We had the good fortune of connecting with Alejandro Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alejandro, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The single most important factor behind the success of my brand, I-70 Things, is authenticity. Although it can be boiled down to one word, in no way does that mean you need to solely do one thing to achieve this. Authenticity is derived through a process of understanding your target consumers very well. For example, in my case, my target community and the topics they most relate to I’ve found out through trial and error. Some of these important relatable and desirable points are pertinent information, exciting content and a shared passion for the outdoor lifestyle that so many of us here in Colorado enjoy. It is very easy to pretend to be authentic, but that doesn’t get you far in today’s society because people can easily sniff that out. Once you begin building your organic authenticity as a brand, the community building and growth stages follow. They go hand in hand, without one you can’t have the other. This is especially crucial in my case because I didn’t want to spend money on marketing and decided from early on that an organic growth approach was right for me.
The second piece of being authentic is being true to yourself. My success was derived from failing. Failing helps you learn what works and what does not. This in turn allows you to learn quickly. Although it hurts and frankly sucks, failing allows you to leverage your experiences. For me, failing forced me to become flexible and adaptable. In life and in business you can have the perfect plan that still doesn’t work. I’ve founded multiple startups and many have failed. You soon learn that you have two choices quit or adapt. This is the difference between entrepreneurs who are theorist versus those who are practitioners. For me, always learning while being persistent, and consistent in anything I put my mind to is what brought me success personally as well as for my brand. The problem is everyone wants to be successful, but most aren’t willing to put in the time for the long haul and instead expect instant gratification, especially when using social media.
What should our readers know about your business?
The I-70 Things community was not built overnight. Most see the brand’s success on social media, but the road to get to where it is today was difficult. A few skills that have helped me get the brand to where it stands today is treating every community member as an important piece of the bigger picture. Without them I-70 Things is nothing. Everyone is a part of the brand. Wearing many hats as an entrepreneur is part of the job description. Putting out fires is what most days consist of. Learning something new to be well equipped to deal with the problem at hand is needed to get unfamiliar tasks accomplished.
For me personally, emotional intelligence is one skill that allowed me to become successful. I like people, I’m self-aware, understanding and human. Social media can be a very negative place, so flipping the script was important for me in order to not take everything personally. When you don’t know something asking questions to someone who has been through a similar process before is very valuable. It saves you time, while also allowing you to learn from someone else’s successes and failures. This gives you the best chance to achieve the success you desire.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Naturally for starters we’d have to hit the mountains so they understand what I-70 Things is all about. I’d definitely take them up the hill for at least a few days to enjoy some fun mountain activities, such as skiing/snowboarding, trail running, etc… We’d definitely stop by Chimayo and Smoking Yards for food on our way to and from the mountains. In the Denver area, I’d take them on a brewery tour. What better way to spend a day than roaming around Denver trying out your favorite beers. At night, we’d go to a red rocks concert to cap off the trip the right way.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Although the skills that I have applied to I-70 Things are derived from my experience while working with 5+ startups, with 5 or fewer employees, the foundations of these skills I started learning when I was very young from influential people in my life. I must thank my family and in particular my father. By seeing first hand his work ethic, his problem-solving methods and how to prioritize tasks at hand, I learned the importance of structuring work well to accomplish whatever problem comes your way. I have my mother to thank for instilling in me how to be a risk taker and to think outside of the box.
I also had a few key teachers in high school who were role models in my life that instilled lifestyle skills in and out of the classroom. Two of these individuals are Dr. Mims and Dr. Vick. They helped me become the person I am today. Having influential people of color and understanding their struggle provided me with a new perspective on what it means to level up personally and this has translated to business as well.
Lastly sports, particularly soccer, taught me many important skills, such as work ethic, commitment, timeliness and grit. Those days when it’s raining, snowing, or cold and you want to stay home, you can’t because your team depends on you. My team today is my business and my community. I can’t let them down.
Other: email: email@example.com
1. I-70 Things Logo 2. Tucker Merz 3. Jonathan McNally and Mountain Blade Runner 4. Mike D. Lewis 5. Shirt and Hat 6. Mayor Parker, The Snow Dog