 2012, I met my girlfriend at the time, Melissa. This happened just as I was in the midst of 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. I knew within the first couple of months she was special and she was 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 on without him and start things up on my own.
There are just a few times in your life when all the stars align just right and you better 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 with blood, sweat, and tears we embarked on our new journey.
"They didn't see potential in me girl, but you see it.If it's me and you against the world, then so be it."
Moment of Clarity
We officially started the challenge and launched Movere Marketing LLC 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 found out real quick what it felt like to be the boss. 100% financially responsible for an entire organization spread across four offices. Things where good top vendors in sales living the dream so I thought.
On a trip to Coral Gables and Fort Lauderdale with Melissa in 2015, we came up with an idea for a service company that would solve all the problems we have with service provider contractors. I purchased the Lifetime Neighbors domain and LLC in the picture below. I had a plan but little did I know at the time the work, time and effort it would take to make it right. Four years to be exact. Life has a funny way of waking you up to things that matter.
From the outside looking in, being a business owner looks 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. Everyone loves to post pictures and try to emulate the end result, but no one wants to share the process which is the most important part. The journey is not easy and will take you places you've never imagined. In my case, the trouble all started with location. Dallas was home and my girlfriend and her kids were here. My Dallas offices were producing but my top volume teams were in Houston. I had two offices in Houston that were needing me full time now. 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 the 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 2 which was a big deal at the time. I was essentially giving up a career that I had invested my life into for love. I thought finding a new job with my background would be an easy task. I'd go get a 9 to 5 for a while until I got my new venture off the ground. Boy was I wrong. I put 100's 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 that were counting on me. This was tough for quite some time, to say the least, 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. Through the good and bad she has always been my ride or die. 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 bad 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 is going to go, but that is not quite how it always works out. The key is if you are able to adjust and look at the long term vision. Everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that. If I didn’t have all this time there's no way I would have been able to create LTNeighbors. I give all the credit to Melissa and to be frank without Melissa Lifetime Neighbors wouldn't exist.
Wheel within a Wheel
When I decided to create LTNeighbors I had an idea of what I wanted it to be, but no idea of how much I would have to learn to get there. I love to learn new things but this really pushed it to another level. Sometimes I would think to myself this is crazy what are you doing? This is when the gift would kick in and the obsession of solving a problem.
I initailly started by teaching myself the basics such as CSS, HTML, and how to build WordPress sites. Everything turned into a domino effect so I then shifted and started diving into AWS, Google Cloud and the terminal. From there I shifted to SQL, analytics and CDP. I researched every type of software that is out and learned how it functions and the advantages and disadvantages of one verse the other. I then taught myself smart home everything and how to use it with Alexa, Google and Apple. As I started working with design apps, automation and API's in order to create exactly what I had invisioned. I realized that there are so many resources out there for free or discounted products. I still have a long way to go.
I say all of this because I truly believe a lot more people would attempt to start businesses if they knew where to start with a blueprint laid out in front of them. I once had my best friend tell me without a degree you were limited in what you could do. I thought it was funny at the time, but as you can see I never forgot.😃 I'd like to give people the resources and save them time and headaches. 🤯
This would at least give people a realistic shot at success. My biggest takeaway from this process is that there is a lot of help as in self-educated resources, but finding help from others not so much. You feel like your on an island playing survivor for the majority of the journey. Long term is it worth it? Absolutely! I just think most of the things you go through makes it tough for people to fully commit. No telling how many more great ideas would be executed if people felt like it was more of a seamless process to get up and going with low overhead.
"My vision's 20/20 and the feeling is euphoric."
In 2016 I started doing lawn care, 2017 maid service, 2018-2019 Daddy day care for the twins and 2020 full launch of completion in the middle of a pandemic. The entire time I had a long term vision but wanted to make sure I could do the basics at the same time.
"Even in your hard times always believe and bet on yourself. No matter the circumstances God will get you through and remember it could be worse."
Count your blessings
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. I have sent him a few more emails along the way and he always responds. My biggest take away was to never think you are too good to help people. 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 times.
How'd you do it?
Here we are. Some people that know me would think it was over. The truth of the matter is it's never over. The day you realize your competition is in the mirror is the day you're able to live stress free and have fun with the folks that have always thought they were ahead of you mentally. The drive is too strong and the marathon continues. I've learned more and had more fun 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 up and down journey I’ve learned is if you truly believe in something do it. Put in the work and outwork everyone. When you’re sleeping at 5 am I’m still up learning and figuring out what I can do to be better. Admit it or not we all have failures, but don’t quit and let that fuel you to 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. At the end of the day, you control your destiny and are only competing with one person. You'll soon realize you can defeat them if that's your focus. The one thing we can control in life is effort.
"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."