We got an exclusive interview with the CEO of future sharks, Alejandro Rioja. He is a very passionate entrepreneur and has also helped a lot of successful startup companies. Here is the interview with this talented young man:
1. So Alejandro, Tell Us a Bit About Yourself
Hi everyone! I’m an entrepreneur from Bolivia that loves all things numbers and digital marketing.
In my free time I like to trade stocks and drop rap freestyles @YoungSlacker.
2. What advice do you have for person who is looking to start a new venture?
Just do it. Overthinking it will not do you any good.
For most of our ideas, getting started is the hard part. Once you have the ball rolling is much easier to continue going.
Also, a lot of us put excuses when it comes to start something (usually along the lines of “I don’t have XYZ skill, or I need $ money). When it comes to skills, it’s important to know that all skills are learnable (Youtube or Coursera are my favorite places for this). And when it comes to money, you just need to work hard on your idea until other people start noticing. If you are fundraising, you should be building trusted relationships with investors way before you need their money.
3. How Did You Came up with the Idea to Sell Chargers
It actually was an idea that occured to my co-founder Miles Anthony.
Legend has it that circa Spring 2015, Miles and I went to a kickback on a Thursday night after a long day of classes at UCLA. Since I had been out of my apartment for the whole day, my phone battery died shortly after I arrived to the party. When someone handed me a charger to charge my phone I noticed how bulky and awkward the charger was and wondered if we could sell a better portable charger. This is what started Flux Chargers. The rest was history.
4. How Much Money You Made in First Year Online
We didn’t make much (<$10k). In fact our first year was a huge struggle, with us making very little money. We were okay with it because 1) we were college students (juniors) and 2) we were hopeful that our efforts will pay out in the end.
5. How to Know If Your Niche Could Be Profitable
I wrote in the past about a few ways to find profitable niches, but the key takeaway is to first look into the products and services that you use on the daily. If you are already a user of a certain product, then you will have a much better insight into whether other people would also spend money on it and which things can be improved about it. After finding an interesting product idea, you can run ads on Instagram, Facebook or Google with a small budget and see if the demand is real.
6. What Has Been Hardest Part of Running the Company?
Firing my friends. Also something that is hard that not many people talk about is the fact that there were many days where I didn’t know
7. What Are the Main Sources of Your Earnings?
Currently, I make money through my 9-5 job at LoanSnap, my Adsense and Amazon Affiliates income which has recently picked up due to better keyword selection, I day trade stocks with Robinhood, and others.
8. What Are Your Favorite Online Resources?
Youtube is a great platform to learn anything. I also spend a considerable amount on YouTube playing rap beats and rapping for about 1 hour each day.
I also like listening to audiobooks on Audible. I do about 4 audiobooks per month. I’m also big on Meetups to expand my network in the Bay Area.
Lastly, I read financial articles on Investopedia and Seeking Alpha.
9. Where Do You Find Inspiration? (Alejandro’s IDOL)
I have many idols that I hope to meet one day. Anyone that is a BAUS is an inspiration to me.
My short and incomplete list includes: Richard Branson, Neil Patel, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, anyone in the PayPal mafia, and many more.
The people in the list do one thing better than anyone else in the world, whether it is product design, marketing or culture building. I like to read their books and follow them on social media to emulate the things I think they do well.
You Connect with Alejandro on Instagram @YoungSlacker
Thanks again Alejandro Rioja for taking the time to share your advice and story. If you would like to learn about other bloggers and how they are finding success online, be sure to read through our blogger interview series.