There is a bright future for Arnold Budhram. With the success with his first business and continuous production of high quality carpentry, Budhram’s craftsmanship is in high demand throughout New York. He takes pride in the work that he performs, whether it be when he is working for St. John’s University or on various side projects.
Arnold Budhram began his workforce journey while still in high school working at his uncle’s porridge factory in Guyana. After graduation, he began working full time at the factory, which he helped redesign into a successful ice cream factory. People came from all over as the thriving business gained popularity and became one of the most famous sites in Guyana. It was at this prospering ice cream factory where Budhram met and fell in love with his cherished wife. Arnold remained at the factory for several years where he learned every aspect of the business from design to operations and finance. He worked hard and understood the value of each dollar he earned. Eventually, Budhram made the decision to travel to the United States to start his new adventure.
Arnold Budhram arrived in the U.S. one cold January day in 1990. He was eager to begin his new life in the states, and by April of that same year, he purchased his first home. He took a position in the financial industry to maintain his new home, and to be able to reunite with his soon-to-be wife, Sabrina.
Arnold’s job paid the bills and sustained the household. It was work that made him want to wake up in the morning and create the day with a passion and zest for life. He continued the corporate life on a weekly basis and taking joy in the creative carpentry work that he participated in on the weekends and holidays. They were doing home improvements and gaining quite a client base.
In 2004 the financial organization went through many changes and buy-outs. That is when Arnold seized the opportunity to leave the financial world behind and begin living his own life on his own terms. Now married, Arnold Budhram began his own business: Arnibina Home Improvements Inc was established in 2004 and led the Budhrams on a path to success. At the same time, they were blessed with a son, which Arnold describes the birth of his son as the happiest moment of his life.
In 2015, Arnold was forced to consider his future health. His business was booming but the work was too physically demanding. That is when Arnold Budhram began working as an Independent Contractor at St. John’s University in New York. Arnold has been with St. John’s University for the past three years, and together they have built a relationship that has been mutually beneficial, professionally rewarding, and personally fulfilling.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The name of the business, Arnibina Home Improvements Inc., came from the combination of my nickname, Arnie, and my wife’s name, Sabrina.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I begin every day around 6am, reviewing work-orders or tickets. When I leave to make repairs, I make sure I have everything I will need to complete the tasks on the orders. While I am in a given location making the repairs, I keep a keen eye on my surroundings. Without hesitation, I’ll complete any other repairs I observe are needed. I love working with my hands so I never get tired of my work. Since I am an independent contractor, how long I work differs from day to day depending on how many jobs I have at once. Sometimes it is overwhelming, but it is always rewarding.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have over 20 years of work experience, so that definitely helps! I pay attention to the small details to make something great, and I often can’t stop a project until it is fully complete. It doesn’t matter if I am home or at work, I will sit down and find a way to make it happen.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I really enjoy all of the new technology that has helped to improve my craft. It is crazy to think back on all the objects I made and fixed as a child in Guyana with hardly any electric tools. Now, technology has created such precise instruments that really speed up the work process. Even something as simple as an electric sander has allowed me to finish much more work than the traditional sandpaper sheet method of sanding. I’m excited to see what tools will emerge on the market in a decade.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Organization is the key to my construction company. Knowing the exact location of all the tools I need to complete a project helps make me productive. That may sound silly, but I have collected so many tools over the last 20+ years of doing construction and carpentry, and developed specific practices for my work, that I feel messy and unable to work if my tools are not organized! Several of my workers have told me that my tools are cleaner than their bedrooms. It gives me piece of mind.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would be kinder to my friends. I used to be something like a bully to my friends; even if it was good natured, I could have been better. Having a family really makes you think about how you treated others and how you want others to treat your family. I want to show my son that kindness goes a long way.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
An unpopular opinion of mine is that sometimes I prefer to work with the “old school” tools when I have enough time. Even though I am excited about the future of high tech tools, I also find it comforting and calming to complete a project start to finish with minimal tools. It brings me back to my roots.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Studies have proven that if you have people watching you, you will work harder or do your best. If you are honest with your customers and keep this idea that everyone is watching you, you will give them your best results. Always pretend you have many people watching over you while you work. Never hide away in a shop. Bring friends around that will help you focus and work hard.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I believe patience is one of the best strategies. Sometimes you can work so hard and not see any results. Many people experience this and give up out of frustration. This is something I learned while I was playing competitive chess. I am a patient man. It is far too easy to get frustrated when you’re working on a project that requires significant problem-solving. If you have patience, you will figure it out. Success will come but it does take time. Don’t give up!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest failure in life was when I lost contact with my godchildren. They were four years old when their father and I stopped talking. I missed too much of their life. They didn’t even know they had a Godfather. It is one of the things I regret most. Now they are 17, and we are very, very close. I am so grateful for this connection and I never wish to lose it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think the best business to get into now is Cyber-Security. With everyone stealing everyone else’s ideas and intellectual property, Cyber-security would be the something for the long-term. The internet is never going away! So let’s at least develop ways to protect users.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I was in Canada, and I got a call that they were having a birthday party for my friend, whose children are my godchildren. I spent a thousand dollars on a 24-hour trip to be there. I didn’t even care about the cost. I just wanted to be there. It was the best $1000 I ever spent. As I age, the more I realize that you must do everything and anything to be with the people you love. That’s what makes all your hard work worth it.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
When I had my construction company, I had a very useful design software. Now, I use Excel for crunching numbers on all of our projects. I love using Excel on Google Drive because you can access it whenever and wherever, as long as you have internet or data. This means I never miss out on recording my transactions. Everyone needs Google Drive!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
There are so many books out there. Much of what I read is related to carpentry and not very interesting for business. Sometimes you read all these books to prepare yourself for a big move in business, but you get so scared thinking of all this different advice. My advice is to just do it! Don’t worry about how someone else became successful, worry about how you’re going to become successful.
What is your favorite quote?
“Yolo” You only live once! Cheesy, but it’s true! Helps me to live life to the fullest.
• Be Dependable
• Be Honest
• Be Trustworthy
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.