From having little more than a cardboard box to his name to owning a marketing agency that pushes the nation’s technological boundaries, the founder of Limitless Marketing, Asta Sonner, is a local ragsto-riches tale in the making.
With Fijian, Rotuman, and German roots, Mr Sonner was born in Germany and came home to Fiji at the age of 10.
Never one to back down on his out-ofthe-box thinking, Mr Sonner never quite fit right with the formal education system.
Upon completing form 3, personal circumstances tore his education from him regardless, and years later he found himself homeless on the streets of Suva.
How, then, did this young man make a success story of himself, one might wonder.
An entrepreneur with the kind of ambition and fighting spirit that fuels many of the greats in the business world, Mr Sonner realised the cliche was true; once you hit rock bottom, the only place left to go is up.
“I spent about two years homeless due to unfortunate events,” he said, “and in those two years I really wished that there would have been some foundation or someplace where people could be safe, could be guided in the right direction”.
“So, the end goal to this, to building a successful marketing agency here in Fiji, is to offer work for people who need it, and to someday use those profits to establish soup kitchens or free food outlets for those who are in need,” Mr Sonner said.
“And I would like to have a foundation for homeless children to come there and learn and be guided, and just shown how to make it out of that situation. That’s what I would really like to do because that’s what I needed when I was there. That’s the end goal.”
While his marketing agency may be new, having worked with clients since 2021 but officially kicked off only last year, Limitless Marketing has seen significant success already and has now brought in customer service AI for the use of their local clients, a first of its kind for Fiji.
“When we started out, at first we were pretty much reaching out to businesses that weren’t really utilising the whole social media space,” he said.
“The way we’d do it is we contact them, we offer them a thirty-day free trial, we handle the graphic design, and we work from there.
“Our entire team is abroad. We have team members around the world, handpicked; I went through probably a couple thousand people to pick out the right ones.
“I have always been interested in marketing, it’s the only thing I’m actually good at. I understand the frustration a lot of business owners face in connecting their product, their service, to the right audience. A lot of them go about it very aggressively and then get frustrated with it. That’s where we come in.”
Despite being well-spoken and tech-savvy thanks to a lifelong love of video games, Mr Sonner’s path to discovering he has a knack for marketing was not without its ups and downs.
On a particularly rough night on the streets, Mr Sonner was thrown into the sea by harassers a short way from Stinson Pde.
He pulled himself up onto the seawall when they were gone and made his way up the rundown watchtower overlooking the sea.
He sat troubled, wet and cold with nothing but a cardboard box for warmth. Sitting at the top of the old watchtower, longingly eyeing the warm glow coming from the window of a nearby penthouse apartment, he made the decision to change his fate.
His mission began with seeking help.
Having collected just enough money approaching strangers by Grieg St, Mr Sonner set off to an internet cafe to learn how to make a resume.
He spent the last of the money printing forty copies of his new document. Repeating the process the next day, he purchased a presentable outfit from the old Value City outlet by the flea market.
Ready for a fresh start, he handed out his resume to every business that would take it and managed to find his first formal employment after his time on the streets, at The Republic of Cappuccino.
Spending the days at his new job and the nights upskilling himself between naps at internet cafes, Mr Sonner finally secured a place of his own in 2015, his first apartment in Raiwaqa.
“It was honestly such a relief to be sleeping in my own place and being safe,” he said.
“The internet shop I had slept in had bedbugs and people constantly going for my pockets when I was sleeping, so it definitely wasn’t ideal.”
Mr Sonner worked his way from job to job and got hold of his first local marketing position at The Merch thanks to a recommendation from a friend that believed in his abilities, renowned local fashion designer Michael Mausio.
Taking engagement for The Merch’s social media pages into the thousands at breakneck speed, Mr Sonner realised he had found his calling and started down the path of establishing his own agency.
“To aspiring entrepreneurs, if you believe that what you’re offering will be beneficial, to people, to businesses or to the country as a whole, if it has a positive impact and you truly believe in it yourself, you should go for it,” he said.
“Of course, they should also be aware that it’s going to be a lot of work. It isn’t something you do thoughtlessly overnight. There will be a lot of hurdles and a lot of failures, but it’s exactly that which builds the foundation for what will eventually work out.
“I’ve worked really hard for every thing I have now, and I will protect it at all costs. The vision behind everything that I do is giving myself the ability to help others,” Mr Sonner said.
A homeless young man on the streets of Suva had once told his friends that one day he would do something impressive enough to get himself into the newspapers, and he has now done that and more.
Limitless Marketing plans on having a Suva office by the end of 2025, and in the meantime can be reached via their social media pages.