Israel Mark wants to make giving cool again

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Owner of Markos Marketing Israel Mark wants to make giving cool again. –

Israel Mark, 21, knows what it is like to lose, but from that experience, he’s gained the lesson of giving.

He wants to make giving cool again, especially as Christmas approaches.

Mark has a media company, Markos Marketing, incorporated in 2020. He is also in the process of incorporating a holding company, Markos Global, for his other businesses.

Also under his umbrella company is an NGO and programme called Poor Nothing, through which he recently gave Candice Rojan $100,000. Rojan is receiving the money in instalments.

The programme and promotion were launched on October 24 with the giveaway. All one had to do was be a member of the programme to win. On November 29 Mark asked members to send their names, locations and why they should be “blessed” with $100,000. He asked for the locations so he could physically surprise the winner.

For him, Rojan’s message stood out. Her home, a wooden house in Freeport, had been flooded. Rojan has three children at the home, which she shares with her husband, Mahesh Hosein. She has other children who are not with her.

Israel Mark the owner of Markos Marketing and Markos Global presents Candice Rojan the winner of the promotion Poor Nothing with her cheque. The promotion ended on November 30. –

“Most of my stuff, I use my gut feeling to make decisions. I got a strong feeling to bless the family,” Mark said.

Rojan said she was scrolling through Facebook when she saw the promotion.

“I learn a lot from Markos and showing kindness to people. It opened up my heart just looking at the videos,” she said.

But she did not think she would win, as she “was never a lucky person in life.”

At the end of her message, Rojan said, “Whoever is reading this, thanks for listening to my story because I did not think I would win. I just wrote it from my heart.”

Around 700 people wrote in saying they should win, Mark said. One responder wrote, “I need that 100K because I am struggling right now and I want to open my own business and have my own thing.” Some said they wanted homes for themselves and their children, some wanted to start businesses, and others wanted to become financially secure.

It was losing everything that taught Mark why it is important to give.

As a 16-year-old at Trinity College East, he was interested in studying psychology, but discovered graphic design in form four, when he won the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s (UTT) logo competition for a conference in 2017.

Mark was told he could earn money doing logos, and began learning graphic and web design on his own, then learned about photography and videography, all in a two-year period.

“Going down that media rabbit hole, I learned about having a media agency – an agency that could do it all for a business. So instead of businesses coming to me just for graphic design, they could come to me for graphic design, social media and other things.

“I learned how to do all of those things, and it was going good for a while.”

In two years, Mark made “decent money” and started his own business. A lot of businesses wanted social media services when the covid19 pandemic hit in 2020.

“I started getting lots more clients…but was doing all of the work myself. It started getting hard to manage. I was unable to fulfil certain services for clients,” he added.

While he lost clients, he managed to keep the business going for a while. But in 2021 it completely collapsed.

“They started going for actual agencies with multiple staff.

“I lost everything. I was sharing an apartment with my non-identical twin brother. We lived in an apartment in Piarco/St Helena. In March, the business crashed and I was evicted.

“From March, I called a couple of people to see if I could get help, and did not get it. But I had a friend called Daryan Joseph. I asked his family if I could stay with them for a week, and that week turned into a month, and that month turned into six months.

“From March 12-September 1 (2021), I just gave up.”

He said people began saying he was in over his head. In January that year, he had set himself the goal of making his media agency stable. He recorded this goal in his phone; it showed up as a reminder that September.

Israel Mark plans to launch more companies in finance, creative media and food and even wants to build roads. But he also wants to take action that would put pressure on the Government to do more. –

“I was sitting by my friend on the couch watching Netflix and I saw the notification. That was when I started to feel like I was really a loser. I was like, ‘I really set this goal, all excited and now I am just here. You don’t have anything on your name. Your business crash, you give up.’”

He started listening to motivational speakers and podcasts. One was American businessman Dan Pena. He learned from Pena, “If you fail at plan A, don’t switch to plan B, C or D. You just have to keep going at plan A.”

He decided to restart his business. His friend John Thomas – who has a successful agency – showed him how to hire staff, charge clients, manage cash flows and offer the right services.

He had previously felt hiring people cost more, but soon realised it gave him more time to bring in new clients and manage the business. He hired staff, putting them on contract and paying them from monthly retainers. He was creating new offers and pitching to clients. Mark works largely with foreign entrepreneurs in crypto-finance, health or e-commerce.

He would ask clients what he could do to make a pitch better when it was rejected.

“Once they told me that, I’d just pitch it to another client.”

He saw the power of influence working with his clients.

“When I realised how much these clients were paying for influencers – like US$5,000 for an influencer’s post – I was like, ‘Influence is like a currency, basically. Once you have influence, you can sell to an audience.’”

Mark decided to build his own influence. He followed the format of US streamed shows like Mr Beast which was Epic, where people are given money and their kindness is tested. Nothing like that was being done in TT, he said, so he decided to do it to create an impact. In March he tested it by pretending to be homeless at Trincity Mall. That gained the public’s attention.

He now has over 21,000 followers on Instagram and over 50,000 on TikTok. From this he started the Poor Nothing programme, which teaches people how to monetise their skills and passions.

“If you are good at singing, writing or cooking, I show you how to build a personal brand around that.”

Mark is not afraid of losing everything again, as he believes he has learned things that would allow him to recover. He also believes everything happens for a reason.

He plans to launch more companies at the end of the month in finance, creative media and food. But he also wants to take action that would put pressure on the Government to do more.

“I want to start giving away vehicles and blessing people with apartments and homes. I want to start doing a lot more so people can realise what the Government should be doing.”

He even plans to pave some roads. Mark realises this is a huge undertaking, but is working on it.

He says he’s bought a five-bedroom home at The Crossings, Arima, where he lives with his mother and two brothers.

He wants to be “the skinny Santa Claus” for December by giving away three cars and much more, and hopes to replicate his model of giving in the region and the US.

“My goal is to make giving or blessing people cool. I want to make it trendy,” he said.