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About CJ DeGuara

Consultant, Author & Entrepreneur

A square peg that isn’t trying to fit in a round hole. I am first and foremost a change agent. My unique life experience coupled with well over a decade of sales and marketing experience in traditional roles as well as digital marketing allows me to help clients find the right solutions for their enterprises. My experience with my own business that works with over a 1,000 businesses from a variety of industries using different sales and marketing techniques gives me a very broad knowledge to pull on when solving problems and structuring sales and marketing teams.

I leverage the same broad life experience when writing fiction or interviewing interesting people. Interviewing is something I have done for a very long time and thoroughly enjoy as it further broadens my knowledge. I have had the privilege of interviewing authors through my digital publication www.authorspromoter.com , many business owners through www.ipopnetwork.com publications that are geared to different industries, a technology TV show called TekTiek that I produced with a fellow university student and Professors in specific fields for niche websites I have worked on throughout the years.

Below I highlight some of my life experience; if you have the time to read through it will give you a better understanding of what I have done and what I do. I have segmented the information into key sections I think will be of interest mainly my work in Sales & Marketing, my travels, my writing and my business.

Sales and Marketing

Traditional Sales and Marketing

  • Sales & Marketing Director – Route Sales – Account Management – Frozen Food Industry – Restaurants – Supermarkets & Wholesalers
  • Sales & Staff Training – Telesales (Inside Sales) – Telecom – Consumers – Private Households
  • Customer Retention & Staff Training – Inside Sales – Telecom – Consumers – Private Households
  • Recruitment Specialist – Recruiting & Evaluating sales staff for Print & Digital Advertising Sales positions.
  • B2B & Channel Sales – Account Management – Co-Op Marketing – Software & Licensing – Microsoft & Symantec
  • TV QVC Sales – PC Hardware and Accessories – Direct to consumer – Presenting & Production
  • Sales & Marketing Director – B2B – Advertising Sales – Digital Marketing Services – Solution Selling

From the first day I set foot into my family’s business I was drawn to the sales and marketing department. I understood the importance of production, finance and logistics but there was something naturally simple about sales and marketing. Simply put if the market doesn’t want what you have to sell all the other pieces of the puzzle become irrelevant.

I spent a number of years learning the ropes in the family business, visiting clients, designing product packaging, doing market surveys, setting sales targets, planning sales routes and understanding our customers needs. I eventually made it all the way up to sales and marketing director a role I enjoyed and excelled at.

I wanted to know more though; I wanted to know how other industries work, what approaches do other companies take and this led me to an opportunity with a British company working in the telecom industry; I was a top performer in the outbound telesales team and also provided training to newcomers. The company eventually chose to relocate but I was recruited by another telecom company and given the option between a traditional sales role and a customer retention role, I felt the retention role would give me insight into another segment of sales & marketing. At this company I also became a trainer and was ranked one of the top performers across ten call centers throughout Europe. Due to changes in tax legislation the company also moved their operations away but they placed me with a recruitment division within the same company; there I got to work for Yellow Pages UK and gained yet another valuable sales and marketing insight; talent acquisition.

At this point in my career it was clear to me that technology was starting to become a massively important tool in sales and marketing; digital marketing and advertising was also becoming much more mainstream so I decided to further my education in Information Technology. Due to the change in my educational profile I became interested in finding jobs in the IT sector and landed a position with the local Microsoft & Symantec distributor; I was trained on Microsoft’s licensing and sales process as well as Symantec’s which would prove to be an invaluable sales and marketing education. I’m proud to say that even in this challenging field I outperformed the targets set but there was little room for growth due to the size of the market.

Mixed marketing and entrepreneurship

Armed with nearly a decade of sales and marketing experience and a keen interest in digital marketing and advertising myself and a fellow student from the University of London decided on Ramen noodles and energy drinks, we took the plunge and opened a web design and development agency that also sold Microsoft and Symantec licensing.

I had discussed my goals with my employer and moved from employee to client as we went down the uncertain road of entrepreneurship.

We also ventured into hardware sales and PC repair for a while and to add a bit of fuel to the fire we even launched a TV show and did a QVC style TV shopping segment also. We started our business, Ice Phoenix Solutions in a small office which we renovated ourselves.

We outgrew our first office which turned into a store and moved to a larger premises to accommodate our needs. Ice Phoenix Solutions was many things but most of all it was Value Driven and Client Centric, something it would remain as it evolved.

Eventually due to life events we decided to part ways. I carried on with the business and adapted it into what today is the IPOP Network; Ice Phoenix Online Publications which is now over a decade old and has moved from Europe to the United States of America.

Digital marketing and Online Publications

The business and I had morphed from a jack of all trades to a digital marketing operation with our own online publications that competed with Yellow Pages and other business publications. Due to the nature of our publications I had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of businesses and began what would later become DAY Consultancy a small consulting company that works with businesses to combine digital and traditional techniques for sales and marketing.

Since then I have had the pleasure of working with international brands in the Fashion, Food, Medical and other industries in markets as varied as North Africa, Middle East, Europe, Asia and of course my home base USA.