The pursuit of life, love and greatness
Unmarried, with merely 26 years under his belt, Aaron Ballantyne has become an expert on directing people’s journey in The Pursuit of Greatness, The Pursuit of Love and The Pursuit of Life.
Inspired to write three books on the themes at age 25, Ballantyne said his own experiences as well as that of others around him compelled him to take up the pen.
He also wanted to establish his name in Jamaica, owing to the large number of international clients he had, yet none in his homeland.
“So I decided to kill three birds with one stone, hoping to help other young people who may have been struggling through their own journey,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.
The first thing he did was to start his own publishing company, with the determination to show the rest of the world that anything was possible.
By the time he received his first degree at age 22, the Kingston College graduate, who later studied Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Technology, was making a name for himself freelancing at Fiverr.
“I started providing tools services, in particular, writing sponsorship letters to help organisations, mainly non-profit organisations who were seeking funding, to get it through an introductory letter,” he revealed.
Between 2015 and 2018, these services exploded, leading him to move from just tool services to some 20 different offerings. Ballantyne was now doing short stories, scripts, academic papers and corporate documents.
A DREAM COME TRUE
It wasn’t until 2019 that he got his first Jamaican client, after serving customers in countries such as Australia, Korea, the United Kingdom, Canada, South America and a few Caribbean nations.
For the young man born on Whitehall Avenue, one of the most volatile areas in St Andrew, this was a dream come true, although he pointed out that the community had no significant impact on his life because he moved when he was attending prep school.
Ballantyne admits that he was a bit more nervous meeting his first Jamaican client, because this customer in particular was one of those he had to interact with in person.
“So as much as I was getting really good reviews from other people across the world and I was building on my online reputation, there was an element of never being in the same space, in-person, or in the same presence as my clients,” he noted.
His confidence was boosted, however, by the fact that regardless of the location of the client, his work standards and ethics remained high.
“But I still had that sense of anxiety because this was a client that, after having met virtually, was one who wanted to work with me in person, not based on my university qualifications or any other experience, but just my writing. So it was like a proving ground, so to speak,” he stated.
It was jobs like these that helped the young businessman to sustain himself in university, taking care of his living expenses without any problem.
BUILDING ON HIS GRANDMOTHER’S LEGACY
For Ballantyne, the fulfilment he has gained so far is more than he had planned for his life.
More importantly, he wanted to make a significant impact in Jamaica, because that’s how his grandmother raised him.
“I wanted to continue that legacy. I wanted to make an impact with the way in which I did that change and that was my reason for studying Urban and Regional Planning, to be in a position where I could influence the space in which people live, by having a nice quality of life,” he shared with The Sunday Gleaner.
THE THREE BOOKS
In promoting his book The Pursuit of Love, Ballantyne said the first question he is always asked is “what do I know about love and relationships to be able to pen such a book? And always my answer is, ‘It’s more about self-love and loving others or being loved by others’.”
The book speaks about relationship with self, perception of self and how one should ideally love oneself and, by extension, accept love from others. He said that it was introspective in the sense that anybody can go through that, everybody should go through that.
“How you receive love and condition others to show you love, by extension, that’s how you identify your own individual perception of yourself, what you like about yourself, what you don’t like about yourself and what you will work on,” he explained.
He said one’s strengths and weaknesses and, by extension, how one feels about oneself and the person they believe they are becoming are all covered in the self-love part of the book.
In his book on The Pursuit of Greatness, the young man said he was qualified to delve deeply in this topic owing to the lunch delivery business he operated at his high school at about age 14.
“It’s only after I started writing books that I realised that I experienced all the stages of business development from that little endeavour,” Ballantyne said.
“So for example, when I was carrying lunches for only people in my class, I had the service, I had the key members involved, how it was delivered, which was me going to collect them physically, and the money and the pricing.”
The word was spread to other classes and soon his lunch business blossomed, as he was now supplying students outside of his classmates. Teachers would some join his growing clientele.
Because the workload got so big, the young Ballantyne could no longer manage on his own, so he was forced to hire someone to assist.
That experience was his first foray in the scaling of the business.
In teaching how to pursue greatness, Ballantyne stresses the importance of reaching specific goals, business, money management, elements of investment and working independently.
His aim is to get people to identify what within their own world and within their own life success looks like. They are then questioned on whether or not their current habits, lifestyle and influences are contributing to that idea of success that they identify for themselves.
THE ROAD TO GAINING REAL WEALTH
The young businessman also focuses on those who choose to work as freelancers or work independently, while he doubles down on business practices, sharing that he never thought about it in the way he does now until he started writing books.
When he spoke about investment and money management, Ballantyne was quick to point out that many people were not in a frame of mind to think how the world around them operates.
“When you go to a job and your employer pays you a salary at the end of the day, for example, when it’s time to go to the supermarket, you spend a portion of that money at the supermarket. The money that you get is deposited into a bank, and you probably spend some of it on entertainment. I caution persons to think about who controls each aspect that you put money in where real life is concerned,” he reasoned.
“If your employer is somebody who has a stake or owns the supermarket you spend your money at or if they’re another key stakeholder in the bank that your money is deposited, each time the money is deposited in one way or another, your employer gets a percentage of it.”
He continued, “And the entertainment you spend money on, again, your employer benefits from it in some way. All of this is to show that your employer is basically giving you money to fund your lifestyle, and that money is being recycled.”
He said the road to success is either ownership or control of ownership, which is what brings real wealth. And this could be via bonds, real estate, stocks, or income-generating assets, such as Airbnbs…whatever the case is.
Ballantyne noted that if persons continue to only spend their money instead of investing it or managing it effectively, they’re only funding someone else who essentially owns it.
“In the book The Pursuit of Greatness I use the term ‘ownership either enslaves or empowers’, which do you choose to be?” he noted.
His shortest book, The Pursuit of Life, is a broader perspective of life’s fulfilment, and covers topics such as building or leaving a legacy.
“It is about your reputation, your perception of life as you go through it. Evaluating the different stages of your growth and development, what the meaning of life should mean to you or what it should look like as you live your life,” the young author said.
Ballantyne’s books can be found on his website, https://www.aaronrballantyne.com/