Alex Lee Johnson- ALONE Magazine
I had a quick chat with Alex Lee Johnson who I feel would fit my target audience bill. He is a young entrepreneur and set up his own business in his bedroom and it has grown into a successful project. With no prior experience just sheer passion for his idea he built it into what it is utilising social media.
I used a similar method described in ‘The Mom Test’ I spoke about previously and did not ask him out right about my idea instead learnt more about him, his business and whether or not something like this would even be useful to him.
I asked him about his businessand why he set it up to get a better understanding of my target audience. What previous skills they had to learn at what level skill set my product would have to teach. Also other things such as his problems along the way and if he even uses social media. Here is the short interview:
What is alone magazine? Can you tell me more about it?
“ALONE Magazine is an idea I have been sitting on for a few years now, it’s only recently I have decided to make it a reality. ALONE means standing out from the crowd, so you’re alone in that sense not the meaning of being lonely. The magazine is due to be on sale from its Website before the close of the year. It’s a fashion magazine that wants to be the nexus between the mainstream to the affluent reader.”
Why did you want to start the business? Why do you think so many people are doing the same?
“I’ve always wanted to run my own business, coming from a family that has done the same. I think people do the same because they think it’s easy then suddenly realise it’s a lot of your time gone and people don’t follow through and give up easily. Also people think wow I have an idea of a magazine for example then they think it’s going to make them millions within a month. This is usually another reason why people quit”
What problems did you face along the way?
“How many can I list! Firstly you will realise not many people help you out. You will be on your own a lot of the time. I have built a small team up now but that’s one obstacle you have to overcome. Secondly you’re suddenly self-employed which means if you can’t be bothered to do anything that means nothing gets done for your business. Money money money. Such a huge part of everything (even when people say it’s not) I actually think I’ve managed to start a company fairly inexpensively. The list could go on, just be ready to work. A lot.”
Speaking of inexpensively how useful have you found social media for your business?
“Social media is brilliant, it’s basically a free marketing tool if you use it correctly. Again it’s expectation vs reality, you’re not going to get 5000+ followers in your first week it takes time to build up a fan base but you can see that grow and it’s fun and exciting to watch that grow. Social media is a no brainer for every business.”
Did you have a social media training or business management education before starting your business? if not where have you learnt it from or has it been a trial and error?
“I had an understanding with growing up in this generation. However Education doesn’t teach you this. This is something I have consciously gone out and learnt. I read on average a book a week about business now. ( this is a number I want to increase ) knowledge is power.”
If there was a site dedicated to teaching people how to utilise social media for start-up businesses for free would you use that over books?
“Yes because it’s probably a lot easier to explain on the website than through a book.”
What I learnt from this:
- He would be interested in my product because his method now is time consuming and my method would be easier in terms of explaination.
- He started up a business because he comes from a family who also have done this.
- He agrees social media is essential for starting up your own business
- He didnt have any training but would find anyway possible to educate himself